I remember the first time I visited Jeju was in the summer of 2002 when the 2002 Korea/Japan FIFA World Cup was in full swing. The breathtaking vistas and the charm of the island south of the Korean Peninsula, not to mention the warm hospitality of my homestay family, were permanently etched in my mind even till this day.
So when my friends suggested a short weekend trip to the volcanic island (Mt. Hallasan is a dormant volcano right smack in the middle of Jeju) before we bid farewell to the autumn of 2013, I knew I couldn’t say no.
We bought our domestic flight tickets, rented a car and, off we go. From coast to coast, there’s something to do for everyone. Fortunately because it was off-peak season, there were considerably less people (even though large Chinese tour groups were unavoidable), which means less traffic on the roads.
10 years on after my first visit to Jeju, the island remains unbelievably beautiful even if it was a tad more touristy now. Words cannot fully describe the beauty, so I’ll let my amateur photos do the talking instead.
Watch the sunrise from where else but the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (성산일출봉). It literally means Sunrise Peak. Climbing up takes anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes depending on your fitness level.
Visit the Jeju Stone Park (제주돌문화공원) to learn more about the history of stone culture which played a pivotal role to the past and present of Jeju. Pictured above is the Sky Pond.
This very new attraction Jeju Rail Bike (제주레일바이크) officially opened on 19 October, so it’s unlikely you’ll find much information online. The motorized bike takes about 20 minutes to complete the entire journey along which you can enjoy the scenery of the area. Each bike seats four.
Take a stroll along at Seopjikoji with a beautiful view of the northwest coastline of the island.
Mt. Hallasan is not for the faint of heart, so for the less adventurous (or body unwilling), take a short hike on Hallasan Eorimok (한라산 어리목). Expect a 30 – 40 minute climb.
One cannot visit Jeju and have enough of the sea. See the coastline from Seogwipo City 서귀포 and enjoy a lazy afternoon in the numerous cafes that dot that perimeter.
Listen to the sounds of a waterfall at Cheonjiyeon (천지연폭포), although it’s more likely you’ll witness a sea of people.
Visit the O’Sulloc tea garden (설록차 뮤지엄 오설록) and have some green tea ice cream.
Catch the sunset at Hyeopjae Beach (협재해수욕장) and have seafood dinner.
Hear the waves of the crushing ocean near Yongduam Rock (용두암) and watch planes taking off from Jeju airport in the distance.
Of course, there are more to see and do in Jeju, and this list probably covers only 5-percent of what Jeju offers. And each season presents a different face of the island.