Jeju Island in South Korea is a stunning volcanic island in the Korea Strait. With beautiful beaches, waterfalls, lush forests, and a long history of tourism, Jeju Island welcomes visitors to its natural wonder. Whether your goal is to traverse hiking trails through lava tubes, or something more low key, a vacation on Jeju Island can only result in rejuvenation. Of course, no vacation is complete without some shopping to bring a little bit of the vacation magic home with you. Read on to discover some of the best finds in Jeju Island, South Korea, and be sure to add it to your holiday shopping list! Here’s what you should buy in Jeju Island, South Korea.
1. Dol Hareubang statue
Dol Hareubang statues are an iconic part of Jeju Island’s culture. Stone statues carved from the island’s porous volcanic rock, these life-size statues are a bit mysterious, a bit shamanic, and 100% unique to Jeju Island. Meaning, “grandfather made of stone” in the local Jeju dialect, these guardians of the island are said to ward off evil spirits. You can find these statues in a variety of sizes for sale, as well as being transposed onto magnets, pens, and all things purchasable. Find these small statues in souvenir shops which are plentiful on the island.
2. Jeju tea
Jeju tea is a wonderful present to bring home to loved ones as it is easily transportable and delicious! Jeju tea is green tea that is grown on the island, and whose tea plantations can be visited. Osulluc is one of the top tea companies on Jeju Island and offers a Jeju Tea Museum, which should not be missed. Purchase tea on-site as Osulluc roasts their tea at the same location as the tea plantation and museum. Though not cheap (a bag of tea can go for as much as 30 USD or 26.73 EUR), the Jeju tea is a distinct product of the island.
3. Hallabong makgeolli
Hallabong makgeolli is the island’s very own Korean rice wine, traditionally sipped out of a bowl. It has a milky, off-white in color when poured, and has about 6-8% alcohol. Strangely, this alcoholic beverage is actually extremely nutritious with lactobacillus bacteria 500 times the level in yogurt! This drink is best served chilled and usually runs for about 17 USD (15.14 EUR). Korea’s oldest liquor, this drink dates back to the Three Kingdoms era, as early as the first century BCE.
4. Mandarin chocolate
One can never go wrong when choosing to buy chocolate as a gift, and the Mandarin chocolate from Jeju Island is no exception. These delicious treats infused with citrus are a trademark of the island. Wrapped in sunny colors, Mandarin chocolates make a wonderful treat for anyone on your list of presents. The tangerines are grown on Jeju Island, whose season runs during the winter, and can actually be picked as a part of your Jeju Island experience on u-pick farms. Light and easy to carry home, this Jeju Island souvenir is a no-brainer.
5. Art from Seogwipo
Seogwipo is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon browsing art. Also known as Lee Jung Seop Street after the famous Korean painter who lived in Jeju during the Korean war, this street is an artistic refuge for those creating and selling art. With art of all scales and sizes, taking home a piece of Jeju Island’s art is a memorable way to spend your money. Whether you are a real art aficionado and plan to bring home a canvas, or you just want something small to remember the island by, you will find it in Seogwipo.
6. Jeju honey
Jeju honey is locally sourced honey harvested from the mountains of Jeju Island. The honey can be purchased in stores and is renowned across the world for being made from the wildflowers that bloom all over Jeju island. Jeju honey makes a wonderful present for anyone on your list, or as a sweet reminder of your time on the island.
7. Jeju onggi
Jeju onggi are traditional clay ceramics made on Jeju Island. Rich in clay from the island, the ceramics are breathable and lend to the fermented food culture of Korea. Used as tableware, Jeju onggi is a true rarity to the island. The earthenware has a notable shine to it without being glazed, stemming from the volcanic ash prevalent in the traditional art form.
8. Mini sculptures from Love Land
So maybe this trinket won’t be for your mother. Love Land is an outdoor sculpture park featuring sculptures in various sexual positions, and with a mission to provide sexual education. Quirky yet not-to-be-missed, Love Land surely cannot be forgotten. Take home your very own mini sculptures of the many creative poses possible, as a token of your time at Love Land.
9. Jeju cosmetics
Jeju Island has become somewhat of a haven for those seeking natural cosmetics. With a flourishing ecosystem, the ocean, and volcanic rock, natural properties are key ingredients in these unique beauty products. Items such as volcanic clay mask, lava seawater essence, and green tea serum are all products produced on Jeju Island. Luxuriant and beneficial, Jeju cosmetics are a way to enjoy the island long after leaving.
10. Dried and salted seaweed, or laver
Salted seaweed, or laver, from Jeju Island, is a long-standing tradition of being collected by some seriously amazing women, named haenyeo. Laver is used in a variety of dishes in Korean cooking, from gimbap rice rolls to bibimbap. The easiest way to transport the laver is of course, dried, and it makes for a great travel snack as it is full of nutrients.
The magical island of Jeju
Jeju said to be the “Hawaii of Korea” is a verdant, beautiful spot to vacation at. With incredible nature, opportunities for art and culture, as well as being rich in local cuisine, you will love this Korean gem. With such great options for souvenirs to buy while at Jeju, you just may need one of each! Carry this list with you and check the items off as you go.
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