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Jeju Island (제주도,濟州島) [15], formerly Cheju Island, is an island off the southern coast of South Korea, in the Korea Strait, southwest of Jeollanam-do Province, of which it was a part before it became a separate province in 1946, and more recently Korea's first and only Special Autonomous Province. Its capital is Jeju City.


Hallasan in Jeju Province.
Jeju dol hareubang aka the "grandfather statues".

Jeju Island, also known as the "Island of the Gods," is a popular vacation spot for Koreans and foreigners. It remains the top honeymoon destination for Korean newlyweds. Despite attempts to market the island as "the Hawaii of Korea," climatologically and geographically it bears little in similarity to the Hawaiian Islands in the U.S. The island offers visitors a wide range of activities: hiking on Halla-san (South Korea's highest peak) or Olle-Gil (routes), catching sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, riding horses, touring all the locales from a favorite television K-drama, or just lying around on the sandy beaches.

Although tourism is one of the main industries on the island, many of the hotels and other tourist areas are run by mainland companies, so much of the income never gets put back into the local economy. Also, since the attractions are geared toward tourists, many of the entrance fees can be hefty (although the locally owned and operated ones tend to be cheaper). Similar to Gyeongju and some other areas, local residents can enter most places for free or for a steeply discounted price.

Jeju is Korea's capital for unusual theme parks and niche commercial attractions. Oddly somewhat of a duopoly has developed on the island with typically two competing variants on the one theme in Jeju-si and Seogwipo-si, respectively. This trend extends even to the most bizarre ideas with pairs of sex, glass, and teddy bear museums all in existence.

The local traditional culture stands in stark contrast to the mainland (and much of Asia) as being matriarchal. Stemming from this basis, and some odd tax reasons, the role of seafood gathering on the island has been dominated by women. As such, a common sight around Jeju's coastline is that of the "haenyo" or "woman diver", a figure that has become somewhat iconic of the island. Perhaps even more iconic are the "Dol Hareubang" or "grandfather statues", giant basalt statues. You will often see them outside restaurants, plus a few are thrown into any tourism site for good measure.

Much of the northern coast of the island is densely built up, and not particularly attractive. Some of the more attractive beaches of the island, however, are at the western part of the north coast at Hallim. The south coast of the island has more been developed as a tourist destination. Although the island is no longer than 70 km, travel times between different parts of the island are relatively high (especially by bus), and your stay on the island will strongly be affected by where you decide to stay and what transport you will be using. Renting a car may turn out to be useful (and an international drivers licence is obligatory for foreign drivers, so prepare for this.)


Jeju has a typical humid subtropical climate greatly affected by the east asian monsoon season. Winters are by far the warmest in South Korea and the island is usually revered as an escape from the cold in the mainland. The northern part of the island (e.g Jeju City) and the interior are slightly colder than the southern part (e.g. Seogwipo) but temperatures usually range from 3°C (37°F) to 9°C (48°F). Cold waves rarely strike the island but below-freezing temperatures occur multiple times each year. The record low is -6°C (21.2°F) in Jeju City and -5.8°C (21.6°F) in Seogwipo. However, snow showers are common, due to the ocean snow effect, and Jeju City averages 19 days every year with wintry precipitation, while the south isn't as prone to such effects, as evidenced with Seogwipo that averages 11 days every year with snowfall.

Summers in Jeju are hot and humid with highs typically around 30°C (86°F) and lows just below 25°C (75°F). Really hot temperatures are rare (the record high is 37°C (99°F) in Jeju City and 36°C (97°F) in Seogwipo) but the humidity may make the heat feel oppressive. Most of the precipitation falls as thunderstorms but they can be really intense. Jeju is more prone to hurricanes than any other part of South Korea and when they strike they have the potential to be powerful (although they don't very often).


Jeju Special Autonomous Province

Jeju has two major cities, on the central northern and southern coastlines:

  • Jeju City - the capital and where you will arrive if coming by plane. Most of the attractions on Jeju Island are outside of the city, so if you don't have your own form of transport it's only worth spending time in the city for the wider range of bars and restaurants.
  • Seogwipo - located in the south of the island, and close to a wide range of tourist sites. Also home to Jeju's World Cup Stadium and the Jungmun Tourist Resort Complex.

Furthermore, smaller villages dot the coastline and eastern and western interior. The following lists a few of note roughly clockwise from Jeju City:

  • Gimyeong - village closest to the Manjangmul Lava Tube and adjacent Gimyoung Maze.
  • Seongsan - village in the east of the island, conveniently located for Udo Island and Seongsan Ilchubong, a volcanic crater. The village has a number of interesting seafood restaurants and can make for a pleasant overnight stay, but be aware that there are no nightlife options (apart from a disproportionate number of marts for the size of the village).
  • Udo Island - a tiny island off the coast of Seongsan great for an afternoon countryside bike or ATV ride.
  • Gangjeong - small coastal village just west out of central Seogwipo. Non-noteworthy if not for the fact that it is the proposed site and thus ground zero for the battle over keeping naval bases off Jeju.
  • Hallim - also romanised as Hanrim. Close to many inland themeparks and golf courses but in an area generally poorly serviced by inter-city buses.


As the tourist trade in Jeju Island has grown larger in recent years, it is increasingly common to find some taxi drivers who speak English, Japanese and Chinese, especially in Jeju City. The vast majority of service and tourist industry workers, however, are still monolingual. Don't expect to find many people who can speak English. Prepare in advance to present on your phone or on a piece of paper addresses, destination names, etc. written in Korean.

