Travel Guide Asia South Korea Jeju





© summer910

Jeju is a province of South Korea. It's located southwest of the country's mainland and has about 570,000 inhabitants. The name Jeju also refers to the island Jeju itself, which makes up for most of the province. There are however some smaller islands and rocks scattered along the main island.
It's a popular holiday destination for honeymooners from South Korea and nearby countries. The weather is perfect, although it can rain heavily sometimes (usually in outburst) and the combination of fantastic landscapes and beaches is one that few people can resist.




Jeju Island is a volcanic island, dominated by the Halla-San mountain, a volcano of 1,950 metres high and the highest mountain in South Korea. The province/island lies in the Korea Strait, south of South Korea and west of Japan. The island measures approximately 73 kilometres across, east to west, and 41 kilometres from north to south.

The island was created entirely from volcanic eruptions approximately 2 million years ago[citation needed], during the time period extending from the Tertiary to the beginning of the Quaternary period, and consists chiefly of basalt and lava. The eruptions took place in the Cenozoic era.

An area covering about 12% (224 square kilometres) of Jejudo is known as Gotjawal Forest. This area remained uncultivated until the 21st century, as its base of ʻAʻā lava made it difficult to develop for agriculture. Because this forest remained pristine for so long, it has a unique ecology.

The forest is the main source of groundwater and thus the main water source for the half million people of the island, because rainwater penetrates directly into the aquifer through the cracks of the ʻAʻā lava under the forest. Gotjawal forest is considered an internationally important wetland under the Ramsar Convention by some researchers because it is the habitat of unique species of plants and is the main source of water for the residents, although to date it has not been declared a Ramsar site.




Sights and Activities

Beaches - Gwakji, Jungmun, Hamdok, Pyosan, Samyong, Hwasun

  • Gwakji, on the northwest shore of Jeju, has beautiful color of open ocean and white sand beach. The beach is spacious, calm and relaxing. The nearby Handam shore has beautiful small hidden beaches. Those small beaches, emerald-color ocean and beautiful black seaside rocks can be enjoyed by a sea kayaking tour (20,000 Won for a person, an hour). Be sure to bring extra clothes to enjoy the beatiful ocean and beach.
  • Jungmun, on the south shore of Jeju, has surf lessons and board rentals. The beach drops off quickly in the ocean and waves dump on swimmers and tubers (can also rent a tube for 8,000 Won). Beware of the sticky sand; it will stay with you for days, no matter how much you try to wash it off.
  • Hamdok, east of JejuShi, is excellent. Rent a kayak for an hour for 25,000 Won. The water is shallow really far out. Great for frisbee games or water parties.
  • Pyosan is on the south-east of the island. Another shallow water beach. Waist deep for a kilometre out. Cheap horse back riding is available there.
  • Samyong is a black sand beach also east of Jejushi, with a beautiful walkway lite up at night for strolling.
  • Hwasum beach, further west of Jungmun, is a popular Korean beach, packed in the summer, though, if you walk along for an extra 1/2 hour along the olle trail, you come to a secluded beach where there is rarely anyone on the beach aside from a few passing hikers. It is possible to camp here, though maybe not legal, nobody will bother you and its a beautiful out of sight beach.

Climbing Mount Hallasan

A full day adventure to climb the highest mountain in South Korea. Catch the #516 bus from the bus terminal in either JejuShi or Seowipo to "Hallasan" and be at the Seongpanak rest area by 9:30am or they won't let you climb. You should leave either city by 8:30am. It takes about 10 hours round trip to make the climb. Bring everything you would need, ie, water, snacks, a warm top, good shoes, hat etc. You can buy some things - halfway up there is a shop, but be prepared. It can be very busy during the tourist season.


A tall pillar of rock standing alone in the ocean, definately worth a picture. You can take a 5-minute bus ride from Seogwipo, or find it walking 20 minutes along the olle trail from the harbor area. Just east of the trail to Oedolgae, on the road, is another trail that leads down to an area you can snorkel and swim. There are some areas you can dive off the rock into the ocean on the far side, or just wade around in a shallow ocean water pool - left behind from an old fishery. Well worth an afternoon!

