Jejudo: Your Ultimate Island Adventure Guide
Welcome to the enchanting island of Jejudo, off the southern coast of South Korea. Known for its volcanic landscapes, vibrant culture, and unique traditions, Jejudo offers a one-of-a-kind experience for travelers seeking both relaxation, adventure and an ocean escape away from the busy tourist beaches. From the majestic heights of Hallasan to the coastal charm of Udo, every corner of this island tells a story waiting to be discovered.
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Where to stay in Jeju Island
The Seaes Hotel & Resort
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Bayhill Pool & Villa
Discover serenity and exclusivity amidst lush landscapes and private pool villas at Bayhill, where luxury meets natural beauty.
Grand Hyatt Jeju
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Things to do in Jeju Island
Exploring and Hiking:
Begin your exploration with the Yeongsil Trail, a moderate hike through Hallasan National Park. As you ascend, lush forests and panoramic vistas will accompany you, providing a perfect introduction to the island's diverse landscapes.
Venture to the summit of Hallasan, the iconic volcanic peak dominating Jejudo's skyline. The challenging yet rewarding hike offers breathtaking views of the island and beyond, making it a must for avid hikers as the highest peak in South Korea.
Jeju Olle Trail 7
For a more leisurely trek, follow Jeju Olle Trail 7 along the coastline. This path unveils charming villages, hidden beaches, and a glimpse into the local way of life, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a tranquil experience and a unique perspective. JejuDo has a network of 26 “Olle” hiking trails (totaling 425 km), so there is definitely something for every level.
Pearl Diving and Haenyeo Culture
Immerse yourself in the traditional culture of haenyeo (sea women) by trying your hand at pearl diving. Learn about these skilled women divers and the island’s rich maritime heritage behind their way of life. Haenyeo catch seafood (particularly shellfish like abalone) for a living with only a knife, free diving down to about 10 meters/30 feet for minutes - depending on their experience. The women can be up to 80+ years old and can be spotted working in the waters all around the island.
Scuba Diving and Surfing
Dive into the vibrant underwater world surrounding Jejudo with scuba diving lessons, offered at various locations across the island. For those seeking the thrill of the waves, surfing lessons are also available, allowing you to ride the pristine waters of Jejudo (at a beginner level, since the waves in South Korea don’t get higher than a few feet). My clumsy self went surfing for the first time and succeeded in riding several waves without injury!
O'Sulloc Green Tea Farm
Discover the art of tea cultivation at O'Sulloc Green Tea Farm. Stroll through lush fields, participate in tea tastings, and bring home some of Korea's finest green tea products. The Farm has partnered with Innisfree, a natural K-beauty company based in Jeju, and has a flagship store stationed on the farm. It is also a stop on the Jeju Olle 14 trail, which I can attest is a beautiful one.
If the weather isn’t the best or you aren’t feeling up to hiking, try MazeLand or the newly opened Love Park. Mazeland is a whimsical yet scenic maze park for all ages while Love Park is a delightful quirky adult attraction featuring sex-themed gardens, art installations, and romantic spots perfect for couples.
Embark on the Udo Loop adventure by taking a ferry from Seongsan Port. The short yet scenic journey provides a taste of the island's coastal beauty.
Transportation: Navigate Udo with ease and style by renting a golf cart or bike. Take it from me, who underestimated how long walking would take and whose feet were paying the price. These options offer flexibility, allowing you to explore the island's attractions at your own pace, including the iconic lighthouse and pristine beaches.
Places to eat & drink in Jeju Island
Cafes and Food:
South Korea is full of beautiful, aesthetic cafes with tasteful coffee and stunning cakes and pastries – and Jejudo is no exception. I created an entire list of cafes before traveling there and found it to be completely unnecessary (though I can share it of course). Every single spot I stepped into was lovely. Some highlights would be the artsy Café Hallasan, Café NamoNamo with its window walls overseeing the ocean, the high-end One and Only Café, and Blanc Rocher on Udo Island.
Savor the unique flavor of Hallabong, a local citrus fruit. From drinks to desserts, you'll find Hallabong-infused treats at various cafes and markets across the island. While I’m a huge fan of most orange-y delights, the Hallabong is another level of delicious. Try the Hallabong sorbet at O’Sulloc’s green tea farm for the perfect afternoon sweet treat rest stop on the scenic Olle 14 trail hike.
Bossam (Black Boiled Pork)
Delight your taste buds with Jejudo's specialty, black boiled pork, bossam (or dombaegogi by local Jeju people). Experience the rich flavors of slow-cooked pork wrapped in fresh greens. Local markets and restaurants offer this culinary masterpiece, showcasing the island's rich culinary heritage. Try Omoni Wa Jangdokdae near Jungangro.
Dive into Jejudo's renowned seafood scene. Visit local markets or seaside restaurants for a feast of fresh fish, abalone, and other delicacies. Seobudo Myeongpum Raw Fish Street in Jeju City is full of live seafood restaurants, and some even have the haenyeo equipment hanging to dry around the corner. You can choose your food from the tank - and don't be surprised if it is served alive (still moving on your plate!). You may even spot some of the haenyeo themselves walking around. The island's coastal offerings are a feast for seafood enthusiasts.
Need to Know
Other stays include various adorably quaint cottages (or pensions) nestled in the remote nature of the island. But don't let that deter you! A nature escape is the main reason people come to Jejudo in the first place. A luxury vibe in South Korea can be extremely affordable. I’ve spent a lot of time traveling as inexpensively as possible in my past, and I loved how in Jejudo I wasn’t breaking the bank, yet I was able to enjoy every aspect of the island. Jejudo truly is an elegant haven of natural wonders and cultural treasures. From the heights of Hallasan to the depths of the ocean, every corner of the Island of Gods holds a new adventure. I spent six action-packed days in Jejudo by myself, hiking over 60 miles and experiencing as much as I possibly could. I left feeling like I had created a fun, versatile time for myself – and that’s what I strive to do for every traveler. Who knows if you’ll ever have a second chance to visit? Let’s make your first visit worth every moment. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your next trip started 😊
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Asia.