Jeju - Island Paradise of Korea
Cheju (now referred to as Jeju) is the capital city of the island of Chejudo (now Jejudo), off the southern coast of South Korea. A volcanic island with a large crater at the top of Halla mountain in its centre, Chejudo is a popular vacation spot, known for its majestic waterfalls and welcoming, sandy beaches. The island, in the shape of an oval, is approximately 45 miles (73 km) from east to west and 25 miles (41 km) from north to south is also known as ‘the island of the gods’. Despite its proximity to Korea, the people of Chejudo prospered in relative isolation and developed their own culture and language distinct from the mainland.
According to legend, three demi-gods founded the island’s Kingdom of Tamna, and the native people were ruled by various dynasties. Prior to the Japanese annexation of the island in 1910, Chejudo was referred to by many Europeans as Quelpart, after the Dutch ship of the same name that was said to have recorded its first sighting. The Japanese renamed the area Saishu until 1946, when Chejudo was returned to Korea. In 2000, the government reverted to the Romanization spelling of Jejudo.
Chejudo is home to the Natural World Heritage site entitled Chejudo Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes. Look for the dol hareubang, ‘stone grandfathers’ carved from blocks of lava. Scenic beaches, waterfalls, cliffs and caves lie in harmony, complemented by the mild weather.