Natives of Jeju island speak a dialect of Korean that is very different in vocabularies rather than the accent compared to the standard dialect spoken in the Seoul area. But all staff in the tourist industry are required to speak standard Korean, so this will not be a problem in places such as bus terminals, the airport, and most districts in the city.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Jeju international airport (IATA: CJU, [16]) has a total of 23 airlines providing direct flights (thirteen local, ten international). The vast majority of flights to Jeju are from Gimpo (Seoul's domestic airport) or Busan; there are five flights a week from Jinju/Sacheon airport (HIN), there is also one direct flight per week to Incheon, seven direct flights per week to Tokyo Narita, seven to Osaka Kansai, four to Beijing, flights to Shanghai Pudong, Nagoya, Shenyang, Fukuoka, Dalian and Changchun, plus a flight to Hong Kong.

Eastar Jet [17] also started operation from Jeju to Seoul Gimpo, Gunsan, and Cheongju. Asiana Airlines [18] offers even more destinations and flights from as low as KRW22,000. So they might even challenge the price of a ferry. Despite being budget airlines, they offer good service and are willing to change flights (including refunding the difference if you change to a cheaper flight). This offers a convenient way for travellers to fly into Jeju from all over Korea or leave Jeju to any destination required - the best option is you are flexible.

Unfortunately, travel between Jeju and almost anywhere outside of Asia is not very convenient. Most itineraries will require either changing airports (likely in Seoul between Gimpo and Incheon), or spending a night in some other city. Your best bet is to try to sandwich the flight to Jeju between time in other cities in Asia. Jeju airport is undergoing active expansion so keep an eye out as more convenient routes may pop up in the near future.

Upon leaving the terminal, you will see taxis as well as two bus stands, one for the inner-city Jeju City bus services, and one for the Airport Limousine service to Seogwipo (more information about this service below).

By boat[edit]

Jeju port has five direct routes. Only 6% of total travelers come in and out of Jeju by sea, which can be explained by the very competitive flight fares. Ferry services are comparatively slow but of reasonable value after factoring in accommodation savings made on overnight ferries. There are daily services from a number of ports. Reservation can easily be done via phone, just ask you local tourist information or guest-house.

  • Busan - Mon–Sat, 11h overnight, 7PM departure both to and from Jeju port. Third class (sleeping on the floor) KRW51,550, second class bed in a small shared room KRW74,000, and first class also available. For return journeys you must buy two single tickets (no discounts) and tickets can be brought at the ferry terminal up to the day of departure providing there is availability. The boat contains a restaurant, bar and small shop.
  • Mokpo - 2 daily ferries, 3h 10min - 4h 30min duration. From Jeju to Mokpo, 9:30AM and 4:30PM. Economy tickets cost around KRW30,000-38,000 one way. These tickets are just for a floor space. Follow the lead of the Korean Ajumas and bring a blanket and a picnic. For busier journeys (weekends/summer), the boat is a large liner, and has many amenities like a restaurant, convenience store and cafe. However, off-peak, the smaller ship is a lot more basic. Seated areas cost around W50,000 one way. There's a free shuttle bus service from Gwangju at 6:30AM, but you should probably ask a Korean for help booking it.
  • Incheon - 13 hours
  • Wando - 3 daily ferries, 1h 40min - 5h. From Jeju to Wando, 8:20AM, 2PM, and 4:30PM Mon-Fri, 12:00PM Sat, 12:00/5:50PM Sun. It is a little more time consuming to get to and from Wando compared to Mokpo, but else it's the same.
  • Nokdong - 1 daily ferry, 4h, from Jeju to Nokdong, 5:10PM.
  • Nolyeogdo (노력도): [19] runs a boat twice a day between Jangheung county and Seongsan in Jeju island. It takes 2h to connects both cities and the cost is KRW31,000 one way.
  • Yeosu -

Get around[edit]

Buses and taxis are the main method of public transportation. Some locals prefer bicycles to cars, especially in areas outside of the Jeju City metropolitan area.

While most of Jeju is within 2 hours driving distance from any point by car, travel times can easily exceed two or even three hours when traveling by bus and factoring for transfers. It's also worth noting that most traffic lights in Jeju are notoriously timed to let only one through lane or turning lane go at a time. If you're in a rush somewhere, just remember this fact.

By bus[edit]

Jeju Bus Information System [20] to find information about the available lines in Jeju Island. You can use the T-money transportation card on these buses. Buy a T-money card at any convenience store, costs 4000 won + the amount you want to charge. A one way bus trip would cost around 1000-5000 won depending on the distance.

There are four major bus networks on the island:

  • A good network of inner-city (shi-nae) buses run around Jeju City for a flat fee.
  • Similarly, a second network of inner-city buses run in Seogwipo, spanning out to some of the surrounding tourist locations on the southern end of the island, such as Jungmun Tourist Resort Complex.
  • Furthermore, an extensive series of inter-city (shi-wei) buses run between the inter-city bus terminals of Jeju City and Seogwipo by one of a number of different routes. All buses servicing western Jeju pass by Halla Medical Center in Jeju City and most by Jungmun Tourist Resort Complex in Seogwipo making these alternate departure points. Prices for the bus vary by distance between KRW1,000 for a short trip and KRW3,000 to go between the two end points. The ones cutting the centre of the island (primarily feeding the start points of the Mt. Halla hiking trails) tend to cease operation around sundown, but the coastal routes run until late (around 10pm, although many routes stop earlier). As such it is easy to jump on and off, although the cost can mount up. Note that the English information on the island often erroneously translate shi-wei buses as "local bus" so don't be too concerned if you're directed to the "local bus terminal" when traversing the island end to end.
  • The Airport Limousine (route #600) bus runs every 18-20 minutes between Seogwipo and the airport in Jeju City express, stopping only at a few select stops, including Jungmun Tourist Resort Complex (and International Convention Center), World Cup Stadium and terminating at the Seogwipo KAL Hotel.

