And then, there's Udo Island - only two miles offshore from Jeju - and it too is another popular island for tourists - but that's another story, later in this one.
Jeju is famous for three things - wind, stone and beautiful women - and all three are prevalent too.
Since I mentioned beaches earlier, you might want to spend some quality time relaxing at one of the many beaches gracing the island's coastline. You can sip a pina colada, or nice cold glass of milk through a straw, while listening to the turquoise clear-blue seawater brush ever so gently over the soft pale sand - unless there's a storm. Some of the more popular beach locations at Jeju are Jungmun, Emerald Bay, Gwakji, Hamdoek and Shinyang beaches.
Granted, Jeju doesn't offer the year-round mild temperatures that Hawaii touts - it gets chilly in the winter and can get stinking hot in mid-summer - but without exception, the island makes up for it with so many more attractions and theme parks that are extremely fun to visit, and some - well let's just say are a bit quirky. There's one theme park that is definately 'out there' and if you're bashful, I wouldn't recommend it. Curious? Well, more on this below.
Three main ports to hit while on the island are Jeju City, Jungmun Resort and Seogwipo. Tour bus service around the island is a common mode of travel for sightseeing which makes regular stops at most of the hotels and takes you to all the attractions.
Make time out to visit the island's volcano and rock formations. If you're into walking trails Jeju has some of the most scenic I've ever seen - and I'll talk more about this in a bit.
Of course, there's always hiking, rock climbing, scuba diving, casinos, waterfalls, lava tubes and more. I guess the point here is Jeju won't disappoint.
I didn't even get into hotels or restaurants yet - now is a good time.
Jeju boasts a diverse selection of lodging and restaurants to fit any budget and palate. If you enjoy seafood, then you're in the right place because it doesn't get any fresher than eating a meal that was enjoying a carefree, but doomed, life just minutes before it appears on a plate before you.
While visiting Jeju, we stayed at the KAL hotel on the southern side of the island. It was very comfortable. It is an older hotel, but the upside is their mature campus, which is even more impressive and showcases a huge oriental-style botanical garden in its own right. You can spend a lot of time just exploring their garden - and well worth it too.
Maybe you want to spend a day museum hopping - that is if you're kind of into 'weird stuff.' Some of these offbeat museums include Trick Art, Sex and Health, Teddy Bear (really - teddy bears), World Eros and Psyche, and Haeneyo Museums to name a few. Haeneyo is dedicated to the female divers who dive into the ocean harvesting shellfish, seaweed and the like. Jeju is famous for these ladies.
If, by some chance, you are into Bonsai Trees, there's a spectacular park dedicated to them, along with other living things - The Spirited Garden. The garden even showcases trees growing out of rock - that's right, rock! This garden will give any botanical garden a run for its money - I tell you this from experiencing it myself.
I didn't even get to the good part yet, but I will now.
If you're into kinky stuff, Jeju won't disappoint you. A visit to Jeju isn't really complete without a visit to Love Land. This theme park is a must see and showcases more than 140 statues of erotica in an area the size of two soccer fields. But a warning, this theme park is not for the faint of heart.
As I mentioned earlier, if you're into nature and exotic walking trails, exploring Ecoland, EcoForest. and Stonepark Theme Parks, around Gyorae, is right up your alley. Olle is another good one - and popular too.
Earlier, I mentioned Udo Island because of its close proximity to Jeju and a popular destination to visit. Most everyone who visits Jeju, makes a side trip to Udo. It is easily accessible via a 20 minute ferry ride from Jeju that runs throughout the day. If you happen to have a rental car, you can drive it onto the ferry, and if not, just get onboard. When you reach Udo, you can rent a scooter, ATV or three wheeler to get around - which, by the way is a lot of fun too. If not, there is also bus service to get you around. Udo is incredibly fun and the scenery is spectacular.
Udo is a small island. You only need a few hours to explore it but it is worth the trip. And, there is one stop you must make while there.
A visit to Udo isn't complete until you feed your inner explorer at the Ha Ha Ho Ho Cafe - renowned for their Black Pig Hamburger - and I can tell you it is big and extremely good.
So, if you're contemplating visiting an unusual place during your next vacation, check out Jeju Island. You won't be disappointed - unless you happen to be there during bad weather. I found September to be a great time there.
ABOUT THE PHOTOS: Photos from Jeju and Udo Islands. (ENTRUSTPR photos)
By M. Chandran
Jeju: Island of romance, themes and weird stuff
Jeju Province, or Jejudo Island, is a place you may know about and if not, then well worth me telling you - since I've been there and immensely enjoyed it.
I found Jeju just as beautiful as Oahu, Hawaii, but with so much more to do. Unlike Ulleungdo, which I previously wrote about, Jeju offers, along with the scenery, many unique attractions and they are a helluva lot of fun to visit.
Jeju is located about 50 miles south of the most southern point of South Korea in the Korea Strait. It's a resort island and offers about 713 square miles of scenic beauty compared to Oahu, Hawaii, which is about 597 square miles in size and not nearly as scenic once you're away from the beaches.
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Posted: December 18, 2015