|Recreations of the famous Jeju hareubang statues.|
|Exploring the rock formations on the southern coast of Jeju.|
In addition to having a unique geology, Jeju's relative isolation has given it a unique cultural history. While Jeju was eventually annexed by the mainland Goryeo Dynasty in 1105 and the Mongols after that, then returned to Korea with the takeover by the Joseon Dynasty (who used it as a place to send political exiles) in 1404, and thus has shared much of it's more recent history (such as Japanese occupation) with the mainland, prior to this, Jeju-nese history is somewhat of a mystery.
|Cheonjiyeon Falls (천지연 폭포) from a distance. You can see Hallasan rising into the clouds on the right.|
|A stone ring and tripple alter surround the hole through which Go, Bu and Yang entered Jeju at Samsunghyeol.|
As interested as I am in culture, as much as I loved hiking Hallasan and as fascinating as the publicly accessible portion of the lava tubes at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Manjanggul (만장굴), geologically speaking, it was the coastline that took my breath away!
|Looking toward Munseom (island) from some of the Rock formations along the coast in Seogwipo.|
|Jusangjeolli. The colour of the water made me nearly desperate to jump in - and it was February!|
Jungmun is also home to Yakcheon Temple. While I have seen a lot of temples during my time in Korea, Yakcheonsa is ranks up there with my favourites. Done up in a more ornate style that reminds me more of the temples I've seen in Taiwan than any I've seen in Korea, the combinations of pastels and golds, as well as the amazingly detailed latticework carvings on the windows made a visit well worthwhile.
|The bell tower at Yakcheonsa with oranges in the foreground. In addition to being famed for it's beauty, Jeju is famed for the deliciousness of it's oranges. Sadly, I was there a month too early for these ones to be ripe.|
|The giant gold Buddha inside Yakcheonsa. The great hall is said to be one of the biggest in Asia. With three floors of viewing galleries, each surrounded with painted panels depicting stories, I may well believe that.|
|Looking toward the Yongmeori Coast from Sambang Temple. Hamel's ship is just visible in between the temple and coast.|
|A view of Hamel's ship through his momument.|
While Jeju is fairly small, the sheer number of protruding mini volcanoes can make getting around the island somewhat time consuming. It's possible to travel by public transport, but having a car (and in smaller areas, bikes) might be more convenient (you need an international drivers licence though). We were lucky enough to stay in a wonderfully accomodating hostel (the owner even fed us traditional New Year's Tteok-guk (rice cake soup) on Seollal!), which offered cheap tailor-made driving tours. You can check out B&B Pan here. The island is also crisscrossed by 'Olleh Trails', 200km of connecting walking trails which have been divided into 13 different routes - although on many you can jump it at any point along the path.
|Looking back toward Sanbang while walking the coast.|
|Some of the formations on the Yongmeori coast. This one is about three times my height.|
|Some more of the crazy geological features.|
|A view of Ilchulbong (일출봉), or Sunrise Peak in Seongsan on the East Coast at Sunset.|