“JEJU” is the answer that you will probably get when you ask Korean people which is the most beautiful place in Korea. JEJU-do is Korea’ s largest island located 130 km south-west of Jeollanamdo. It is the smallest of the 9 provinces of South-Korea, but the only autonomous province, therefore officially named JEJU Special Self-Governing Province. JEJU is located in a subtropical zone and has a mild oceanic climate, with the smallest temperature range in Korea. Therefore it is often called “the Hawaï of Korea”.
JEJU is well known for its natural beauty and volcanic landscape and the whole island is listed as UNESCO’s Natural World Heritage. All over the island you can find a wide range of the most beautiful natural attractions, mainly created by the eruptions of a sub-sea volcano thousands of years ago. Since 11 November 2011 Jeju is selected as one of the 7 New World Nature Wonders.
I heard a lot about JEJU’s beauty but I never had the chance or time to get there … until my 20th Korea visit. Thanks to my brother in law we finally visited JEJU in autumn 2013.
As he studied on JEJU for 3 years to become a veterinarian, he was our perfect guide to show us around. He did a wonderful job to give us a good impression during our 4 days stay.
JEJU has many beautiful beaches with amazing turquoise ocean water, amazing rocks and cliffs and mount HALLASAN, with its 1950 meters the highest mountain in Korea. In wintertime mount HALLASAN can be covered with snow !
JEJU is called the “Island of the 3 abundance”, … wind, women and rocks.
The wind from the ocean blows steadily throughout the year and typhoons are also possible. Due to past volcanic activities you can see many oreum (volcanic cones) and black rocks all over the island. The island’s reputation of having an abundance of women dates back to the time when fishing was the primary source of income and many men were lost at sea.
JEJU is also the island where Hendrick Hamel, a Dutch bookkeeper of the Dutch East Indian Company, got shipwrecked at Yeongmori coast in August 1653 on his way to Japan. He stayed on the island for almost 13 years. He was the first foreigner to report about Korea to westerners.
JEJU is also very famous for octopus and even more for it’s haenyo, the female divers on the island, who dive without any underwater diving equipment. You can see them here and there diving to bring daily fresh seafood from the bottom of the ocean. Especially Yongduam and Seongsan Ilchulbong are favorite places to spot them.
For a long time JEJU was a top destination for Korean couples to celebrate their honeymoon. These days tourist from all over the world come to here to explore the hidden beauty of JEJU.
And since JEJU has so many things to offer, that tourists often come back. JEJU has something for everyone, especially nature boasts many beautiful places all over the island.
First of all there are the 7 Natural wonders but when you are more in to sports you can go for hiking, trekking, biking, walking, surfing, kiting, … There are many musea to visit, among the Teddy bear museum, the chocolate and a bonsai museum, the Haenyo museum, etc. At JEJU you can easily can fill a full week with activities, even in wintertime .
Don’t forget to visit the Aqua Planet Aquarium near Phoenix Island, where you can admire countless species of fish and water animals. Not only fun for kids !
And if you like photographing don’t forget the beautiful sunrise at Sunrise peak or Seopjikoji beach !
If you like to meet local people it’s a good idea to visit the local restaurants and try some delicious fish meals or other fresh seafood. You will experience that local people on JEJU speak a dialect that is quite different from the Korean language on the mainland.
JEJU can be easily reached from the Korean mainland by airplane in less than 1 hour from Incheon or Gimpo. An other option to get there is by ship or ferry boat. We picked this last option and we left from MOKPO, what took us approximately 3 hours to arrive in JEJU.
Below you can find some interesting places that we visited during our 4 days stay on Jeju :
- Seongsan Ilchulbong – Sunrise peak
- Yeongmori coast (Hamel)
- Sangumburi – crater with silver grass
- Jusangjeollidae & Oeldolgae rock
- Yongduam – dragon’s head rock
- Cheonjiyeon waterfalls
- Shinbiro mysterious road
- Gwaneumsa temple
- Seopjikoji beach
More you can read in our post about our second trip to JEJU trip in 2014