Jeju Island is one of the Seven Wonders of Nature, but you never really hear about people coming here. Most would pick Thailand, Cambodia, or Vietnam during their Asian travels. But Far East Asia often seems to be neglected.
Without further delay, here are the six major sites to see in the eastern side of Jeju Island:
1) Saryeoni Forest Trail
A very pristine forest, this is a great place to go for a hike. The trees looks very similar to that in Canada and the air is crisp and fresh. Walking around this forest will put you at ease and relax your mood. The forest hike isn’t difficult as the area is flat and is suitable for any level of fitness.
2) Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak
Seongsan IIchulbong Peak, also known as sunrise peak, is one of the two heritage sites in Jeju Island. To reach the peak, you must hike about 40-60 minutes up stairs and various inclines. You do not have to be physically fit to do tackle this hike. As long as you take your time, you will make it to the top, and be rewarded with a beautiful view of the Jeju Island coastline.
3) Woman diver show
Apparently Jeju Island has the highest divorce rate in South Korea. They say it’s because the women are fiercely independent and don’t need a man? Because it is said that often times, the divorce is initiated by women.
Regardless, the woman diver show is a good demonstration of how tough these women really are! Even during mid Winter, they will dive underwater to catch shell fish and sea urchines. You definitely don’t want to be on their bad side!
The show itself wasn’t anything spectacular, because you’re really just watching the local women paddle around in water. However, their resilience is certainly impressive! Also, their pre-dive song and ritual is something that you must see, as it gives you a glimpse into the Jeju Island divers culture.
4) Hamdeok Beach
Named “the Hawaii of Korea”, its beauty lies in the clear blue water and white sands. However, I wasn’t able to enjoy it fully because I went during winter. The beach was freezing cold!
Don’t make the same mistake I did and go between April to September. You can enjoy a dip in the water and work on your tan.
5) Jeju Island Lava Tubes
The longest navigable lava tube in the world, the Jeju Island Lava Tubes is one of the main heritage sites on the island.
Hiking through the cave is an adventurous experience and a little bit creepy knowing that at one point, this whole cave was covered in molten lava.
Only about 1 KM is open to public; though the tunnel reaches a distance of 13.4 km. At the end of the tunnel, you will see one of the biggest lava flow that is preserved in its natural state.
6) Self Administered Feet Massage
After all that hiking, you feet will probably be tired. Jeju Island has a quirky facility where you can dip your feet in a sink, and do a “self-administered massage”. First, put a drop of ointment into a hot water filled sink then dip your feet inside.
Afterwards, you will take a special salt scrub to rub and massage your feet with. The salt provides an exfoliating effect, making your feet nice and smooth after your massage.
This is a weird activity that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Because I was short on time, I joined a tour group through my hostel to visit all these places and paid 75,000 WON. However, if you have time, you can visit all these places yourself!
Don’t miss Jeju Island the next time you are in Asia. There are other places to see and do in this island such as hiking Mount Hala or taking a ferry to smaller islands nearby. If you need to have some peace and relaxation, then Jeju Island is definitely the next destination for you.
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