- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Visit Jeju Island
Jeju Island, designated as Special Self-Governing Province, lies southwest of the Korean Peninsula and is the largest tourist destination in Korea. The whole island was designated as a special tourist zone, and wherever tourists go, they can look upon beautiful sceneries.
Among the many breathtaking spots to check out on the island, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, Manjanggul Cave, bija tree forests, lava tubes, and waterfalls are the major attractions that shouldn't be missed out. The island has been receiving lots of love due to its mild and warm temperature experienced all year round. There are certainly more reasons to visit, including great sceneries found everywhere, the relaxing lifestyle of Jeju residents, and unique cultural assets that this island has to offer.
Jeju Dongbu UNESCO World's Heritage Tour Course
Jeju has priceless natural sites that deserve conservation and continuous attention from around the world. That is the reason why the UNESCO enlisted Hallasan National Park, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak and Manjanggul Cave as the world's heritages, and these sites when combined, makes up almost 10% of Jeju's total land area.
Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, dubbed as Jeju's landmark, was formed from volcanic activity that erupted about 5,000 years ago from the ocean bottom. This gave Jeju to exhibit a distinguishable geological feature and structure that almost resembles a seongsan, literally translated to gigantic mountain of castles. Among the many oreums (lava tubes) available on the island, Seongsan Ilchulbong is said to offer the most exquisite backdrop over sunrises.
Another popular volcanic site frequented by visitors is Geomun Oreum. The oreum was created between 100,000 to 300,000 years ago, when lava flew from the crater moving along the coastal slope, forming 7.4 kilometers deep hole as a result. However, visitors can only enter 1 kilometer-long path due to safety reasons. The distance is relatively short, but it is enough for visitors to see incontestably unique ecological features created by natural phenomenon.
Many travelers coming to Jeju Island agree visiting Seopjikoji as their top priority. Seopjikoji in spring, especially in April is more often than not, visited by many photographers and non-photographers alike as carpets of beautiful canola blooms adds an extra tinge of delight to the trip.
Taking seven to eight minutes by drive from Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak is the former filming location featured in TV drama ‘All-in (2003)’. Transformed into a fairytale-alike cookie house, the nostalgic memories and romantic ambience from the drama still remained, drawing back many drama fans and generations of that time. Trekking is also a good activity for either a light exercise or sightseeing here. Upon entering, Genius Loci building constructed by architect Ando Tadao is yet another attraction that greets visitors on the site.
There are hundreds of oruems, or parasitic volcano, scattered out on several hilltops of various locations in Jeju. The numbers are estimated to be close to 360, and among the batch, Yongnuni Oreum is without a doubt the most well-known. It has a moderately gentle slope as compared to others, providing fairly easy trail for trekking.
When reaching its top, both Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak and Udo islet comes into a big picture, creating a magnificent view for one to remember. This hot spot was also shown in the movies such as A Werewolf Boy (2012), TV drama Goddess of Marriage (2013) and more.
Whilst Yongnuni Oreum will give you a clear view of the ocean, Bijarim Forest is an ideal place for a relaxing forest bathing retreat. This botanical garden, housed with heavy dense nutmeg trees (or bija namu in Korean) grown naturally, was designated as a natural monument in 1993 (Natural Monument No. 374). Large clusters of the trees have lived for at least 500 to 800 years. One noticeable in the middle of the forest is, an 800-year-old, ‘Ancestor of the Bija trees’.
Seogwipo-si & Jungmun Tourist Complex
Seogwipo, which expands to include the entire southern half of Jeju, exhibits a great amount of sunshine and warmer temperature that is almost similar to that of a tropical climate. The sounds of a waterfall can indeed make one desire to go for a short rest and cooling session, especially during hot summer days. The Seogwipo area proudly presents Jeongbang Fall, one of the top three waterfalls in Jeju. Situated by a 23m tall sea cliff, it can make anyone giddy just by the look down from it.
There is an art gallery at the top of the cliff that is operated by artist Lee Wal-chong. He moved and docked at this island some decades ago, falling in love with inspiring sights of Jeju. These characteristics are also found in his works that are displayed at the gallery. The strategic location also gives visitors with amazing views looking over the Seogwipo Sea.
Jungmun Tourist Complex is blessed with not only beautiful natural sceneries but is filled with numerous entertainment and convenient facilities catering to both domestic and international tourists. Near International Convention Center Jeju, the Jusangjeolli Cliff delivers a sight to behold. The pillars are piled up all along the costal line, where one will be able to capture some dramatic scenes of Jeju. Also, beautiful hexagonal columnar formations spread before your eyes offering breathtaking vistas in addition to the nice promenade, good for a little adventure.
Another favorite tourist spot at the Jungmun Tourist Complex is the Teddy Bear Museum. The museum boasts quite an impressive variety that has been loved for more than a hundred years, giving plenty of entertaining facts and adorable bear dolls on display that adults will also fancy. The ‘Alfred’ bear featured in popular k-drama Princess Hours (2006) can also be seen in the museum. Outdoor sculpture park for photo taking and gift shops for visitors to buy teddy bear souvenirs are also available.
Jeju City History & Culture Tour Course
Yongduam Rock, undeniably Jeju City's top tourist attraction, is one of the many natural wonders of Jeju Island. Formed by underwater lava millions years ago, eons of weathering from the rain and wind have formed it into the likeness of a dragon's head.
After visiting Yongduam Rock, and if you find yourself curious about life in the ancient times of Jeju Island, wander down to the Jeju Folklore & Natural History Museum. Not only does Jeju Island have a particular dialect, it also has a distinct culture that separates from the rest of mainland Korea, all of which you can see and enjoy in just a quick tour around the museum.
Right next to the museum is Samseonghyeol, a religious site that is also the birthplace of Jeju's ancient mythology. Samseonghyeol is not only historically significant, but it is also a fascinating ecological site, which may be small yet has a captivating energy that you will certainly not forget.