All buses on Jeju accept cash or Seoul's T-money transit cards, but do not accept Busan Mybi, Daejeon Hakkumi nor Daegu cards.

In many intercity buses, when you enter the bus, you must tell the driver where you plan to go when you get on the bus. He will then push a button, which will display the fare on the reader. You then tap your T-money card on the reader, or pay the right amount in cash. Have the destination stop name available in Korean to show the driver! In intra-city buses, i.e. local buses to get around Jeju city, tap the T-money card when you get on and tap once more when you get off.

By taxi[edit]

While the taxi rates are reasonable for short trips, the island is large enough that the fares can add up. The initial meter charge is at KRW2,800. Hiring a taxi for the day costs about KRW100,000, but the driver will likely not speak much English, so have the hotel write down the itinerary ahead of time.

By car[edit]

Car hire is a good option to see the island's many sights, but this requires an International driving permit. Do not assume that your driving license will be accepted here, regardless of how widely it can be used. Hiring an English-speaking tour guide costs about Kw 200 000, plus car expenses (about KRW50,000 for up to 3 people so a private car can be used, more than that requires a van and a separate driver).

By motorcycle[edit]

Despite the frequent high winds and heavy precipitation, many people enjoy getting around the island by motorcycle. There are a number of places that offer to rent scooters and motorcycles, some of which will be able to speak English and provide rental agreements in English as well. Most well known are Mr Lee's Bike Shop [21] in Jeju City, downtown near Hanguk Hospital, and Scooter & Free Zone [22] in Seogwipo, behind Seogwipo Middle School and just northwest from Jeongbang Falls. Note: All legitimate places require an international driving permit to rent a scooter, unlike places that are more relaxed, e.g. Thailand. The legality of foreigners driving motorbikes on Jeju are unclear, and differ from place to place.

Scootering at night will present some notable dangers, so plan and proceed carefully if crossing the island after dusk. Most of the interior highways, including the 1100-meter alpine route, will be unlit except for your paltry headlight. Grooved sections of highways near junctions or slowdown areas can be dangerous if approached while going even half the speed limit. Using the separate bikepaths is tricky, as they often are in rough condition. Lastly, higher elevation roads can be starkly colder than the sea-level streets, so keep a warm jacket handy.

By bike[edit]

When the weather is adequate, you can ride around on a bike in Jeju much easier than you could in the rest of South Korea. There is less traffic, wider roads and it is possible to travel the island entirely by bicycle, although this would take several hours. Several of the more well-trafficked highways and roads have separate bike paths their entire lengths.

See[edit][add listing]


The world's largest known lava column, in Manjanggul Lava-tube.
Seongsan Ilchubong, aka "Sunrise Peak". Also pretty at sunset.
  • Manjanggul Lava-tube, (Jeju North Coast), 064-710-7908. A 7 km cave, of which only a 1 km part can be accessed by the public. The tube is up to 23 m high and has been created by lava streams running through. Bring a jacket, since it is fairly cold and water drops from the ceiling. The lava-tubes can be reached by taking the coastal bus from Jeju, then walking the 2.5km from the bus station. It's possible to hitchhike as most cars on the road from the bus station will also be heading to the lava tubes. One of Jeju's three UNESCO World Natural Heritage rated attractions.
    If you are up for something more adventurous, you can try visiting Gimnyeonggul Cave, which is closed but there is an easy to cross gate hidden on the other side of the road from the local cafe, which is 2 km away from the highway with the #702 bus stop. Please be aware this is potentially dangerous and not very legal, but there are no English signs and the atmosphere and size of the two cave are impressive and well worth it. If you have a head lamp with you, even better. After some kilometers the huge lava tunnel probably leads to Manjanggul.
    KRW2,000 for Manjanggul.  edit
  • Seongsan Ilchubong, Seongsan, 064 783-0959. This is the famous round almost-island you'll see pictures of everywhere in Jeju. A 180 m high tuff volcano, quite literally named "Sunrise Peak" because climbing to the top to view the sunrise is a popular activity (or, hoping to see it, due to most mornings being foggy!) About a 25 minute walk to the top, covering over 600 steps. Very imposing from a distance, but less so on approach and the very top would be somewhat anticlimatic to anyone but a rock-licking geologist. Still worth the visit though. As a bonus, on the cliffs off to the left as you ascend, there is a stairwell down that leads to a place where you can see regular performances of the Jeju Women Divers group. One of Jeju's three UNESCO World Natural Heritage rated attractions KRW2,000, if the booth is actually active.  edit
  • Hallim Park, [1]. Take a stroll through a 27,000m2 botanical garden including 2 lava caves. The park's total area is divided into 16 gardens, including a tropical garden, garden of Washington palms, a garden of foliage plants, bird garden (including the possibility of feeding small colorful parrots on hand), and a bonsai gardens with bonsai trees that are over 150 years old. Also has a Folk Village. Admission KRW10000. Closes at 18:00, with last admission at 17:00. For those entering the park late, please note that the gardens are best visited in the suggested order, as the ones early in the itinerary are closed soon after 17:00.  edit
  • Hyeop-jae Beach. Probably the most attractive beach on the north coast of Jeju, two kilometers west of Hallim, and on the other side of the street from Hallim Park. Clear turquoise water, beautiful white sand, with dark grey volcanic rock, with a couple of pool-like areas good for children. Like other beaches on the north coast, the beach is partly next to a row of not-too-attractive concrete buildings, but part of the beach is next to a nice forested area with a very pleasant atmosphere. Reachable by bus from Jeju City in 50 to 60 minutes, and best combined with a visit to Hallim Park.  edit
  • Yeomiji Botanic Garden. A big indoor botanic garden with halls of cacti, tropical fruits, flowers, water lilies, and much more. Yeomiji is home to a total of 2000 species of rare plants and 1700 species of flowers and trees. There are also open gardens in Japanese, Italian, French and Korean styles. The Garden is 1,120m2 and is described as one of the best botanical gardens in Asia. KRW8,000.  edit
  • Iho Beach, (about 7 km west of Jeju-City). The beach closest to Jeju City, small and not really attractive, but OK for a swim or kids playing in the water and sand. Main feature is two types of sand, one dark gray, one yellow which produces brilliant structural effects in the water. There is a variety of diving schools in town. Best seen during the late summer months, when the water is not too cold for swimming.  edit
  • Jungmun Lava Columns, (10-minute walk behind Jungmun Resort's Football Stadium). A cove full of boulders [2], but boasts spectacular hexagonal lava columns seeming to melt into the sea. Parking at the football stadium and walking about 10-15 minutes offers a much more natural approach to the cove, as the opposite way from the rest of Jungmun Resort can be snagged with tourists. Although a bit hazardous, it's possible to climb the column escarpment for a breathtaking view of the sea, however less adventurous tourists who paid the ridiculous KRW2,000 charge to stand on a viewing platform about 200m away might be annoyed. * <see name="Seopjikoji" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">Koji means a cape in Jeju dialect. It consists of the bow shaped Gojaut Koji near the sea and Jeongji Koji near the beach. It was a filming place of the Korean drama "All In" So a lot of Korean sightseers visit. Walking along the sea, you may feel like you are in the ocean.  edit
  • See Cheonjiyeon Waterfall, Jeju's most famous waterfall, and the Jusangjeolli (columnar basalts) in Seogwipo.
  • Visit Yongduam (Dragon's Head) Rock in Jeju City.

