Climb and trek, dance and shop, eat and love, swim and laugh… check out my collection of things you can do based on my experiences in Jeju Island, South Korea.
1) Climb Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak), a volcanic formation of over 100,000 years ago. You’ll take 30 min to reach the top, for the best view of the island! On the way down, closer to the cliff, dont miss the incredible Haenyeo. A women diver’ community going up to 10m under the sea to gather shellfish for a living without the help of oxygen masks. A dying profession, they mostly perform shows for the tourists and they are considered an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
2) Pray at a temple. As I was returning to the parking area of Seongsan Ilchulbong, I noticed a Buddhist temple and could not resist a quick visit. No one was around, but it was opened to visitors. Inside, smell of incense and golden buddhas everywhere. Jeju’s principal religion is Buddhism and second is Christianity. Interestingly, most of the locals believe in thousand of other gods and spirits and practice shamanism.
3) Taste the local food: You’ll find street food stalls everywhere…, dont miss the barbecues on stick, fish cakes and other seafood, egg bread, dumplings, baked cheese, etc. the list is too long, will write a specific post on Korean street food!
4) Pick tangerines, it’s Jeju’s national fruit. You can find gardens specially opened to tourists, where you can pick fruits to take back home
5) Feel the energy of a lava tube – Jeju is a volcanic land and one of the most recent lava tube discovered is the Manjanggul Cave. It is also one of the finest lava tunnels in the world.
6) Buy a teddy bear at the Joanne Museum – the first teddy bear museum I ever visited. You’ll find the traditional teddy bear, in all forms and colours. Worth a visit!
7) Be a kid again at the Alive Museum. The museum exists in many other cities in the world but the Jeju Alive Museum was certainly the biggest I have visited. It also includes a kart racing ground. Perfect is you travel with kids/family.
8) Go for a short or long walk in Jeju’s forests – there are more than thousand trekking routes that will take you to incredible waterfalls and other natural sights in a pollution-free environment… a really valuable advantage in today’s world.
9) Sail on the Pacific Ocean – the boat will take you around the island and you can also do fishing !
10) Watch a local show – there are many of them but we opted for the “Painters Show” that combines music, dance and art. A fun and impressive performance with no language barrier; Koreans are definitely creative!
11) Check out the art pieces of Love Land, once again the first open air park entirely dedicated to erotism that I have visited. It’s where art and eroticism meet in cool, fun, humorous styles. Visit at night when the lights are on! It’s open till 10pm.
12) Dance on K-pop songs – You’ll definitely have to go party in Jeju, the downtown area will give you plenty of options. It’s quite impressive to see Koreans party all night with Soju (local drink) and beer and it’s definitely safe! If you finish late, there are taxis easily available and neither they cheat on the price nor bargain!