If you’re looking for a change of scenery for your next trip to South Korea, don’t miss Jeju Island. Located in South Korea, this volcanic island offers breathtaking scenery, a unique culture and activities to suit all tastes. Whether you’re a lover of nature, culture or idleness, you’ll find what you’re looking for on this island. Here are a few ideas to inspire you and help you plan your stay on this magical island.
1- Seongsan Ilchulbong, Jeju’s iconic volcanic cone
One of the most impressive sites on Jeju Island is undoubtedly Seongsan Ilchulbong, a volcanic cone rising 182 meters above the sea. This UNESCO World Heritage site was formed by an underwater eruption some 5,000 years ago. It offers panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding area. The best time to visit is at sunrise, when the sun’s rays illuminate its majestic silhouette. You can also climb to the top of the cone along an easy 30-minute trail. You’ll discover a verdant crater and a breathtaking view of the island.
2- Hallasan National Park, South Korea’s highest peak
If you love hiking, you can’t miss Hallasan National Park, home to South Korea’s highest peak: Mount Hallasan. This dormant volcano rises to an altitude of 1,950 meters and dominates Jeju Island. Surrounded by a lush natural environment, it is home to exceptional biodiversity. You can explore the park by following one of five trails leading to the summit or to remarkable viewpoints. The most popular trail is Seongpanak, which takes around 4 hours to reach the summit. You’ll see a crater lake and a 360-degree panorama of the island.
3- The haenyeo culture, Jeju’s female divers
One of the special features of Jeju Island is the culture of the haenyeo, the women divers who harvest seafood in the cold, deep waters around the island. This ancestral tradition, listed as an Intangible World Heritage Site by UNESCO, bears witness to the courage and resilience of these women, who ensure the livelihood of their families. You can admire their work by watching them dive without equipment, or by visiting the haenyeo museum dedicated to them. You can also sample the fresh produce they sell in markets and restaurants.
4- Beach and relaxation in Jeju
If you want to relax and soak up the sun, Jeju Island has plenty of beaches for swimming and sunbathing. Among the island’s most beautiful beaches are Hyeopjae, with its white sand and turquoise water, Hamdeok, popular with families and young people, and Jungmun, ideal for surfers and water sports enthusiasts. You can also take advantage of the island’s tourist facilities, including hotels, spas and amusement parks.
5- Jeju’s waterfalls
L’île de Jeju est également réputée pour ses cascades, qui ajoutent du charme et de la fraîcheur à ses paysages. Vous pouvez admirer ces merveilles naturelles en vous rendant dans différents endroits de l’île. La plus célèbre est la cascade de Jeongbang, qui est la seule en Asie à se jeter directement dans la mer. Vous pouvez également visiter la cascade de Cheonjiyeon, qui signifie “le lac du ciel” en coréen, ou encore la cascade de Cheonjeyeon, qui est composée de trois chutes d’eau successives.
6- Tea plantations
If you’re a tea lover, you’ll be delighted to discover the tea plantations on Jeju Island. These plantations are located around the Hallasan volcano and benefit from a climate that is ideal for growing green tea. You can stroll through the lush green fields and learn about the history and process of tea making. You can also enjoy a cup of tea in one of the nearby lounges or cafés. The island’s most famous tea is O’sulloc, grown since 1979.
7- Manjanggul cave
If you love underground adventures, you can’t miss Manjanggul Cave, one of the longest lava caves in the world. This cave, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was formed by a volcanic eruption some 200,000 years ago. It is 13 kilometers long, but only a 1 kilometer section is open to the public. Here you can admire spectacular geological formations such as stalactites, stalagmites and lava columns. You can also see the world’s largest lava tube, measuring 7 meters high and 23 meters in circumference.
8- Going to Udo Island
If you fancy a change of scene and want to discover a different side of Jeju Island, you can take a ferry to Udo Island, a small island to the east of Jeju. This island, whose name means “reclining cow” in Korean, is shaped like a cow lying on its side. You’ll love its picturesque landscapes, white and black sand beaches, rocky cliffs and fields of flowers. You can tour the island by bike, scooter or bus, and enjoy activities such as fishing, kayaking or snorkeling.
9- Visit one or more Buddhist temples
Jeju Island is also home to several Buddhist temples that are well worth a visit. These temples are places of worship and meditation, but also witnesses to the island’s history and culture. You can visit the Yakcheonsa temple, Jeju’s largest Buddhist temple. It features imposing architecture and an interior adorned with thousands of statues and lanterns. You can also visit Sanbangsa Temple, built in a cave at the foot of Mount Sanbangsan. This temple offers a magnificent view of the sea and houses a statue of the Seated Buddha.
10- Jeju Olle, the long hike around the island
If you’re a keen hiker and have time on your hands, you can take up the challenge of the Jeju Olle, a long hike that circles the entire island. The Jeju Olle is made up of 26 trails linking the island’s various villages and natural sites. Each trail measures between 10 and 20 kilometers and can be completed in a day. You can discover the island’s varied and authentic landscapes, including agricultural fields, forests, volcanoes and beaches.
11- Seongeupl folk village
The folk village of Seongeup is a unique place where you can admire the traditional architecture of volcanic stone houses, known as jeongnangchae. You can also visit the village’s historic sites, such as the Seongeupseong fort, the Yi Eok-gi Confucian house and the Samseonghyeol shrine. The village is easily accessible from Jeju city, around 40 minutes away by car. You can also take bus number 710 or 720. The village is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and admission is free.