As South Korea’s largest and most developed resort island, Jeju has long been the go-to domestic holiday destination among locals. But in 2022, one of Netflix’s biggest K-dramas, Our Blues, brought the island a new level of international visibility. In the show, which stars Parasite alum Lee Jung-eun and Lee Byung-hun from Squid Game, the volcanic island with its windswept coastline, mountainous horizon, and famous haenyeo, or free-diving grandmothers, plays an omnipresent role.
After closing for two years, international air travel to Jeju resumed last summer, bringing tourists from Bangkok, Singapore, Taiwan, Osaka, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, many of whom beeline to the island casinos. To meet rising demand, new resort offerings include the JW Marriott Jeju Resort and Spa, the Parnas Hotel Jeju (previously the Shore Hotel before renovation and rebranding), and the luxury resort complex Amber Pure Hill, located 1,640 ft. above sea level and featuring a dramatic ocean-view infinity pool.
One of the island’s biggest draws for nature lovers is the Jeju Olle Trail, a 270-mile coastal footpath. After reopening a part of the Songaksan mountain peak in 2021 following a six-year closure, Jeju launched a new six-mile route last summer on Lower Chuja-Do, a smaller, less touristy island outpost. New cultural attractions on Jeju include the recently opened Itami Jun Museum in honor of the renowned Japan-born Korean architect Yoo Dong-ryong, and a family-friendly Little Prince museum. After closing last year for renovations, the X-rated Jeju Loveland, a quirky and popular sex-themed park where erotic art is put on full display, is scheduled to reopen this year.
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