Dubbed the ’Korean Hawaii’, Jeju Island has long been the destination of choice for lovestruck South Korean honeymooners. It’s only in recent times that we Westerners are starting to cop on to the immense beauty, magnificent nature and endless fun to be found on the island. With dormant volcanoes, quirky museums and luxury resorts all within arm’s reach, you won’t be short on amazing adventures to add to your BUCKiTDREAM planner in this jewel of the Yellow Sea. It’s time to head east, BUCKiTDREAMER, for some stunning South Korean scenery!
Beat the Early Bird At Seongsan Ilchul-bong Peak Whilst this may not be all that alluring for the non-morning loving BUCKiTDREAMERS out there, catching the sunrise on the peak of dormant volcano Seongsan Ilchul-bong is a must-do on the island.
Rising from a series of volcanic eruptions, Seongsan Ilchul-bong is reminiscent of an ancient fortress built to ward off foes from the beautiful surroundings of Jeju. In order to get the most out of the sunset, we recommend getting up two hours before dawn and hopping on a bus from Jeju-Si Bus Terminal.
The bus will drop you straight into the base of the peak giving you plenty of time to make the 25-minute ascent. Once you’ve reached the top, pop a squat on the crater ridge and sit back and enjoy the awe-inspiring majesty of Mother Nature.
Go Troll Hunting in Manjanggul Cave Descending into Manjanggul cave is like entering into a whole new subterranean world. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the cave is actually the longest lava tube in the world at over 13km long.
Although only a kilometer of it is open to the public, that’s more than enough for you to get a feeling for the otherworldly attraction. Not only will you see some alien-like lava structures here but if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of some of the ultra-rare creatures that call Manjanggul home.
Both Jeju and Seogwipo Bus Terminals have direct bus links to Manjanggul bus station; however, make sure you get a taxi from the bus station to the cave entrance as it’s not as close as some signs would have you believe!
Reinvigorate Yourself At Cheonjeyeon Waterfall Whilst all of Jeju is a veritable paradise, this is none the more evident than at the spectacular Cheonjeyeon Waterfall. Locally known as ‘God’s Pond’, the legend states that many years ago seven fairies from the Kingdom of Heaven descended to Earth to bathe in its waters – talk about celestial validation!
The best time to visit the waterfall is in May when the annual Seven Fairies Festival takes place as this is when the falls are meant to have the best healing powers – so don’t forget your bathing suit.
Get Down and Dirty in Loveland Jeju Island plays host to a whole world of strange amusement parks, from Mini Mini Land to Pony and Alligator Town (think literally), the island has no shortage of absolutely bizarre places to explore.
However, the strangest of Jeju’s theme parks comes in the form of Loveland, a park based on one thing and one thing only – serious boning. Among its most popular attractions are massive stone labia, towering phalluses and a very hands-on exhibit on ‘the masturbation cycle’.
Whilst it may seem like just a magnet for the island’s sleazeballs, you can trust the Koreans to make even an exhibition about ‘sexual strangeness’ unthinkably cute. Loveland acts as a sexual oasis in the largely conservative region and whilst it may not teach you a whole lot you don’t already know, it will guarantee you an afternoon of laugh-out-loud fun like you’ve never had before.
Indulge in the Luxurious Side Of Life in Jungmun Although the Jungmun area of Jeju is where you’ll find the island’s most Instagram-worthy black, red and white sand beaches, this is not what the region is most famous for – that accolade would have to go to the resort’s mega glamorous hotel complexes. Here you’ll find luxury opulent enough to make even the palaces of Abu Dhabi look like Brazilian favelas. Think casinos, lush gardens, super-elite spas and you’re getting a good idea of what the essence of Jungmun is all about.
If you feel like really pushing the boat out and indulging in some of the decadence on offer here, book a room at any of the three main ultra-extravagant hotels in the resort; the Shilla, the Lotte or the Hyatt and take a glimpse at how the other half live. When you’re done lapping up the luxury of Jungmun, take a couple of hours to check out some of the bizarre museums in the area like the Teddy Bear Museum and the world famous Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum.
Reconnect With Nature On Mount Hallasan Acting as the beating heart at the center of Jeju Island, Mount Hallasan is a dormant basalt volcano and South Korea’s highest point. Whilst hiking all 1,950 meters of it might not be for the faint-hearted, the mountain also has many smaller trails that deliver the same ethereal Halla experience without the heart palpitations.
On the mountain, you can expect to see breathtaking flora and fauna, millennia-aged rock formations and hordes of ultra-fashionable hikers. If you can, try to ascend the peak just before sunset to catch the light blaze of reds and oranges descend over the Yellow Sea.
Jeju Island is a veritable feast when it comes to shareable content. From the man-sized phalluses of Loveland to the utopian wonders of Mount Hallasan, you won’t be short of Instagram snaps, Twitter anecdotes, and Facebook check-ins to make your fellow BUCKiTDREAMERs green with envy. To help them turn that envy into action, make sure to fill your BUCKiTDREAM planner to the brim with Jeju must-dos!