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Jeju Island, located off the southern coast of South Korea, is a terrific destination for travelers who are interested in beaches and adventure off the beaten path—and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there’s a lot to appreciate here. Let’s look at some of the wonderful things you can see and do on Jeju Island!

Jeju Island: A Treasure Trove of Hidden Beaches and Unspoiled Nature - Frayed Passport

Image by 용한 배 from Pixabay

Hyeopjae Beach

Take time for a relaxing trip to Hyeopjae Beach—with bright blue waters and soft sand mixed with seashells, this is among the most popular beaches on the island. Go jet skiing or kayaking, go hiking further inland, or just enjoy laying about on the sand.

Udo Island

Udo Island—about 3.5km away from Jeju Island—is home to the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (Sunrise Peak), a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases the island’s geological wonders. Visit here to get some gorgeous views of caves and beaches, and take a hike to the top of Sunrise Peak.

Gwakji Beach

For those looking for a bit more seclusion, Gwakji Beach is a perfect retreat. Less popular than other beaches in the area but still worth a trip, Gwakji Beach is a good place for swimming, snorkeling, or just relaxing and enjoying the sun.

Gapado Island

Gapado Island, a lesser-known destination on this list, is a very cool area where you can get some great seafood, hike to the island’s lighthouse, and enjoy less-crowded beaches.

Jeju Island: A Treasure Trove of Hidden Beaches and Unspoiled Nature - Frayed Passport

Image by a74362604 from Pixabay

Gotjawal Forest

The Gotjawal Forest, a unique biome characterized by dense vegetation interspersed with rugged lava rocks, serves as a vital source of freshwater for the island’s inhabitants. There are a number of trails you can hike here, and you may have the chance to see the Jeju salamander and the Korean woodpecker.

Bijarim Forest

Don’t miss Bijarim Forest on a visit to Jeju Island—it’s home to the largest collection of nutmeg trees in the world, with some being over 500 years old!

Yongcheon Cave

Yongcheon Cave is one UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in the area, and has remained largely unaltered by human intervention. You can take a guided tour of the cave, where you’ll see stalactites, stalagmites, and pools fed by freshwater springs.

Jeju Island: A Treasure Trove of Hidden Beaches and Unspoiled Nature - Frayed Passport

Image by a74362604 from Pixabay

The Jeju Olle Trail

The Jeju Olle Trail, a series of interconnected footpaths that circumnavigate the island, is developed and maintained by residents and offers a sustainable means of exploring the island’s natural wonders. As you follow the Olle Trail, you can stop in at restaurants, teahouses, and shops along the route.

Protected Areas and Sustainability

Jeju Island’s government is committed to preserving the island’s ecosystems by designating protected areas, such as national parks and UNESCO sites. The island has been a champion of renewable energy, capitalizing on the abundant natural resources at its disposal. From solar power to wind energy, the island’s focus on sustainability is clear in its clean energy initiatives. As you explore Jeju, you may see wind turbines and solar panels; learn about the Jeju Global Education City, which integrates sustainable energy sources into its infrastructure and curriculum; and learn about the island’s ambitious goal of becoming a carbon-free island by 2030.

Jeju Island: A Treasure Trove of Hidden Beaches and Unspoiled Nature - Frayed Passport

Image by dongwoo Lee from Pixabay

Jeju Folk Village

The Jeju Folk Village is a must-visit for anyone interested in Jeju’s architecture and way of life—here, you’ll be able to see a variety of housing styles, from thatched-roof cottages to stone-walled homes. Plus, you can say hello to Jeju Island’s adorable native black pigs!

Jeju Fire Festival

The Jeju Fire Festival, an annual event held in March, historically was held to renew the green lands and exterminate vermin after winter; it has since evolved into a massive modern celebration. If you want to party the night away, make time for the Fire Festival!

Food and Drink

While visiting Jeju Island, you should try these delicious dishes, which blend fresh seafood with locally-sourced ingredients:

  • Black pork—a succulent Jeju specialty
  • Seafood dishes, such as raw fish sashimi, abalone porridge, and seafood soups
  • Omegi rice cakes and hallabong, a Jeju citrus fruit
Jeju Island: A Treasure Trove of Hidden Beaches and Unspoiled Nature - Frayed Passport

Image by LUISIENA REX from Pixabay

Adventure Activities

There are tons of adventure sports and activities you can take part in, with a few highlights being:

  • Parasailing and paragliding, which give you a bird’s-eye view of the area
  • Scuba diving and snorkeling, where you can see all kinds of marine life, plus geological formations like underwater lava tubes
  • Ziplining and bungee jumping for that quick adrenaline rush
  • ATV tours, horseback riding, and kayaking, all of which provide a unique perspective of different parts of the island

Embarking on Your Jeju Island Adventure

Ready to travel? We don’t blame you! A trip to Jeju Island is surely one to remember—whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation (or something in the middle), you’ll find it here.

Connect with fellow travelers and share your stories, questions, and advice with the Frayed Passport community!

About the Author

Heather is a freelance writer who loves exploring the intersection of travel and history. Read her other articles on Frayed Passport here.

Featured image (jagged cliff) by 용한 배 from Pixabay

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