Jeju Island is the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula and one of the most underrated, beautiful places we’ve ever been! Also called ‘The Hawaii of South Korea,’ Jeju offers up beautiful picturesque landscapes, hiking, volcanic landforms, and beaches. You will truly be blown away by Jeju, we certainly were!
When To Go To Jeju Island:
South Korea’s climate has four seasons, so there is never a bad time to visit, depending on what you want to do/see. Cherry Blossoms are abundant during the spring months from April to June, which tend to be the most popular months, besides autumn from September to November. Do note that from July to August is the monsoon season.
How To Get To Jeju Island:
Jeju Island is only a quick, 1-hour flight from Seoul. JejuAir is a budget friendly airline with great service in flight, but note that if you call Jeju Air, it is tough to get an English-speaking agent. This airline offers the most leg room in coach that I’ve ever seen on any flight, ever, worldwide.
How To Get Around Jeju Island:
Taxis are extremely affordable on Jeju Island for short distances and easily found at the airport, in town and summoned by your hotel.
Hire A Driver:
For $150,000KRW ($133.46USD), we hired a driver for 8 hours to take us to all the major sights, as we didn’t want to navigate the bus system and were pressed for time. We’ve NEVER had a kinder, more amazing driver than Brian Lim (in all of our travels). He was very knowledgeable about the places we went, helped us to get our tickets/take photos at every destination and spoke great English. If you’d like to contact him, here is his info:
If time permits and you’re on a tight budget, the bus system can take you all over the island, at a very affordable rate. Do note that many buses only come once per hour, so you may be stuck waiting a lot.
Rent a Car:
Renting a Mini Cooper is the favorite choice in Jeju. This is the easiest option and when we return for our next trip, we’ll certainly be doing this. Jeju Island is spread out quite a bit, so if you’re planning to see sights all over the island, then it’s best to rent a car.
Where To Stay On Jeju Island:
Near the Airport: Astar Hotel
Astar Hotel is a 5 minute drive to airport. This hotel should be a 5 star hotel, as it has outstanding amenities and service. The gym is fantastic as well (squat rack, bench, free weights, treadmills, modern equipment) and, with the price, you cannot go wrong here. The cost is around $60USD/night. I wouldn’t recommend staying here, as it’s quite far away from all the top sights all over the island, but it’s a great hotel for transit.
Near The Best Attraction: Sunrise Peak
We wish we would’ve stayed near Sunrise Peak, as the town is quaint, with a lot of things to do/sights to see. It is a one hour journey south from the airport. There are many different types of accommodation here, from 5 star to backpacker friendly. You can check out Agoda for hotels near Sunrise Peak, as I don’t want to recommend one that I haven’t researched or stayed in myself.
Things To Do In Jeju Island:
Jeju Island is far larger than we anticipated, which totally set us back in our sight seeing. Definitely have a plan when you come to Jeju, otherwise you’ll surely miss out on some of the sights. We ended up hiring a driver for a whole day to take us to the top sights, but we surely didn’t see or do all we had hoped for!
Sunrise Peak (Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak):
Sunrise Peak is a MUST see! Formed by a volcanic eruption in the middle of the ocean, this is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight. It takes about 30-minutes to hike up steps to the top, but be sure to do so for some epic views of the city, ocean and the large crater at the center. It’s one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been! You also have the option of staying extra time to watch the incredible Women’s Diver Show, which shows twice daily. Cost for entry is $2,000KRW ($2USD) per person. Sunrise Peak is located 1 hour driving from the airport and 20-minutes from the Manjunggul Cave.
Manjunggul Lava Tube:
The longest lava tube in the world, Manjanggul Cave spans out like an underground palace and is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight. The total length is 1000 meters. Be sure to go to the end, it’s worth it! Bring a long sleeve and good walking shoes, because it’s chilly inside with an uneven walking surface. Cost per entry is $2,000KRW ($2USD) per person. The cave is located 40-minutes driving from the airport.
Jungmun Daepo Jusangjeolli (Columnar Joints):
The largest columnar joints in South Korea can be found at Jungmun Deep Jusangjeolli. Picture oceanic cliffs surrounded by beautiful blue waters with tall rocks that were formed from lava lining the sides. It’s breathtaking! Cost per entry is $2,000KRW ($2USD) per person. Travel time to the columnar joints is one hour from the airport and 1 hour from Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (Sunrise Peak).
Waterfalls In Jeju (3):
There are three major waterfalls in Jeju Island:
Cheonjeyeon Falls- the largest of the three waterfalls in Jeju.
Jeongbang Waterfalls- the only waterfall in Korea where the water spills directly into the sea. This one is the most gorgeous of the three.
Nanta Theatre (Performance):
Nanta Cooking Show is a non-verbal performance show with music, comedy and drama. In 2004, it made it’s first appearance on Broadway. Luckily, there are multiple locations all over Seoul and even in Bangkok if you miss out on the one in Jeju. Cost per entry varies by location, but ranges from $70,000KRW ($61USD) to $40,000KRW ($35USD) per person. If you happen to miss the Fanta Cooking Show on Jeju, there is also one in Seoul!
Hike Mount Hallasan:
The highest mountain in South Korea, Hallasan Mountain was formed by volcanic activity and is a very popular destination for hiking with it’s six different trail options. We didn’t have a whole day available to hike the mountain, but we took a beautiful 1-hour drive through it after leaving Jungmun Daepo Jusangjeolli (Columnar Joints), which I’d totally recommend!
Jungmun Saekdal Beach:
With it’s white sand and blue water, Jungmun Saekdal Beach is Jeju’s most popular beach.
What to Eat In Jeju:
Black Pork at Donbaedon:
Dombedon is a Michelin star restaurant, rated for it’s delicious black pork. They only use meat raised from pigs on Jeju Island.
You can’t come to Korea without eating Korean BBQ! Just ask your hotel concierge for the best near younear you!
Jeju is known for it’s seafood and, with an abundance of restaurants to choose from, you’ll feel overwhelmed! Be sure to ask your hotel or check TripAdvisor for what’s recommended in your area.
Upon arrival, be sure to get a map and a travel guide, it’ll help you a lot while you’re there!
When you book a hotel, ensure it’s near Sunrise Peak.
The local currency is the South Korean Won.
South Koreans are some of the kindest people we met on all our travels! You’ll love their warm smiles inviting personalities.
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XOXO The Traveling Blondie
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