Introduction to Jeju
Situated in a most ideal setting, just 64 kilometers south of the Korean Peninsula is Korea’s largest island, Jeju. Jeju is a magical place known for 3 things: roaring winds, magnificent rocks, and women, since there is a bigger population of women versus men. As one of the host cities of the 2002 Korea/Japan FIFA World Cup, Jeju’s Seogwipo City made the most charming places to host it.
Jeju is a focal point of international affairs and is able to offer people many kinds of recreational activities with breathtaking vistas, a temperate climate and a unique traditional culture. Located in the center of this volcanic island is Mt. Hallasan (a dormant volcano), which is filled with over 1,800 species of vegetation, scores of deer, and an ecosystem that will surely amaze all.
Jeju offers unbelievably breathtaking views from coast to coast, ranging from the waterfalls at Hae-anjidae to the naturally sculpted cliffs at Jusang Jeolli. Tourists can enjoy each season in Jeju with a particular splash of color; brilliant yellow-colored flowers in the spring that spread across the landscape, the golden beaches and sea vistas in the summertime, the Eulalia’s light brown wispy reeds flowing in the autumn winds, and the lovely snow flowers of Hallasan in winter are all must-sees of Jeju.
One can enjoy these wonders of the world by hiking, bike riding, paragliding, scuba diving, windsurfing, hunting, horseback riding, swimming, and going on boat trips. Jeju also has a wide variety of native foods such as the delicious Jeju tangerines and native dishes including redtile fish stew, grilled and seasoned redtile fish, rice porridge with abalone, pheasant dishes and hair-tail fish soup.
Jeju is more than simply a tourist destination; it is an island full of wonder. Making the most of its charm and beauty to attract considerable numbers of tourists and with its geo-political location, Jeju is in the process of changing into an International Free City. Jeju promises to be an island that rides the wave of technology while still keeping true to its ecological treasures.
Land size: 1,848.5㎢, Population: 567,913 people (statistics from 2010)
SEONGSAN ILCHULBONG PEAK [UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE]
Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak rose from under the sea in a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago. Located on the eastern end of Jejudo Island, there is a huge crater at the top of Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak. The crater is about 600m in diameter and 90m high. With the 99 sharp rocks surrounding the crater, it looks like a gigantic crown. While the southeast and north sides are cliffs, the northwest side is a verdant grassy hill that is connected to the Seongsan Village. The ridge provides an ideal spot for walks and for horse riding as well.
The sunrise from the crater is magnificent. Also the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak surrounded by bright yellow colored canola flowers in the spring is truly a sight to behold.
It is said that the peak of Hallasan Mountain where Baekrokho Lake now exists was taken off and thrown away, which then became Sanbangsan Mountain. The myth describes how unlike other mountains on Jejudo Island, this mountain does not have a crater. The 5m-high rock cave at the cliff on the southwest side of the mountain was originally called Sanbanggul Cave, but it is called a temple now because it possesses a Buddhist statue.
This is where monk Hye-Il (964~1053) had lived during the Goryeo Dynasty (918~1392)
Inside the cave, you can see Marado Island and the Dragon Head Coast. You can also see small ponds being made by the water drops that fall from the ceiling all through the year. The plant zone on a cliff of Sanbangsan Mountain is also designated as a natural monument. It is the only place on Jejudo Island where island boxwoods grow. On the Dragon Head Coast is the Hamel Memorial Monument.
Yongmeori Beach is a place where Mt. Sanbangsan stretches into the ocean and it looks as if a dragon’s head is going underwater. This area is made of Sa-am stacks, built up over millions of years. There are Gulbangs here which are depressed into the shape of rooms, and wide rocks stacking up on one another along the seashore cliffs which create a majestic scenery by the sea. Along the road down to the seashore, there is the Hamel Castaway Memorial, in remembrance of Hamel who drifted to this place in 1653. Just off to the right of the beach is a soft and dark sandy beach. You can meet the women sea-divers of Jeju who sell sea cucumbers and stroll on the road that spreads along the seashore.
MARA OCEAN PARK
Marado is a small island situated at the southern end of Korea. It is about 11 km away to the south from Moseulpo Harbor in Daejeong-eup. Marado Island is 4.2 km long, but only 39 m at its widest, shaped like a sweet potato, and inhabitants fish and provide Minbak (homestay) for tourists for a living.
