Over 10 million tourists visit Jeju-do every year. Last year, the number of travelers to this representative Korean tourist destination reached 13,664,395 people. The island appeals to sightseers with its mysterious places and ecologically clean areas, with numerous places to experience different activities, to enjoy delicious food, and to observe nature in all its beauty. It is also a popular destination for foreign tourists. Last year, over 2.6 million foreigners—about 20 percent of the total number of travelers to Jeju-do—visited the island. In this issue, Korea AgraFood would like to introduce you to the experiences you should not pass up on your trip to Jeju Island.
#Meet the Wild
Created by fire and water, Jeju-do is a world-famous volcanic island boasting breath-taking natural views. It was selected as one of the world’s “New 7 Wonders of Nature.” Among the most marvelous sites of the island are Mt. Halla, Oreum (volcanic cones), Cheonjiyeon Waterfall, Seongsan Ilchulbong Tuff Cone, and Seopjikoji Beach.
Mt. Halla, rising 1,950 meters above sea level, is the southernmost and tallest mountain in South Korea. The natural landscape changes its colors by the season, revealing astonishing views all year round. Over 360 volcanic cones (called Oreum) are scattered in the vicinity of the mountain, creating a unique scene.
The Cheonjiyeon Falls, whose name stands for “the pond created by the sky meeting the earth,” are 22 meters high and 12 meters wide. They make a spectacular sight at the bottom of the falls where the water hits the rocks with a magnificent sound. If you look at the falls from Chilshimni Park in Seogwipo, you will feel as if you have stepped into a fairyland with odd rocks and bizarre stones soaring into the sky.
Three volcanic eruptions gave birth to the Seongsan Ilchulbong Tuff Cone. The summit view at sunrise fills one with awe with its scenic beauty. A stroll along the Seopjikoji Beach, feeling the cool sea breeze on the cheeks, offers a splendid coastal view especially in the spring, with yellow canola flowers in full bloom and Seongsan Ilchulbong in the background. Often featured in movies and TV dramas, this beach represents the distinctive beauty of Jeju Island. Here is a tip from Korea AgraFood: watch the sunrise from Chotdae-bawi (Chotdae Rock) at the bottom of Seopjikoji cliffs, and it will make an unforgettable memory.
Among the smaller islands around Jeju-do, Biyang-do is renowned for its dazzling sunset view tinged with fiery red; Gapa-do is associated with the waves of green barley in the wind. Mara-do and U-do, the southernmost islands of Korea, both have their own merits.
# Experience Nature
Jeju Island offers a variety of activities to experience. The most popular are those that let one partake of the pure natural environment to the fullest, such as hiking Mt. Halla and Oreum, trekking the Olle trails and forest paths, and engaging in marine leisure activities.
Hiking Mt. Halla and 368 Oreum cones will let you know why people climb mountains: Mt. Halla shows a new face each season—spring flowers, autumn foliage, snow landscape, and so on; and every Oreum appears different, too. Trekking the Olle trails and forest paths is another must-do activity on Jeju Island. The Olle trails are designed so that you can enjoy the best views of Jeju-do: the emerald sea, bulging Oreums, peaceful villages, and traditional stone walls. Walking in the forest will purify the exhausted mind and body. If you dislike walking, you can experience Jeju-do by riding a car, bicycle, or scooter along the coastal road. Marine leisure activities include boarding a submarine, sightseeing on a cruise ship, riding a yacht, and fishing on a boat—each of which offers an alternate form of excitement.
Furthermore, tourists can enjoy harvesting Jeju-do’s famous tangerines and bracken. Jeju-do’s bracken, recognized for its strong scent and flavor, covers the fields in April to May. Harvesting it gives the pleasure of finding, picking and chewing, thus pleasing the eyes, hands, and mouths. Those who travel with their families have a lot of fun picking sweet tangerines together.
# No Matter What, Eating Comes First
Since Jeju-do is an island, it attracts many visitors with a wide array of seafood. Some representative dishes include mulhoe (cold raw fish soup), seongge-guk (sea urchin soup), okdom-gui (grilled sea bream), and gogi-guksu (noodles with meat). Mulhoe (cold raw fish soup) is spicy and zesty; it is made by cutting raw damselfish, cuttlefish, squid, flatfish, and abalone and then adding seasoning and water.
Cooked with fresh seaweed and sea urchin, seongge-guk is a traditional soup used for postnatal care and served during feasts and funeral ceremonies. Sea urchin is considered highly nutritious due to its plentiful protein, vitamin, and iron content. Another delicacy of Jeju-do, galchi-guk (hairtail soup), is made by adding pumpkin, winter-grown cabbage, and green chili pepper to the freshly-chopped hairtail. Gogi-guksu (noodles with meat) features a meat broth, which has a rich yet refreshing taste, and large pieces of pork.
Okdom-gui (grilled sea bream) and galchi-gui (grilled hairtail) are must-eat dishes for those who enjoy a mild and clean taste. Other famous Jeju-do foods include tangerines, horsemeat, and black pork.
#Additional Information/ Shopping Tips
Let us introduce you to the top three duty-free shops in Jeju-do. Located in Lotte City Hotel, Lotte Duty Free Jeju occupies three floors of the total 6816㎡ floor space. It sells goods of over 270 brands including foreign luxury brands, domestic brands, and Jeju specialties. The store has an LVIP lounge and the interior of all of the shops is designed using the Jeju motif of stone, wind, and water. After its renovation in February 2016, the store became a popular tourist destination in its own right.
Silla Duty Free Jeju, which first opened in 1989, underwent a renewal in June 2015. One of its advantages is the location; it is within 10 minutes of Jeju International Airport, so travelers can swing by to shop for luxury goods and collection watches before their departing flight.
A duty-free shop operated by Jeju Tourism Organization will open on the sixth floor of Lotte Hotel Jeju in early May. It will feature about 100 cosmetic and fashion stores. Luxury brands such as Chanel are expected to join in October.
Contacts: Lotte Duty Free Jeju +82-64-793-3000, Silla Duty Free Jeju +82-1688-1110, Jeju Tourism Organization Duty Free +82-64-766-9000
Park Sung Eun email@example.com
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