Jeju Island, Korea

Jeju island also known as Jejudo is the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula and a popular holiday destination these days. Jejudo has a moderate climate; even in winter, the temperature rarely falls below 0 °C. When I was little, I was told that Jeju Island is a Barbarian island, it was called hanja or 島夷 in Chinese.

I went to Jeju island in February, consider a low season for tourism, and the weather is a little chill. This island can be over populated with tourists specially from the mainland China during the peak season. i would say anytime is a good time to visit Jeju island.


Hallasan is a shield volcano on Jeju island of South Korea, also the highest mountain in South Korea. It is a popular hiking trail among the region, ranked No 1 in Tripadvisor.

It was a pity that I didn’t finished the trail as I was physically unfit to complete the journey. This is my first winter climb and with no experience. I would recommend suitable clothing for winter hiking, hiking shoes and gears, rest well the night before and avoid alcohol. It was February when I were there, and you can still see the snow.

At the beginning of the hike, the cold weather is still bearable. But as you climb, when the wind starts blowing on you, you start to feel chill. I was not prepared and do not have the winter hiking shoes. But I am luckily enough to borrow “risen”, short for the German “steigeisen” (steep-path iron) from the hostel. They are cheap, convenient version of crampons and light to carry. I scrapped it on when the route got snowy and take it off easily when the route is clean and flat.

Even though I did not complete the hike this time, but I have seen partial of the beauties of Hallasan. I would imagine the view on top of the hill, apart from the crater lake view, is breathtaking.

Jeongbang Waterfall

Jeongbang Fall is the only waterfall in Asia that falls directly into the ocean. There is a flight of stair and viewing deck to watch the scenic view from a distance. You can also walk down and get a closer view of the waterfall.

Hanyeo Female Diver

Near to the waterfall, I spotted some Hanyeo female diver in the sea doing their catch. In Jeju island, there is a community of woman, many of whom in their sixties go diving 10m under the sea to gather shellfish, such as abalone or sea urchins for a living without the help of oxygen masks. They can hold more than a minute under the water.

At the shore, there are middle aged woman selling the catch. They will clean and cut them in pieces, offer to you the seafood in sashimi form (eating raw), with the Korean hot sauce and dressing in the tray. Like the locals, I found a spot sitting on the rock over looking at the sea, smelling the fresh catch and blowing by the cold breeze from the sea.

 Jeju Folk Village

Jeju Folk village is a good stop for history and cultural buff, making the trip more rewarding.

Daepo Jusangjeolli Cliff

The Jusangjeolli cliff is a spectacular volcanic rock formation at the southern coast of Jeju Island, South Korea.

Hamdeok Beach

Hamdeok Beach is famous for its clear and shallow emerald blue water, and is a popular family outing during the summer.

Seogwipo Yuchae (Canola) Flower


February – March is the month when canola flowers are blooming.  We were early and therefore we only get to see very little canola flowers. As the place has yet flooded with tourists,  I was able to spend as much time as I need to view the beautiful scenic, standing among the flowers in the field, and enjoy the beauty.

Jeongwol Daeboreum Field Burning Festival

Also known as Jeju Fire Festival. It is a old tradition and still practising till to date. The farmers set their pasture alight to get rid of old grass and kill harmful pest between late winter and early spring, before the cattle and horses grazed in the fields. There are many visitors travel from all around the country to witness the spectacle and in addition a bonfire will be set, a number of event and cultural activities are held such as K-port concerts, parade, and fireworks.

As the day goes dark, the concert starts. Towards the end of the concert, and I see many people in crowd is holding the fire torch marching into the bon fire area. When the first fire is lid and the cheers started. It was a fun night!

Hiking trails

I followed with the hostel operator for a hiking trails, we hardly see any tourist along the trail. The view is simply amazing.  I am glad that I followed the local and do what the local does. There are many hiking trails in Jeju islands, and I bet every trails has its own distinctive scenic view, and each climb makes you proud of your accomplishment, and with no regrets.


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