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In this article you can find 16 things to do on Jeju Island in South Korea, but also useful information for your visit. For instance, I share the best time to visit Jeju Island, how to get around Jeju Island, where to stay on Jeju Island (Hotel RegentMarine The Blue) and places to eat.
Also known as Islands of the Gods or Jejudo, Jeju Island is a beautiful paradise on the coast of South Korea. Besides being the largest island in the country, Jeju is also home to Hallasan, the highest mountain in Korea. Furthermore, you can find waterfalls, volcano craters, nature parks, beaches and lots of cultural activities. It’s not a surprise that Jeju is a popular vacation spot for locals, holiday seekers and honeymooners. We had an amazing time during our visit on this Island and want to share some of the highlights.
The prices in this article for the touristic attractions and more can change over time. We try to keep this article up to date, but can’t guarantee it.
Practical information for Jeju Island
Some facts about Jeju Island
Jeju Island in South Korea is actually a volcanic island with a surface over 1,846 square meter. It started erupting roughly 1.8 million years ago. It has continued to do so throughout history, until approximately 5000 years ago. Volcanic activity and eruptions created the form of Jeju Island. Mount Hallasan rises 1950 meters above sea level and is the centre of the island. Around this main volcano you can find more than 300 satellite volcanoes.
On the island you can find the natural World Heritage Site Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes. In addition, Jeju has recently won the Global Geopark certificate and has been chosen as the New Seven Wonders of Nature. Pretty impressive, right?
Jeju Island is not only known amongst Korean vacation goers, but it’s also a popular honeymoon destination for Korean newlyweds. They even call it the Hawaii of Korea.
All over the island we encountered stone statues. We later learned these are known as dolharubang, meaning stone grandfather. The first statue was carved from lava rock in 1750 and are now part of the unique cultural heritage of Jeju. Dolharubang are believed to offer protection against demons.
What is the best time to visit Jeju Island
There is not really a bad time to visit Jeju Island, as each season brings it’s own charm. Generally Autumn and Spring are considered to be the best time to visit Jeju Island, since these months offer warm, sunny days, little rainfall and beautiful blue skies. Below we’ll share the four distinct seasons in South Korea and Jeju Island, so you can decide for yourself what season is best for you to visit Jeju Island.
Spring on Jeju Island
Spring falls between April and June on Jeju Island. This is considered to be a good season to visit Jeju Island, as the days are sunny and the temperatures are pleasant. And let’s not forget the cherry blossom season that decorate the trees during this period! It’s an amazing time to explore this island, so there are also a lot more tourists.
Summer on Jeju Island
The temperatures are higher during the summer (July – August) on Jeju Island. During this season there is often also more rainfall, making it a less popular time to visit the island.
Autumn on Jeju Island
Autumn takes place from September to November and is a beautiful time to visit Jeju Island. The leaves turn orange and red, making the island a colourful place. The temperatures are mild, there is little rainfall and there is a lot of natural beauty.
Winter on Jeju Island
From December to March it’s cold and dry on Jeju Island. It can snow in Korea and I can imagine that Jeju Island looks gorgeous when it’s all white. It is probably a lot less busy during this season, but of course it might be a bit harder to visit certain popular attractions in the cold, especially if you want to go on a hike.
How to get around Jeju Island
Before we get to the good stuff, we want to talk a little bit about transportation. Jeju Island is pretty big and unlike Seoul, public transport isn’t the best. Therefore, it’s really useful to have a car to get around. We will discuss the possibilities of getting around Jeju below.
Rent a car on Jeju Island
We really, really wanted to rent a car. It isn’t that expensive: around $25 USD a day. Plus, you have so much freedom if you have your own car! However, in South Korea you can’t rent a car if you don’t have an International Driving Permit (IDP), which is the case in most foreign countries. They don’t make any exceptions and are really strict about it: it’s just not possible to get a car at all from any car rentals if you don’t have an IDP. We weren’t even able to get a simple motorbike. Since we have been away for over a year, our IDP has been expired for a long time already.
