Time moves at a much slower clip here on Jeju-do. Blessed with tangerine groves, swaying palm trees, white sand beaches, and a verdant landscape, Korea's southernmost volcanic island has long been a favored holiday and honeymoon retreat for natives and neighbors. Still relatively unknown to Western travelers, Jeju's recent title as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature is bound to bring Jeju up on quite a few radars.
Korea's largest island (it only spans 714 square miles) has two cities: modern Jeju City in the north and the resort town of Seogwipo in the south. Home to only half a million people, the island is sparsely populated and the landscape is dominated by wild forests and lava fields. Mainlanders relish in Jeju's open spaces and the chance to stretch their legs. The island's many white and black sand beaches, hiking trails, cultural sights, and quirky museums and theme parks are spread across the island, so driving is the best way to get around (and cruising along the coastal roads is a lot of fun). Jeju has all the modern conveniences of mainland Korea, but the real draw here is the islands natural beauty: Ilchulbong is coastal volcano tuff and known for its magnificent views of the sunrise; Manjanggul, one of the longest lava tubes in the world, is open for exploration; Seogwipo has pristine beaches and breathtaking waterfalls; Hallasan volcano rises in the center of the island and is surrounded a rugged jungle dotted with small cabbage fields, lava rock walls, and tiny houses with colorful roofs; and finally the sea and all of its bounty. It's impossible not to appreciate the iconic female abalone divers, the fisherman, and all that delicious Jeju cuisine.