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Jeju Island Travel Guide

Jeju Island is my second favorite spot in Korea next to Seoul. Known as the Korean Hawaii, Jeju attracts an interesting mix of  drop-dead gorgeous island beauty, a laidback vibe different from mainland Korea,  a more seaside flavor and lots of Korean honeymooners. Jeju City is the most cosmopolitan you’ll get when it comes to restaurants and stores and frankly, I didn’t spend much time here, other than to catch the bus.  I wanted to see the more exotic side of Korea, the one you might see on Korean dramas of a private getaway… not a climbing city.

Where to Stay on Jeju Island

Being the honeymoon capital of Korea, you’ll likely find some of the best hotels of Korea on this island. While you can stay near the airport or on the northern side of Jeju Island, such as Jeju City, the two most popular base camps for tourists are south of the island in Seogwipo and Jungmun. The southern part of the island seems to hold the best attractions.

Seogwipo (Map of Seogwipo City) falls second as one of the tourist destinations, but has less variety. Here’s a map of places to stay in Seogwipo City. Seogwipo is at the south eastern base of Jeju and the last stop on the Jeju Airport Shuttle bus.  There is a bus station in the city and that connects you to a lot of places you’ll want to see.   I stayed at Jeju Hiking Inn (wasn’t keen on it but it’s located near the airport shuttle bus drop). Restaurants will be mostly Korean and much seafood.

Jungmun (map of hotels in Jungmun Area) is the resort area and if you ask me, it’s got the best and most luxurious hotels on the island. Even if you don’t stay there, it’s worthwhile to see the backlots of some of these exaggeratedly posh hotels. Not only are some hotels shooting locations of K-dramas, but they also offer a unique look at luxury Korea.  Many hotels line the cliff overlooking the ocean.

Hyatt Regency Jungmun

I booked a weekend stay at the Hyatt Regency for me and my mum. As one of the Boys over Flowers locations, our room was across the chapel and the cliffside view over the Jungmun beaches was breezy and romantic. Spacious rooms and with touches of high Korean standard, it was an excellent stay(and the rates were good).. Concierge service was helpful and the lobby was large.

Shilla Jeju Hotel Jungmun

Who lets you rent camping tents so you can BBQ on astroturf resort grounds? The Shilla Jeju Hotel does. Rent private cabanas by day or the UV heat lamp ones by night (note: you’ll find these red light heat lamps in jjimjilbangs and spas– they help activate collogen!)

Seeas Hotel Jungmun

For Korean dramas fans,  check out the Seeas Hotel. Film locations to ‘The Secret Garden’ or ‘Boys over Flowers’ and more.  The main grounds are locked off and accessible only to guests, so you can only roam in the garden grounds.


Lotte Hotel

Most Koreans and westerners recognize the Lotte name. It’s becoming a world-wide giant. Who’d craft an enormous ice-skating rink and giant windmill in their backyard? Just say, Lotte Hotel & Resort!

Getting there: Take the airport bus or a bus to Jumgmun Resort. You’ll see a handful of museums as you enter, such as the Teddy Bear Museum and Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

Hera Castle Pension Seogwipo

Hera Castle Pension is a humble pension with garden terrace views, near Alive Museum with great traveler ratings. Awesome for smaller budgets!

View the best hotels on Jeju Island for solo travelers

Getting Around Jeju Island | Traveling Jeju


City Bus, bike, taxi, scooter and car rentals. These are the options. I chose to use the bus transportation with the occasional taxi. However, if you know what you want to see, have little time and want to take point-to-point trips, definitely rent a car.

Car Rental

For Americans, driving in Korea can be a mental switch as Koreans drive on the left side of the road. In mainland Korea, Koreans are known to speed but on Jeju Island, driving can feel laid back with minimal lane choices and freeways.  For the most part, there is one main road that goes around the island and then a couple of roads cutting through it North to South. Bring your International Driver’s Permit and Driver’s License from home.

