Jeju island, also known as “the island of Gods”, has long been the country’s favourite domestic destination. The island’s abundant and diverse nature has been the reason for it to be declared part of the New Seven Wonders of nature in 2011. Jeju island has a population of roughly 695 000 people who are mainly located in two big cities: Jeju and Seogwipo city. Seogwipo city is the second largest one, located in the southern part of Jeju. Seogwipo is also Korea’s southernmost city. Settled on a rocky volcanic coastline, Seogwipo is known for its beautiful natural environment and numerous waterfalls.
Where to visit and what to do
Seogwipo is located close to Hallasan – a water-rich mountain, of which depths many waterfalls lead its origin. Most of these waterfalls, if not all, are located in Seogwipo city. Each of them has its own beauty and it’s totally impossible to be compared with each other. You can find a full guide for them in the following article.
Read more: The Magnificent Waterfalls of Jeju island
Apart from the waterfalls other places that worth a visit include Yeominji botanical garden, cafes along the coastline and Hyodoncheon.
Yeomiji botanical garden (여미지식물원)
Yeomiji is the largest botanical garden in the world with approximately 112 000 m2 wide outdoor garden and 12 000 m2 wide indoor garden. It is also one of the best botanical gardens in Asia with a unique southern atmosphere.
The indoor garden is shaped into a sunflower with six different gardens, central hall and an observation deck. It contains approximately 2,000 rare plants throughout the Flower Garden, Water Lily Garden, Jungle Garden, Subtropical Fruits Garden, Cactus and Succulent Garden. The flower garden has flowering trees, ponds, a fountain and flower-built tunnels.
During summertime you will be able to find blooming lotus flowers from the tropical and subtropical regions in the Aquatic garden.
If you want to experience what an oasis in the desert might feel like I recommend visiting the Cactus garden. The next one is Jungle garden featuring plants from the tropical forests of Amazon and Africa.
And the last one is Tropical fruits garden. It features a variety of tropical and subtropical plants, including mango, banana, jackfruit trees and coffee plants.
The outdoor garden is a vast space of land filled with almost thousand species of plants from the warm and mild climate zones. It has Bloom, Japanese, Korean, Jeju native plants, Italian, French, Lawn, Herb, Bog and Hosta garden.
The estimated time needed for exploring the indoor garden is around 40~60 minutes and for the outdoor one is 1 hour ~ 1 hour and 30 minutes.
How to get there
Address: 93, Jungmungwangwang-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
For those coming with a car, a free parking lot is available in front of the entrance. Also, there is a bus stop near and it takes around 20 minutes from Seogwipo city.
Working hours & Admission
- Everyday: 09:00-18:00(last admission is 17:30)
- Adults(ages 19-64): 10,000 won
- Teenagers(ages 13-18): 6,000 won
- Children(ages 3-12): 5,000 won
- Senior citizens(ages 65 and over): 7,000 won
Yeomiji Botanical Garden Website: www.yeomiji.or.kr
Cafes along the coast
Seogwipo has a beautiful coastline with numerous cafes offering a splendid view of it. The one that I chose to visit was Honeymoon house.
The café is located in a beautiful area with a European styled architecture and panoramic view of the sea. From the gate to the main entrance there is a forest which spreads out along the sea. It can make you feel like you are in a botanical garden.
The café offers view of Seopseom and Beomseom islet and is also located close to Sojeongbang waterfall. It takes no more than 10 minutes walk from the café to the waterfall.
By the way, did you know that there is actually a Jeju language? Yes, Jeju island is part of Korea, but the people there speak Jeju dialect. Actually, the language they speak sounds so different that Koreans coming from the mainland are unable to understand it. It is also referred to as Jejumal (제주말).
If you have free time to wander around Seogwipo, there is a wall along a busy street where you can try to read sentences written on Jeju dialect. If you are able to read Hangeul, you may find it quite entertaining. Under every sentence you will find a translation to standard Korean.
Kayaking along Hyodoncheon stream
Hyodoncheon stream is located in the eastern part of Seogwipo city and there you can experience kayaking. The stream is magnificent with clear water and surrounded from all sides by rocks and trees. It is definitely worth trying.
The whole experience is not expensive at all. You just need a friend to share it. It costs 20 000 won and there is no time limit. You can ride untill the end of the stream turn back ride until somewhere and turn back again. At least that is what me and my friend did. Hope you enjoy it!