Jeju Island
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Jeju Island
Jeju Island
Native name:

Nickname: Sammu-samda-do (Island of no three kinds and many three kinds)
Image of Jeju Island
Satellite image of Jeju Island
Map Jeju-do.svg
Map of Jeju Island
LocationEast Asia
Area1,826[1] km2 (705 sq mi)
Length73 km (45.4 mi)
Width31 km (19.3 mi)
Highest elevation1,950 m (6,400 ft)
Highest pointHallasan
South Korea
Special Autonomous ProvinceJeju Special Autonomous Province
Largest settlementJeju City (pop. 501,791)
Population692,032 (2018)
Pop. density316 /km2 (818 /sq mi)
LanguagesJeju, Korean
Ethnic groupsKorean
Daepo Jusangjeolli Cliff

Jeju Island (Korean; Hanja; Korean pronunciation: [tedudo]) is an island in the Jeju Province of South Korea. The island lies in the Korea Strait, below the Korean Peninsula, south of the South Jeolla Province. The island contains the natural world heritage site, Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes.[2] Jeju has a moderate climate; even in winter, the temperature rarely falls below 0 °C (32 °F). Jeju is a popular holiday destination and a sizable portion of the economy relies on tourism and economic activity from its civil/naval base.


Historically, the island has been called by many different names including:

  • Doi (Hangul: , hanja: ??, literally "Island barbarian")
  • Dongyeongju (Hangul: ; hanja: )
  • Juho (Hangul: , hanja: ??)
  • Tammora (, )
  • Seomna (, )
  • Tangna (, )
  • Tamna (, )
  • Quelpart,[3][4] Quelparte[5] or Quelpaert Island[6]
  • Junweonhado (?, ? meaning southern part of peninsula)
  • Taekseungnido (Hangul: ?, meaning the peaceful hot island in Joseon)
  • Samdado (Hangul: , meaning "Island of Three Abundances")[7]

Before the Japanese annexation in 1910, the island was usually known as Quelpart to Europeans[8]; during the occupation it was known by the Japanese name Saish?. The name Quelpart apparently came from the first European ship to spot the island, the Dutch Quelpaert, which sighted it after being blown off course on its way to the Dutch trading base in Nagasaki, Japan, from Taiwan (then the Dutch colony of Formosa). The name "Fungma island" appeared in the "Atlas of China" of M. Martini who arrived in China as a missionary in 1655.[9]


The earliest known polity on the island was the kingdom of Tamna.[10]

Jeju uprising

From April 3, 1948 to May 1949, the South Korean government conducted an anticommunist campaign to suppress an attempted uprising on the island.[11][12] The main cause for the rebellion was the election scheduled for May 10, 1948, designed by the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea (UNTCOK) to create a new government for all of Korea. The elections were only planned for the south of the country, the half of the peninsula under UNTCOK control. Fearing that the elections would further reinforce division, guerrilla fighters for the South Korean Labor party (SKLP) reacted violently, attacking local police and rightist youth groups stationed on Jeju Island.[12][13]

Atrocities were committed by both sides, but those by South Korean government forces are the best-documented.[12][13][14] On one occasion, American soldiers discovered the bodies of 97 people who had been killed by government forces. On another, American soldiers encountered police who were executing 76 villagers.[12]

Between 40,000 and 60,000 people died as a result of the rebellion, or up to 25% of the island's total population.[12][14] Some 40,000 others fled to Japan to escape the fighting.[13][15] In the decades after the uprising, memory of the event was suppressed by the government through strict punishment.[14] However, in 2006, the Korean government apologized for its role in the killings and promised reparations. As of 2010, these had not been paid.[16]

In 2008, bodies of victims of a massacre were discovered in a mass grave near Jeju International Airport.[17]

Planned Kim Jong-Un visit

On November 11, 2018, It was announced that preparations were being made for North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to visit Jeju during his upcoming visit to South Korea.[18] Kim would be transported to Jeju via helicopter.[18] The announcement came in after 200 tonnes of tangerines which were harvested in Jeju were flown to North Korea as a sign of appreciation for nearly 2 tonnes of North Korean mushrooms which Kim allowed South Korean President Moon Jae-In to take back to South Korea following the September 2018 inter-Korean summit.[19][20]


Jejudo is a volcanic island, dominated by Hallasan: a volcano 1,950 metres (6,400 ft) high and the highest mountain in South Korea. The island measures approximately 73 kilometres (45 mi) across, east to west, and 41 kilometres (25 mi) from north to south.[21]

The island formed by volcanic eruptions approximately 2 million years ago, during the Cenozoic era.[22] The island consists chiefly of basalt and lava.