Scooters  Traffic is laid back enough for travelers to ride scooters but you still have to be cautious around blind corners. In order to rent a scooter you need to bring your International Driver’s Permit and Driver’s License from home.  Read Riding a Scooter around Udo Island


The bus routes are simple to spot on the map but you’ll still need occasional help with knowing which number to catch or where the bus stops are from your hotel.  The bus is efficient, cheap and will give you a nice ride around the island.  For Olle Trails, there’s English translation announcements, which let you know when to get off. Usually, there will be some type of English announcement made either by a computer generated announcement or on the electrical banner inside. If ever in doubt, sit close to the front of the bus near the bus driver and let him know where you’re going. He’ll be sure to let you know where your stop is if he knows you’re a tourist.

Read Taking a bus in a foreign country


Jeju Island is domestic travel in Korea and you can fly direct to and from Daegu, Busan and Seoul via Korean Airlines, Asiana Airlines and Jeju Air. You can also take the Busan ferry. Outside of Korea, from the United States /Hawaii, Asia and abroad, you’ll likely need to do a layover in one of the main Korean cities.

Airport Shuttle Bus to Jungmun Resort or Seogwipo

There is an airport shuttle bus or circle bus located outside Jeju Airport. It will drop you at various locations in Jeju City, Jungmun and lastly, Seogwipo. It’s under 8,000 Won. The bus is a coach bus with AC and comfortable seats.

Jeju Airport Information

Jeju Airport is a smallish sized airport. It has an airport tourist information center where you can pick up free maps and  tourist brochures. Get a map and ask for bus numbers to get around to where you need to go. The map will also help you spot sightseeing areas you’ve not considered.

Visit the Olle desk for Olle walking trails mapThe Jeju Island Olle Information desk is outside baggage claim area. Having a map of the various trails up front will save you much angst figuring out online. Most local buses will announce trail stops but you need to pay attention.

Phone or SIM rental There is no phone rental at Jeju Airport. You will need to rent a Korean phone/internet/SIM at one of the main airports in Korea such as Seoul, Gimpo, Busan. Look for SK, LG, KT telecom companies.

Top Jeju Island Attractions

Top Jeju Island Attractions

Hike Mt. Halla
Dragon Head Rock (Yongduam)
Manjang Cave
Ride a Motorbike on Udo Island
Teddy Bear Museum
Haenyeo Museum
Jeju Ollie Trails
Sunrise Peak
Jungmun Resort area
Jeju Gimnyeong Maze Park
Odoelgae Rock
Sunrise Peak

Jeju Trip Planning: How long should you stay?

I’d say three or four days at the least. A week is good as it provides more coverage of the island and its activities. Then it depends on what you’d like to see.

Jeju has a lot of zany and unusual museums and theme parks.  For those more active, you can golf, hike to the top of Mount Halla (it will take a day) or walk Olle Trails ( 2 or 3 a day depending on ambition).

Udo Island can be visited in a day trip or you can spend a night there if you miss the ferry.  Lastly, if you’re there to visit the beach or take a leisurely drive around the island, the week+ duration is more for you.

How to book flights when they’re “sold out” for Chuseok?

1)  call Korean Airlines (one of the main airlines carriers for that route) direct
2) Ask for Business Class seats.  (* it’s a 30,000W upgrade difference)
3) Book point-to-point travel vs round trip  (you have more control over cities you fly out of & can mix the economy seating with business class.

With Korean Air you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance and still receive a partial to full refund. The penalty is under $20 (maybe even less)


What to Eat on Jeju Island

Unless you’re staying in the little urban dwelling of Jeju City, the island offers a lot of seafood and the standard Korean platter. This isn’t a problem if you know what you want to order your sushi or plate in Korean; you’ll be hard-pressed to find English menus!

For back-end survival, typical cheap eats like bibimbap or kimbap (recognize and learn how to order from one here) are generally loved by foreigners.  If you’re a very picky eater or have dietary concerns, you can do what I did and bring your own stash of instant oatmeal, power bars, dried fruits and nuts!

Another option: shop at local stores or chain western stores such as Homeplus and Emart, where you can get groceries or see your menu in plasticized casings.

