Travel Destinations: Jeju-Si, South Korea
Jeju-Si is the island Jejudo’s capital, located in the middle of the north coast. Although it does not immediately conjure up images of glamour and glitz, Jeju-Si has some wonderful features that make it well worth visiting.
Situated a short 4km distance east from Jeju airport, Jeju-Si has some historic buildings that tourists have given rave reviews, a large market and the Chilseongno shopping centre for those who love shopping and great bars and restaurants for when you need to relax. Although it has no real beach, Jeju-Si still is able to give that seaside atmosphere in the summer with a swimming pool and a magnificent funfair.
Jeju-Si seafront is dotted with hotels, restaurants and fast-food outlets despite the fact it has no beach. In the evenings, the seafront becomes quite lively at the eastern section and you can hire skates and then rollerblade along the promenade. There is a small amusement park called Fantasia, a swimming pool complex called Water Park and an outdoor concert hall where shows are performed during the summer.
Samseonghyeol Shrine is an unusual shrine in the fact that it is made up of three holes in the ground. According to the lengend, three brothers named Go, Bu and Yang emerged from these three holes and founded the Tamna kingdom with the aid of three princesses who arrived on a boat with horses and cattle. The brothers then divided the island into three sections by shooting an arrow and ruling the third where his arrow landed.
The shrine was first built in 1526. The island’s ancestral tablets are honoured with music and food in a ceremony held three times a year – 10th April, October and December. When visiting, you will notice that the entrance still holds two of the 45 remaining original harubang and are over 250 years old.
Looking for more culture in Jeju-Si? Take a trip to the Folklore and Natural History Museum in Sinsan Park. As Jeju-Si is a volcanic island, the museum showcases many volcanic features. These include lava tubes, volcanic bombs and trace fossils.
Mokseogwon is the next stop on the itinerary. This is a beautiful garden and art park combined. It is home to some quirky shaped rocks and roots. It was constructed by one local resident and is a good place to stop and take a look.
If you really want a beach to relax on, the nearest one is Iho beach, on the west coast. With an unusual colouring of grey and yellow sand, this is a great place to build two-coloured sandcastles! As the water is quite shallow, this is a great place for safe swimming and there are changing room facilities in July and August. To get to here from Jeju-Si, take the bus and get off at Heonsa Village. It is a 150m walk from there.
Jeju-Si is a great place to unwind for a few days. Although it may not be as glam as Seoul or other major cities, it is well worth a visit.