7 Reasons Why Tourists Are Enticed in Island of Gods – Jeju Island

Vacation Ideas

Jeju Island, South Korea: The Island of the Gods

By Jace Sinclair

Dubbed the island of the Gods, Jeju Island (locally called Jejudo) a most beautiful island, as a result, pulls in vacationers, nomads, and honeymooners. It is a premier vacation destination not only for Koreans hence for international tourists too. In many ways, Jeju is groomed to be a tourism hub, consequently, it offers something for everyone, families, honeymooners, and outdoor enthusiasts. It is not only a land of rugged beauty but also a place rich in myths and folklore.

7 Reasons Why Tourists Are Enticed in Island of Gods - Jeju Island

There are two major cities on Jeju that lie on the central northern and southern region of the island respectively. These are the capital of Jeju City and Seogwipo.  Most visitors land at the airport in Jeju City. As a result, there are a plethora of accommodation options, bars, shops, restaurants, and other commercial establishments. But it is interesting to note that the most prominent attractions on the island are outside Jeju City.  From here you have options to either book tours to the attractions or rent transportation and drive yourself.  Seogwipo is an excellent alternative base for people exploring the island. This is the home of many attractions including the Jungmun Tourist Resort Complex and the Jeju World Cup Stadium.

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Here are the Top 7 Reasons the Island of Gods – Jeju Island, is Enticing

1

The Highest Mountain in South Korea – Hallasan

Hallasan Mountain - 7 Reasons Why Tourists Are Enticed in Island of Gods - Jeju Island
© Republic of Korea – Flickr

A must-conquer hiking landmark is the Hallasan, the highest mountain in South Korea. Hallasan is a  shield, dormant volcano that stands 1,950 meters above sea level. Hallasan is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve containing a crater lake, alpine plants, woodpeckers, chipmunks, butterflies, and beetles.

The island also boasts a system of hiking routes called Olle-gil, which leads you to many very scenic places. The most popular sites that you to consider visiting on Jeju include the Cheonjaeyeon Waterfall, the Seongsan Ilchubong and Manjangul Lava-tube in the northern coast.

2

Grandfather Stones

Besides the commercial tourism success of Jeju Island, its local traditional culture has been maintained and is quite fascinating. For example, it is traditionally matriarchal which is quite opposite to the mainland.
The local women here have played a significant role, including the gathering of other food as a way of living.  Women divers are haenyo’s, and you can usually see them on the coastline. Everywhere on the island, you will notice the iconic grandfather statues made of volcanic rock called Hareubang.
Dol hareubangs are carved from porous basalt (volcanic rock) and can be up to three meters high. The statues’ faces feature grinning expressions, bulging eyes without pupils, a long, broad nose, and a razor-thin smile, and their hands rest on their bellies, one slightly above the other. In sets of two, one has a higher left hand, and the other a higher right hand. They are massive phallic statues that might be mistaken for distant cousins of Easter Island’s moai.
Dol hareubangs is the symbol of Jeju Island, and replicas of various sizes are for sale as tourist souvenirs. Town people give women with fertility problems a small replica of these statues as souvenirs. They claim that the statues are sources of fertility.
The stones remain a symbol of a distinct ancient culture furnished with many gods and legends.

© Vespoidea Production 

3

Samseonghyeol Holes

Samseonghyeol Holes - 7 Reasons Why Tourists Are Enticed in Island of Gods - Jeju Island
© Ryuch – Wikimedia Commons

The Samseonghyeol or “three clans hole” are three large holes in the ground in Jeju Island. The holes are in the city’s urban area on the central north coast.

If you want to explore Jeju’s more remote areas, you will get to know a different side of the island, with its rich vegetation, green fields and abundant rows of trees. If theme parks are not your cup of tea, then, rent a bicycle and explore the countryside. They are numerous bicycle circuits on the island, just outside Jeju City. Some of them take days to complete but are worth every minute you spend exploring and experiencing the island.

One such popular myth took place in Samseonghyeol Holes, now a famous tourist spot in the area. Three gods were the first inhabitants who emerged from the holes and established the Kingdom of Tanma, now known as Jeju Island.

The Samseonghyeol Holes, considered hallowed grounds on the island are now a venue for a memorial service celebrating the founding of Jeju.

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4

Cheonjiyeon Waterfall

Inspired by local folklore, Cheonjiyeon Waterfall is another famous destination on Jeju Island. In the folklore, heavenly beings visit the pristine waters of Cheonjiyeon to enjoy its beauty and bask in its cool cascades.. See for yourself the splendor of this waterfall and find a haven in its sparkling blue pool surrounded by rich green foliage.

Cheonjiyeon Waterfall - Jeju Island - 7 Reasons Why Tourists Are Enticed in Island of Gods - Jeju Island

5

Sangbanggulsa Temple

Sangbanggulsa Temple is also a famous folklore setting. It is located halfway up the slopes of Sanbang Mountain. A revered monk in the time of the Goryeo Kingdom between the 1st and 2nd century made the big natural cave into a temple.

Inside, there’s a seated Buddha. According to local belief, when water drips from the ceiling of the cave it means that the Sanbangdok, the patroness of Sanbangsan, is crying. Follow the footsteps of the pilgrims up to this natural grotto and find yourself beautifully situated to witness a stunning panorama of Jeju Island.

6

Sangumburi Crater

Sangumburi Crater - Jeju Island
© Seongbin Im – Flickr

The Sangumburi crater is another destination everyone shouldn’t miss. It is one of the three major craters in the island and the botanists who have come to witness this natural exhibition of flourishing vegetation considered it as a floral treasure house.

Its 298,000 square meter area holds over 420 different species of plants. Visit the area during seasons of summer or fall for a beautiful vista of blooming flowers against verdant green undergrowth.

There are other attractions in Jeju Island whose spectacular display of beauty is worthy of their own legends and folklore. Seongsan Ilchul Park is located atop a towering volcano at the end of the Seongsan peninsula. It looks like a crowned peak from afar with it rocky mountain topography.

Wake up early and treat yourself to a fantastic view of the sunrise from the Seaonsan Ilchul Peak. Witness the spectacular display of ever-changing colors in the sky and you’ll not even think of going back to bed for a long time.

7

Jungmun Beach

Jungmun-Beach
© Giuseppe Milo – Flickr

Jungmun Beach, pale sand, blue sea, green creepers trailing over hummock. It is located on the southern coast of Jeju island and is by far the most popular surfing destination on the island. The beach stretches for approx. 500 meters under a sheer volcanic cliff that provides some wind protection from all directions except southerlies. The wave here is at the center of the beach. The inside section can get more hollow over the sandbar on lower tides.

Jeju Island
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Other top beaches for swimming and surfing are Emerald Bay, Gwakji, Hamdoek, and Shinyang.

For an insightful glimpse of the life and tradition of the people who brought life to these legends and folklore, a visit to the Jeju Folk Village is a must. This living museum to the everyday life of the inhabitants of Jeju Island offers visitors a wide array of attractions from traditional performances of songs and dance to the impressive display of local craftsmanship and artistic skills. It is a perfect introduction or conclusion to your exploration of Jeju Island.

The transcendental beauty of Jeju Island–the island of the Gods, will surely entice everyone.

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