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Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK

Jeju - Paradise found

Jeju-do Island, off the south coast of the country, is South Korea's number one holiday destination.

Clear waters, azure skies and picture postcard scenery first attracted well-off Koreans in the seventies.

But there is more to the island than the sense of paradise, which honeymooners most notably come to take advantage off.

The newlyweds, who opt for Jeju-do ahead of other top destinations such as Guam, are easy to spot as both husband and wife tend to wear identical looking clothes.

Despite being only 85 kilometres from the mainland, Jeju-do is very different to the rest of the country in terms of culture.

Area facts

  • Population: 90,000
  • Province: Jeju-do
  • Location: Island off the south coast of the peninsula
  • Local team: n/a
  • Sights: Halla Mountain

  • At over 13km, Jeju-do's Manjanggul is the longest lava tube in the world

    It has developed its own history, traditions, dress and dialect over the years.

    And the island is renowned for the strange Harubang stones, Korea's equivalent of the Easter Island monuments.

    Known as the "Hawaii of Korea", like the American state it is also of volcanic origin.

    The island is home to Korea's highest peak - Halla Mountain - and has some of the country's most stunning scenery.

    Baekrok Lake, at the peak of Halla Mountain, Yeongsilgi Rock, Donnaeko Rock, Cheonjeyeon Falls, Cheonjiyeon Falls, Jeongbang Falls, the Dragon Rock and Forest Island are only a few of the most popular attractions on the island.

    Rising out of the sea off the coast at Seongsan is the amazing conical cone of Ilchulbing.

    The island also houses one of Korea's ever-present folk museums.

    The Jungum Folk Museum features numerous aspects of the everyday life of the local fishermen.

    Festival fun

  • Seogwipo Seven Nymphs Festival
  • A re-enactment of the legend of the seven nymphs takes place every May at Cheonjeyeon Falls

    And for those who want to taste the catch on the island raw, fish is a speciality, as is Abalone porridge, a dish once eaten by royals and reportedly good for the liver.

    Other attractions, and foods, however, are far less enticing.

    Jeju is famed for pig, or more accurately, the "dung pig".

    Before running water and flushing toilets were common place, Jeju's sewerage was reliant on pigs.

    Pig sties were said to have been set up under each toilet to keep a check on overflowing pits of excrement.

    What is more, they are said to taste delicious!

    A slightly more palatable option is the citrus fruit that grows on the island.

    The inclement weather - as well as being the warmest place in Korea it is also the wettest - provides perfect conditions for growing tangerines, oranges and pineapples.

    Tangerine groves spread down to the outskirts of Seogwipo, but the industry is slowly dying out as cheaper imports infiltrate the markets.

    Seogwipo, on the island's south coast, is Jeju-do's second largest town and World Cup venue.


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