Cheju: fantastic island
Jeju Island, also known as the "Island of the Gods," is a popular vacation spot for Koreans and many Japanese. It remains one of the top honeymoon destinations for Korean newlyweds. The island's mixture of volcanic rock, frequent rains, and temperate climate, make it very similar to the Hawaiian Islands in the U.S. The island offers visitors a wide range of activities: hiking on Halla-san (South Korea's highest peak), catching sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, viewing majestic waterfalls, riding horses, or just lying around on the sandy beaches.
Although tourism is one of the main industries on the island, many of the hotels and other tourist areas are run by mainland companies, so much of the income never gets put back into the local economy. Also, since the attractions are geared towards tourists, many of the entrance fees can be hefty (although the locally owned and operated ones tend to be cheaper). Similar to Gyeongju and some other areas, local residents can enter most places for free or for a steeply discounted price.
Bicycle: Given Jeju's wide expanses, bicycling here is much safer than in most of Korea. Many of the roads have sufficient room to ride along the edge, and some even have special bike lanes- not just a painted line between you and traffic, but a separate road with curbs between you and the drivers. Unfortunately, many of the local residents are convinced that the bikes lanes were actually built especially for them to dry their seeds and herbs, so in some places you may have to take short detours onto the road.
Boat: The ferry terminals in Jeju City has daily boats to Busan, Yeosu, Mokp'o, Wando, Noktong, and Incheon on the mainland, as well as several boats to Japan (see the Jeju Port section for schedules). Several other smaller ports have boats to the outlying islands of Kapa-do, Mara-do, Piyang-do, and U-do.
Bus: The bus terminal in Jeju City has buses to numerous destinations around the island. Most do circuits between here and Seogwip'o or Jungmun Resort on the south coast, stopping at various points of interest along the way. Several Jeju City buses criss-cross the city. The main bus is #100, running between the airport and the port, passing the bus terminal and most major hotels. Major hotels and tourist agencies run 1- and 2-day tours around the island.
Car: Several rental car agencies have various models for hire, starting from around W35,000 per half day.
Plane: Jeju International Airport has several flights daily via Korean Air and Asiana to Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Jinju, Kunsan, Gwangju, Mokp'o, P'ohang, Ulsan, Yecheon, and Yeosu. Domestic flights have an airport tax of W3,000. It also has international flights to Japan: Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo. International flights have an airport tax of W9,000.
Besides tourism, Cheju's main industries are fishing and agriculture. Fresh fish, squid, octopus, sea cucumber, and various other creatures can be easily bought in markets, restaurants, and even right on the beach. Cheju's tropical weather and high preciptation are perfect for growing pineapples and tangerines. The island is also famouse for its Shitake mushrooms and cactus plants. Honey made from local flowers has a special taste.
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Published on 1/3/12