Korea Day 6: Jeju Island pt. 1

With the rest of my family finally at Korea (they arrived on Day 5), we spent our first full weekend at Jeju Island. It's the largest island in Korea, and is a popular vacation destination because of its temperate, almost tropical climate. Think of it as a greener, more humid California. Palm trees line the roads, and the coastline is rocky and beautiful.

Manjanggul Lava Tube

Jeju Island was formed through volcanic activity, so it has a lot of cool volcanic landmarks. The Manjanggul Lava Tube is the most famous of them, and we went to see it right after we arrived. While the tube itself is 7.4 km long, visitors are only able to walk through 1 km of it. Because the tube is underground and very dark, it was hard to get any decent pictures out of it without a tripod.

Manjanggul Lava Tube Entrance

Entrance sign to the lava tube.

Jeju-like lava rock

One of the rocks inside the tube, showcased because it's shape closely mimics the shape and topography of Jeju Island.

Me with lava column

Me in front of a lava column at the end of the walkable tube

Haenyeo Museum

After visiting the lava tubes, we learned about the Haenyeo, female divers from Jeju. The word "haenyeo" literally means "sea women", and for hundreds of years have been diving off the shore of Jeju to harvest seafood. In this way, women in Jeju families were the head of the household, making money by selling the seafood they harvest each day. It was really interesting to learn about this tradition and the matriarchal family structure of these Jeju families. It's unfortunate that with the modernization of society, the number of haenyeo is declining, with the average age of the haenyeo now at around 70 years old.