Jeju Island: Korea’s Top Tourist Destination
Korea's top honeymoon destination
Jeju Island is Korea’s most famous local honeymoon destination and can be considered as Korea’s equivalent of Hawaii. It takes only one hour by flight from Seoul to Jeju Island. It is also frequently visited by foreign tourists particularly those from Japan and China. Besides that, Jeju is also frequently used as a filming site for Korean dramas such as All In and Dae Jang Geum. The hit movie Shiri was also filmed here.
Jeju is famous for 3 things: Lots of volcanic rocks, lots of wind and lots of women. On this island, there are many women divers known as haenyeo. They age between 40 and 70 years old, and dive into the ocean to search for abalone, shellfish and seaweed to sell. The amazing thing is that they dive into the ocean without any oxygen tanks. Unbelievable but true!
Jeju Island's Dragon Head Rock
Jeju Island: Dragon Head Rock and Mysterious Road
My first stop after landing at Jeju’s International Airport was at the Yongduam (Dragon head) Rock. It is so named as the natural lava formation resembles a dragon head jutting out of the sea. After that we proceeded to one of Jeju’s Mysterious Road. The mystery here is that vehicles can move up although their engines are turned off. The truth is that everything is an illusion. Although it looks like we are going uphill, in actual fact, we are actually going downhill. The combination of the road’s surroundings creates this optical illusion.
At the top of Seongsan Sunrise Peak
Seongsan Sunrise Peak is a Must Visit at Jeju Island
Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak) is located at the east end of Jeju Island. It is a top attraction and a must visit for visitors to Jeju. It has also been designated as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage since 2007. It is an extinct volcanic crater which juts out to the sea. To see the crater, visitors need to walk up for about 30 minutes. When I was there, it was raining and very windy. An umbrella didn’t work as it would be blown away…The wind was that strong even in mid June. Although I ended up slightly drenched, the walk up was definitely worth it. On the way up, an interesting sight is the Gombawi which is a pair of bear looking rocks which face one another. It resembles lovers who are whispering sweet words to each other.
Cheonjiyeon Falls in Jeju
Cheonjiyeon Waterfall and Kimnyoung Maze Park
Cheonjiyeon Waterfall is located at Seogwipo. it is named Cheonjiyeon as the pond is between “heaven and earth”. The waterfall is unique because the water falls into the ocean after passing by a small pond. Before you reach the waterfall, you will see other sights such as the Jeju women statue and a bridge.
Kimnyoung Maze Park was another attraction which I visited. The hedges in the maze are created from Leyland Cypress trees and makes for a fun place for the entire family. My mum and I were able to ring the bell at the end of the maze and find our way out safely! Similar to many other sites in Jeju, Kimnyoung Maze was also a filming site for a handphone commercial starring actress Lee Young Ae of Dae Jang Geum fame.
The Folk Village Museum at Jeju
Traditional Folk Village Museum: Dae Jang Geum filming site
Due to the popularity of Korean drama Dae Jang Geum, many visitors also flock to the Traditional Folk Village Museum where part of the drama was filmed. Here, I learned that the gate of a traditional house consists of three removable bars. The number of bars placed represents the house owners’ time of return. If you see one bar, the owners are returning very soon while two bars means that you should come back later in the evening. Three bars then represent that the owners would only be back after a few days.
Guide performing Dae Jang Geum theme song at Jeju's Folk Village Museum
A round of Shopping before Leaving Jeju Island
As you venture around the island, you will also notice the various Harubang statues around. Harubang is the island’s “God of Protection” and is unique to the island. Thus, various shops sell miniature versions of the Harubang as souvenirs. Besides that, the island is also famous for its tangerines. Besides the actual fruit, there are orange-flavoured chocolates on sale too. So, to remind yourself of your wonderful trip to Jeju, you can choose to buy some souvenirs for yourself or your friends.
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