Jeju Island South Korea
Explore the Island from Seogwipo ...the tourism centre!
Jeju Island (Cheju) is in the South Korea Strait, between the southern most tip of South Korea and Japan. 73 kilometres wide and 31 kilometres north to south......... it is a small easily traversed island.
With a warmer climate than the mainland, the Island enjoys stunning scenery.... the Koreans proudly call this World Heritage Site the
"Hawaii of Korea".
.... Jeju Island is a very popular Korean honeymoon destination.
While I am not sure I would equate it with Hawaii, it is certainly a very beautiful island with glorious beaches, mountains...Mt Halla being the centrepiece, lava tubes, citrus orchards, fascinating cultural features and a plethora of theme parks and attractions.
Jeju City being higher, is colder than the coastal area where we were heading. Seogwipo on the southern coast was our destination I will not be giving any information on Jeju City as the tourist area is around Seogwipo.
Seogwipo - the Tourist Center
Seogwipo.... Jeju Island main tourist area, is the main venue for international events to South Korea. The most recent ASEAN Meetings were held here..... while the Football World Cup was held here leaving a legacy of the huge stadium....that is now impossible to fill with such a small local population!
Seogwipo is a good central coastal location to stay, and tour different areas of the island from. The main tourism area is Jungman Beach nearby.
The city has plenty of restaurants, good shops, coffee houses, a very nice Baskin Robbins ice cream shop I can recommend, markets, a French bakery .....so...all you need. It is probably not going to attract you for major shopping.
Many of the activities on Jeju Island are for those keen on the outdoors... swimming, snorkelling, watersports ....wind surfing, diving, walking etc.
Attractions Around Seogwipo City
Not only does Jeju Island have several lovely waterfalls..... it is unusual to visit natural waterfalls almost right in the city.
Cheonjeyeon Waterfall - This lovely waterfall is in a parklike area, with a traditional pavilion, and bridge, near Jungman Resort.
Cheonjiyeon Waterfall - visit the falls and Goelmae Gardens.
Jeongbang Waterfall - This 23 metre waterfall is unusual as it is right on the coast falling directly into a pool by the sea. It is a pleasant walk down through a well formed cliff path, taking you to the foot of the Falls.
Goelmae Park - is above Cheonjiyeon Waterfall and is a pleasant walk with water gardens, a Japanese Apricot Tree garden and other plantings.
Seogwipo Harbour - This is a lovely harbour with fishing boats adding to the character. There is a very pleasant walk crossing a newly opened architecturally impressive pedestrian bridge, through pine forest with beautiful views across the harbour. Like much of theisland... the volcanic rocks around the coast are a feature, with many pines and other trees.
Oedolgae(Way-doll-gay) – Oedalgae was an absolutely gorgeous spot, down a coastal cliff path to an area of rocks, pools and sea......and very good for snorkelling.
Oedalgae is the name of a 20m high rock formation, with small pines growing on top named from a Korean Legend. There is a beach on the coast line with several caves where the locals sheltered during the war.
A large carpark is located across the road to the track.
Donneko - A lovely walk through forest leads down to a very cold freshwater pool fed by Won-ang waterfall. Surrounded by mossy rocks it is a beautiful place for a picnic or cool off swim.
Hill of Swiri - Named after the movie Swiri filmed here.... this is a very beautiful cliff top walk and popular for the many celebrity guests who visit Soewipo to take in the views. A walk or run is “a must” to see the views and get a feel for the area.
Jeju Island Beaches
Jungman Resorts - the largest beach resort complex on Jeju... it features luxury hotels, tourist hotels, and condominiums for the throngs of tourists who come to the island.Yogwans ( Korean Inns) are located just up the road for those looking for cheaper accommodation.
There are a number of restaurants, the Royal Marine Park with a large aquarium and daily aquatic animal shows, Yeomiji Botanical garden, and Cheonjeyeon Waterfall. ( see above) A little further away is the Jungmun Folk Village.
Jungman Beach - This is the main tourist area with several large hotels, many with lovely views over the beach and sea. The beach is a lovely stretch of white sand, with shelters for those quick enough to take possession.
Apparently this beach has been featured in many movies. There is also parasailing, rafting and waterskiing.
Hyeopjae Beach - This stunning pure white sand beach ....one of many in the area, was a good lunch break,with a choice of several restaurants. We enjoyed a pleasant meal – hamburgers, pizza etc, sitting on the restaurant deck built out over the water with gorgeous views. Near to Hallim Park you can combine the two for a day trip.
Geumneung Beach - just across from Hyeopjae Beach this is a good beach for swimming.( has the wall where m and b swam?)
Hamdeok Beach - This is beach with its small bridge.You can walk out to rocks for lovely views back across the aqua water and white sandy beach.
Seongsan Llchulbong - This area has several stunning pure white sandy beaches with watersports, swimming and restaurants . A coastline tour on a ferry can be taken.
Shinang Beach - Good for wind surfing, this beach is warm and safe for swimming. It is situated near Seongsanpo.
Pyosean Beach - Just along from the Folk Museum this beach is excellent for children.
Hwasun Beach - Located in western Seogwipo you can swim in both fresh and salt water.
Hamo Beach - Another western beach it is popular for camping with beautiful island and mountain views.
Eastern Jeju Island
Seongsan Llchulbong - A hike up Seongsan Llchulbong is is well worth while with views of the crater, the surrounding coastline and islands. Unusual because it was created by an underwater explosion, it has a well formed path. It is a climb for those with a reasonable level of fitness, although I found by taking it slowly there were plenty of resting places to take in the views, take photos and enjoy the experience. It is particularly popular with people timing their visit to watch either the sunrise or sunset.
