The charming town of SEOGWIPO (서귀포) sits sunny-side-up on Jeju’s fair southern coast: whereas days in Jeju City and on the northern coast are curtailed when the sun drops beneath Hallasan’s lofty horizon, the south coast has no such impediment. Evidence of this extra light can be seen in the tangerine groves that start just outside the city and are famed across Korea. Though the real attraction here is the chance to kick back and unwind, there are a few things to see and do – gorgeous waterfalls flank the city, while water-based activities range from diving to submarine tours.
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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.