So, be sure to arrange your International Driving Permit before you go to Jeju Island if you want to rent a car. This is not a replacement for your driver’s license, but more an extra license for translation.
Besides needing a IDP, renting a car on Jeju is pretty straightforward. And by just googling car rental Jeju you’ll find loads of options.
It is also possible to rent a car including a driver. The price for this was $160 USD for 8 hours. Furthermore, there is also a tour bus, which costs $75 USD per person for a day.
Public transportation on Jeju Island: going around by bus
We had to use the public transportation to get around. We didn’t look forward to this much, as we had learned from our Korean friend that it is pretty bad on Jeju Island. However, it was better than we expected. Yes, the bus doesn’t go as often and it takes a lot longer, but we we were able to go where we had to go.
Like we mentioned in our Travel Guide for Seoul, the T-Money Card is working everywhere in South Korea. So, also on Jeju Island! It does work a bit differently, as you have to tell the bus driver where to go and he sets the amount on your T-Money Card. You do check in and out like in Seoul when entering and exiting the bus. Oh, and in case you were wondering: there is basically only a bus network on Jeju Island, no other means of transportation.
16 Things to do on Jeju Island
1. Climb Mount Hallasan
If you are going to Jeju Island, you should at least visit the highest mountain of Korea and listed UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site: Mount Hallasan. With 190 meters in height, this volcano can be quite the long hike. But, it is not necessarily a very hard one. On Hallasan you can find majestic cliffs, steep slopes, rock formations, and different flora and fauna. There are different trails you can take. So if you’re not a big fan of long hikes, you don’t necessarily have to go all the way to the top.
Hiking on Mount Hallasan is only permitted during the day. Furthermore, they are strict about the time that you can go to the top. When we were there, there was a certain point where you could only pass before 1.30 pm.
The hike was easy for us, until we reached the peak. It got really cold, as there were no trees to protect you from the winds. There was even snow and ice, while at the bottom of the mountain it was sunny and warm. Thus, if you do decide to hike to the top, check the weather and be prepared.
Address: 2070-61, 1100-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Entrance fee: free
2. Watch the sunset at Hyeopjae Beach
Hyeopjae Beach (협재해수욕장) is a beautiful beach located on the west side of Hanrim-eup. The white sand of the beach comes from the crushed seashells from the ocean. The scenery here is beautiful, making it the perfect place to watch the sunset.
Address: Hallim-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Entrance fee: free
3.Visit Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak
Another UNESCO World Heritage site: the Seongsan Ilchulbong. This peak is an easy-peasy climb compared to Mount Hallasan and only takes 45 minutes for a round trip. Seongsang Ilchubong is an extinct volcano with a crater at the top.
Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak is mostly known as being a great spot for watching the sunrise. Usually we are always in for waking up early to experience a great sunrise. However, this peak wasn’t located that close to our hotel, so we decided to go here a little later and skip the sunrise for once. It was definitely still worth a visit, as the views are amazing!
Address: 284-12, Ilchul-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Entrance fee: it was free when we were there, normally it’s about $2 USD.
4. Hike along the Olle Trails
Jeju Island is the perfect place for hikes. The Jeju Olle Trail is a series of walking trails that stretch across the entire coast of Jeju Island. During this hike you’ll come across beautiful landscapes, villages, beaches and forests.
There are 26 different trails routes you can follow. We suggest to take a look at the official Jeju Olle Trail website to choose which route fits best in your itinerary.
5. Visit the kinky, quirky Loveland
This theme sculpture park is based on sensuality and eroticism, and is only open to those that are older than 18. Loveland shows 140 sculptures of men and women in various states of undress and different sex positions.
If you’re looking or something a bit different, then this Loveland at Jeju Island is definitely the place for you. The park is open every day and there is also a glass-dome restaurant, an indoor café and an art shop, so there is enough to see!
