The Ultimate Seogwipo Travel Guide

Basalt pillars of Jungmun Beach.

Seogwipo-si is the southern district of Jeju island. The main city consists of a rather small urban center and port on the coast, directly south of Jeju’s most prominent landmark, Hallasan mountain. However, urban sprawl has seen it extend in a thin strip along the coast westwards up to the township of Jungmun and some of the coastal villages beyond.

Covering the entire southern half of Jeju island,Seogwipo claims the Jeju International Convention Centre and the Jungmun Tourist Resort Complex with Jeju’s fanciest accommodation. Furthermore as one of the many co-hosts of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, it holds the island’s only stadium.

Being spread out along a coastline made out of columnar basalt cliffs and beaches interchangeably makes it a somewhat unusual visit. A coastal wander may see you strolling across a busy summer beach one moment and sheepishly striding through incredibly swank hotel grounds the next. Yet equally likely, one could end up traversing rocks alongside sheer cliffs, dark caves and beautiful waterfalls. It is the second-largest city on Jeju Island, with a population of 155,000 in 2011.

Top Places to See in

In Seogwipo town

  • Cheonjiyeon Waterfall (Cheonjiyeon pokpo (천지연 폭포)). Cheonjiyeon Waterfall is one of the “three famous waterfalls of Jeju”. Cheonjiyeon (meaning a waterfall connecting the sky (ch’eon) and land (ji)) receives a large number of tourists to get their picture taken with the falls in the background. Although there is one main area where water falls over the cliff, depending on how much rain has fallen recently, the stream may spread and cascade down at several points. The water falls into a large, artificial pond that has been created by two small dams to maintain the water at a certain level. ₩2000.
  • Cheonjeyeon Waterfall (Cheonjeyeon pokpo (천제연 폭포)), Jungmun. One of the “three famous waterfalls of Jeju”. Crossed by the incredibly iconic red Seonimgyo Bridge: carved with seven 20m wide white nymphs on each side. 
  • Jeongbang waterfall (Jeongbang pokpo (정방 폭포)), 278, Donghong-dong, Seogwipo-si, 36 chilsimni-ro 214-gil (a kilometer or two east of Seogwipo harbour), ☏ +82 64 733-1530. With Seopeom and Beomseom island in front, the Jeongbang Waterfall is right at the edge of the ocean. Apparently the only waterfall in Asia to fall directly into the sea and one of the “three famous waterfalls of Jeju”. 

Basalt pillars of Jungmun Beach.

  • Jusangjeolli (Daepo jusangjeolli (대포 주상절리)), 2663-1 Jungmun-dong to 2507 Daepo-dong (east end of Jungmun Beach. Get off the bus in Jungmun next to the elementary school; the site is directly behind Jeju Convention Center). Jusangjeolli is the literal Korean translation of columnar basalt: hexagonal pillars of volcanic rock. You’ve almost certainly seen pictures of these in Northern Ireland as part of the Giant’s Causeway or perhaps even in nearby Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan. The hexagonal joints are formed as liquid lava contracts whilst cooling. The Jeju formation is situated on either side of Jungmun Beach, however the most spectacular part is a set of cliffs at the far east end. A viewing platform with detailed explanations exists, charging ₩2000 entry. If you want to actually climb around on the stones, theres actually another small cluster tucked away in the bay a mere 100m outside the eastern ticket gate. Just keep an eye for rogue waves and be aware that any damage to the rocks is protected by a series of hefty fines. 
  • World ‘Eros’ Museum, Seogwipo (Literally under the World Cup Stadium), ☏ +82 64-739-0059, fax: +82 64-739-6091. 09:00-20:00. At first glance, Seogwipo’s answer to the infamous Loveland, this attraction actually lives up to its title: a museum. A museum that has amassed genuine erotic works of art from the world over and put them on display next to a pile of cheaply Photoshopped “flowers” and some Japanese pornography playing in a traditional house-front with holes poked in the paper screens… but a museum nonetheless. As no information at all is in English a fun game to play is to guess the country of origin of a piece based on how violent the acts depicted are (Hint: the spectrum runs from Chinese at one extreme to Japanese at the other, use clothing styles to check answers.) Probably not a place for children. Check out the 12 vases of the animal-love zodiac. ₩7000. 

Things to do in Seogwipo-Si

  • Scuba diving. There are some scuba diving centers near to Seogwipo. 
  • Submarine tours. Located in the harbour, you have the opportunity to experience going down to a depth of 40 m below the water surface on a submarine trip. With a course around 2.8 km long, a tour is a great way to see below the surface of Jeju’s splendid seas. Here you can see the world of soft corals and colorful fish all amid a fantastic underwater landscape near Munsom Islet. You may even be lucky enough to see Haenyo hard at work. An hour trip costs ₩45,000 for adults, and ₩25,000 for children.
  • Jeju Water World (take the local or intercity bus to the World Cup Stadium and walk around to the south side; it’s in the mouth of the giant, green-lit shark). Family-friendly water park consisting of a large indoor section quite literally under the south grandstands and a small outdoor section off to the side. Has a sauna and jjimjilbang attached. ₩21,000 for water park admission (₩8,000 for sauna, ₩10,000 for jjimjilbang). 

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