Teddy bears are no longer just regular toys. Since their introduction some 100 years ago, those bear cubs have been loved and cherished by nearly every boy and girl on this planet. I was no exception. Hence, when seeing the Teddy Bear Museum in Jeju, I couldn’t stop myself from getting in. It’s simply a trip to childhood.
Opened in 2001, Jeju Teddy Bear Museum is the first of its kind in Asia. The museum is located in Jungmun Resort, a tourist mecca on the southern coast of Jeju-do. Within three floors of this funnel-shaped building, hundreds of bear cubs are on display. Each is handcrafted by J & F’s most experienced artisans and presents a distinctive character. The bear’s costumes also gain a lot of attention, with every fabric and thread being hand-picked.
The exhibition is divided into a wide array of themes, ranging from history, art to Korean tradition. Here you can meet the bear-version of Mona Lisa, The Creation of Adam, as well as Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin. You can also ride the time machine to see the Normandy landings, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, or the Millenium Celebration at Times Square.
Or you can visit a folk village or join a Korean-style wedding. All the scenes are skillfully constructed based on thorough historical and artistic research. A few rare finds are also included, such as the Louis Vuitton Teddy Bear that is worth over $190,000 or SLOW – the world’s largest mechanical teddy bear, reaching a height of nine meters.
Each teddy bear presents a unique character.
The surrounding area is home to four other quirky museums, as well as Jeju’s most popular arboretum – the Yeomiji Botanical Garden. The Jungmun Saekdal Beach is also nearby where you can take a stroll on a multi-colored sandy beach. Nevertheless, the water is not as appealing as in Hyeopjae Beach.
What I do like most about Jungmun Resort, is the way the facilities are blended with the surrounding nature. At first, it sounds like a mega tourist trap. But it’s actually a lovely green area where visitors can take pleasure in Jeju’s nature.
Tips for visiting South Jeju
- Having a strategic location, Jungmun Resort is accessible by buses from both Jeju City and Seowigpo.
- From Jeju City or Jeju International Airport, the Shuttle Bus (Nr. 600) runs directly to Jungmun Resort. It takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- From Seowigpo, take west-bound express buses to World Cup Stadium, and then to Jungmun Post Office. From there, you can either walk (15 minutes) or take the local bus to Jungmun Resort Entrance. The whole trip takes about 40-50 minutes.
- Jeju Teddy Bear Museum is just a short walking distance from the entrance. It’s easily recognised thanks to the glass funnel. Admission fee is ₩10,000. Next to it is the K-Pop Museum and the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum is just across the street.