Other Sights and Activities

  • Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes - a Unesco World Heritage Site
  • Hallim Park
  • Jeongbang Waterfall
  • Donnako waterfall - a waterfall hidden up in the mountain with icey an cool water pool for swimming and jumping into on a hot day. It is possible to jump off the waterfall into the water, about 7 meters. Catch a bus from either JejuShi or Seogwipo.
  • Seowipo Horbour area
  • SanBanSan and the Youngmorri coast - The myth says SanBanSan is the top of Halla, blown off when it last errupted.
  • Olle trail hiking



Events and Festivals

National Events and Festivals

  • Shinjeong - means New Year's Day, on the 1st day, January. Shin(신) is a Korean word that means 'new'. January 1st is named 'Shinjeong' because after Korea adopted the Gregorian calendar it became the new way to mark the New Year.
  • Seollal - Lunar New Year, also known as "Korean New Year", or "Gujeong." Families gather together, eat traditional foods-especially Ddugguk (떡국) and perform an ancestral service. The public holiday lasts for 3 days, which includes the eve and second day. Many shops and restaurants close for the 3 days, so this might not be an ideal time to visit.
  • Sameeljjeol - 1st March, in commemoration of the March 1st resistance movement against the invading Japanese Imperial Army in 1919.
  • Orininal - children's day on the 5th May
  • Buchonnim osinnal or sawolchopa-il - means Buddha's birthday, 8th day of the 4th month in the lunar calendar.
  • Hyeonchung-il - means memorial day, 6th June. In commemoration of the people who gave their lives to the nation.
  • Gwangbokjjeol - Korea's independence day on the 15th of August. This day is actually the end of the second world war with the official Japanese surrender to the allied forces, which also meant Korea gaining her independence after many decades of Japanese colonialism.
  • Chuseok - often translated as "Korean Thanksgiving", this holiday is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the year (usually September-October). Koreans celebrate by eating traditional foods, notably a rice cake called songpyeon (송편) and playing folk games. The public holiday lasts for 3 days and much like Lunar New Year, everything shuts down which makes visiting rather boring.
  • Hangeulnal - 'Hangeul Proclamation Day' anniversary for the Korean alphabet system on October 9th.
  • Gaecheonjeol - 3rd October. In commemoration of the first formation of the nation of ancient Korea.
  • Christmas - a significant holiday in South Korea, although it is mostly celebrated by young couples spending a romantic day together. Since a significant proportion (approximately 30%) of the country is Christian, there are no shortages of celebration in the thousands of churches whilst everyone else takes a well deserved rest at home.

Jeju Events and Festivals

  • Buphwan Fishery 1st Quality Squid Festival - Regarded as one of the major summer festivals of Jeju, this festival manifests the devotion of General Yeong Choi who protected the land against the Mongolians. The history of the land is celebrated while feasting upon squid dishes, making it a great time to visit as locals and tourists get to see the patriotism of the people of the land. There's also squid karaoke and squid dish competitions.
  • The Field Fire Festival (February) - Jeju Jeongwol Daeboreum Field Fire Festival is held annually to celebrate the Lunar New Year and is one of the largest festivals in Korea. Traditionally, villages used to set fire to their fields between late winter and early spring to get rid of the dying grasses and insects for the new season planting. There are parades, Tug-of-War, marches, light and laser shows, performances, pig herding, folk games, delicious foods, kite flying, drinking world teas. It is a fantastic three day festival!
  • International Wind Instrument Festival (Between 12th & 20th August) - Magnificent musical performances are held to promote the popularity and specialty of the wind music. The festival alternates every year between entertaining the audience and competition between the musicians. There are many performances to be seen and participants/competitors have increased hugely since it became a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions in 2009.
  • Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival - The King Cherry Trees blossom for only 2 or 3 days in April, but they make an impressive sight. The festival celebrates the blossoms which are the largest and luxurious of all the cherry blossoms. Nature lovers will love this.
  • Seogwipo Chilsimni Festival (October) - Folk performances rooted in Jeju's history, legends and natural environment are held. Street parades, singing contests, body building competitions (Mr Chilsimni Contest) and pop music are amoungst the festivites, and the ocean sports activities are incredibly popular with visitors.
  • Moseulpo Yellowtail Festival Jeju (November) - This festival is to honour the yellowtailed fish that are so abundant near the southern part of Jeju. it is launched with a colourful parade called 'gillori', followed by prayers for a plentiful fishing season and a procession of boats for the inaugural ceremony. Other festivites include fireworks, hand fishing yellowtails (keep what you can catch!), yellowtail dishes, markets and exhibitions.
  • Seongsan Ilchul Festival (31 Dec 2013 - 01 Jan 2014) - This ffestival is both the last and first festival of the year as it begins on December 31st and stretches into 1st January. Rites and rituals focus on songgyuyeongsin (bidding adieu to the past year and ushering in the new year) and pray for the well-being, health and prosperity of the Jeju locals in the Wishing Ceremony. It is a celebration of sunrises as the rituals commence around the first sunrise of the year. Fireworks, traditional folk games, poem recitations and Himangje (rite of hope) also occur. Address: Near the Seongsan Ilchul-bong in the Namjeju-gun part of Jeju Island.