An area covering about 12% (224 square kilometres or 86 square miles) of Jejudo is known as Gotjawal Forest.[23] This area remained uncultivated until the 21st century, as its base of 'a'a lava made it difficult to develop for agriculture. Because this forest remained pristine for so long, it has a unique ecology.[24]

The forest is the main source of groundwater and thus the main water source for the half million people of the island, because rainwater penetrates directly into the aquifer through the cracks of the 'a'a lava under the forest. Gotjawal forest is considered an internationally important wetland under the Ramsar Convention by some researchers[25] because it is the habitat of unique species of plants and is the main source of water for the residents, although to date it has not been declared a Ramsar site.[26]


  • About 2 million years ago, the island of Jeju was formed through volcanic activity.[22]
  • About 1.2 million years ago, a magma chamber formed under the sea floor and began to erupt.
  • About 700 thousand years ago, the island had been formed through volcanic activity. Volcanic activity then stopped for approximately 100 thousand years.
  • About 300 thousand years ago, volcanic activity restarted along the coastline.
  • About 100 thousand years ago, volcanic activity formed Halla Mountain.
  • About 25 thousand years ago, lateral eruptions around Halla Mountain left multiple oreum (smaller 'parasitic' cones on the flanks of the primary cone).
  • Volcanic activity stopped and prolonged weathering and erosion helped shape the island.[27]


Jeju has a humid subtropical climate. Four distinct seasons are experienced on Jeju; winters are cool and dry while summers are hot, humid, and sometimes rainy.

In January 2016, a cold wave affected the region. Snow and frigid weather forced the cancellation of 1,200 flights on Jejudo, stranding approximately 90,300 passengers.[28]

Climate data for Jeju City, Jejudo (1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.7
Average low °C (°F) 3.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 65.2
Average precipitation days 12.6 10.3 11.2 10.0 10.4 11.8 12.5 13.5 10.8 7.0 9.3 10.8 130.2
Average relative humidity (%) 65.3 64.9 64.9 66.5 70.4 76.8 78.3 76.5 73.7 66.9 65.1 65.1 69.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 70.4 105.4 158.9 194.4 211.9 170.9 195.6 195.6 161.7 178.5 126.0 84.8 1,854.1
Source: Korea Meteorological Administration[29]
Climate data for Seogwipo-si, Jejudo (1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 10.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.8
Average low °C (°F) 3.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 61.0
Average precipitation days 10.3 9.5 11.0 10.5 10.7 12.9 14.3 14.2 10.3 6.1 7.4 8.1 125.3
Average relative humidity (%) 62.8 62.1 62.4 64.5 69.9 78.2 84.1 79.0 72.5 63.9 63.2 62.2 68.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 152.2 152.6 174.0 190.9 199.0 144.2 142.1 184.2 176.1 207.1 170.5 161.8 2,054.7
Source: Korea Meteorological Administration[30]


Tourism is an important component of the local economy. The island is sometimes called "South Korea's Hawaii". Tourists from China do not require a visa to visit Jeju, unlike the rest of South Korea, and in the 2010s have started visiting on specialised package tours to acquire a South Korean driver's license; the test is similar to that in China, but can be completed in less time and is easier, application and test forms are available in many languages, and a South Korean license, unlike a Chinese license, makes the holder eligible for an International Drivers License.[34]


Jeju-do, also known as Jeju Island is the only self-governing province in South Korea, meaning that the province is run by local natives instead of that from the mainland. The island of Jeju was "formed by the interruption of an underwater volcano approximately 2 million years ago."[35] and is home to pristine nature and exquisite beaches.

