July 16, 2014
by Esther Chang and Chongiin Kim
After our adventurous visit to Jeju Island this past weekend, I now understand why Jejudo, beyond the strong presence of honeymooners and tourists, is commonly referred to as “ The Hawaii of Korea.” Formed from past volcanic eruptions, Jeju Island is the smallest province and largest island in Korea. Its area is approximately 3 times the size of the capital of Korea, with a circumference of 418 kilometers around the oval-shaped island, yet it contains only 6% of the population of Seoul. There are 368 small volcanoes that have formed all around the island’s largest dormant volcano, Mount Halla, which is the main source of the island’s volcanic rock and soil.
As mentioned before, similar to the Aloha State, Jeju is a popular destination for honeymooners and tourists from all over the world, averaging about six million visitors per year. Jeju Island is the only place in South Korea where Chinese visitors can enter freely through a direct flight or ship without a visa. The special visa-free entry arrangement between South Korea and China may provide an explanation as to why tourism is the island’s primary economic driver, followed by industry, agriculture, and fishing. While Hawaii may be known for its crunchy macadamia nuts, Jeju Island boasts its growing fresh citrus and cacti exports of hallabong, gamgyul (tangerines), and baeknyuncho (palm cactus). Speaking of exports, over recent decades, South Korea has become a strong economic player on the international platform, labeling itself as an export country despite its economic deficiencies in past decades. The country’s GDP has drastically increased from $1.3 billion in 1953 to $1,156 billion in 2013.
Lastly, Jejudo and Hawaii sadly share a dark past behind their beautiful vacation paradise destinations. With the tragic happenings of Pearl Harbor and the April 3rd Incident, both Jeju and Hawaii have built memorials not only to pay respect to those who lost their lives in those acts of violence, but also to educate the world about what has happened and should never be repeated again.
Cheonjiyeon Waterfall (천지연 폭포)
Our first site visit was to the beautiful Cheonjiyeon Waterfall. Cheonjiyeon, meaning “god’s pond,” is a U-shaped valley made by lava and sedimentation uplifts. Within the valley, a beautiful 22-meter high standing waterfall is found amidst a subtropical evergreen forest that has a total of 447 kinds of plants, including 406 species, 1 subspecies, and 32 variable subspecies. It is claimed that the species of Rubus hongnoensis grows in no other place in the world but here in the evergreen forest of Cheonjiyeon!
July 24, 2012
by Joann Park
Jeju Island was definitely one of the highlights on our program. Everyone was excited to see the paradise of the east, and once we got off the plane we were pleasantly surprised with SUN!
This sustainable volcanic island had been a tourist hotspot—especially for honeymooners—for a long time. On our way to our hotel we saw countless hotels, hostels, motels, etc. My Korean aunt told me after Japan’s tsunami incident, a huge influx of tourists had been flowing into Jeju. On our trip we especially saw a lot of Chinese tourists–many of the souvenir vendors were fluent in Chinese as well.
Upon our arrival, we were introduced to Dolhareubang (old grandfather stone statues), the official mascot of Jeju. You could see a characterized version everywhere..on posters, banners, and more! It is said that if you rub the nose of the statue, you will be blessed with a son.