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TravelJeju Travel
A homecoming of sortsEongtto Waterfall sparkles from childhood memory even without water
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승인 2011.08.27  20:07:49
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▲ Eongtto Water in Seogwipo City after a heavy rainfall. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall

An unforgettable memory from my childhood is going on an excursion to the river close to my village with my family and friends. The stream, which is five minutes away from my house by car, runs through dense woods with water clear and cool as ice. There, as I was paddling, I heard one mischievous boy say that there was a giant waterfall further upstream, at the point where the river began.

I asked my mother if it was true. She informed me that yes, there was a waterfall where a frightening water ghost lived, a specter willing to take unwitting children who had wandered into the stream. I now realize my mother had said that to prevent her seven-year-old daughter from going off through the dark trees and thorny bushes to see the waterfall. Of course, I didn’t go and explore the waterfall because I thought I was the stubborn sort of kid the water ghost had a particular taste for.

Later, when I attended elementary school, I was taught that the stream was called “Akgeuncheon,” and the name of the waterfall located in the stream’s upper region was “Eongtto.” However, it took about 20 years more for me to decide to finally go there.

After arriving by car, I began the walk along the trail road made of lined wooden boards, which lead to the waterfall. As I walked through a green-tinged tangerine farm, I could hear the sound of water and after about three minutes of trekking, I could see the 50-meter-high Eongtto. The giant cliff, which was colored grey, dark purple, and orange, made a marvelous scene as it reflected in harmony with a small pool and the surrounding warm temperate forests.

But there was no water flowing.

That is the characteristic that makes this waterfall special. People visiting here expect to see water continuously flowing. However, the water coursing over the cliff is only visible when there is over 70 mm of rain in the mountains. On the day I visited, I could see some people around sigh with disappointment.

In the 15 minutes I stayed in front of the waterless waterfall, I saw around 19 people, 16 of whom were tourists. This showed its new-found popularity as previously, Eongtto waterfall was a little-known spot in Seogwipo until a famous TV entertainment program “One Day Two Nights” introduced it to tourists.
Lee Myoung Ju from Seoul, who was visiting Jeju with his family, said, “Even though I knew we wouldn't see water here today, we came to see the beautiful scenery ‘One Day Two Nights’ showed.” Another tourist, Kim Hee Jeong from Kimhae, said, “This cliff is beautiful enough itself. I have no idea how wonderful it will be when it rains.”

As one who can remember the story of the water ghost from my childhood, I thought I would visit here the next time it rains heavily and let Kim Hee Jeong know how gorgeous Eongtto really can be.

ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (
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