Jeju Island, South Korea
Jeju Island (Jeju Special Autonomous Province or Jeju-do제주도) is located to the south west of Jeollanam-do, and
was once part of that province, before becoming its own separate one in 1946. In2006, the province was given
extensive administrative self-governing powers that are usually reserved for the central government. There is talk
that this is all part of a plan to make Jeju a somewhat independent state from the rest of Korea. At present, it
already boasts many differences – including a form of Korean dialect which is not spoken widely anywhere else in
South Korea; and an often matriarchal family structure.
Jeju Island is often referred to as ‘The Hawaii of South Korea’, and although this may seem to some a somewhat
ambitious moniker, the area is indeed beautifully natural and popular with honeymooning couples and holidaymakers.
Weather here is often warmer than the mainland due to its southern location; although it still becomes fairly cold
in winter, and can be foggy.
The island is volcanic, and is also home to Korea’s highest mountain – Hallasan. It’s capital is Jeju-si
(Jeju City), and its other main city is Seogwipo. Jeju was chosen as one of the 28 finalists for the New 7
Wonders of Nature at www.new7wonders.com
There is a large concentration of foreigners here (mainly from the USA and Canada, although this is diversifying),
and a buzzing expat scene, if that’s what you are looking for. You certainly won’t be stared at nearly as much here
as you are in some other places! For those looking for a more traditional, less touristy experience - rest assured,
you can also find that here. You just have to be willing to look for it.
For more information on Jeju Island, check out its extensive
Wikipedia entry or have a read of its