Address: 2894-72, Cheonbaengi-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Entree fee: Adults $9, kids $5
6. Explore beautiful parks and gardens
Jeju is especially nice during spring, just like most of South Korea. We were just in time to experience the magical cherry blossoms on Jeju Island, which can be seen all over the island. There are even cherry blossom festivals you can attend if you go during the right time. These festivals are usually held in the area of Jeonnng-ro and at the Jeju National University. If you want to experience Jeju during the beautiful cherry blossoms, the right time to go is from late March to the second week of April.
But even when it’s not Spring, there are beautiful gardens and parks to visit on Jeju Island with gorgeous plants and flowers. We just stumbled into one public park near our hotel, where we found countless beautiful flowers. If you’re going to Seongsan Ilchulbon, you’ll also encounter lots of them. You can find flowers almost everywhere on the island.
7. Get lost at Gimnyeong Maze Park
Jeju Gimnyoung Maze Park is a unique maze park in the shape of Jeju Island. In addition there are images that can be seen from above, so luckily there are skywalks and an observatory from where you can see the whole maze.
Gimnyeong Maze Park is located between two other big tourist attractions: Manjanggul Cave and Gimnyeongsagul Cave. So it’s easy to combine two or three of them together in one day trip.
Address: 122, Manjanggui-gil, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Entrance fee: Adults $3, kids $1 USD.
8. Learn about rare plants at Yeomiji Botanical Garden
Yeomiji Botanical Garden has over 2000 rare tropical and subtropical plants and flowers. They have a Flower Garden, Water Lily Garden, Jungle Garden, Cactus Garden, Subtropical Fruit Garden and an observation platform.
Address: 93, Jungmungwangwang-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Entree fee: Adults $9, kids $5 USD.
9. Chase Waterfalls on Jeju Island
Unfortunately, we didn’t chase any waterfalls during our stay, but we just had to include them in our blog. Jeju Island has lots of them and we wish we had the time. If you manage to rent a car during your stay, it will also easier to go to at least one of these waterfalls, and we highly recommend it. Even if we haven’t been there ourselves, the reviews are good and they look stunning!
We listed a few of them below.
- Jeongbang Waterfall
- Cheonjeyeon Falls
- Sojeongbang Falls
- Eongtto Falls
10. Walk over Seonimgyo Bridge and watch Cheonjeyeon falls
This beautiful bridge is located over Cheonjeyeon Waterfall or The Pond of God. Seonimgyo Bridge has seven nymphs carved on both sides, which symbolise the seven legendary nymphs that would descend from heaven at night. The bridge connects Cheonjeyeon falls with Jungmum Tourist Complex.
Address: 132, Cheonjeyeon-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Entree fee: Adults $2, kids $1 USD.
11. Learn about the culture and history of Korea at Jeju Folk Village Museum
At Jeju Folk Village Museum you can learn more about the history and culture of Korea and Jeju Island. There are more than 100 traditional houses and 8000 folk in this cultural village. In total there are four villages: Mountain Village, Hill country Village, Shamanism Village and Fishing Village.
Address: 631-34, Minsokhaean-ro, Pyoseon-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Entree fee: Adults $10, kids $6 USD.
12. Explore Manjanggul Cave
Manjanggul Cave is a UNESCO World Heritage landmark in Korea and is one of the finest lava tunnels in the world. The cave is 13,422 m big, of which only 1 kilometer is open to tourists. In the tunnel are various animals, such as bats. It’s definitely an interesting visit during your time on Jeju Island.
Address: 182, Manjanggul-gil, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Entree fee: Adults $2, kids $1 USD.
13. Learn about tea at the O’Sulloc Museum
The O’Sulloc Tea Museum has the aim of introducing and spreading Korean teas and the traditional tea culture of Kore. At this museum you can find a tea gallery, eco-friendly resting area, and a café where visitors can enjoy a variety of tea-based desserts.
