As a top honeymoon spot for Korean newlyweds, Jeju Island offers numerous unique attractions and is considered an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It you take a look at the climate and geography, it actually is nothing like Hawaii, but visitors flock to the beautiful island just the same. With the dormant volcano called Hallasan dominating the island from the center, a semi-tropical forested national park, a wild coastline dotted with waterfalls and the longest lave tube cave in the world, it’s no wonder that Jeju Island was voted one of the 2011 New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Here are a few reasons why we think Jeju Island is the perfect place for an Asian escape.
Another UNESCO site, the Manjang cave is more than 5 miles long and you can walk over a half mile of its eerie passageway. Formed by cooling lava, the cave is dark, cold, narrow and often slippery, so this is not an attraction for someone who is claustrophobic.
These large statues are considered to be gods offering both protection and fertility and were placed outside of gates for protection from demons traveling between realities. These statues can be found all over the island. But don’t be fooled…there are only 45 real statues and there are many others that are actually just replicas. The stones remain the symbol of a distinct ancient culture furnished with many gods and legends.
Deep Diving Women
Back in the day, when the men of Jeju Island went away for weeks at a time on their fishing boats, it was the women who hauled rocks and put dinner on the table for their families. The women learned to dive for octopus, abalone, clams, squid and seaweed. Nowadays, these women, known as haenyo, who would dive 10-20 meters without any breathing apparatus, are famous throughout the country. The haenyo’s average age is 65, with some diving into their 80s. A dive museum is dedicated to these amazing women. Also on display, to show a more realistic view into their daily lives, are the various utensils used by the female divers.
Jungman Lave Columns
These spectacular hexagonal lava columns that seem to melt into the sea are created via sudden cooling of lava that shrinks in mass. The sight of waves crashing against the columns is amazing and a truly unique sight.
The Yakcheonsa Buddhist temple is located on the southern coast of the island and is one of the largest temples in all of Asia. Yakcheonsa is famous for a collection of several thousand Buddha statues. This is a common temple visited by tourists and even while people are praying you can roam through the temple and take in its beauty.
When entering the main hall a massive Buddha statue with two more Buddha statues on either side is there to greet you. Dragons encircle golden pillars in the front of the Buddha and the walls are covered with beautifully colored paintings, making it an amazing sensory overload.
Making the side trip to Jeju Island from the mainland proved to be a great choice. With great scenery through the island and tons of cultural opportunities, Jeju Island is the perfect Asian island getaway.