Yongduam Park in central Jeju City. Here be dragons.
Predominantly the administrative and population capital of Jeju island, Jeju City is also likely the first and final stop for tourists, playing host to Jeju International Airport as well as the major domestic ferry terminal.
The city is fairly large yet compact, located on the north side of the island and sandwiched between Mt Halla and the coast.
The city consists of the the old downtown (Jungangno 중앙로) to the east and the surrounding areas of Tapdong (답동, a port district north of Jungangno, also romanized as Topdong) and Yongdam (romanized differently on almost every sign: if it helps, there's nowhere else on Jeju with a similar name, the rock seems to be spelled Yongduam -- 영두암 -- and the surrounding suburb Yongdam -- 용담 -- on Naver). The inter city bus terminal lies just south of Jungangno.
Tucked slightly inland to the southwest lies Shin-Jeju: Jeju's new high-rise commercial quarter and where the modern Korean high-rise apartments reside. A humongous traffic intersection in Shin-Jeju acts as a western hub, feeding cars and buses across the entire west side of the island across one of three major highways: one coastal, one interior and the alpine 1100 meter road.
Finally, on the coast both north of Shin-Jeju and west of Jungangno lies Jeju International Airport.
Inter-city buses, and the Airport Limousine (inter-city bus #600) travel frequently between Seogwipo on the south side of Jeju for 3000 won or as low as 1000 won from nearby rural townships. Intercity buses will terminate at the Bus Terminal, but all arriving via the west side of the island will pass by the stop outside Halla Medical Center.
Jeju City has an inner-city (shin-nae) bus system that is equally as effcient as it is poorly marked for tourists. Bus shelters have lists of stops in Korean only, but the stop names are mostly fairly non-descript and require you to have local knowledge or a map to make any sense out of them. Bus maps are not available from tourism centres, but English station lists can be obtained, the relevant information from which is reproduced below:
Jeju International Airport - 36, 37, 100, 200, 300, 500
If this system was not frustrating enough as it is, you may have to transfer to go most places and the announcements tend to be quieter than on the mainland... except the Chinese one which mistakingly sounds like something somewhat rude to an English-speaker. Listen out for this when having to transfer between buses. Buses cost 1200 won.
Nothing in downtown Jeju is more than approximately 2 km from anywhere else so whilst not convenient, walking is quite feasible, and sometimes even faster. This includes the areas of Yongdam, Tapdong, Jungangno and the inter-city bus terminal.
Wooden Government Complex. Frogs are conspicuously absent.
Yongduam Rock and Yongyeon Pond, Yongdam (Take the #36, #37, #63, #300 or #500 to Yongdam Junction and walk, or just wander over from downtown or Tapdong.). A large piece of volcanic rock said to be the solidified remains of Yimugi, a water dragon. Whilst the legends behind just how he got himself turned to stone in that position vary, it hasn't diminshed his influence, as the surrounding suburb is called Yongdam by extension: literally "Dragon's Head Rock". Just about 100m to the east one can find the lesser known, but probably prettier Yongyeon Pond, a picturesque canyon straddling a pleasantly turquoise pond with a pavillion perched overhead. Again, a dragon features heavily in the legendary history of this site, but simply that it visited. A festival is held here in May. If all this talk of dragons is making you want to sit on a horse for some reason, then there is an old guy out the front who aggressively and inexplicably offers this service for a fee. Both sites are lit up spectacularly at night.Free. edit
Jeju Wooden Goverment Offices (Jeju mokkwana (제주목엣관아)), (In downtown, follow the signs to the ''wooden gate''), ☎ 064-728-8665, . A comparably nice set of historical buildings in central downtown Jeju City. What's unusual is the existence of a nicely landscaped square pond in the complex, and its tumultuous history of getting built in lieu of a well, destroyed due to an irrational hatred of noisy frogs and ultimately rebuilt.1500 won. edit
Halla Arboretum (Halla sumokwon(한라수목원)), (Take the #63 or #300 up to the carpark, or walk up the hill from Shin-jeju. Alternately, there is a rear entrance up the hill south of KC TV in the carpark of the Korean Military HQ.). Take a stroll through some botanical gardens. This is actually one of the nicest arboretums in all of South Korea, as it is both well-established and located up on the lower flanks of Mt Halla at the back of Jeju city. The gardens wind themselves over the foothills, giving tantalising views of the coast and Mt Halla through the trees. The ~2km walk from the arboretum to the rear entrance at the military complex is also pleasant and follows the southern limits of Jeju City through a rather atmospheric pine forest.Free. edit
Jobs are available as English teachers throughout the year in private institutes (hagwons). However, whilst public school jobs exist via the official EPIK programme , the reality on Jeju is that no more than a couple of positions open per year, as it is by far the most requested and lowest turnover region in the entire country, above both Seoul and Busan. See the main South Korea page.
Dongmun markets, some utterly humongous traditional markets exist in Jungangno. As expected, they sell a lot of fish. Furthermore, modern, Western styled shopping can be found in the underground mall out on the main road.
Department stores such as Lotte and E-Mart exist in Shin-Jeju.
Although not within actual Jeju City, Geumseong Village, just South of Gwakji Beach, West Coast, is administered by Jeju City. And there you'll find one of the most unique and friendly places to eat and drink on the island. The name is Le Pirate. They specialize in crepes and galettes with cider, and have a lovely restaurant space too. A hidden gem!
