What to see in South Korea
Tourist attractions Jeju Island
90 kilometres off the coast of South Korea, in the Korean Strait, lies the idyllic island of Jeju. This World Heritage volcanic island is the country’s most popular holiday destination and is famed for its lava tubes, volcanoes, pristine beaches and wonderful landscapes, which has earned the island the title of the ‘Hawaii of South Korea’. Dominated by the enormous Hallasan Volcano, which at 1950 metres high is the tallest mountain in the country, and last erupted around 5000 years ago, Jeju Island is the only self-governing province in South Korea.
With one of the busiest airports in the world, welcoming an enormous number of tourists and holidaymakers every day, visitors on a holiday to Jeju Island are attracted by its untouched natural landscapes, white sandy beaches and wildlife, such as wild horses. Getting in touch with nature and taking time to relax are the main leisure pursuits on the island and visitors can do so my taking tranquil walks along the coastal walkways and Jeju Olle Trail or by watching the sunrise from the Seongsan Crater.
Other highlights of a trip to Jeju Island are its huge lava tubes, such as the Manjanggul Lava Tube, which is big enough for visitors to walk inside of its dark caverns and admire the stalactites and stalagmites formed from the lava. The evidence of volcanic activity in Jeju Island is all around and perhaps its most amazing manifestation can be seen in the amazing Jusangjeolli Cliff rock pillars, formed from lava falling into the sea, creating seemingly architected columns of hardened lava.
Other attractions worth visiting on a tour of Jeju Island are the beautiful Jeongbang Waterfalls and the numerous museums dedicated to a wide array of subjects such as the Teddy Bear Museum and the Trick Eye Illusion Museum. The islanders themselves have had a rather tumultuous history and in the late 1940s, the island was the scene of an anti-Communist campaign by the South Korean government, resulting in the death of around 10% of the island’s population as a result of the rebellion and suppression that followed.
The island has a number of unique traditions that still endure today, such as free-diving for oysters, a job that is undertaken by many local women on the island, who dive without oxygen tanks to reach the best oysters and shellfish around the coast and is considered to be somewhat of a prestigious role within the community. Jeju Island is also famed for its tangerine production.
The Islanders are conscious of preserving the rich habitats and biodiversity of the island and there are aims for Jeju to be carbon free in the coming decades in order to continue accommodating the growing number of visitors whilst simultaneously preserving the precious natural environment. A holiday to Jeju Island gives you the opportunity to explore a remarkable side of South Korea and a unique and rich environment.