Jeju Island also known as Jejudo is the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula.
The island is the world’s first recipient of UNESCO’s triple crowns in the fields of nature and science – Biosphere Reserve (2002), World Natural Heritage (2007) and World Geoparks (2010).
Also, in 2011, Jeju was voted as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
It is a volcanic island, 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula.
Oval in shape, the island measures approximately 73 kilometers (45 miles) across, east to west, and 41 kilometers (25 miles) from north to south.
The island has a surface area of 1,826 square kilometers (705 square miles).
The island is dominated by Hallasan: a volcano 1,950 meters (6,400 feet) high and the highest mountain in South Korea.
The island formed by volcanic eruptions approximately 2 million years ago. The island consists chiefly of basalt and lava.
Hundreds of crater-formed hills from which volcanic material once flowed, seaside precipices with waterfalls, and lava tunnels (or tubes) are international sightseeing attractions.
The island’s lava tubes and certain other volcanic formations (including Mount Halla) were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007.
Manjanggul Cave is one of the finest lava tunnels in the world, and is a designated natural monument. A lava tunnel is formed when the lava that was deep in the ground spouts from the peak and flows to the surface.
An area covering about 12% (224 square kilometres or 86 square miles) of Jejudo is known as Gotjawal Forest. This area remained uncultivated until the 21st century, as its base of ‘a’a lava made it difficult to develop for agriculture. Because this forest remained pristine for so long, it has a unique ecology.
Seongsan Ilchulbong, also called ‘Sunrise Peak’, is an archetypal tuff cone formed by hydrovolcanic eruptions upon a shallow seabed about 5 thousand years ago. Situated on the eastern seaboard of Jeju Island and said to resemble a gigantic ancient castle, this tuff cone is 182 meters (597 feet) high, has a preserved bowl-like crater and also displays diverse inner structures resulting from the sea cliff.
Cheonjiyeon Waterfall is a waterfall on Jeju Island. Literally, the name Cheonjiyeon means sky (Ch’eon) connected with land (ji). It is one of the main tourist attractions on Jeju-do. It is 22 meters (72 feet) high and 12 meters (39 feet) wide.
Jeju Island’s iconic stone sculptures, the Dol Hareubang are stone statues carved from the island’s porous volcanic rock, they stand up to three metres high. They’re easily recognisable thanks to their stylised shape: the sculptures all have bulging, pupil-less eyes on a grim or slightly smiling face, their hands rest atop their bellies, one slightly higher than the other, and all the sculptures wear mushroom-shaped hats that are often interpreted as phallic. Their origins are mysterious, but are often attributed to the island’s shamanic traditions.
Haenyeo are female deep-divers on this island. It is the professional job of getting seafood. Known for their independent spirit, iron will and determination, the haenyeo are representative of the
semi-matriarchal family structure of Jeju. Jeju’s diving tradition dates back to 434 AD.
Jeju is well known for its beautiful beaches and they are popular with tourists throughout the year. However, during summer things step up a notch as tourists and locals alike aim to make the most of the hot summer weather.
As of August 2019, the population of Jeju Island was estimated to be about 700,000 people.
The island hosts about 15,000,000 visitors per year.
Jeju has a humid subtropical climate. Four distinct seasons are experienced on Jeju; winters are cool and dry while summers are hot, humid, and sometimes rainy.