After six years in Korea, I finally made it down south to experience the beauty of Jeju Island. Called the “Hawaii of Korea” by some and boasting of waterfalls, beaches and the tallest mountain in Korea, it’s a wonder I waited so long. While the island has enough natural beauty to spend the better part of a week experiencing, it seems some people have had the bright idea to try to turn the island into somewhat of a huge amusement park. When I started looking into what I would want to experience on the island and trying to compromise with my sister-in-law who would have two small children in tow, the idea of visiting a teddy bear museum, a miniature museum, a Greek mythology museum, or the like seemed ridiculously unnecessary. Why would anyone go to a Korean island to see an African Art museum I wondered? Compromises were made, and in the end my husband and I rented a separate car so I could see a temple while his sister’s family went to a children’s park and we met up at a waterfall and saw a beach in the afternoon. We climbed Mt. Halla while they saw an elephant show and sat on horses. I suppose there are really two trips to be had on Jeju Island. One can experience the natural beauty the island offers and walk the trails that have been lovingly made across the island or take a more kitschy trip and visit the museums that showcase odds and ends from all over the world.
In general, I’d have to say the island was breathtaking and I want to go back and experience more. Three and a half days was not enough time to see everything and I look forward to another holiday on the calendar that will allow us the chance to visit again soon.
Jeju Island Pros:
1. Signs everywhere are in multiple languages.
2. Renting cars, bikes and scooters is super easy.
3. Locals on the road seem used to tourists stopping and going and driving slightly confused and just go around as opposed to honking and getting all agitated.
4. Very tourist friendly.
Jeju Island Cons:
1. You need a car or scooter to get around easily, renting is a must unless with a tour group.
2. Restaurants in general seemed unclean, though they still get plenty of tourists to eat.
3. You’ll never be the only tourist or one of a few on the island. It’s a hot spot all year round. Get used to following tourist buses all over the place.