Most of Jeju’s rainfall is swallowed up by the porous volcanic rock that forms much of the island, but a couple of waterfalls spill into the sea either side of Seogwipo city centre. To the east is Jeongbang (정방 폭포), a 23m-high cascade claimed to be the only one in Asia to fall directly into the ocean. Unique or not, once you’ve clambered down to ground level it’s an impressive sight, especially when streams are swollen by the summer monsoon, at which time it’s impossible to get close without being drenched by spray. Look for some Chinese characters on the right-hand side of the falls – their meaning is explained by an unintentionally comical English-language cartoon in an otherwise dull exhibition hall above the falls.
The western fall, Cheonjiyeon (천지연 폭포), is shorter but wider than Jeongbang, and sits at the end of a pleasant gorge that leads from the ticket office, downhill from the city centre: take the path starting opposite Jeju Hiking Inn. Many prefer to visit at night, when there are fewer visitors and the paths up to the gorge are bathed in dim light.