Saturday, December 14, 2013


I was in Jeju for a meeting in early November and I only had one day to spare for sightseeing. So I quickly did some research and I have narrowed down to 4 places that I had to at least visit while I'm there. Just to put things into perspective, Jeju Island can be divided into 4 areas. the city area which is located at the North (Jeju City) and South (Seogwipo CIty) and also the attractions area which is on the east course or the west course.

The hotel that we stayed is the KAL Hotel Seogwipo which is located in the South. Please take note that there is also one KAL Hotel in Jeju City. From what I heard, KAL Hotel Seogwipo is the first tallest and most modern hotel during its time in the 80s if im not mistaken. However, today, you can see that the design is bit dated and in need of some updating. Location wise, its not advisable to stay here unless if you have your own transport as there is nothing whatsoever in the vicinity of the hotel. and also generally, if you prefer a more lively environment, it is advisable to stay in Jeju City itself. It's better in terms of shopping, food and also proximity to the airport.

During my stay in Jeju, a few of the Koreans I met told me that Jeju is the island of 3 many which means that there 3 things in Jeju that is in abundance - rocks, women, and wind. This is because the Wind from the ocean blows steadily throughout the year and beautiful and unusually-shaped black rocks are all over the island due to its past volcanic activities. The island’s reputation of having an abundance of women dates back to the time when fishing was the primary means of income and many men were lost at sea leaving their widows behind. and also ive heard stories of how strong jeju women are in the past as they have to take care of themselves when their husbands goes to the sea.

Coming back to what i was talking (writing) about before, IMHO, its more convenient for you to rent a car or hire a driver to get around jeju as it is a big island and the attractions are not that close to each other. especially if you have limited time, taking the public transportation i.e. bus, is not an option. I was lucky at that time as I've managed to get Mr Moon as our driver for the day. I got his contact from trip advisor and he has a good reputation. Mr Moon is a nice guy eventhough his english is quite limited he tried his best to communicate with us whenever we asked him about anything. he is also very knowledgable about jeju and very 'proactive' in taking your pictures ;-) he's contact can be referred to here.

For my very short trip this time, I have picked out four places to go, which i think that I must not leave Jeju before setting foot at these places. But please bear in mind that this can be quite exhausting and not suitable if you are travelling with kids. Also, take note when you are in Jeju, do pack along your walking gear which includes comfy clothes and shoes and also disposable rain ponchos can be useful for certain seasons as most of Jeju's places of interests are nature attractions which involves a lot of walking and hiking. All of the places that I picked is located in the East Coast. We started the journey from Jeongbang Waterfall which is located very near to our hotel. It can be reached within foot from KAL Hotel via olle route 6, if im not mistaken.

Jeongbang WaterfallJeongbang Waterfall is a waterfall that falls directly into the sea. Size wise it is small but it'a rare thing that you won't easily be able to see elsewhere. When we were there, there was not so many people and there was even a rainbow at that time. Please take note that there is a flight of stairs to climb on your way back - difficulty - moderate.


Sangumburi Crater

After that, we went to the Sangumburi Crater which is about 45 mins drive from Jeongbang Waterfall. It is an extinct volcanic crater now filled with lush vegetation. Formed during Jeju’s fiery volcanic past, the crater withstood its violent eruption and is still perfectly shaped, making it unique. 

It takes 15 minutes light walk from the entrace to the crater -  Do wear comfortable shoes. At the top there is an area which they put a few swings and I totally fell in love with that. The ambiance is really romantic with the wind blowing in your face, acres of silver grass swaying as the wind blows and piped in music (i was really impressed with this - they thought about everything , even to the finest details). That said, it's really nice to be there with your loved ones.
Sangumburi Crater entrance

this is the swing that i was raving about.. ;-)

The crater - cant really see it from here

Seongsan Ilchubong

Seongsan Ilchubong is a peak rose from under the sea in a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago which is a UNESCO World Heritage. It is said to be the best spot to view the sunrise. However one must be up very early in order to climb the peak in time for the sunrise. Our mistake is that we had lunch just before the visit to the peak and we only managed to climb half way to the peak. Hmm, maybe not even half way, i think its more like a third of the peak. (by the way, Mr Moon took us to a seafood restaurant which is so so delish. we really enjoyed our lunch there...) To me, the level of difficulty of climbing the peak (for a person as unfit as I am) is DIFFICULT because of its height.  Im not really sure if its suitable for kids eventhough the path is lined with stairs, but i saw lots of kids climbing the peak on that day.

There is also a hanyeo (women divers) show at in the area which you can watch after the climb. You can also take a boat ride around the place but im not sure how much it will cost you.

The famous sunrise peak

Women Diver Show
Our lunch - best haemul paejeon evah!!
haemultang.. so delish....
grilled saba..

Manjanggul Cave

The Manjanggul Lava Cave is also a UNESCO World Heritage and it is is one of the finest lava tunnels in the world. A lava tunnel is formed when the lava that was deep in the ground spouts from the peak and flows to the surface and only 1km of the 13,422m Manjanggul Cave is open to the tourists. If you haven't been to any lava cave before, you SHOULD visit the Manjanggul Cave. I was really in awe with the sights in the cave. It makes you feel small and that mother earth is larger than life and it's beyond your control.

Manjanggul Cave entrance

you can see the trace of the lava flows on the cave wall. awesome stuff!

So that's basically sums up my take on the mut visit places if you only have 1 day in Jeju. Of course there are A LOT of other attractions in Jeju. Especially if its in summer you have to add a beach in your must visit places as the beaches in Jeju are stunning.