Vacations are as much about going somewhere as they are about leaving behind your familiar town and everyday chores. Mainlanders may be currently fighting for scarce air tickets to Jeju Island for their summer holidays, but islanders dream about escaping from Korea’s top holiday destination, according to a survey conducted last year by the Korea Tourism Organization.
Some 17 percent of Jeju residents questioned in the survey picked Seoul as their favorite holiday destination, followed by 5.9 percent who selected Jeollanam-do, though nearly 60 percent said they would have no option but to relax in Jeju during their summer vacation.
Seoul is consistently voted the most preferred destination among young Jeju residents who plan to take a break from the island. “I will visit Seoul with my girlfriend this summer,” said Park Eui Jang, a graduate student at Jeju National University. “We plan to enjoy the city’s colorful cultural activities and do some shopping.” Kim Dong Cheol, an undergraduate student, is particularly interested in watching a baseball game in Seoul or Busan, one leisure activity the island does not offer.
Kim Hong Soo, a manager of KT&G’s Jeju branch office, will use this vacation to let his children experience what Jeju has never offered – train travel. Kim’s family visited Kangwon-do last year and they plan to travel the mainland by train this year. For occasional travelers from the only rail-free province in Korea, KORAIL currently offers travel packages that combine a ferry cruise from Jeju to Mokpo and a KTX bullet train ride from Mokpo to Seoul.
Jeju islanders usually travel by plane to the mainland and some reason that if they have to fly at all, why limit their travel to Korea. Many choose to visit Japan or China for this reason and Kang Kun Ho, a local undergraduate student, is one of them.
“Compared to a trip to Seoul, it doesn’t cost that much more to travel to Japan,” Kang said. He plans to travel around Japan this summer during his school vacation.
But why travel to Seoul or other destinations when Jeju’s deluxe hotels offer luxurious but affordable summer packages for visitors and islanders alike? For those unwilling or unable to leave Jeju this summer, the island offers surprisingly cheap alternatives.
The Hyatt Regency, Shilla Jeju, Haevichi Hotel and Resort and other top hotels sell scores of summer discount packages a few weeks before the peak season. These packages usually include a free breakfast or dinner buffet, spa treatments and gifts and are available at 200,000 won to 300,000 won per night. Without the added cost of flights and other transportation costs to the mainland or further afield, a splurge in one of Jeju’s top hotels may be the most affordable and value-packed option for islanders to enjoy their summer break.
Similar hotel packages in their own city have been a popular holiday option for many Seoul residents who want to avoid the hassle of packing and traveling. Jeju, with a colorful array of top hotels easily comparable to those in Seoul in terms of luxury and hospitality, can offer a similar experience for those islanders who choose to relax on their home island.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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