Volcanoes plays a big part in Jeju Island, as the island is dominated by Hallasan at it’s center, an extinct volcano 1,950 meters high and the highest mountain in South Korea. The remainder of the island is formed by about 360 smaller “Oreum” cones surrounding the Hallasan volcano.
The basalt-and-lava island was formed entirely from volcanic eruptions many many centuries ago with only minor volcanic activity since. Jeju-do’s location in the ocean, south of the mainland of Korea gives is a subtropical climate, warmer than the rest of Korea, with an annual mean temperature of about 16°C, and four distinct seasons.
Probably one of the most popular volcanic crater among tourists & the locals is the Seongsan Ilchulbong (성산일출봉) also known as the “Sunrise Peak“. Situated on the eastern seaboard of Jeju Island and said to resemble a gigantic ancient castle, this tuff cone is 182 meters high, has a preserved bowl-like crater and also displays diverse inner structures resulting from the sea cliff.
Though it is the best to visit the peak at sunrise, instead our tour guide brought us there during a breezy afternoon. The first thing to hit your mind is that the breathtaking beauty of Seongsan Ilchulbong as soon as you step foot at the entrance.
Along the way up, you will definitely be awed by every sight you may see. There are these Jeju horses, which kids may sit on it and take a picture, the horses are slightly different from those you see most of the time. These Jeju horses are slightly small yet it’s very masculine.
Take your time to climb up to the peak, as there are many steps, some are steep too. You may take a break while enjoying the breeze and the remarkable stunning sceneries.
In Jeju Island, the female divers, also known as Haenyeo (해녀) dive to gather clams, octopus, seaweed etc and sell it to earn some profits for their living. Women worked for 6 or 7 hours a day in the sea and spent additional hours tending to the family farm. Walk down to the cottage near the sea and get a glimpse of the Haenyeo.
Never underestimate anyone by their looks & age. These Haenyeo might looks slightly aged, but they are healthy & strong. They dive without the help of any diving equipments other than a pair of goggles, a round ball-like tube to keep her balance, and a basket to put their collections in.
Seongsan Ilchulbong has been designated as a Natural Monument of Korea in 2000 and as a UNESCO’s World Natural Heritage site in 2007 at the UNESCO World Heritage Committee summit held in New Zealand.