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The mystique and folklore of Jeju Island follows you no matter where you go on the largest island in South Korea. Once a honeymooner’s island ideal for rest and relaxation, Jeju Island now offers a mix of seaside lounging and active adventuring for visitors. Whether you’re exploring its majestic caves and waterfalls or its quirky attractions like the Teddy Bear Museum, you’re sure to enjoy your stop at Jeju Island on an Asia cruise.
Jeju Island is a nature lover’s paradise. Climb to the top of Hallasan Mountain, a long dormant volcano, or surf some of the best waves in South Korea at Jungmun Beach. Descend underground in one of the world’s longest lava tunnels for a once-in-a-lifetime tour. Of course, you can’t miss an entire museum devoted to the history and ceremony of tea drinking, the O’Sulloc Museum. When you’re done exploring, head to the Jeju Waterworld for a soak in an herb sauna as part of a rejuvenating spa day. After that, strolling through the Yeon-Dong Shopping District awaits.
Female divers scouting out octopus, shellfish, and oysters are affectionately called “mermaids” on Jeju Island, a testament to how seafood is viewed as a delicacy here. Don’t leave without trying a grilled abalone, a type of mollusk known to the area, or a traditional hot pot.
Nature lovers and adventure seekers can’t miss Cheonjeyeon Waterfall, a stunning formation where water cascades from the ceiling of a cave. Come see these breathtaking falls, nicknamed the “pond of God,” during your time in Jeju Island. It’s also a great introduction to the flora and fauna of the area. In May, there’s the Chilseonyeo Festival dedicated to the legend and folklore of the falls. Dip your feet in the cool waters and enjoy this natural paradise.
This age 18+ park is centered around sensuality and the human form. It’s one of the few parks in the world with over 100 erotic sculptures on the grounds. It’s a cultural landmark that surprises people and a tour you can’t miss on a Jeju Island cruise, especially if you’re already traveling without the kids. If you do have kids with you, there’s a special playground where they can play while you walk the grounds of this unique park.
Don’t miss the Teddy Bear Museum, where you can see a huge collection of teddy bears dressed as historical figures, famous art pieces like Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man or the Mona Lisa, and more. Bears wear elaborate costumes referencing literary works and other cultures. It’s kitschy and fun for an afternoon excursion on Jeju Island and perfect for young kids.
You don’t have to be a geologist to enjoy Manjanggul Cave. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a lava tunnel where stalagmites are fixtures and rare bats fly freely. Only part of the tunnel is open to visitors, but you’ll find the environment underground is cool, dark, and a must-experience activity while on a Jeju island cruise.
Jeju Waterworld is a little different than your average water park. It boasts all the swimming, water slides, and wave pools you’d expect, but with a twist. Jeju Waterworld is also an area where you go for rejuvenation and health restoration at the sauna and jjimjilbang, a bathhouse full of hot tubs, massage tables, and other spa activities. Treat yourself to both fun and relaxation here.
Surfers looking for strong, challenging waves should immediately head to Jungmun Beach, where the Jeju International Surfing Competition is held each year. The sand on this beach is a special blend of colors with its own name, jinmosal, and the dramatic cliffs in the background make for an unforgettable photo op.
Jusangjeolli Cliff was formed from a volcanic eruption of Hallasan Mountain, where the volcano erupted into the sea. Today, it’s recognized as a national monument thanks to its distinct stone pillars created from the eruption. Some look like honeycomb, and others are towers that look like stacked logs. Take in the ocean views while the wind blows back your hair.
Take a day for an unforgettable hike up Hallasan Mountain, a dormant volcano and UNESCO World Heritage site. Admire a panoramic view of Jeju Island from the summit of South Korea’s tallest mountain. The jagged, natural coastline and cliffs of Jeju Island will amaze you.
Tea lovers and foodies will find an ideal afternoon spent at O’Sulloc Museum. You’ll learn all about different tea cultures around the world, including the history of tea and tea ceremonies in South Korea. Soak up knowledge on varieties and types of leaves as you sip delicious green tea.
Shellfish, oysters, octopus, and other varieties of fish are commonly served in Jeju City, where abalone and fish stews are must-try dishes for anyone visiting. Plus, the city is famous for its black pork, which is named for pigs that are raised in the area. Black pork is a rare delicacy and is typically prepared in a barbeque style.
Address: 80, Noyeon-ro | Maison Glad Jeju, Jeju, Jeju Island 63132, South Korea
Located within the Maison Glad Hotel, Samdajeong is an upscale buffet-style restaurant featuring fusion dishes, sushi, wine, and beer.
Address: 3, Tapdong-ro 2-gil | 1f, Jeju, Jeju Island 63165, South Korea
When you get a hankering for the classics like pizza and fried chicken, Magpie Jeju makes you feel at home. It’s also home to a small but mighty craft beer collection by Magpie Brewing Company, which operates on site. There’s no better combination than pizza and a cold beer.
Myeongjin Jeonbok Abalone Restaurant
Address: 1282 Haemajihaean-ro, Gujwa-eup, Cheju, Jeju-do, South Korea
If you’re looking for authentic, traditionally prepared abalones, look no further than Myeongjin Jeonbok. There are only four menu items, so why not order them all? Try the grilled abalone hot pot or the bibimbap. Kimchi and beansprouts are the typical side dishes that will come with your meal. Note that it’s closed on Tuesdays.
Jeju Island suffered major tragedy during the Korean War, and much of the population died during the war in 1948. After the war, Jeju Island became popular among South Korean honeymooners who came to the island to celebrate their marriage among easily accessible mountains, beaches, waterfalls, and incredible nature.
Jeju Island is a matriarchal society, and women play an important role in the culture and development of Jeju. Today, the island continues to attract tourists because of its navigability, convenience, interesting folklore, and attractions like Love Land and the Teddy Bear Museum, which are unlike anywhere else in the world.
Jeju port is located on the northern side of the island, and it’s a little over a mile from the center of the city. When you arrive at the port and exit your cruise to Jeju Island, South Korea, you’ll be welcomed by performers showcasing the culture and tradition of the island.
When your Jeju Island cruise ship docks in port, you can take a complimentary shuttle bus to the city center. It’s a short 15-20 minute ride that gives you a chance to look out and see Jeju Island for the first time. Taxis are another popular mode of transportation, though they can take a while to hail. Drivers taking detours may try to charge you more, so be alert to make sure you get an honest fare.
As soon as your ship docks, travelers on a cruise to Jeju Island, South Korea seek out its main shopping district in the old quarter of Jeju. The underground mall, Jungang Shopping Mall, is a great place to look for inexpensive clothing, cosmetics, and beauty products. Head to Yeon-Dong Shopping District for more upscale shopping, where independent galleries, cafes, and boutiques dot the streets. The citrus of the area is famous, and many travelers bring some back with them from local markets.
The official currency of Jeju Island is the Korean Won (KRW). It’s a good idea to have some won on you as you travel, because many of the smaller shops only accept the local currency. If the business is mostly catered to tourists, they may accept credit cards. Tipping is not common practice in South Korea, and some may not understand why you’re tipping them. Most taxi drivers in South Korea don’t expect a tip for their services, but you can leave a little spare change behind as a polite gesture. Bellhops and restaurant staff don’t expect tips, either.