What to do in Jeju, South Korea
Jeju Island is a beloved and tropical gem south of the Korean peninsula. The largest island in the country, it’s known fondly by locals as “The Hawaii of Korea”. This popular vacation spot boasts some of Korea’s most beautiful sights including Hallasan, Cheonjeyeon Waterfalls, the Olle Trails and more!
I traveled to Jeju in May and enjoyed some of the most beautiful spots Jeju has to offer – albeit it was still a bit too chilly to fully take advantage of the highlights of the island. Consider booking a trip during the warmer summer months to see Jeju at its finest!
But don’t you worry, I have you covered on what to do, where to stay, how to get there and all of the Jeju tips you could ever need, no matter the time of year 😉
10 Things To Do on Jeju Island.
1. Hike the island’s coastal Olle Trails.
2. Hike Halla Mountain – Korea’s tallest mountain.
3. Soak up some sun on Jeju’s popular beaches – Jungmun and Gwakji beach.
4. Wander the Manjanggul lava cave tube and see one of the world’s tallest lava pillars.
5. Climb to see the Seongsan Ilchulbong Volcano Crater and enjoy watching the Traditional Diving Women do their thing.
6. Eat Hallabong everything – chocolate, juice, cake and more!
7. Marvel at the Jusangjeolli Cliffs.
8. Chase the Cheonjiyeon Waterfalls – there are three!
9. Find your zen at the Sanbanggulsa Temple and see the famous giant Buddha statue.
10. Laugh and play at Loveland among the kinky and erotic statues.
Ok so I didn’t actually go to Loveland myself – I chose to hike Olle 10 to see the sunset instead! However, the kinky amusement park with humorous phallic statues is a very popular tourist destination. Travelers have a lot of fun posing with the statues and marveling at the sometimes monstrous proportions! You can find out more information on their website here.
Where to stay in Jeju.
- We stayed in the Blue Hawaii Hotel on the northwest shore of the island in Hallim Eup, but everything was handled through our tour operator. The hotel was an ondol style hotel and was fine for budget travel.
- I recommend looking into staying in Jeju City as well. There is more going on in the city as the island is pretty spread out.
- Booking.com, Agoda.com and Airbnb.com are my three favorite websites for searching for and booking travel accommodation. You can’t beat Booking.com’s free cancellation!
How to get to Jeju.
- Consider taking a tour. We went through Enjoy Korea for their weekend trip during Buddha’s Birthday and it was an easy and affordable option. Our tour included all travel, transportation, accommodation and excursions and we had the freedom to go on our own if we wanted – for only $400! Enjoy Korea and WiNK are just two of the English friendly tour companies in Korea.
- Flying to Jeju is by far the shortest and most convenient mode of transport to the island. If you’re flying to Jeju from within Korea, most major airports have direct flights to Jeju. The best budget airlines include companies like Jeju Air, AirBusan, T’Way Air etc.
- Taking the ferry is an affordable but also time consuming option. I recommend taking the ferry only when traveling during peak holiday season to avoid insanely marked up flights or when the flights have completely sold out. The ferry leaves from Mokpo and you can find more information here.
Jeju Travel Tips.
- Compared to the rest of Korea, taxis in Jeju are expensive! Try to minimize your taxi rides if possible to avoid the cost.
- Consider renting a car to have more freedom on the island. Jeju is small, but many of the best tourist sights are spread across the entire island and can be hours apart. Avoid relying on expensive taxis or tours and rent a car! You’ll need an International Driver’s Permit to rent/drive in Korea.
- If you’re a budget traveler, consider ondol style hotels, they’re cheap!
- Bring your walking shoes. What makes Jeju so great is the wonderful nature to walk through and explore.
- Flights to Jeju (and to anywhere from Korea) can sell out months and months in advance during peak holiday season. If your travel happens to be during Korean national holidays, be sure to book your flight at least 6 months in advance or you’ll risk it being sold out!
- Flights are also insanely expensive during holiday time. Try to avoid the peak times if you can. Those include:
- Buddha’s Birthday in May
- Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) in October
- Christmas/New Years in December
- Lunar New Year in January/February
Are you looking for more travel tips? Check out my 20 Travel Tips of South Korea to make your trip the best it can be!