Folk Villages[edit]

  • Seongeup Folklore Village (Seongeup Folk Village), [3]. The "folklore" is a bit misleading, this is actually an authentic traditional Jeju village in which (some) people actually live. Unfortunately, while there is a bit of signage in English, to really appreciate and understand this place requires a tour guide or book. Free.  edit
  • Jeju Folk Village Museum, [4]. Not to be confused with the above, this is a created museum that presents a vivid and lively exhibition of the island's cultural assets. Built on an area of over 150,000 square meters, the village has reconstructed and moved living structures from varies styles. Get the audioguide: a steal at only Kw 2000. Pace yourself, seeing everything can take up to 4 hours. Kw 6000.  edit
  • Folklore and Natural History Museum, [5]. The museum is divided into four exhibition halls: natural history, folklore, special resources, and an audio-visual room. It contains natural history of the island as well as relics, animals and plants that are found around the island. The stuffed animals are popular among children.  edit


  • Jeju Education Museum. Shows the traditional culture and history of Jeju. There are several life-sized exhibits which can help picture the history better.  edit
  • Jeju Independence Museum. Chronicles the struggles of Cheju-do residents against the Japanese during the 20th Century. The main building has 2 floors of exhibit halls, as well as a small movie screening room. Outside are several monuments.  edit
  • Haenyeo Museum, 3204-1 Hado-ri Gujwa-eup, [6]. Museum dedicated to the Haenyeo (woman divers). KRW1,100.  edit
  • Jeju Teddy Bear Museum. Millions of people around the world collect Teddy Bears and they seek out old, unique, and valuable teddy bears for their personal collections. The Jeju Teddy Bear Museum opened especially for the European collectors and is more exciting than ever with special "Teddy Bear" entertainment. Some scenes from the popular Korean Drama "Goong (궁)" was filmed in this museum.  edit
  • Green Tea Museum. Located among actual plantations of green tea, this museum is built in the shape of a tea cup. Here you can see tea collecting methods and take pictures in the middle of tea plantations. The O'Sulloc tea museum teaches you about Korean tea culture through a miniature of a green tea production line and many other interesting activities. There is a souvenir shop and of course a green tea-house with green tea and green tea ice cream. A very beautiful modern building, the museum is surrounded with summer-houses, stone towers and soft green grass lawns.  edit
  • Museum of African Art, [7]. Housed in a stunning full-size replica of the Grand Mosque of Djenne, this museum has what is almost certainly Asia's best collection of African art.  edit
  • Jeju April 3rd Peace Park, Myeongrim-ro 430 (Bonggye-dong San 51-3), Jeju City, Jeju Do, 064-710-8461, [8]. 9AM-6PM. This museum details the tragic April 3rd, 1948 incident. This was a series of events that lasted until 1954 that resulted in the deaths of up 25,000 to 30,000 Jeju citizens. Free.  edit
  • Visit Mini World or Miniature Theme Park. Here you can get up close to small scaled replicas of some of the most famous architectures from more than 30 countries. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Tahj Mahal and many Korean sites are part of this interesting display. The two parks are in different parts of Jeju Island.
  • Visit the Sculpture park. This park located near Mt. Sanbang is a relaxing walking area where you can discover over 160 different sculptures in a peaceful atmosphere. The sculpture park also has an observation tower.
  • Visit the "All In House". This is the house the famous Korean drama series "All In" was filmed. It is like a museum that provide everything about the drama.
  • "Ripley's Believe it or Not" museum and collection of oddities. A massive exhibit of the bizarre and exotic from around the world. Can easily take a few hours to get through there is so much contained within. Across from the Teddy Bear museum near Seogwipo.
  • "Aqua Planet (Aquarium)". This aquarium, opened in July 2012, is worth a visit, especially if you have kids. It has quite a good collection of fishes from all over the world. Outside the aquarium, you can also have a very good view of "Sunrise Peak".

