Cheju, South Korea

Map of Cheju Typical statue on Cheju, Korea

Cheju is a large island off the south west coast of South Korea. Its main income comes from tourism - Korean and Japanese. Cheju is also famous for these: harubangs, statues carved from the volcanic rock in the form of bug-eyed old men with a slight hunch wearing phallic hats. It's the symbol of Jeju, like Easter Island's statues, and you can buy cheap copies all over the island.

As it is also the god of fertility, the statues can these days be seen in temples and even homes for obvious reasons. Today, 41 remain on Cheju Island.

Pagoda by suspension bridge, cheju cheju suspension bridge for pedestrians

We walked from the ship to see the "Dragon Rock" which was the thing to see on Cheju. The footpath crossed a stream by a very scenic footbridge.

Dragons head rock, cheju old graveyard, cheju

The silhouette of the dragon-shaped Yongduam Rock on the north coast apparently looks quite real at sunrise. It was formed by underwater volcanic eruption and the lava solidified when it came into contact with water. My view was that it was not really worth the walk to see it, but hundreds of Koreans were there photographing and gazing in wonderment.

Cheju statue typical cheju stone statue

It was difficult to know which of the statues were original and which were modern - one came across them everywhere, and we must have seen more than 41.

fruit vendor, cheju

Fruit stalls were popular with the locals and were certainly a healthier option to the icecream or candy floss that would have been sold in the equivalent sort of mass tourist venue in the west.

no fishing korea indoor market, cheju

We walked back into town past a local fishing beside a no-fishing sign, and on to the indoor market selling mainly fruit and fish

canal in Cheju, Korea

The original river had gunged up with pollution and slums, so had been re-developed in recent years into a pleasant canal. I think they were re-circulating clean water, and the stream was diverted away underground.

After this brief stop, it was over the channel to Kagoshima in Japan.

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