Because there is no water on Marado Island, people get their water from gathering rain water, and they use solar cells to generate what electricity they have. In 1883, three families first came to the island and began living here. At first they lived off the food growing there, but once the food became scarce, they burned the mountain thick with trees to create field for farming. It was said that all the snakes and frogs died in that fire, and thus no snakes and frogs are found in Marado Island even until now. The island is famous for sea fishing. There is a ferry to Marado Island once or twice a day from Moseulpo Harbor.
Seopjikoji is located at the end of the eastern shore of Jeju Island. "Seopji" is the old name for the area, and "Koji" is Jeju dialect meaning a sudden bump on land. On Koji hill which is wide and flat, there stands a stone Bongsudae called “Hyeopjayeondae” with a 4m height and 9m length and width that has retained its original form.
Seopjikoji was the filming site of "Gingko Bed," "The Uprising," "One Thousand and One Nights" and other Korean TV dramas. Nearby attractions include Jeju Folk Village and Udo Island as well.
MANJANGGUL CAVE [UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE]
Manjanggul Cave is one of the finest lava tunnels in the world, and is a designated natural monument. A lava tunnel is formed when the lava that was deep in the ground spouts from the peak and flows to the surface. Manjanggul Cave has a variety of interesting structures inside including 70cm lava stalagmites and the lava tube tunnels.
Only 1km of the 13,422m Manjanggul Cave is open to tourists. The inside of the tunnel sustains a temperature of 11~21℃, creating a comfortable atmosphere. There are rare animals such as bats living in the tunnel, which makes this tunnel valuable for researchers as well. The stone pillars and stalactites are widely spread and the tunnels shows off the cave’s topographical features. "Stone Turtle" is especially eye-catching because it is shaped like Jeju-do Island.
Hyeopjae Beach (협재해수욕장) is located on the west side of Hanrim-eup, and is part of Hanrim Park. The beautiful white color of the sand comes from the large amounts of crushed seashells that have been mixed in with the sand. The long seashore stretches for 9 km and has cobalt colored seawater and evergreen forests scattered around the vicinity, making the scenery very beautiful. Just off the beach is Biyangdo Island. The white sandy beach is about 20 meters long, and the water is 1.2 meters deep with no sudden drops. In the evergreen groves, there are plenty of convenient facilities and campgrounds for visitors to use.
Hanrim Park nearby, provides interesting tour sites such as a subtropical arboretum, Hyeopjaegul Cave, and Ssangyonggul Cave. The seashore to the southwest of Hyeopjae Beach connects to another beach called Geumreung Beach, and both beaches combined are also called Hyeopjae Beach. From any beach on Jejudo Island, you can always see Mt. Hallasan. It is a great place for a relaxing family vacation
Jeongbang Falls is among the top three waterfalls of Jeju-do and is the only waterfall in Asia to fall directly into the ocean. Next to the waterfall is an inscription reading “Seobulgwacha,” referring to Seobul passing by this place. Seobul was a servant of the Emperor of the Chinese Qin Dynasty (BC 259~210) who was ordered by the Emperor to find a substance that would make him immortal. Seogwipo is also said to have gotten its name from this story, meaning "Seobul Headed Back West."
On the cliff high above the sea stands an old evergreen tree, leaning out as if ready to fall into the ocean. Approximately 300 meters to the east is another waterfall, Sojeongbang Waterfall. It is a great place to relax during the summer. There is an observatory at the top of the cliff, from which you can command a fine view of the sea.
YONGDUAM ROCK (DRAGON HEAD ROCK)
Situated to the north of Jeju City, Yongduam was created by strong winds and waves over thousands of years. However, there are plenty of other stories of how it came to be. One legend has it that a dragon stealing precious jade from Mt. Halla was shot down by an arrow from the mountain deity. When he fell down on Yongduam, his body immediately sank into the ocean and his head rapidly froze looking at the sky. Another legend has it that a white horse, who dreamed of being a dragon and ascending to the sky, came to be caught by a soldier and froze into the rock.
From Yongduam, visitors can see Haeneo women divers working on catching seafood. Near the rock are various cafes, bars, and restaurants. The coastal road between Aewol-eup and Yongduam is a popular spot for couples. Cafes and seafood restaurants began to appear there five years ago and now form a pleasant café village.
Drinking a cup of coffee at the village café and driving along the scenic coastal lines, visitors can encounter Iho Beach where black rocks contrast with the emerald-blue ocean, Hagwi Coast, and Aewol Port. Aewol Port is also home to small seafood restaurants and fishing boats coming in and out, adding flavor to the coastal drive. Further from the port is one of the most popular beaches on Jeju Island, Hyeopjae Beach, showcasing the deep royal-blue sea year-round with splendid white sand.