Do[edit][add listing]


Jeju Fire Festival Fireworks
Jeju Fire Festival Traditional Dance
  • Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival, Saebyeol Oreum area on Route 95, Bongseong-ri, Aewol-eup, Bukjeju-gun, Jeju-do (Take a 50 minute bus ride from Jeju City Bus Terminal.). The Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival originates from the traditional harvesting of the grasses found in the local domestic farm animal pastures, which were annually set in fire each winter by the villagers as a way to exterminate harmful insects. It has been held annually since 1997. It is held during the holiday of Daeboreum (which is the 15th day of the first lunar month of the year, typically February). It gets extremely busy directly after the festival finishes (7-8PM), so it's sometimes worth staying around for a beer or a meal for an hour or two until the worst of the traffic has gone.  edit


Mt. Halla[edit]

Hiking Trails of Mt. Halla.

At 1,950 m (6,400 ft), this is Jeju's most distinctive landmark, and South Korea's highest peak. Furthermore, it is one of Jeju's three UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites.

Detailed information in English on the trails and hiking advice is given on the webpage of Hallasan National Park [23]. There are five hiking routes available, only two of which, Gwaneumsa and Seongpanak, actually go to the top and Baeknok Lake (Baekrokdam 백록담). Despite this, the routes terminating at Witse Oreum (윗세오름) are in themselves popular for good reason. Note that the trails are regularly closed and re-opened for conservational reasons. The 1.5km route linking the trails on the west side and the top of Mt. Halla has been closed for some time. Witse Oreum has a manned rest house and a very basic shop that sells coffee and ramen. BEsides the rest stop at the end of the trail (Witse Orum) and the store at the entrance, there are no other rest stops along the way where you can buy any food or even water, so prepare and pack in advance.

  • Eorimok (어리목) - A 4.7km longish (+1km walk along the road from the bus stop to the trail start), gentle and fairly consistently sloped walk up a forested valley. Lots of cobbled stones, wear proper hiking shoes! In winter, the trail is packed with children using the packed down snow for sledding downhill (bring an E-mart bag!) Has a rest house and basic shop at the trail start. Terminates at Witse Oreum.
  • Yeongsil (영실) - The shortest path at 3.7km, but requires an additional 2.5km boring walk along the road from the carpark/bus stop to the trail start. Inexplicably there is no shuttle bus service to the entrance. The trail weaves up a the ridge along steep cliffs and past some waterfalls (only flowing in summer) before a final flat stretch at the top. Has a small restaurant and shop at the trail start. Terminates at Witse Oreum.
  • Seongpanak (성판악) - A very long, but gentle 9.6km route up the east side. Terminates at Baeknok Lake atop Mt. Halla. 8-9h round trip.
  • Gwaneumsa (관음사) - An 8.7km long route (+some extra at the base in case you take Bus 780 and get off on the main road) up the north side. The original trail that terminates at Baeknok Lake atop Mt Halla. Has a rest house at the trail start. 7-8h round trip.
  • Donnaeko (돈네코) - An 8km long route (+2.1km South Wall fork to reach Weitse Oreum junction from the top) up the south side. Not marked on most maps or guides. Confirm accessibility locally.

All distances listed above are one-way. In case of using the bus to get to the base, Gwaneumsa and Seongpanak should be combined into one track, one for ascent and one for descent. Although Gwaneumsa and Seongpanak are the most challenging ones, with good gear and average to good fitness they can be done but keep the times in mind.

Most trails are open all year round, even in the winter. If planning a winter trip, the short trails on the western side are particularly popular, going up Yongsil and down Eorimok or vice-versa, with children and the eldery even being common sights on both. Strap-on crampons (shoe spikes) however could be a necessity but if you lack them, the shop at the start of the Yongsil trail sells some for KRW20,000 or ask your guest-house where to rent some. Also Gwaneumsa and Seongpanak are popular in the winter. Due to the amount of hikers, they might even be done without crampons (even if the locals suggest otherwise) due to the cracked up track, which leaves enough powder for well-profiled hiking shoes.

Most routes are accessible via bus - simply state your chosen path at the ticket booth in the inter-city bus terminal - check the return time so you don't miss the last bus. Trails sometimes put up "closed" signs around midday in winter to prevent people getting stuck. Also note that the inter-city buses will drop you at the carpark. The often 1-2km sealed road walk up to the trail start is not included on trail length approximations on local signage and documentation so bear this in mind.

Olle trails[edit]

Jeju Olle Ganse Marker

The olle hiking trails are now a complete set of 26 routes stretching some 422 km that roughly follow the coast in a clockwise fashion. The first trail starts at Malmi Oreum in the northeast (near the famed Seongsan Ilchulbong) and the final terminates a kilometer away to the north. One trail length is mostly in the 4-6 hour range so one can be comfortably covered in a day. Note that some trails, such as Route 7, require hikers to traverse the island's extremely rocky coastline. It is beautiful, but be prepared with good shoes or boots. Route 10 in particular is very popular and runs around a pretty peninsula in the south-west of the island.

