Difference between revisions of "Jeju"
Revision as of 13:33, 2 July 2006
Jeju (제주), formerly Cheju, is an island off the southern coast of South Korea.
Korea's honeymoon island, subtropical Jeju is Korea's local tourist destination number one and draws an ever-increasing number of international visitors as well. The main draws are the warmer climate, the island's sandy beaches and the imposing profile of Mt. Halla (1,950m).
As the tourist trade in Jeju has grown larger in recent years, it is increasingly common to find some taxi drivers who speak English, Japanese and even Chinese, especially in Jeju City itself. However, you shouldn't rely on this as a means of getting around, and it would be wise to learn some basic Korean phrases for travel purposes.
People who speak Korean fairly well should be forwarned that natives of Jeju island speak a dialect of Korean that is almost unintelligible from the standard dialect spoken in the Seoul area. While most Jeju natives can understand standard Korean, many cannot speak it. This means that if you ask for something in Korean, they will understand you but you may find it incredibly difficult to understand the reply. All staff in the tourist industry are required to speak standard Korean, so this will not be a problem in places such as bus terminals, the airport, and most districts in the city itself.
Jeju Airport (CJU) is Korea's third-largest airport and Seoul-Jeju is the country's busiest route, with hourly flights on both Korean and Asiana. The cozy duopoly will soon be broken by upstart Jeju Air, which hopes to start operations in summer 2006. There are also limited direct international services to Japan and China.
Ferry services from the mainland are also available, but they are comparatively infrequent and slow. There are daily services from Busan (11 hours, from W32,000 in 3rd class) and Mokpo (5.5 hours, from W19,950).
Unlike the rest of Korea, there are no trains on Jeju island. Buses and Taxis are the main method of public transportation, although some locals prefer bicycles to cars, especially in areas outside of the Jeju-shi metropolitan area.
While South Korea in general is a remarkably safe country, the crime rate on Jeju is even lower. In fact, Jeju has the lowest crime rate in the whole country. Violent crime is almost non-existent, although just like in all tourist hubs, there is a number of pickpockets.