Jejudo, the largest island in Korea, lies about 100km off the southern tip of the peninsula and has become famous for its beautiful natural scenery. Prominent sites include Hallasan, the highest mountain in the country at 1950 metres; Seongsan Ilchulbong, or Sunrise Peak; and the Jeju Volcanic Islands and Lava Plumes, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
Jejudo is often referred to as “Samdado Island” due to its abundance of rocks, wind and women. This nickname evokes the wisdom, vitality, and tenacity of its residents – especially its women – in overcoming such a harsh environment. For instance, Jejudo had once been plagued by summer hurricanes, but now enjoys an age in which windmills constantly produce ample amounts of renewable energy. Although a layer of basalt covering the entire island makes it impossible to farm rice, the ubiquitous doldam (stone walls) have become tourist attractions symbolic of Jejudo itself.
Jejudo has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity in recent years thanks to increasing numbers of foreign tourists and domestic migrants. In addition to its natural wonders, the island boasts a rich culinary culture found nowhere else in the country. At the northern end of the island lies Jeju City and Dongmun Market, a massive fish market where customers can buy freshly caught fish or enjoy it sliced on the spot. Indeed, seafood represents five out of the seven regional dishes of Jejudo: cutlassfish soup, sea urchin soup, raw damselfish soup, raw cuttlefish soup, and grilled sea bream. The remaining two, Jeju-style buckwheat pancake and pork noodle soup, are also regional delicacies that cannot be excluded from the list.
Jejudo is especially famous for its bright tangerines (gamgyul) that grow in the southern city of Seogwipo. The island also possesses large fields where horses can graze, making horse meat easy to acquire as well. Finally, the black pork of Jejudo is renowned both on the island and throughout the entire country.
*Jejudo was a host city during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™ and held three matches in the Jeju World Cup Stadium. Located in the city of Seogwipo, this stadium was used during the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, and is now preparing for its third FIFA tournament in 2017. The only professional football team on the island, Jeju United FC, plays its home games in Seogwipo as well.