The trails are well marked: blue arrows point in the forward direction and orange point the reverse (anticlockwise). Blue ganse symbols (like a little wireframe pony) face the forward direction in other places.

Extensive tourism information, directions and maps of the Olle trails (including details of any which are temporarily off-limits) in all the usual-suspect languages can be found at the airport or tourism information centres such as the one at Jungmun.

"Olle" itself is the Jeju-dialect word for the pathway connecting a house to the road, and is used as somewhat of an invitation to explore the island.

For more information visit the Jeju Olle Trail web site [24] or active Korean language Facebook community. [25] An English language blog dedicated to Jeju Olle Trail offers new and up-to-date details along with forthcoming events for travelers to join. Hiker questoins are answered there too. [26]

Other attractions[edit]

Jeju's infamous Loveland
  • Loveland, 680-26, Yeon-dong, Jeju (On the road between Jeju City and Seogwipo. KRW1,500 by intercity bus, about KRW10,000 by taxi.). Jeju's most eccentric and internationally infamous attraction and almost a reason in itself to visit Jeju, this bizarre sculpture park was created by graduates of Seoul's Hongik University. A few of the (over 140) exhibits are generally shocking, and it makes for some interesting holiday snaps that not everybody wants to show their parents. Although you will likely see some Korean families in the park, some parents will want leave the children at home or in the attached playground, and even some adults probably should stay away if easily offended. Has a sex shop attached, naturally. Elsewhere on Jeju you will find phallic representations are an ancient symbol of the island. Amusingly, the Chinese government recently prevented the opening of an imitation loveland in Chongqing. KRW9,000.  edit
  • Kimyoung Maze, San16 Gimyong-ri Ggujwa-up, Jeju-si (About 500m down the road from the Manjanggul lava-tube cave.), [9]. A Jeju-shaped hedge maze which is interestingly complex and fun to walk through. The hedges are evergreen so it runs all year round. The maze claims fewer than 5% of visitors complete it in under 5 minutes, and the layout tends not to favor blind-luck too heavily so try timing yourself. KRW3,300, discounts off-peak.  edit
  • Glass Castle (''Yuri wi seong''(유리의성)), 3135-1 Jeoji-ri, Hangyeong-myeon, Jeju-si (Inner western portion of the island. Take an inter-city bus to Hallim and a taxi from there.), [10]. One of Jeju's two themeparks specialising in glass sculptures. Also offers an optional hands-on studio experience where visitors can craft their own works. KRW9,000 plus studio fees.  edit
  • Go on a Submarine tour. A couple of operators exist, including one departing from Seogwipo Harbor - KRW56,000, but look out for discount coupons - or show your Air Busan boarding pass.
  • Horseback riding
  • Scuba Dive BigBlue33 leads dive trips on Jeju Island in English, Korean, and German.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Comfort food from Jeju for those times when you're feeling... orange.

Most ATMs on Jeju do not accept foreign ATM/Debit cards for cash withdrawals; most of the few that do are located in the city of Jeju. Look out for the white "S" on blue background, Shinhan aka Jeju bank, they mostly have a foreign card terminal. Otherwise you might need to get all the cash you require before going to Jeju.

In Seogwipo, there's a KB Star bank accepts foreign cards, its on the corner of Jungjeong-ro & Jungang-ro opposite Mr pizza (type "Kb Bank" into google maps). Also, it seems that most Family Mart which have an ATM inside work with foreign cards too - but you'll pay a KRW3,800 fee plus receive the worst exchange rate in Korea (about 5-6% below the bank's rate).

  • One Jeju specialty is brown colored clothing. These have been dyed via juice from the persimmon fruit, which is the traditional way of dyeing clothing.
  • The iconic stone statues, usually in pairs, are called grandfather statues and are for protection. Many places sell small stone replicas of them made of Jeju basalt (volcanic stone). If aircraft weight restrictions are a concern, check the back of the statue for vugs (cavities) as it's entirely possible to find the odd one as light as a feather.
  • Citrus fruit (hallabong and mandarines). The specialty citrus of Jeju is the hallabong (dekopon in Japanese) something akin to an oversized tangerine which has a very distinctive plump bulge on its top. Its fame comes from its sweet taste and peelability. Do not be at all surprised if, when arriving back on the mainland, your bag pops into the baggage claim tucked between crate after crate after crate of hallabong imported by small business resellers. Although less famed, mandarines are also a major Jeju product.
  • Jeju hallabong chocolate. These come in varieties. The first is a plain flat chocolate with a layer of hallabong flavor sandwiched in the middle. The second however is shaped like a little grandfather statue and is primarily the "flavor" component of the first with a tiny slither of chocolate on the back. The latter tend to be a little less flavorsome (ironically) but are cute enough to make nice gifts. If hallabongs aren't your thing, fear not, for they also come in mandarine, kiwi, green tea and purple cactus fruit (somewhat a mixed berry flavor) varieties. There are crunch chocolates too, less unique but very tasty.
  • Jeju kamgyul(citrus) wine. Similar to Japanese sake but with a fresh citrus finish. At only KRW5,000 for an entire 750ml bottle though, honestly, you can't complain even if it isn't quite your thing.
  • Green tea. Although perhaps not as famed as Boseong, the entire Western end tip of the island is littered with tea plantations.
  • Ganse dolls. A souvenir of the Olle hiking coastal trails, they are cute little (15 cm) plush ponies on phonestraps handmade out of used clothing (and thus individually unique) by the women of Jeju. Profits go to developing and maintiang the island's hiking trails and they're available from tourist information centres and many budget accomodations. KRW15,000.
  • Shop at Jeju Folk Arts Complex. This place is practically a big gift shop of beautiful traditional art. Prices of items at the Jeju Folk Arts Complex are cheaper than those you find elsewhere.

