Korea’s vacation and honeymoon island has more than a touch of Hawaii, but with a distinctly Asian charm and quirkiness.
Where in the world are we off to?
We’re heading east to Jeju Island.
Think of it as a tear-shaped tropical paradise, dropped off the end of South Korea and sitting off the peninsula’s coast between Korea, Japan and China. An intriguing volcanic island, Jeju boasts several UNESCO-rated geological sites and was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
I’ve heard it described as the ‘Hawaii of Asia’. Is this true?
It certainly is. Take one look and you’ll see how emerald green Jeju is with swaying palm trees, cactus plants and orange orchards together with thundering waterfalls, sandy beaches and lush, rolling fields. Every year it attracts millions of Koreans, flocking here for the island’s warm weather and dramatic volcanic scenery – plus its laid-back holiday vibe, which isn’t always easy to find in the Far East.
Why else might I have heard of it?
Jeju is sometimes referred to as ‘Samdado Island’, meaning ‘three of many’.
Apparently, the three things Jeju has in abundance are rocks, wind and women. Rocks from the island’s past volcanic activity, wind from the year-round ocean breeze and women due to a time when fishing was Jeju’s main source of income and many men were lost at sea.
What are we doing when we get there?
As little as possible.
Jeju is all about enjoying the good life with fishing, walking, hanging out on the beach, surfing and horse riding, all popular past-times. Quirky is also on the cards with a smorgasbord of odd museums and theme parks dedicated to esoteric subjects like teddy bears, female divers and butterflies. But you can’t miss the island’s curious volcanic creations and lava caves such as Jusangjeolli cliff, bizarre natural formed hexagonal columns, and Manjanggul Cave, an epic lava tube formed in the path of a molten river.
What’s the local wildlife like?
Jeju is home to a cornucopia of strange creatures, from sea urchins and the narrow mouth frog to the black-headed snake, the jeju weasel and a flock of migratory bird species, from coots, egrets and ducks to cormorants, herons and spoonbills. Understandably, Jeju is considered a fantastic place for bird watching.
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