In 1962, the South Korean government established the Korean National Tourism Corporation (KNTC) to monitor and regulate internal and external tourism and it was later renamed to the Korean National Tourism Organization (KNTO).[36] While Korea lacks abundant natural resources, tourism is an entity that generates income nationwide for South Korea. In Jeju-do province, specifically, tourism has proven to be beneficial and has been a growing contributor to the economy.[35] Jeju Island often compared to that of Hawaii, "is the winter destination for Asian tourist seeking warm weather and beautiful beaches."[37]

The island is home to 660,000 people but hosts 15,000,000 visitors per year.[38] English is not widely spoken in Jeju and as a matter fact, "the local dialect is different enough from Korean that it is recognized as a distinct language."[39] "Until recently, Chinese travelers accounted for 80% of foreign travelers,"[39] however, due to the installation of THAAD (The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system in Korea, Chinese travel has dwindled drastically. "THAAD is supposed to shield against North Korean missiles"[40] however China views it as a security threat. Though in the past year [2017] tourism has declined sharply, visits to Jeju continue to be a vacation destination for Asia. There are no visa requirements for visitors staying up to 90 days[35] and future plans to build a second international airport has been discussed. Due to the decline of visitors caused by China's travel ban to Korea due to the concern of THAAD, talks and discussions continue to be held regarding a second airport to service over 45 million people with an anticipated completion by 2035.[41] The current Jeju International Airport is crowded, as it was designed to service 26 million people but services "30 million, which is 4 million more than it was designed to handle."[42]The current desire of the existing Jeju International airport includes wanting to add more direct flights, nonstop to major cities including Tokyo, Osaka, Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei.[35]

While the economy booms with foreign travel, residents suffer negative repercussions of Jeju tourism. "Most commercial facilities are owned by foreigners and major companies."[41] and in addition to increasing tourism, problems such as beach pollution, traffic, and overconsumption of underground water presents a problem.[41] Residents are not profiting and do not profit from the booming business.

Residents and tourists alike love the nature of the Island. It has three UNESCO World Heritage sites, is "packed with museums and theme parks and also has horses, mountains, lava tube caves, and waterfalls with clear blue ocean lapping its beaches."[35] The Haenyeo (Jeju female divers) harvest oysters, abalone, clams, seaweed and other marine life and their history are showcased at the island's Haenyeo museum.[41]

Due to extensive tourism the pollution of beaches has become a serious problem. The local government of Jeju aspires to be carbon-free by 2030.[41] "Nearly half of all-electric cars in South Korea are registered in Jeju"[41] and the island takes pride in their small piece of paradise.

In addition to the aspirations of an additional airport and the expansion of tourism on the island, Jeju is home to a small technological hub. In 2005, the Jeju Science Park was created, a complex for technology companies and organizations. Since its implementation, it has attracted 117 IT and biotech companies and is home to the Daum Kakao Corporation headquarters.[43]


Places of interest

Seongsan Ilchulbong or "Sunrise Peak"

Attractions are spread between the East and West area, thus it's advisable to gather all the places marked out in one day each.

Special products and local exports

  • Tangerines and Hallabong
  • Omija Tea
  • Cacti and Mushrooms
  • Horse bone
  • Jeju Black Pork
  • Seafood, including abalone

It is advised to explore more local attractions with a local tour guide, as most of the local delicacies and locations are hard to navigate and need to be researched beforehand due to the language barrier.


The island's power grid is connected to mainland plants by the HVDC Haenam-Cheju, and electricity is also provided by generators located on the island. As of 2001, there were four power plants on Jeju, with more under planning and construction. The most notable of these are the gas-fired generators of Jeju Thermal Power Plant, located in Jeju City. The present-day generators of this plant were constructed from 1982 onwards, replacing earlier structures that dated from 1968.[44] As elsewhere in Korea, the power supply is overseen by the Korea Electric Power Corporation, or KEPCO.

In February 2012, the governor of the state of Hawaii (USA), Neil Abercrombie, and the director of the Electricity Market and Smart Grid Division at the Korea Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Choi Kyu-Chong, signed a letter of intent to share information about Smart Grid technology. The Jeju Smart Grid was initially installed in 6,000 homes in Gujwa-eup and is being expanded. South Korea is using the pilot program of the Smart Grid on Jejudo as the testing ground in order to implement a nationwide Smart Grid by 2030.[45]


The island is served by Jeju International Airport in Jeju City. The Seoul - Jeju City air route is by a significant margin the world's busiest, with around 13,400,000 passengers flown between the two cities in 2017. Other cities that have flights to Jeju are Daegu, Busan, Gunsan and Gwangju.

Jeju is also accessible from Busan by ferry.[46] The travel time is between 3 and 12 hours.

