Jeju Island: Jeongbang Waterfall
Two thousand years ago, a man stepped onto Jeju Island sent by Emperor Jin (BC 259 – 210) of China to find a magical elixir that would make the emperor immortal. Finding no such thing on the island, he came to a waterfall and naturally carved his name ‘Seobul’ into the cliff where the water fell.
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Another account has it that it is ‘Seobulgwacha’ carved into the stone, meaning Seobul passes by the place, or Seobul heads back west, in which case he was marking his path somewhat like Hansel and Gretel on his way back home. It’s too bad Seobul didn’t take some of this water back to the emperor with him though as the Jeju people believed that a holy dragon lived under this waterfall and the water with the holy spirit of this dragon has been said to cure illnesses and bring rains during droughts.
Belief in these tales or not, this waterfall is very unique as it is the only waterfall in Asia that falls directly into the ocean. It was one of the most breathtaking spots we saw on the island. That said, we were lucky to see it as it flowed. There are some seasons when it’s more difficult to see it with such a flow. After purchasing a ticket and walking around the small ticket booth, steps lead down to the base of the Jeongbang waterfall (정방폭포). There’s a platform midway down to take in the whole scene and get some all-encompassing shots of the 23 meter high waterfall shooting over the cliff and falling to the rocks below that lead to the ocean. The whole area is pretty impressive. Once to the bottom of the man-made steps, to get a good shot in front of the falls you’ll have to carefully walk on the rocks leading to the pool at the base of the waterfall. People are all there with the same idea and thusly maneuver precisely and adeptly to get a good shot and then get back again so that others can get a shot as well. It all seemed practiced and easy enough to figure out where the best shots could be taken.
Are you going to Jeju and want to know where to stay? Check out The Shilla Jeju, Ocean Palace Hotel or Kensington Jeju Hotel for an amazing stay on this amazing island in Korea.
As with many of the other natural wonders on the island, it seems to be a place to get a photo with friends or family and then jump into cars and depart for the next photo opportunity. There are some small buildings at the top offering snacks and drinks beside the parking lot, but other than that there’s nothing else to do in the vicinity. That being said, it is still a notable stop off on the island. I found it to be pretty magnificent as I don’t often look upon waterfalls and the water was spraying us and felt awesome in the heat of the autumn sun.
If you’re headed to Jeju Island, don’t miss out on hiking up Halla Mountain, check out the grotto on Sanbang Mountain and don’t miss Yakcheonsa Temple. There’s also a great little island you can visit off the coast called Gapa Island.
Jeongbang waterfall (정방폭포)
서귀포시 동홍동 278
278 Donghong-dong Seogwi-po, Jeju, Korea
Buses: 1, 2, 9, 730, 780, 900
From Jeju Airport: Take a limousine bus and get off at the Paradise Hotel stop, follow signs for a 5 minute walk to Jeongbangpokpo Waterfall.
Summer: 8AM – 7PM
Winter: 8AM – 6PM