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11 Comments. Leave new

  • I know this article is pretty old, but just wanted to point out that cars are driven on the RIGHT side of the road in Korea (like the US), not the left as the article mentions. So there shouldn’t be a ‘mental switch’ for American drivers 🙂 (Perhaps only for drivers coming from countries that drive on the left, such as South Africa, Japan, or the UK.)

  • Hi Christine,

    I will be traveling this July to Jeju Island and have made my flight reservations. I will be traveling alone and want to stay in a luxury hotel without a lot of families. Relaxation is my main priority. If price is not a concern, which hotel would you recommend?

    Thank you,

  • Hi Christine, some great information there. I would like to also add that if you visit Sunrise Peak again, you can also easily visit Seopjikoji 섭지코지 and Hanwha Aqua Planet Jeju 아쿠아플라넷 제주 as they are also right next to each other. From the airport a stop at Hamdeok Beach 함덕 해수욕장 is also a good option. Cheonjeyeon Waterfall 천제연폭포 is also worth checking out IMHO and lastly I found Jeju Traditional Market 동문재래시장 to be great for eating and buying souvenirs. If you decide to go to Jeju Island again, I just got back and had a great time.

  • Sylvie Mullens
    August 5, 2016 4:50 am

    Hi Christine,

    Were you able to rent a scooter on jeju without an international drivers licence. I’m going for a few days and really want to rent a scooter but only have a British drivers licence.

    Thank you

  • Hi, I will be travelling around in Korea in August and September.
    I’d like to ask how many days did it take for you to travel in Jeju island?
    Where are the recommended place in Korea?

    • @Cheryl” I went to Jeju twice – once w/ a friend (7-8?) and once w/ my mother (3 days); Depends on what you want to do and see and the type of transportation you take. Jejudo has so much and more attractions than I listed, so be sure to hit up the Tourist Info & get a map when you arrive. If you’re gonna hike Mt Halla or do an Olle trail, estimate half a day to a day. If you want to ferry to Udo Island; it’ll be a day or two depending).

      Korea: Where to go is dependent on what kind of things you want to see and what you’re into- shopping, art, traditional/historical, activities,etc… Seoul is a must. Busan is the 2nd largest city with a huge seaport. Another thing is to check the Korea Tourism Org pages to see what festivals are going on during the time you’ll be there. Fall should be beautiful in Korea. The leaves change w/ brilliant colors. Hope this helps some!

  • Hi Christine!

    Great post! may i check with on if a 1 day 1 night is enough to explore main (most) parts of jeju?

    • @linus: Apols for the delay…. Unless you rent a car and get started early in the morn, I’d give Jeju at least 2-3 days. Also, depends on what you consider “main spots” bc there really is so much and it’s spread out throughout the island. Museums, theme parks, Halla mountain, olle trails, natural wonders, etc…. You definitely won’t cover most in a day. My itinerary covers “some” of the stuff there is & I did it in a weekend via bus trips. I usually try to milk my days too, but as I said– some of these things are spread out. Would help if you had a tourist map in advance to strategize. 😉
      Besides, if you’re spending money to fly out, why only a day? However, if a day is all you have, then you’ll have to make it work and be content with what you get. I’d target an area and hit the places in that spot. Good luck!

  • Hi Christine

    I would to ask your opinion. Which is the best way to travel to Jeju? By KTX/Ferry via Mokpo or flight? Im a budget traveller.

    Here is my tentative schedule:
    1st day: Go to busan by KTX (getting 5days pass). 2nights stay.
    3rd day: Jeju. Take KTX- Daejeon-Seodaejeon-mokpo. From mokpo, taking ferry to Jeju. 2nights stay.
    5th-10thday: Seoul. 5nights stay

    I am hoping using KTX will minimise the travel time between cities. But on the 3rd day, im abit sceptical about the interchange between daejeon-seodeajeon and hoping can catch the 9am ferry from mokpo to jeju.

    Is it practical to do this way? 🙂 I hope you can shed some lights on this.

    Big thanks!

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