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Enjoy Jeju - WorldSkills General Assembly, Jeju, Korea 13-20 May, 2012

Overview of Jeju

Samdado Island

Samdado Island

Jeju has a mild oceanic climate throughout the year with the smallest annual temperature range in the country. The temperature for the hottest summer months averages no more than 34.7℃ and no less than -1.5℃ or winter.

The island is 73km wide and 41km long with a total area of 1,848 Jeju the largest island in South Korea, came into existence 700 to 1,200 thousand years ago when lava spewed from a sub-sea volcano and surfaced above the waters. Then 100 to 300 thousand years ago, another volcanic eruption formed Mt. Halla. The final volcanic eruption that took place approximately 25 thousand years ago created the crater lake, Baekrok-dam, at the summit of the mountain.

Mt. Halla rises in the center of Jeju to 1950m above sea level. The rest of the island slopes down from its summit and is covered with dark gray volcanic rocks and volcanic ash soil. Relatively isolated from the rest of the world, the island’s nature has been well preserved in its prehistoric state. That is why traveling to Jeju is to travel back in time.

Jeju’s natural environment has been preserved as best as possible. The fantastically shaped rocks decorating the seashores, the hundreds of Oreums(secondary volcanos) and the rarest species of flora around the Baekrok-dam lake are all treasures waiting to be discovered by visitors. One cannot see Jeju unless one looks. It is like seeing only trees before entering a forest.

Three manys, three lacks and three treasures

They are rooted in the special geographical environment of being an island, and its unique folk culture colored by the old Tamna Empire.

With Mt. Halla rising in the middle of the island, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province is covered with strangely shaped rocks, swamps, parasitic volcanoes, craters, caves, grasslands, woods and valleys abundant with animals and plants. The lovely scenery enhances the beauty of the surrounding shallow waters. Shoreline features include strangely shaped rocks, waterfalls, and sands. Mountain and sea make Jeju a natural for tourism.

The rich local culture includes historical relics, native industry and folklore - from Samseonghyeol to the Tamna Empire to traditions that continue today. Our Individual spiritual culture is also of interest to tourists.

Samda : Three abundance ( rocks, wind, women )

  • Three abundance

    "Three abundance" is a famous term in Jeju Special Self-Governing Province. It implies three things which are abundant in Jeju Special Self-Governing Province. They are Seokda (rocks), Pungda (wind), and Yeoda (women). That's why they call Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Samdado: the island of three abundance. Seokda is originated from the Mt. Halla volcanic activity of the past. People had to cultivate the land through a long process of clearing away the numerous rocks covering the lands and then form the inlets for irrigation, then construct the walls for protection against wind.

    Seokda, tells of the harsh surroundings of Jeju. Jeju Special Self-Governing Province is located in the path of typhoons, so the islanders had to fight against the sea. The effect of Pungda and Seokda shows in Jeju life styles. Two examples are the thatched roof of Jeju which is tied up with straw rope, and the fields surrounded by stone walls.

    Yeoda originated from the fact that most men of Jeju were lost at sea, which made women larger in number. Also, women had to come out to the fields with men due to the Jeju's living environment being harsh. Yeoda is a comment on population statistics, but moreover it is a metaphor for women in Jeju working diligently. The famous women-divers who fight against wild waves to catch fish are the very symbol of Jeju.

Sammu : Three non-existence ( thief, gate, beggar )

  • Three abundance

    Sammu is the term meaning there's no thief, gate or beggar in Jeju. From the old days, Islanders have made "diligence, thrift, interdependence" their virtue in order to pioneer rough and harsh surroundings. So they didn't steal or beg, which led to the condition of having no use for the gate. Also, all the houses were the descendants of Tamna or of scholars who were banished due to their great will to keep their principles. Therefore they all valued their honor highly. They also knew everything about each other, which prohibited them from doing anything bad or dishonorable.

    As you see, they valued independence, self-reliance, and honor. So islanders were leading diligent, thrifty, and interdependent lives. They didn't need gates. They only needed to leave the long log on the entrance of the house to let the others know that the owner is out. This log is "Jeongnang".

Samryeo : Three beauties, Sambo ( Three treasures )

  • Three abundance

    - nature, folklore, native industries
    - crop of special use, marine products, tourism
    - generosity, beautiful nature, special industrial structure
    This term was given after 1960 when Jeju started to get world attention for its beautiful tour sites. It embodies the attraction of Jeju. Samryeo and Sambo imply the beautiful nature, folklore, and native industries of Jeju, or three resources : edible crops, marine products, and tourism. Or generosity, beautiful nature, and special industrial structure.

    The beautiful nature of Jeju is already famous inside and outside the country. Royal azalea blossoms of spring, shady nooks of summer, maples of fall, snow scopes of winter on Mt. Halla and the variance of sea surrounding the island, all attract tourists.

    Meanwhile, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province has a very special folklore circle which is quite different from the mainland's. It is because food, clothing, shelter, faith, and customs are unique and peculiar due to its special geographical environment. In addition, being an isolated island, oral traditions such as proverbs, myths, legends, and folk songs are plenty.

    The local industries of Jeju are unique and various. Cultivation of tangerines, pineapples, grapes etc., fisheries based on the abundant water resources, and pasturage have all formed the unique industrial structure. It is well known that Jeju has produced many special products such as abalones, tangerines , mushrooms and ponies, Besides these, Jeju is proud of the generosity of its islanders, who pioneered the harsh environment. These virtues of the Tamna spirit have nationalized into the "Saemaeul (New Community) movement". The faith they had between neighbors and the great generosity toward the guest are pervious Jeju traditions. We believe hospitality is the very best tourist attraction.