Souvienier shops, craft stores and fruit stands exist almost everywhere on the island, but if you are looking for more mundane daily goods, your best bet is to head into Jeju City or Seogwipoi which have the usual array of Korean conveniences including some Lottes and an unusually high proportion of E-marts (both of which also contain large souvenier shops).

Eat[edit][add listing]

The people of Jeju have evolved various lifestyles, depending on whether they live in fishing villages, farm villages, or mountain villages so specialties vary within the region. Life in the farm villages was centered on farming, as it did around fishing or diving fishery in fishing villages, and did around dry-field farming or mushroom/mountain-green gathering in the mountain areas. As for agriculture, the production of rice is little. Instead, beans, barley, millets, buckwheat, and dry-field(upland) rice are the major items.

The most well known fruit is the hallabong. It has been grown here as early as the era of the Three Kingdoms, and were offered as presents to kings along with abalone as special products of Jeju. Pork from black-haired pigs is also a local specialty.

Foods from Jeju mainly made with saltwater fish, vegetables, and seaweed, and are usually seasoned with soybean paste. Salt water fish is used to make soups and gruels, and pork and chicken are used to make pyeonyuk (sliced boiled meat). The number of dishes set on a table is small and few seasoings are used. And usually, small numbers of ingredients are required to make dishes native to Jeju. The key to making Jeju-style foods is to keep the ingredient's natural flavor. The taste of the food is generally a bit salty, probably because foods are easily spoiled due to the warm temperature. In Jeju, there is no need to prepare Kimchi for the winter as in mainland Korea. It is quite warm during the winter and Chinese cabbages are left in the field. When they do prepare Kimchi for the winter, they tend to make few kinds and small amounts.

Restaurants are scattered across the entire island, usually near highway intersections, but the majority naturally lie aroun the coast and particularly in the urban centers of Jeju City and Jungmun/Seogwipo.

For non-Korean dining, the best option is Gecko's near Seogwipo (see details in the drinking section). In Jeju city there are some options. There is a Mexican restaurant near City Hall/Sinsan Park named El Paso that apparently serves up mediocre but passable Mexican fare. In Shin-jeju there is also an Indian restaurant named Rajmahal that serves up quality spicy Indian dishes. There is also another place with Pakistani/Indian cuisine called Baghdad Cafe around the City Hall/Sinsan Park area.

  • Uncle Tony's Cafe, Haeandaero (turn right at Aewol Sea Road, after Hagwi). until 11pm, closed Tuesdays. I know it's not new but I got a pleasant surprise when I arrived there just before 9PM, expecting the place to closed or almost closed for the day. In fact they are open until 11PM. Open everyday except Tuesdays. Korean and English are both well covered by Tony and his staff. They cover all the bases with the menu too. A full range of coffees, teas and soft beverages plus a sizeable cocktail list with speciality drinks such as sangria and CUT beer, which is beer plus some liqueur. Food-wise I'll have to try their fish'n'chips next time. They also have pizza, pasta and cheesecake. Spacious place too with outdoor and indoor seating. By bus you could get off the 702 West Coast bus around Hagwi and walk for 20 mins. Well worth it! average.  edit
  • Baan Sabai, Wimi-ri, Namwon-eup (very close to Wimi village bustop), 01025788088. 11-7. Great little Thai restaurant in Wimi-ri, Namwon-eup. Run by a Thai man and his lovely Korean wife. 3 dishes on the food menu: Pad thai, khao pad and tom yam goong. They have Thai beers and milk tea too. The name is Baan Sabai. Also serves as a coffeeshop. average.  edit
  • TASTES, Jeju International Pub, 115-2. Tapdong ro; Jeju City, 064 7517809. 12:00-22:00. Home-style venue; targeting foreigners and locals, service on 5 languages. Besides the personally customized European-Korean-Western style eating-drinking potential - based on pre-order on the number above - our main target is to set up a casual place, where people feel at home, chatting-mixing-socializing without special formalities!  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

The local specialty soju is named Hallasan Soju and runs 1000 to 3000 won a bottle.

There are only a few western style pubs on the island, but there are some other good options. There are many bars, clubs , and cafe's that also serve wine in a relaxed atmosphere. The more relaxed options are mostly in Seogwipo-si (the small city in the south), where you can sit by the water at Rosemarines, or on the colorful Lee Jung Seop St. at Cafe Maybe, Utopia cafe (includes mini tree house and many rooftop seating options) , Goofy foot (surf bar with a pool table), or Woodstock ( thousands of LP's to play by request) . Other wine options in Seogwipo also include Obliviote (serves yummy pizza, located on Arang-Jeoul Food St #2) and a few other charming cafe's scattered around the downtown area. In Jeju city, partying establishments are located in Shin-Jeju, about a KRW5,000 taxi ride from Jeju city proper, or in City Hall area (behind the main street where the bus drops you off), in and around the back alleys (on either side of the main street), colored by lights and university student. Some of the establishments in Jeju-si that are rumored to be worthwhile are La Vie, Boris Brewery, Modern Time, Blue Agave, Malt 9, Raj Mahal, Harry's Pub, Island Stone, The Factory and several others.