Opposite Hotel Impress there is a row of seafood restaurants. The one closest to the sea has very friendly staff and serves a great meal.
Modu-modu (모두모두), Jeju-si (Just up the hill and on the right from KCTV, if you reach the military HQ you've gone too far.), ☎ 064-744-5555. A rather large and upmarket Korean restaurant. The restaurant is built in the oddball "mushroom" style with outdoor dining in summer. The food (and the interior design alike) is a modern fusion of Chinese and Korea styles. Mostly serves large expensive group dining platters and course meals, but has an extensive lunch special range for under 10,000 won. Featured in a 2010 SBS K-drama.edit
Try Hallasan Soju: the local brand of Korean firewater, soju. Expect to pay 3,000 won a bottle in a restaurant, 1,000 won in a shop. Very strong.
The Factory, Ido 2-dong (Behind Tom'n'Toms near City Hall). Open til late. Newly couple-owned by Douglas and Eun Bin who have plans for an organic brunch menu.In the meantime enjoy mini concerts in this unique venue. Very friendly atmosphere and decent drinks list to boot.edit
Tak Tak, Ido 2 dong 1146-6, Gu Jeju (In a side street behind City Hall), ☎ 0647216068. 5pm to 5am. Traditional style for drinking mageolli rice wine with a choice of pancakes or stews. Very friendly owner. Service with a smile!10,000 to 12,000. edit
Jjimjilbangs are fairly common across Jeju city. With all of them, expect to pay under 10,000 won for sauna access, a locker in which to put your stuff, cotton pyjamas or a robe and a patch of heated floor to pass out on. Most are listed below:
You&I Guesthouse, Gwangyang 8-Gil, Ido 2-dong
This guesthouse come hostel is in Old Jeju City, near City Hall. It's run by some very friendly people. Just like Yeha down the road, it provides eggs and toast with coffee for breakfast. Call 0647535648, uniguesthouse.com
A room with a double bed is good value at 50,000 won.
JeJu Joyland, Jeju-si, Aewol-eup, Aewol-ri, 82 (Take the bus 37at Jeju airport and get off at last station Hagwi then transfer to bus going Aewol (5mins from Aewonro bus station)), ☎ 010-3131-5270, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. log cabin pension, Family/Group rooms available, kitchen, washing facilities, WiFi.edit
Jeju Burim Jimjilbang, Sin-jeju, Jeju-si (Between Jeju Grand Hotel and Marchen House Apartments in Shin-Jeju). Jjimjilbang on the west side of town.edit
Hani Guesthouse, Jeju-si, Hallim-eup, Geumneung-ri, 1258 (Take a bus from the Jeju-si local bus terminal gate No.11, get off at Guemnueung-ri (금능리) bus stop (1 stop after Hallimpark)), ☎ +82-64-796-5000, . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. Aimed at younger travellers. A hotel like atmosphere with all the usual amenities like a communual kitchen/lounge area, washing facilities, PCs, WiFi.Dorm: from 18,000KW - Private Standard/Deluxe Room Available. (33.41998,126.514435)edit
Yeha Guesthouse (cheap & clean), 561-17, Samdo 1-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, South Korea, ☎ +82 64 713 5505, . Beautiful guesthouse(hostel) located near the Jeju Bus Terminal. English,Chinese,Japanese and Korean available. Domitory, Double, Double+1Single and Double+2Single rooms are available. New and clean with beds in a shared room starting at 19,000KRW. edit
Tap Changito, Tapdong, Jeju-si (From Jungangno, walk down to the harbour and turn left. It's behind the E-Mart near a Dunkin' Donuts). Despite having ocean views, this jjimjilbang on the north side of town mysteriously lacks any windows on the inside. Three main spas, with the largest in the men's being myseteriously garlic scented. Sleeping mats are eschewed in favour of a great big foam thingy across the entire floor. Headrest cubes still in short supply, so use towel bundles. More open plan than most so can get noisy. Also has a cinema and comic book library.8000 won. edit
Yongduam Sea Water and Sauna Club, Yongdam, Jeju-si (On the coast road near the Leisure and Sports Park). Another jjimjilbang on the north side of town. Convient to pop into after visiting Yongduam Rock to see the illumination at night.edit
Ilchul Bulgama, Gu-jeju, Jeju-si (Opposite the Culture and Arts Center near Samseonghyeol). edit
Dong-cheon, Jungangno, Jeju-si (Down a little alley on the south side of the road, near the stream at the east end of the underground shopping mall.). Jjimjilbang downtown.edit
Top Motel, see webpage for map/directions (Its in the tap-dong area), ☎ (064) 753-8001, . checkout: noon. A very standard motel but completely adequate. Rooms with a computer/ethernet are an extra 5,000won. Air con, bathtub, fan, hot water, big TV etc. Manager speaks a little bit of English. No website but you can see review, map and photos on the linked URL here.Double room 30-40,000, negotiable. There may be a bed in a 3 bed dorm for 20,000. edit
Hotel Impress - Great seaview with large comfy beds, a PC, TV and a couch. Bar upstairs. Large windows give it plenty of sunshine. 50,000 for seaview rooms, 40,000 for others.
CF's Motel - A nice, if slightly tacky motel near the seafront. Some rooms have round or heart-shaped beds (ask at the front desk). Some rooms have a small bath. ₩40,000 per room. ₩5,000 for rooms extra for rooms with a PC.
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