My Road Trip Across Jeju Island, South Korea

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“I cannot recommend Jeju Island enough for any traveler heading to South Korea.”

Living in the city of Seoul for the past six months, I’ve been longing for the need to escape city life in search of some great outdoor adventure and explore the beauty of nature – let alone disconnect for a couple of days. Most of my Korean friends recommended Jeju Island, also known as the “Island of the Gods,” a popular vacation spot for Koreans and Japanese tourists. So, accompanied by my father and visiting cousin, I decided to take so much needed time off and explore this lovely island for three days.

Being on Jeju is a completely different experience compared to being in the rest of Korea. The unique volcanic rock landscapes and temperate climate of Jeju is very similar to the geographic layout and climate of the Hawaiian Islands. I was surprised to see how locals from the island were very welcoming, hospitable and kind toward tourists as well.

One of the most memorable moments of the trip occurred when we flew over the ocean above the tip of a dormant volcano offering beautiful and breathtaking views to say the least. A great way to start the day! Throughout our trip, I was impressed by the awe-inspiring display of natural beauty everywhere I looked, from the mountains, sea, volcanic rocks and various sites. To witness so much natural beauty in one locale was truly amazing and humbling, indeed.

The trip was pleasant and easy going, and I highly recommend fellow travelers to rent a car and drive around the whole island, which only takes about three hours, in order to best experience Jeju at your leisure. Though we only went for three days and briefly organized our trip itinerary beforehand, it is best to be spontaneous and stop by as many different locations as possible. In fact, that’s how we discovered so many places, which weren’t in any of the tourist’s guides we read, including a delicious seafood restaurant on the island. We reserved one full day to hike the Hallasan Mountain, an absolute must-do if you venture to Jeju. For the remainder of our two days, we drove around the Island – one day driving north to west and the other day in the opposite direction to see as much as we can.

The best time to visit Jeju is in spring, as summer is known to be crowded with tourists. I cannot recommend Jeju Island enough for any traveler heading to South Korea, as it is an experience unlike anything you discover in Seoul, let alone the rest of the country.

Article & photos by Yumi Garcia

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