All of Jeju’s natural wonders, three sites have been recognized as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO (2007): Hallasan Mountain, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, and the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System. Hallasan Mountain is perhaps Jeju’s most prominent geographical feature, rising out of the very center of the island. Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak has been recognized for its sedimentological characteristics and is one of the best places in the world to study Surtseyan-type volcanic eruptions. The third and final World Heritage Site is Geomunoreum Lava Tube System, one of the most extensive series of lava tube caves in the world.
Seopjikoji is located at the end of the eastern shore of Jeju-do Island. “Seopji” is the old name for the area, and “Koji” is Jeju dialect meaning a sudden bump on land.
Green fields without a single tree spread beyond the cliff to where a rock called “seondol” protrudes. Also there are stonewalls along the road to block the wind on the way to the lighthouse at the end of Seopjikoji. Within the stonewalls, you may find the most brilliant rapeseed flower fields every April.
Going up the metal steps of the lighthouse, you can view the whole seashore at a glance. On Koji hill, there stands a stone Bongsudae (4 m high, 9 m long and wide) that retains its original form.
Manjanggul Cave (만장굴) is one of the finest lava tunnels in the world, and is a designated natural monument. A lava tunnel is formed when the lava that was deep in the ground spouts from the peak and flows to the surface. Manjanggul Cave has a variety of interesting structures inside including 70cm lava stalagmites and the lava tube tunnels.
Only 1km of the 13,422m Manjanggul Cave is open to the tourists. The inside of the tunnel sustains at a temperature of 11~21℃, creating a comfortable atmosphere. There are rare animals such as bats living in the tunnel, which makes this tunnel valuable for researchers as well. The stone pillars and stalactites are widely spread and the tunnels shows off the cave’s topographical features. The Stone Turtle is especially eye-catching because it is shaped like Jeju-do Island.
Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak
Lying at the far east of the island, this tuff cone is the result of the island’s volcanic history. With one side rising out of the sea and the other side sloping down into the surrounding countryside, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (성산일출봉) is truly a sight to behold. Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak is famous not only as a geological wonder, but is also one of the best places in Korea to watch the sunrise, earning it the name “Sunrise Peak.”
Jeju Island Floating Windmills
Jusangjeolli Cliffs (주상절리)
this cliff is the Jisatgae Coast along with the imposing stone pillars. The Jusangjeolli are stone pillars piled up along the coast and is a designated cultural monument of Jejudo Island. The Jusangjeolli was formed when the lava from Mt.Hallasan erupted into the sea of Jungmun. They are rock pillars shaped like cubes or hexagons of various sizes and almost seem as if stonemasons had carved them out. The administration of the district named them ‘Jisatgae Rocks’ from their old name ‘Jisatgae’. Its 20 m cliff makes it a popular spot for high tide, sea angling. The waves of the high tides crashing into the side of the cliff provide a breathtaking view of the ocean surrounding the pillars.
Hallasan National Park
Hallasan (Halla Mountain) rises up proudly from the center of Jeju Island and is perhaps one of the island’s most memorable landmarks. Also called Mt. Yeongjusan, meaning ‘mountain high enough to pull the galaxy,’ Mt. Hallasan is widely acknowledged by scholars for its research value. Designated as a National Park in 1970, there are 368 parasitic mountains called ‘Oreums’ (peaks) around Halla Mountain.
Mt. Hallasan is famous for its vertical ecosystem of plants that results from the varying temperatures along the mountainside. Over 1,800 kinds of plants and 4,000 species of animals (3,300 species of insects) have been identified; to explore the mountain’s treasures, simply follow one of the well-developed mountain hiking trails.
Hallasan Mountain is relatively easy to hike. With hiking courses less than 10km in length, it is possible to go to the peak and back in one day. However, the weather is very changeable and there is a lot of wind, so make sure that you are well prepared before you start climbing up the mountain.
Jeongbang Falls (정방폭포)
Jeongbang Falls (정방폭포) is only water fall in Asia that falls directly into the ocean. On the wall of the water fall, there is an inscription written “Seobulgwacha”, referring to Seobul passing by this place. Seobul was a servant of the Chinese Emperor Jin (BC 259~210) who was ordered by the Emperor to find the substance that would make him immortal. Seogwipo is also said to have gotten its name to mean Seobul headed back west.
Jeongbang Waterfall is situated by a high cliff by the sea, and an old evergreen stands there leaning back as if it would fall into the ocean. Go east for about 300 meters and you will see another waterfall called Sojeongbang Waterfall. It is a great place to relax during the summer. There is an observatory at the top of the cliff, from which you can command a fine view of the sea.