World

Sun and Seafood on Korea's Jeju Island

Jeju, South Korea's southern-most island, has long been a favorite winter destination for Asian tourists seeking warm weather and beautiful beaches. It is also renowned for delicious—and relatively cheap—seafood; Japanese tourists often fly to the island to enjoy sashimi at a fraction of the price they'd pay back home. Trademark dishes include broiled sea bream, rice porridge with abalone, and hairtail fish soup. One of the most popular seafood restaurants, Chun Jae Yun, in southern Jeju, offers splendid views of the Pacific.

The thriving dining scene is just one reason the island is booming. Jeju also boasts several top hotels that cater to foreigners. The Shilla, Lotte and Hyatt hotels in the southern resort town of Choongmoon look out on both beaches and rainforests, and offer such activities as fishing, snorkeling and boating. World-class links lure golfers; the newly opened Saint Four Country Club is equipped with European-style villas and a karaoke bar. Ten casinos, open only to foreigners, provide plenty of diverse gambling opportunities. The Hotel & Vegas Casino, run by the U.S.-based Gillman Group, attracts rich Chinese gamblers who come in chartered planes to enjoy the private VIP rooms where betting limits are high.

There's more to come. The Malay Chinese business group Berjaya is building a $1.8 billion resort complex in Jeju, aimed at affluent Chinese tourists. It will include several huge hotels, golf courses, a shopping mall, a casino and top-class Chinese restaurants. The Korean government is also building a Disneyland-type amusement park, a Chinatown and shopping outlets—all guaranteed to build up an appetite for seafood.