The island has a public bus system, but there are no railways on the island.[47] A rail tunnel to the island, linking it to the Korea Train Express network has been proposed but is currently on hold due to cost concerns and local opposition in Jeju.

Cheju/Jeju Naval Base

In 1993 the Republic of Korea (ROK) began planning a naval base on Jejudo (Jeju) Island, and started construction in Gangjeong village in 2007, with planned completion by 2011.[48] The base was designed to be a mixed military-commercial port similar to those in Sydney and Hawaii, that could accommodate 20 warships and 3 submarines, as well as 2 civilian cruise ships displacing up to 150,000 tons. Its official name is the Jeju Civilian-Military Complex Port. Jeju residents, environmentalists, and opposition parties opposed the construction, causing delays in the schedule. The base was completed in 2016.[49] Activists opposed to the plan[50] claim that environmental hazards will damage the "Island of Peace" designated as such by the government.[51]

See also


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  3. ^ Hulbert, H. B (1905). "The Island of Quelpart". Bulletin of the American Geographical Society. 37 (7): 396-408. doi:10.2307/198722. JSTOR 198722.
  4. ^ Hall, R. Burnett (1926). "Quelpart Island and Its People". Geographical Review. 16 (1): 60-72. doi:10.2307/208503. JSTOR 208503.
  5. ^ Hulbert, Archer Butler (1902). "The Queen of Quelparte".
  6. ^ Sokol, A. E (1948). "The Name of Quelpaert Island". Isis. 38 (3/4): 231-235. doi:10.1086/348077.
  7. ^ "Jeju Island Facts".
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  9. ^
  10. ^ "The Queen of Tamna".
  11. ^ Hugh Deane (1999). The Korean War, 1945-1953. China Books&Periodicals, Inc. pp. 54-58. ISBN 9780141912240.
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  13. ^ a b c Deane, Hugh (1999). The Korean War 1945-1953. San Francisco: China Books and Periodicals Inc. pp. 54-58. ISBN 978-0-8351-2644-1.
  14. ^ a b c Kim, Hun Joon (2014). The Massacre at Mt. Halla: Sixty Years of Truth Seeking in South Korea. Cornell University Press. pp. 13-41. ISBN 9780801452390.
  15. ^ Hideko takayama in tokyo (June 19, 2000). "Ghosts Of Cheju". newsweek. Retrieved .
  16. ^ O, John Kie-Chiang (1999). "Korean Politics: The Quest for Democratization and Economic Development". Cornell University Press. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  17. ^ Song Jung Hee, Islanders still mourn April 3 massacre, Jeju Weekly, March 3, 2010
  18. ^ a b
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Map of Korea: Cheju Island Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine The People's Korea. Accessed 8 July 2012
  22. ^ a b Woo, Kyung; Sohn, Young; Ahn, Ung; Spate, Andy (January 2013), "Geology of Jeju Island", Jeju Island Geopark - A Volcanic Wonder of Korea, Geoparks of the World (closed), 1: 13-14, doi:10.1007/978-3-642-20564-4_5, ISBN 978-3-642-20563-7
  23. ^ "RISS ? - ? ?".
  24. ^ "RISS ? - ? ?".
  25. ^ Jang, Yong-chang and Chanwon Lee, 2009, "Gotjawal Forest as an internationally important wetland," Journal of Korean Wetlands Studies, 2009, Vol 1.
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  27. ^ "? ". Archived from the original on 2016-07-12. Retrieved .
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  32. ^ "(1981-2010) (185)". Korea Meteorological Administration. Retrieved .
  33. ^ "?(2010) ?(871)". Jeju Regional Meteorological Administration. Retrieved .
  34. ^ Craig, Erin (October 2, 2018). "The unusual reason Chinese tourists are going to S Korea". BBC News.
  35. ^ a b c d e "Jeju Island". Business Traveller. February 2011.
  36. ^ Lee, Yong-Sook (August 17, 2006). "The Korean War and tourism: Legacy of the war on the development of the tourism industry in South Korea". International Journal of Tourism Research. 8 (3): 157-170. doi:10.1002/jtr.569.
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  46. ^ "Ferry to Jeju".
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External links

Coordinates: 33°23?N 126°32?E / 33.38°N 126.53°E / 33.38; 126.53

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