Address: 15, Sinhwayeoksa-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Entree fee: free
14. Have fun at Jeju Waterworld
If you’re looking for a fun activity with kids, Jeju Waterworld might be a great place to go. Here you can go for a swim, or relax at the sauna, or work out at the fitness center or take a indoor golf lesson.
Address: 31, World Cup-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, Korea
Entree fee: Adults $24, kids free (when under 3 years)
15. Go Island hopping to Udo Island
It’s possible to go island hopping to different islands that are located close to Jeju Island. For instance, Udo Island, which is situated off the eastern coast of Jeju Island. Udo Island is a smaller version of Jeju Island with different natural attractions.
Address: Gosumui-gil, Udo-myeon, Jeju-do
Round trip: $8
One-way to Udo: $5
One-way from Udo: $3
16. Try traditional food of Jeju Island
Of course Jeju Island has its own specialities! As it’s isolated from mainland Korea, the food has had it’s own development over the years. Some of the traditional foods to try from Jeju Island are: Grilled Sea Bream, Hairtail Fish Soup, Jeju Black Pork and Seafood Hotspot. For more traditional specialities, check out this article by 10mag.
Where to stay on Jeju Island
Hotel RegentMarine The Blue
For a very comfortable stay on Jeju Island we recommend Hotel RegentMarine The Blue. It’s conveniently located near the airport and various sightseeing spots.
One of the wow-factors definitely was the view from our Deluxe Double Room; the ocean just seemed endless. If you decide to stay here, please get a sea view room! In addition, the room was very clean, the shower was amazing, and we loved our comfy bed.
They have some great facilities as well, including a fitness centre, seasonal rooftop pool (too bad it was too cold when we were there!) and a free self-service laundry room. On the ground floor they have Latif, an excellent restaurant where they serviced yummy breakfast. We especially liked the pancakes.
As we mentioned earlier, we really recommend renting a car. Jeju Island is so big, and al the fun activities are spread out over the island. Hotel RegentMarine also has free parking for guests, which is ideal. Luckily, there are several sightseeing spots near the hotel. Just a few of them are:
Yongduam Rock was created over the course of thousands of years. Wind and waves have formed this rock that resembles a dragon’s head.
Jeju Mokgwana is the former government office under the Jose dynasty. It has been reconstructed after it was destroyed during Japanese rule.
Jeju Folklore and Natural Museum and Jeju National Museum, where you can learn more about the history and culture of Korea and Jeju.
Samyang Black Sand Beach is a beautiful beach with black volcanic sand.
Where to eat on Jeju Island
If you decide to stay at Hotel RegentMarine, we have two recommendations for restaurants close by. Ofcourse, you can also try out the restaurant of the hotel; Latif. Plus, if you like seafood, you can have a look at the promenade for plenty of seafood restaurants!
I love Gimbap
We are not even sure if this is the restaurant’s name. I Love Gimbap was written on the outside of the venue so we just assumed it. But, the outside also had some Korean words on it that could have an entirely different meaning. Unfortunately we could not find it online.
It is really close by Hotel Regent Marine and it’s only a small venue. If you find it; go eat here. It’s seriously the best Korean food we had, plus the cheapest too! We ate here for two nights and both times we only spent $15 USD, which is so cheap for Korea.
Tapdong Family Restaurant
Great Italian restaurant. We recommend this place if you’ve been craving a good pizza or pasta after all that Korean food. Although the menu is not very extensive, it’s definitely high quality. And quality over quantity right? The best dish we had at Tapdong definitely was the Salmon pizza. However, if I remember correctly this was the special of the day, so they might not have it while you’re there. The pasta and lasagna were excellent too!
There is really so much more to do on Jeju Island. If you have only a few days, we really recommend to plan your visit wisely. We especially liked Hallasan and Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, but a visit to those locations already can take up a half or even full day. Be aware that those activities, especially Hallasan, can be a bit tiring.
We hope this article proves useful and if you have any comments or questions please let us know!
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