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Overview

Rising like a tectonic pimple south of the Korean peninsula, Jeju has long been the destination of choice for domestic holidaymakers. While it's no Bali or Hawaii — no matter what the local tourist board declares — this little island has more than enough appeal of its own to make for an enjoyable stay. Once outside the largely uninteresting capital (Jeju City) you'll find that the dark pine of the Korean mainland is augmented by splashes of a more tropical green, rising from the rich, chocolate-colored powder of volcanic earth. Evidence of Jeju's fiery history is easy to find: soak up a slow sunrise atop the lush, green caldera of ...

Rising like a tectonic pimple south of the Korean peninsula, Jeju has long been the destination of choice for domestic holidaymakers. While it's no Bali or Hawaii — no matter what the local tourist board declares — this little island has more than enough appeal of its own to make for an enjoyable stay. Once outside the largely uninteresting capital (Jeju City) you'll find that the dark pine of the Korean mainland is augmented by splashes of a more tropical green, rising from the rich, chocolate-colored powder of volcanic earth. Evidence of Jeju's fiery history is easy to find: soak up a slow sunrise atop the lush, green caldera of Ilchulbong; rifle through some of the world's longest lava tubes; or see the famed crater lake at the top of Hallasan, the country's highest mountain. Growing up alone and aloof in the South Sea, Jeju is also a mine of distinctive customs and practices. Though dying out fast, the most famed of these are the haenyeo, female divers who plunge into the depths sans breathing apparatus; of a more enduring nature are the island's traditional thatch-roofed houses, and the hand-stacked walls of volcanic rock that separate field from emerald field.

Norbert Paxton
About the Expert

Norbert Paxton is the author of the Rough Guide to Korea and contributor to the Rough Guides to China and Vietnam.

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Norbert Paxton for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Jeju's weather is pleasant (but often rainy) year-round, though avoid the Korean holiday seasons.