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DESTINATION INSIGHT

Thursday, 17 November, 2016, 15 : 18 PM [IST]

Blend of Natural Beauty & Urban Lifestyle

Diksha Singh
Untitled Document
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Jejudo also known as Jeju Island is a little slice of heaven situated off the coast of the Korean peninsula. It is home to many UNESCO World Heritage sights. A perfect blend of natural beauty and urban lifestyle, there are two things that you will see in abundance here i.e. endless fields of Tangerine and coffee shops in every nook and corner. Travelling to Jeju Island is easy since no visa is required for Indian nationals, flying directly to Jeju Island without touching the mainland Korea. Korea`s official monetary unit is the Won. However, Indian Rupees cannot be directly exchanged Korean Won. It is suggested to carry US Dollars which can be then converted into local currency.

The first impression that one gets about Jeju is its natural beauty. But that’s not all. Jeju offers a host of attractions, which suit not only honeymooners, but also families. It won’t be inappropriate to term Jeju as ‘the land of museums’ because you can find a museum focusing on almost all aspects. There are museums with artefacts of dinosaurs, love, computers, tea, K-pop culture, Haneyo fisher women, glass, Hello Kitty, tangerine, rocks, to name a few.

While the possibilities of things to do here are endless, here is a list of few places and experiences that one should indulge in.

Horse Farm

The horses in Jeju are short and stout, and were previously used to carry goods around. However, now they are employed for tourism, entertainment or meat. Horse rides are available in most of the tourist places. But watching a horse run freely along the extensive fields is an experience in itself. Creams and oils made out of horse bone are well known for both medicinal and cosmetic use. Tanggeon, the traditional headgear is also made out of horsehair and horse meat is a delicacy on the Island.

Haneyo Female Diver Performance

The Haenyeo women are the very spirit of Jeju. This is a world admired community of women, whose job is to harvest seafood. Seafood like abalone, snails, seaweeds, conches and sea cucumber are harvested. Their dive usually lasts around 2 minutes and they dive as deep as 10 metres. They do so without using any breathing equipment, risking their lives every time they do so. With most of the divers around the age of 70, the population seems to be diminishing over the years. Watching these ladies perform their traditional folk songs before the dive and then diving to fetch seafood makes you wonder if you could be even half as energetic as them, when you reach that age.

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Submarine tour at Mun Island

No tour to the island is complete without a submarine visit at the Mun Island, the world’s largest soft coral. At 40 metres underwater, you will get to see a mysterious wrecked ship site along with coral reef covered with black coral, fan coral, red soft coral, and countless fishes.

Play Kpop

For all the Korean pop music lovers this is the place to be. It is a digital theme park where technology and music meet to create magic. You can experience state of art 4D concerts of Psy, BigBang, G Dragon, Clon, 2NE1 and other world famous Korean bands which will feel as real as a live concert. You get to meet the holographic image of your favourite star, click pictures with them and have an oil painting portrait drawn with the star in real time.

Love Land

As the name suggests, it is a museum themed on love. You need to be above the age of 18 to get entry into the museum. It is a kinky place for couples. But also attracts families who stare at statues with a lot of curiosity.

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Jeju City Tour

A shopper’s paradise, there are multiple markets around the city to choose from, where you can shop till wee hours of the morning. As far as safety is concerned, one can be rest assured because none of the shops here have shutters; rather they have glass doors with locks. Jeju particularly is well known for skin care products made out of natural ingredients like green tea and volcanic rocks. Woollens, clothes, local chocolates, electronics are good way to splurge.

Yatch Tour

The perfect way to end the trip at Jeju would be with a wine glass in one hand and some cheese in the other, sailing through the smooth sea and watch the sun set at the horizon. You are also given the opportunity to try your hand at fishing. Yatch tours are available in Seogwipo.

Sangumburi Crater

A vast plain land of greenery, it has a large pit caving in the middle. Situated on the south-east side of Jeju Island, this crater of an extinct volcano has a circumference of 2 kms. Home to a repository of plants, it a dream come true for any nature lover. This place takes you back to the sets of romantic duets from Yash Chopra films of the 90s.

Hiking up Seonsang IIchubong

(UNESCO World Natural Heritage site)
Also known as the ‘Sunrise peak’, it is a perfect place to see the quaint beauty of a sunrise. A good 700 steps hike takes you to the top. Taking your breath away, it offers breathtaking view of the island of Jeju on one side and the endless view of the ocean on the other.

Jeongbang Waterfall

Located near Seogwipo, Jeongbang Waterfall is a popular tourist attraction. It is apparently the only waterfall in Asia that directly meets the ocean. The water falls into a sheltered cove before meeting the ocean. A good place for a photo op and safe enough to dive and swim around the waterfall.



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Things to Eat

I would highly recommend you try out the local cuisine. It is absolutely different from the Indian cuisine. They use very little spices, but the food is fresh and tasty. To name a few of the delicacies that are worth a try are Haemul – Ttukbaegi ( boiled seafood in hot pot), Galchi- jorim Jeongsik (braised hairtail fish and rice), Samda – Bibimbap (rice with vegetables, seaweeds, cuttlefish and eggs), Godeungeo-gui Jeongsik (Grilled Mackerel and rice), Biyangdo – Seonggeguk (sea urchin soup), Naembi\ –Udong (noodles in soup served hot in a casserole dish), Dongaseu (Pork Cutlet), my personal favourite Yang Nyeon Galbi (Marinated Pork barbequed) and Cheongjindong Ttukbaegi (Sea Food Stew).

Indian restaurants in Jeju

Jeju is home to three really good Indian restaurants namely Bagdad Cafe, Rajmahal Indian Restaurant, Currywala, which offer authentic Indian cuisine.

Hyeopjae Beach

The emerald sea next to the beach is the prettiest you’ll see in Jeju. It is at a walking distance from Halim Park. There are many cafes surrounding the beach, and local women wear shorts and t-shirts rather than swimwear. Therefore, it is advisable that women travellers avoid a bikini in favour of a one-piece suit and a sarong.

Hyeopjae & Ssangyong Caves in Halim Park

These caves were formed by the eruption of Mt Halla millions of years ago. It is a favourite hotspot of geologists. You can see fossilised seashells and abalone shells. In this area, there are over 20 caves that are connected to each other and spans over 17,000 meters making it the longest in the world. The inside temperatures of these caves is 17 to 18 degree Celsius thereby making it an apt location to visit throughout the year.

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Halim Park

This park is spread across 80 acre; it is home to a variety of wild grass and flowers. Walking along these is truly a relaxing experience. This park is also home to Bonsai Garden, bird garden, Jae- Am folk village and botanical garden.



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Osulloc, The Tea Museum

The tea tradition in Korea goes a long way and Osulloc is the right place to understand its history and tradition. Located near Seogwangdawon, the entire building takes the shape of a green tea cup. Visitors can enjoy views of the nearby green tea fields and the surrounding landscape. This place is famous for green tea ice cream. It is also a good place to shop for tea products.

Gimnyeong Seonsegi Beach

Never have I visited a beach so clean that I could see my toe nails clearly through the sea water. Hence, this white sandy beach has become a favourite for pre-wedding photo shoots.

The crisp thin pollution-free air, the ever green cover will leave you wondering, what took you so long to visit this absolute stunner. Feeling refreshed after a visit this spectacular, it has left me wanting for more.

Although most visitors stay at Jeju for approximately for 3 days while combining their trip with other cities in South Korea, I think this island itself requires at least 5 days to cover the important sights. I bid adieu to this beautiful, happening island with a heavy heart, promising myself that I will come back again.



 
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