West Jeju Island
Mt Sanbang - Great views are had from the top of this mountain. Near the top is a cave the monks used to pray in.
Halla-san National Park and Mt Halla- The volcanic peak of Mt Hallasan is South Korea's highest point at 1950 meters and in the center of Jeju Island.A heritage site.... it has remained unspoiled retaining its natural beauty. Mt Halla is beautiful at any time of year with people aspiring to climb it in winter for the snow views and summer for the green views.
Yongmeori Coast - You can take a cliff top walk to see the unusual cliff formations.
Suwol Bong Peak –Suwol-bong is Jeju island's western most spot with lovely views of the coastline, Ch'agwi-do (a large island to the northwest) and Juk-do. On a good day you can also get a good view of Halla-san and Sanbang-san.
Yakcheonsa Temple - Yakcheonsa is the second largest temple complex on Jeju island. Its huge size and beautiful, colourful architecture are stunning, unique artwork making it one of Southern Jeju’s most awe inspiring attractions. It features an enormous bell which they ring out for prayers, a large golden goddess... the monks can be seen going about their daily chores.. Overlooking the coast....it has magnificent views.
Cheonwhang-sa Temple - mostly ruins, the Buddha statues that fill the main Prayer Room room are the main attraction.
Jeju Island Lava Tubes
More than 120 lava tubes are scattered throughout the island. Several are open to the public. Each has their own characteristics. Dangcheomuldonggul, has stalagtites and stalagmites which is unusual in a lava cave, although Ssangyong also has them.
Hyeopjae (designated Natural Monument #236) and Ssangyong are accessed from Hallim Park. We were there after a lot of rain , and they were so wet they were giving out raincoats to wear.This was a different cave experience...once in the cave it was flat and very open. There are 20 lava tubes in this area alone.
Manjang gul Caves - are perhaps the most visited on Jeju Island.With two levels it features lava columns and interesting formations. 1 kilometre is open to the public.
NOTE:TAKE A TORCH and RAINCOAT It is recommended you take a torch as it was quite difficult to find our way through his huge cave without a good light. We had a small torch.
Parks on Jeju Island
Hallim Park - This is a good place for those with limited time. Featuring eight different themes......while it had several garden areas....it also had the lava caves, and folk village park, giving you a good cross section of South Korean culture and natural attractions on Jeju.
- Palm Tree Avenue
- JejuStone and Bonsai Garden
- Jae-Am Folk Village
- Bird Garden
- Water Garden
- Subtropical Botanic Garden
- Jae-Am Stone Exhibit Hall
- Hyeopjae& Ssangyong Caves - Hyeopjae is one of several caves located in Hallim Park.
You can easily spend a day, enjoying a traditional Korean meal in the Restaurant in the Folk Village.
Sooingook Miniature Theme Park
- Here all the most famous landmarks from around the world have been recreated. The hall of mirrors was fun, and there is a cafe, shop etc. This is great for children to check their knowledge and create an interest on other countries.
Dolhareubang – Grandfather stones are the symbol of Jeju and seen everywhere around the island. Carved out of lava rock around 1754... there are 45 of the originals left.
Diving on Jeju
Seogwipo is the place many international divers go to enjoy the diving.
Our son recently enjoyed a diving trip from Japan and gave it the “thumbs up” as a good place to dive. Certainly it is considered the best in South Korea .
Theme Parks and Museums
There is a wide range of Theme Parks and Museums in all guises including at least three Sex Museums. I will give you a cross section rather than list them all. You will see there is a very disparate selection with something for anyone and everyone.
- Teddy Bear Museum
- Chocolate Museum
- Dak Paper Doll Museum
- Soriseum Museum – 5 interactive displays
- Africa Museum
- Citrus Museum
- Jeju Waterworld
- Internationa Eros Museum – for the honeymooners?
- Pony Town
- Jungseok Aviation Pavilion with a flight simulator and model planes
- Jeju Folk Village – one of several
- The Museum of Sex and Health – this is educational
- Happy Town – a Chinese circus troupe
- Jeju Sculpture Park
- Hallim Park
- Miniature World - as described above.
These are but a few to keep you entertained.
We hired a car in Jeju City, and found driving while a little nerve wracking initially.... once you work it out their road rules, was the best way to see a lot of the island.
TIP - the road signs tend to be some way from their actual turn They are usually one more road ahead rather than turning immediately. The roads are good, well signposted with route numbers, and several options for routes. If the weather is fine take the longer slower but more spectacular route over the mountain to Seogwipo.
South Koreans tend to take bus tours which you may prefer to driving.
Hiring a motorcycle as our son did, may be the best means of transport, for those on a budget or who want to be independent but not drive a car. The sights are well spread out over the island. Our daughter and her partner use motorbikes all over the island.
This may be an option if you are fit or only taking the coast road, or areas near to your accommodation. Much of the island is mountainous.
We found it was probably better to book your fare right through from your departure point to Jeju Island. Having booked cheap fares to Fukuoka, we had quite a problem getting direct flights despite being only an hour away with several daily options.
The fares were very, very expensive being Japanese prices.
The airport is located in Jeju City .
Boat or Ferry
There are also regular boats from Busan and other ports including Fukuoka.
Jeju Island has a wide range of hotels or Korean Inns around Seogwipo to choose from. Have a look at these options.
Jeju Hana Hotel
Hotel KAL Hotel
New Kyungnam Hotel
Hotel Shineville Luxury Resort
Hotel Shinsun Resort
The Shilla Hotel
The Suites Hotel
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