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What do you usually think about when you hear the word « mermaid »? Apart from the legendary aquatic creature -with the upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish-, does a grandmother wearing a lead-weighted vest and goggles comes to your mind? Probably not, right? Well in South Korea, that’s exactly what a mermaid means!

The mermaids living on Jeju Island are actually Korean female divers (or “haenyeo” in Korean). What do they do? Unlike fishermen who go out in boats or use a rod or line, these women dive in the ocean without any special tools to gather clams, abalone, or seaweed. They plunge into the 20-meter depths where they stay underwater holding their breath for two or three minutes (don’t forget we’re not talking about teenagers but mostly grandmothers!). Once they come back to the surface, they make a whistling sound, which is their unique way of breathing out the carbon dioxide and breathing in fresh oxygen. No wonder they’re called mermaids!

So let’s all sing together: “Who run the Sea? Grandmothers!”



Where to see haenyeo in Jeju?

The Haenyeo Women Diver Show is available at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. in Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak) except bad weather. You can see the women are catching seafood and you can buy the seafood from them.


Read more about Jeju Island:

The best things to do and see in Jeju Island

A Secret Place of Jeju Island – Jeju Olle Trail

About Jeju Island

Dol Hareubang: Jeju-do’ stone grandfather

Jeju Canola Flower Festival


Check out our Jeju tours: Jeju private tours

Check our main website for the largest selection of Korea Private Tours

Jeju Island Mermaids - Haenyeo Jeju Island Mermaids Jeju Island Mermaids


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One Comment

  1. Matthew Ranieri

    Incredible!!! I am without words.I want to go there some day.

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