Jeju Island is one of my favourite destinations. I go quite often, but so far only in spring, summer and fall. I regret not getting there in winter.
The gardens are prolific. All along the highways in the spring and summer there are thousands of hanging baskets of gorgeous flowers.
sits in the Pacific just off the southern shore of South Korea and it has the perfect climate for tropical flowers. Too hot and humid for my liking, but the plant life thrives.
It's my favourite island paradise, small but....
Good things come in small packages!
Think you'd like to visit? Get more information here at the Life in Korea website.
The picture below is Halla Mountain in the distance and the foreground is the massive volcanic rock that creates the fertile soil on the island. In the spring, the island is covered in cherry blossoms and brilliant yellow canola fields. All around Halla Mountain, the landscape is electrified with fuchsia azaleas. Spring is the the most colourful time to visit... with your camera!
There are lots of native fruits and vegetables in the gardens and orchards. You might find baskets of red peppers that make fabulous colourful photos... like these red peppers drying in the sun.
The island is famous for its Hallabong and tangerine oranges. I've never tasted such delicious oranges. Yes, the hallabongs are quite expensive but you'll totally understand why when you put the first slice into your mouth.
In the Traditional Korean Village - Drying peppers to make the spicy Korean traditional food.
Yeomiji Botanical Garden takes the lion's share of my time when I'm on the Island. Come see why!
The garden is in the posh Jungmun Resort (say it “Jung-moon”) on the southwest Pacific shore of Jeju-do. About 50 minutes drive from Jeju City.
The conservatory is a central observation tower with five adjoining greenhouses. From above it has the shape of a sunflower but from the ground.... the unit looks somewhat like a UFO.
It only takes one visit to see why this Jeju Island botanical garden claims to be the largest and best in Asia! Go here to see why.
The Jungmun Resort is the area for top notch hotels and they're all adorned with sensational gardens. It's the humidity, heat and the volcanic soil. Kind of the perfect recipe for a botanical explosion.
This photo is of the Hyatt Resort... they have the most spectacular site on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. The gardens and the site itself attract the movie industry and lots of weddings. In fact, the Hyatt has it's own small wedding chapel surrounded by gardens on the lawn.
There's a climb down to two separate beaches, one on each side of the hotel. One is the popular, beautifully sandy beach with beach volleyball games. The opposite side is Black Rock Beach that's more secluded and it's my favourite.
I was at Yeomiji Botanical Garden, sitting on a bench in the centre hall and there it was... hovering beside my arm. I thought it was a hummingbird at first but couldn't explain the long siphon in place of a beak!
... First encounter with one of these strange beings.
Meet the hummingbird hawk moth (Sphingidae)! Absolutely incredible and,
no, the video isn't in fast motion! This fellow is about the size of my
little finger and insanely fast.
He rolls that little siphon up and then he shoots it out again into another delicious flower.
It was almost impossible to get the video camera to focus because he's a speedy Gonzales and he's got a teeny-tiny body.
The photos are from Jeju-do but the video was taken at Daegu University. These little nectar lovers adore honeysuckle and there's lots of it on campus!
It seems there aren't any 'real' hummingbirds in South Korea and hummingbird hawk moths have a widespread presence presence throughout the world.
Jeju-do is a hotspot to visit in East Asia and I whole heartedly urge you to visit. The entire island is one big garden and everywhere is lush greenery.
My favourite place to hang out is around Seogwipo and Jung Mun Resort on the south shore. So much to see and do with Yeomiji Botanical Garden and flowers around the International Convention Centre. With the high humidity and heat, the Island is a lovely large greenhouse where the plant life thrives.
Make sure you pick up a box of hallabong oranges. If they aren't in season you'll find the tangerines. Don't worry because they stock boxes of them at the airport. You have never tasted such juicy, sweet oranges like the ones on Jeju-do.
Other goodies you can pick up for a refreshment along the way... sip some refreshing coconut water, it's healthy. I always went straight for the fresh squares of fresh pineapple on a wooden skewer. Juicy... sweet... oh yum.
Another must-see is the tea fields, tea museum and green tea products at O'Sullac Green Tea Fields.
The Island is busting with photo opportunities for nature and flower photographers. Take the detour if you're in Seoul or you'll be so sorry you missed out.