Strange trees along the Gwaneumsa trail to Hallasan, Jeju.

Nature’s paradise in Jeju

By Jeremy, February 6, 2015

When I posted on why NOT to visit Jeju some months back, some of you disagreed with me, so for the record, here’s what I do like about Jeju.

Jeju Island was voted as one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature a few years ago, and you can probably guess that it wasn’t for the Teddy Bear Museum or Loveland Sex Park. Formed by violent volcanic eruptions 2 million years ago, Jeju is a true geological marvel with natural attractions found nowhere else on earth. So if you’re not heading to Jeju prepared for some outdoor exploration (at bare minimum, comfortable walking shoes, rain protection and clothes suitable for the season) then you’re missing out on the best Jeju has to offer.

The most prominent ‘wonder’ in Jeju is undoubtedly Hallasan, a 1950-metre volcano that rises out of the island’s centre and dominates the skyline. Hallasan has the distinct honour of being the tallest peak in a country of never-ending mountain ranges. It also has a dramatic crater at the top where you can take your trophy picture after the hike up.

Crater lake at the peak of Hallasan, Jeju.

We opted for the hardest route (I think it was “Gwaneumsa”) which took us half a day just to get up, but it did pass through some dramatic scenery that can’t be seen on the other routes. For the return trip we took the easier “Seongpanak” route. Both routes are accessible by public bus and have an information centre at the starting point.

A wooden bridge along Hallasan's dramatic Gwaneumsa route.

Steep slopes along Hallasan's dramatic Gwaneumsa route.

Jeju is also known for its beautiful waterfalls, which are particularly majestic in summer. Pictured below is Jeongbang waterfall that flows into the sea near Seogwipo town at the southern tip of the island. In fact, you can visit quite a few waterfalls near Seogwipo.

Jeongband waterfall near Seogwipo, Jeju.

Lastly, I’d like to highlight the Manjanggul lava tunnel that is said to be quite a unique geological formation. It’s certainly mysterious and a sight to behold.

Manjanggul lava tunnel on Jeju Island.

Now for the warning: Jeju can be significantly more expensive than the rest of Korea and it’s also more difficult to move around, especially in rainy weather. Do prepare yourself by reading my post on Jeju travel woes here.

I maintain this site as a hobby and have personally verified or experienced most of the information posted here. However, prices and conditions may have changed since my last visit. Please double check with other sources such as official tourist hotlines to avoid disappointment. If you’d like to contribute an update or additional useful information for other travelers, please comment below!
Prices provided in Korean won or US dollars.

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