Jeju has a mild coastal climate with generally warm and humid conditions in summer and mild temperatures in winter, with temperatures rarely dropping below 5 °C during the coldest nights, except at higher elevations and in the north where snow is possible. The island is on the border of moderate and subtropical zones. Temperatures during the summer (June to mid-September) are mostly between 27 and 30 °C with nights around or above 20 °C. Winters are coldest up north, though the south remains relatively mild. Precipitation is heaviest during the warmer summer months with sometimes heavy downpours.



Getting There

By Plane

Jeju International Airport (CJU) is the third busiest airport in South Korea and handles all flights to/from the island. There are dozens of connections with other South Korean airports, as well as flights to and from China, Japan and Taiwan.

During high tourist season, June to August, plane tickets to Jeju can easily be double the price of low season, and can sometimes be booked solid for weeks, though airlines are trying to accomodate.

During low season, flying to or from Gimpo airport in Seoul can range from 30,000 Won to 100,000 Won or more depending on your airline. The cheaper airlines are Jeju Air, Jin Air and Eastar Jet. During low season, you can generally get low prices across the counter without reservation.

By Boat

Jeju Island Ferry from Wando

Jeju Island Ferry from Wando

© shinenyc

There are ferries to 4 mainland cities, including Busan (11 hours), Incheon (13 hours), Wando (3 hours) and Mokpo (5.5 hours at 25,000 Won), though flying usually is much faster and sometimes even cheaper!



Getting Around

By Car

You can hire a car from the airport with either local or international car hire firms. This is a good option to see the island's many sights if you don't want to be in an organized tour and want to see as much as possible. Insurance is offered as an optional extra with the local companies. They can also rent out a Korean speaking GPS unit as well! Outside Jeju city traffic is very quiet. There are many traffic lights on the island, and you will notice that local drivers tend to just drive through red lights. (In the evening the lights change to a flashing amber, which basically means 'use your own judgement')

By Bus

Cheap! Get a T Money card for 4,000 Won at any Family mart or GS25, add some money and you have free transfers for an hour off and on any bus. Fares range from 990 Won to no more than 4,000 Won to cross the entire island.

By Bike

Since Jeju is equipped with 182 km-long coastal roads, it is quite popular among Korean university students to rent a bike. 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.


Rent a scooter from 20,000-40,000 Won a day depending on the season.




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 seasonings 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 around 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.




You can find many places to quench your thirst on Jeju.

JejuShi - city hall area (shi-chun), look and ask for:

  • The Bar - basement level with free pool table, mainly foreigner patrons.
  • Island Stone - the put on awesome flair shows when the bar is packed, foreigner and Korean hang-out.
  • The Factory - small stage with regular live music, though they also have DJ nights.


  • Dome Nightclub - a must try at least once experince. Friday night tends to be ladies night, so go on a saturday night unless you want to see the korean male strippers and the midget man dancing on stage all night., which is interesting, once also. This is the largest club on Jeju. Hundreds if not a thousand people pack in on the weekend to drink and dance to live performances of K-pop, hip-hop, live bands and DJ's. Around midnight or 1:00am you can see the aero-space engineered rooftop open like a lotus flower to the night sky and be snowed down on by foam, or in the winter, possibly by real snow. You gotta see this. The 30-foot-tall moving light-up wall behind the stage is like nothing you've ever seen at a club before. The price is a bit steep, 40,000 Won for 4 people at a table, though you do get a fruit plate and a few beers. It's open all night until daylight.


  • Rose Marine - this is a must go! Down in the harbour area, you would walk right by it unless you knew it was there, though once you notice it you can't belive you missed it in the first place! In the summer hang outside right on the water and sip suds as the fixhinf boats get ready to roll out for the night. In the winter, get inside and sit in one of the many booths beside one of the many wood fire places. It's run like a convience store so beer and soju among other things are cheap.
  • Coolest Norabong - from the market area or Dungmun rotary, get a taxi to King mart, to the left of the kingmart enterance go down the stairs. Below is what used to be a large night club but is now converted into a 20-room norabang complete with palm trees and a stram running through the middle of the place!


  • Gecko's - After the beach, when you just need a good western meal and a beer or cocktail, head to Gecko's. It's a little more western priced, but well worth it for the amazing food and strong mix drinks. Free pool, darts, and an all-round good time. Foreign and Korean patrons. It's at the far west end of Jungmun, a long walk or a short taxi away from the beach or the centre of town.



Accommodation in Jeju

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Jeju searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


as well as Oz_Travelette (10%), kayakolle (3%)

Jeju Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Jeju

This is version 41. Last edited at 3:41 on Aug 2, 17 by sleepBot. 8 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License