Top 10 Things to do in Jeju

When thinking about Jeju Island in South Korea, two things come to mind immediately, seafood and nature.

Seafood in Jeju revolves around the community of women called Haenyeo, which translates to women divers, who live off the sea. In Jeju, women have taken on the task of being the breadwinner of their families. During the war, most men were pushed out of the island and these days there are more women than men on it.

As much as there is to be said about the seafood culture here, there is just as much to be said about the natural wonders of Jeju. The island is home to the natural World Heritage Site, Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes. You will also find Hallasan, the tallest mountain in South Korea and a dormant volcano at the centre of the island.

With so much to do on the island, most people will settle for ordinary experiences on the island. However, we want to highlight some unique adventures that make Jeju Island the destination of choice for many.

Here’s a list of experiences in Jeju that push beyond the ordinary.

Seogwipo Submarine

Breaking from the ordinary dive and snorkel experiences you might expect on an island, Jeju brings you an extraordinary experience in a submarine. Hop on and expect to dive down into a rich, coral-filled ocean bed that is beaming with life. Alongside the submarine, divers will follow suit to bait the incredible marine life into getting closer to the vessel. As you get closer to the depths, you will discover a shipwreck that has been completely taken over by the local wildlife. Discover incredible species and experience the best part of Jeju, its ocean, without moving a muscle.

Jeju Women Diver Show

The women on the island are self-sufficient and have become one of the most important highlights of the island. These days, the women divers of Jeju put on shows where they showcase what it means to be a Haenyeo. They start the show with folklore songs and then proceed with pre-diving rituals. After that, they take to the open ocean, swimming swiftly into depths of up to 10 meters to pick up shellfish, seaweed and abalone. Watch as they move with so much grace and synchronicity, gathering up as much seafood as they can find. Most divers these days are in their 50s, but some are well into their 80s.

Hamdeok Seoubong Beach

Pristine emerald waters, modern-day amenities and no rough waves. This beach has become an ideal spot for families to spend their weekends. Tall palm trees and a white sandy beach line the shore of this beach locally acclaimed as one of the top three beaches on the island. On the western end of the beach, a bridge built over the water allows visitors to walk along the side of the cliff and enjoy the sweeping vistas while taking time to sit down for a picnic. Sprinkled by the shore are contemporary cafes where you can sit on the open-air terraces and take in the salty air that surround Jeju Island.

Yongmeori Coast

This coast gets a lot of attention due to its incredible cliff faces and rock formations. Shades of blacks and greys with pockets of brown that ebb and flow along the shoreline, forming incredible natural lines and adding so much flair to the picturesque scene. The coast was formed by the oldest volcano in Jeju which erupted around 1.2 million years ago. At the entrance of the coast, horse rides are available for people who want to experience the coast differently. By the shore, you will find a bunch of seafood vendors where you can sit on the rocks and enjoy raw seafood with soju.

Seonim Bridge

Along the Cheonjeyeon Waterfall lies Seonim Bridge, connecting visitors from the Jungmun Tourist Complex to the falls. On either side of the bridge, you will see 14 nymph motifs, each about 20 metres long. The Cheonjeyeon Waterfalls are so majestic, it is said that only heavenly beings bathe in its waters. Surrounding the bridge, lush green foliage contrasts the vibrant vermilion colour of the bridge rails, adding to the natural beauty of the Cheonjeyeon area. Sometimes referred to as the Seven Nymph Bridge, a reference to the Korean legend of the seven fairies that descend from paradise at night.

Jeju Folk Village

To find out how the people of Jeju used to live, you have to visit the Jeju Folk Village which continues to preserve and educate the new on the old. Learn about where the Jeju people come from and find out what makes them unique. The village is a visual representation of what life would have looked like back in the days when the Jeju folks were fishers. Hundreds of years later and these buildings are still well preserved. The houses look like giant mushrooms and remind many of The Shire from Lord of the Rings. Whimsical houses are fully functional and play very important roles in the daily life of the people living in it. Local guides will take you through the village and tell stories to help you understand the local folklore and culture.

Tangerine Picking Jeju

The tangerines in Jeju are known for their sugary sweetness and thin rinds that make the flesh extra plump and juicy. Hence, tangerine picking experiences, when they are in season, have become synonymous with the island. Tangerine farms have allocated spaces for visitors to experience this as an attraction where people can find photo opportunities and places to sit by as they enjoy freshly picked tangerines. October to February is the peak season for tangerines however if you visit any other time, you can experience this in their greenhouses where tangerines are available all year round.

Manor Blanc

This chateau-inspired cafe will transport you to the countryside of Southern France. With its unique Victorian architecture and lush camellia gardens out in the back, you will have no choice but to walk through the flower fields and explore the picturesque hills. As you step on the manor grounds, it becomes immediately clear that a lot of thought was put into building something like this. Everything from the teacups, kettle and grand colour scheme has been placed and chosen for a reason. The cafe serves coffee drinks, tangerine juice and a variety of ornate cakes.

Jeju Eco Land Theme Park

This theme park is all about trains. Move across the park in a train that looks like an old-timey steam engine train. The train takes you into the lush Gotjawal forest where you will be able to see a variety of flora and fauna. Visiting the park in different seasons invokes very different feelings. Each station acts as a checkpoint with themed parks and activities ensuring that you always have something to do. Although kids would love this open-air park where they can indulge in activities and be in nature, adults will also find the mysterious charm of the lush forest to be charming and relaxing.

Arte Museum Jeju

From the outside, this museum looks unassuming, as if it was just another warehouse on the streets. On the inside, it is one of the most colourful and visually stimulating exhibitions you will come across. With 10 different sections that each have their own theme and unique exhibition, this multi-sensory experience highlights the natural beauty and culture of Jeju. Immersive art creators recreate the things they love about Jeju using visuals, sound and light to invoke specific emotions and show how they feel about their favourite places on the island.

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