There is also Led Zeppelin, a vinyl bar which as the name suggests is focused on album-oriented rock, and has a massive selection of records, CDs, tapes, and DVDs. Song requests are the main pastime and the sound-system rules. Off the main drag in Shin-jeju next to the Indian restaurant.

  • The Lighthouse Cafe, Hagwi, Aewol-eup, Hagwi 12 gil 22 (across the road from Hagwi Nonghyup). Tues- Sun. A new cafe specialising in brunch (and English books!) Run by an Australian ex-pat and his Korean wife. Cosy with wi-fi and comfortable seating. Speciality yoghurts, ice cream and salads/ ciabattas in tuna, BLT and ricotta varieties. Coffees too. KRW3,000-12,000.  edit
  • Heaven&earth, Jeju-do, Seogwipo-si, 특별자치도, Seogwi-dong, Jungjeong-ro, 13 KR 2층. Western style pub serving all kinds of western beers , local draft beer and great cocktails staff speaks fluent English.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

If you are not looking for luxury, minbak (guesthouses) abound on Jeju, and due to its reputation as a honeymoon getaway, there is a wide variety of other accommodation. Outside of the peak tourist seasons (such as Korean national holidays and July-August summer holiday season), and as long as all you're looking for is a clean affordable room, don't be afraid to come to Jeju and find accommodation as you travel. In Jeju, Seogwipo and the smaller towns there is an abundance of rooms in small guesthouses with character.

As in most places in Korea, right next to the bus terminal in Jeju city there are several motels, around KRW30,000 each a night. Three directly next to the bus parking area are You-cheong, Oh-cheon, and Nam-san. Although you will need to read Korean to recognize these names, it's fairly obvious as all three are in a row with lit signs and the ubiquitous motel logo of Korea.

For larger hotels, the majority are located in the urban centres of Jeju City and Seogwipo with the most luxurious 5-star options on the entire island within Seogwipo's Jungmun Tourist Resort Complex. Refer to the individual city pages for listings.

For budget travellers, jjimjillbangs are pretty ubiquitous in Jeju City but outside of the capital city's limits, the only other jjimjillbang options exist under the World Cup Stadium in Seogwipo.

  • You&I Guesthouse, Gwangyang 8-Gil, Ido 2-dong, Jeju City, 064-753-5648, 070-4548-5648, [11]. checkin: 15:00; checkout: 11:00. 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. A room with a double bed is good value at KRW50,000. min KRW19,000.  edit
  • Jeju Sleeper Guesthouse, 276-14, seogwi-dong (Located in Olle Traditional Market), 010-7938 0096, [12]. checkin: 15:00; checkout: 11:00. Private/Family/Group rooms available from KRW22,000. Close to Banks,Shops, Cafes. Public parking space. Convenient for Halla Mt. Climbers, as well as Olle courses 6-7 hikers. KRW22,000-55,000.  edit
  • Jeju Springflower Guesthouse, 1046-1 Hamo-ri, Daejeong-eup (5 mins from Moseulpo Bus Terminal/2 mins from Moseulpo harbor - See website for map), 010-6816-8878, [13]. checkin: 10am-10pm; checkout: 10am. A British owned guesthouse in Moseulpo. Dorm beds from KRW18,000. Private/Family/Group rooms available. Convenient for boats to Gapado and Marado, as well as Olle courses 9-14 KRW18,000.  edit
  • Lotte Jeju Resort Art Villa (Luxury), See website for map and address, [14]. Newly-opened double-storey villas with 3 or 4 bedrooms, 3 or 4 washrooms, big fully-equipped kitchens, large living rooms, big dining areas. Great for families. Luxury and high-tech furnishings. Located within lush greenery at the foot of mountain.  edit

Stay safe[edit]

While South Korea in general is a remarkably safe country, the crime rate on Jeju is even lower. In fact, Jeju has the lowest crime rate in the whole country. Violent crime is almost non-existent, although just like in all tourist hubs, there are a number of pickpockets, so you should still remain vigilant.

Take the regular precautions whilst hiking: ask locals about course conditions and tell someone where you are going. In reality, hiking in Korea tends to be something akin to ant-trail winding up a mound, but in Winter, when the buses terminate early, and it gets dark early you could run into trouble. Seek and follow local advice from the base huts and be sure to depart before the daily course closure time.

Other parts around the south coast, even near Jungmun are rockfall regions. The signs are often not in English, so if you're near a cliff or cave and see an obvious Korean warning sign, this is a fair assumption as to what it says.

Get out[edit]

If you want, you could charter your own boat or light aircraft. If not:

By ferry: The ferry terminal in Jeju City has boats to Busan (부산), Yeosu, Mokpo (목포), Wando (완도), Nokdong (녹동), Samcheonpo (삼천포), Jangheung and Incheon (인천) on the mainland, as well as several boats to Japan - see "Get in" chapter. Several other smaller ports have boats to the outlying islands of Kapa-do, Mara-do, Piyang-do, and U-do (all of these are smaller islands around Jeju). You can also take a ferry to various cities in Japan and China.

By air: You can fly domestically to other airports in Korea: Gimhae airport in Busan, Gimpo airport in Seoul, Daegu airport, Incheon airport in Incheon(as of Feb 2017, no direct airline of Incheon-Jeju), Cheongju aiport, Daejeon airport, or Gunsan airport. You can fly to various cities in Japan and China.

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