According to new research by Agoda, one of the world's fastest growing digital travel platforms, the top reasons people travel are "Nature or Scenery," "Sun, Beaches or Islands," and "Food & Dining." Jeju Island, in Korea, has all of these to offer -- so it is no surprise that it has become so popular. Indeed, with its mountains, beaches, and laid-back lifestyle, Jeju is beloved by both domestic and international travelers. It is the most popular Korean destination (after Seoul) for travelers from all over Asia-Pacific, as Agoda's booking data for the past two years reveals.
What travelers may not know is that Jeju is a year-round destination. During the summer, of course, Jeju's spectacular beaches draw travelers. But in winter, humidity is lower, skies are clear, and the air is cooler -- so it is perfect for other kinds of activities, especially hiking in the mountains. And no matter what kind of activities attract travelers, nor whether they are looking for a hotel, an apartment, a home, or a villa, the natural splendor of Jeju can be discovered while staying at an Agoda-listed property.
Coastal journey full of the mystery of nature, as featured in Korean TV dramas
Let's start with Jeju's coastline, which offers an astonishingly diverse array of natural settings. Jusangjeolli Cliff, one of the island's most famous coastal destinations, can be found in the eastern Jungmun Tourist areas. At the nearby observatory, travelers can enjoy the breathtaking spectacle of waves crashing against huge stone pillar steps. Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, famous for its picturesque sunrises, offers a glimpse of the nearby mysterious coastal cliff. Whether travelers want to climb to the top or prefer to enjoy the view of it from nearby beaches such as Gwangchigi Beach, it's worth seeing. Seopjikoji, well-known as a TV location spot for Korean dramas has a walking trail that offers magnificent coastal views, while Jeongbang Falls offers a unique view of the water falling directly into the sea.
A volcanic island
Hallasan, the tallest mountain in South Korea, is a prominent feature of the Jeju landscape. A dormant volcano, its peak is almost 2,000 meters above sea level. It's perfectly safe -- the volcano has not erupted for 1,000 years -- but Jeju's many caves retain the traces of lava's passage, and have long aroused the curiosity of travelers. The Manjanggul Lava Tube, (7.4 km long), has a variety of cave formations including the world's largest lava column. The Hyeopjaegul Lava Tube and Ssangyonggul Cave, located in Hallim Park, is a spectacular example lava and limestone caves.
Spectacular snow scenes on Hallasan Mountain
Hallasan Mountain also captivates travelers with its snowscapes throughout the winter months. Numerous hiking trails boast a variety of snow-capped vistas, so travelers can take their pick. The Seongpanak course, which goes to the beautiful Baengnokdam crater lake, is the most challenging, but also offers the best snow-covered views for hardy hikers prepared to make the winter trip. For beginners, they can choose the Yeongsil course, which is the shortest trail, or the Eorimok course, which has a relatively low slope. Travelers can get to Hallasan by just taking the bus.
Winter in Jeju is not only white -- it also glows red. Even in the snowy season, Jeju is adorned by winter-blooming camellias. Travelers can capture their beauty from many places. One of the best is the aptly named Camellia Hill, a botanical garden which features 6,000 camellia plants of 500 species, including the world's largest camellia. Or, visit Sinheung-ri Camellia Town, filled with the scent of camellias, and Seonheul-ri's Gotjawal, a unique virgin forest in a lava region.