Jeju’s Hot Spots

Harubang

Jeju’s infamous Harubang guarding the waters at Hamdeok Beach

Jeju is Korea’s top vacation spot & honeymoon island (with matching newly wed couples EVERYWHERE!). Dubbed the ‘Hawaii of Korea’, Jeju is scattered with volcanoes and boasts the best beaches in the country… although Hawaii comparisons may be a bit of an exaggeration!?! Nonetheless, it’s a must-see destination for anyone living in or passing through Korea . Here are our top 5 hot spots on this beautiful volcanic islet…

 Jeju’s Top 5 Hot Spots:…

1. Hallasan

The tallest mountain in Korea & a challenging hike to the top. Roundtrip it took 7 hours but the reward at the top was worthy of aching legs with breathtaking views surrounding the summit. Jeju’s crown offers a panoramic view of the island, right down to the ocean shores on a clear day & the summit itself holds the crystalline waters of a volcanic lake in its crater. The hike is pretty rough, especially on a hot day, as you encounter countless wooden steps on a 4 hour climb to the top,… but the view is definitely worth it.

Hallasan Crater Lake

Hallasan’s beautiful Baengnokdam crater lake

2. Seonsang Illchubong

Also known as ‘Sunrise Peak’, Seonsang Illchubong is another volcanic crater, but a different experience to that of Hallasan. The scenes at Illchubong could easily be straight out of the TV show ‘LOST’. Much easier than Hallasan, a 20 minute walk gets you to the top, up more dreaded wooden steps tough I’m afraid… But it beholds fantastic views of Jeju’s Eastern shoreline, the sea brushing the rocky coast below. Lush green grass sprouts out of a huge volcanic mass with rough, jagged edges hugging the coast line.  It comfortably makes the list as one of Jeju’s most impressive and treasured sites.

Seonsang Illchubong

Luscious green & jagged rocks at Illchubong

3. Haenyeo: Female Divers

These women are incredible & hard as nails! Haenyeo dive all day long searching for anything on the sea floor that they can sell to support their families. They’re described as the heart and soul of the island. It’s a dangerous profession because they only dive with a mask, flippers, and the air in their lungs. Getting the opportunity to see them in action is becoming harder and harder. The number of haenyeo are dwindling as younger generations opt for tourism over the waters to make their living. The Haenyeo museum gives an interesting insight into the struggling lives of these remarkable women. We were lucky enough to watch a few of these extraordinary women in action while we ate lunch at a small harbour restaurant overlooking the sea. The road from the museum to Illchubong was littered with these illustrious blasts from the past.

Haenyeo

Haenyeo heading out to sea

4. Manjanggul Lava Tubes

Jeju is home to the world’s largest lava tube. Like the rest of Jeju, the tubes were formed well-over 200,000 years ago from multiple volcanic eruptions. Huge amounts of lava spewed out, running down mountain sides & melting away the ground beneath. On Jeju, the top cooled faster than the middle, forming a hollow tube of lava. It was pretty impressive to walk through, picturing the process & picking out the layered lava lines inside. The Manjanggul lava tubes host the world’s largest & it’s certainly worth a trip to take the 30 minute walk through the dark, wet, eerie tubes.

Manjanggul Lava Tube

Through the dark cavern at Manjanggul Lava Tubes

5. Jeongbang Waterfall

A beautiful waterfall and one of Jeju’s top attractions. Jeongbang’s claim to fame is that the clear water of the falls drops directly into the ocean. It’s definitely worth the short 10 minute stroll from Seogwipo harbour to see the water cascading over the cliff’s edge. It a picturesque scene amidst the quiet fishing harbour. The coastal cliffs come to an abrupt end & the ocean continues out to the horizon, with Jeongbang sweeping the seam.

Jeongbang Waterfall

Jeongbang cascading over the coastal cliff

*Worthy Mentions*

To the west of Seogwipo is another great coastal spot at Mount Sanbang. At the foot of the mountain is a delightfully divine temple, perched above the Yongmeori coast. A 10 minute walk towards the coast leads you past the Hamel Monument to the remarkable rock formations along the Yongmeori coastline.

Sanbanggulsa

A grand sea view from Sanbanggulsa

Yongmeori Coastline

The exquisitely eroded Yongmeori Coastline

Last but not least… BEACHES!!! As well as the unique experiences above, Jeju also boasts the best beaches in Korea. In particular, Jungmun in the south & Hamdeok in the north offer some stunning scenery. If you’re looking to soak up some sun & relax after sightseeing certainly won’t disappoint. Both beaches have golden sands & crystal blue waters for an idealistic respite.

Hamdeok beach

Crossing the lava rocks at Hamdeok beach

I love Jeju

We LOVED Jeju!

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No Responses to “Jeju’s Hot Spots”
  1. Jim Saunders says:

    I have to say I think you summed up some of the best places on the island really well. I was scrolling down and checking them off in my head. “Yes, got it. Yes, got that one. Oh, where’s Sanbangsan? Ah! Got it!”

    I’d definitely add Udo Island to that list. It’s a 15 minute ferry ride off the side of Seongsan. There’s a lovely strip of white coral beach which leads into a strip of brilliant blue ocean. The views back onto mainland-Jeju are stunning too. Especially if it’s a clear day. The oreums sit there shimmering in the sun. It’s also invigorating to hire cycles for a couple of hours and get lost in the interior. The beach on the other side of the island (there’s a henyeo statue on it) it worthy of your time. If you prefer walking I believe they’ve just opened up an olle course too.

    Anyway, I think this blog post is much better than most of the Jeju blog posts I’m seeing right now. There are many ESL teachers coming over from the mainland. Many seem to complain about being ‘underwhelmed’ by the island. But then you look at what they did and realize they missed most of the best stuff. Including your number one suggestion: HALLASAN.

    • Nicky says:

      You live on Jeju… do you know how lucky you are?! We really did have a great time, but sadly we only had 5 days to spend relaxing on the island taking in the sites. I’ve heard fantastic things about Udo Island, it was on our to do list, but with so much to see it was hard trying to fit in. Plus, we went during monsoon season when too many mornings we woke up to fog so thick we couldn’t see a thing (one morning we were parked in front of Illchubong & didn’t even know it was there!) Thanks for the feedback, by the way your site dedicated to Jeju is fantasitc!

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