Jeju Island is South Korea’s largest and most popular island, located off the South-West coast. Jeju has a characteristic island feel with a bit of everything; mountains for hiking and beaches for relaxation. The climate is warmer than the mainland in the winters meaning all-year travel is possible to some of the major attractions. Jeju island is an ideal place for a vacation or short trip for which I’ve prepared some tips.
Before the trip
Jeju Island is accessible by air and ferry. The shorter ferry option takes approximately 4 hours and tickets can be gotten at Busan ports.
For the air route, buses to the airport are available in most cities, while subway airport lines are available for Busan and Incheon airports. I advise that you make use of the KakaoMap app to determine the best route from your location to the airport. Bus tickets can then be booked on the intercity bus website if that is your best route.
Plane tickets can be booked online on the websites of airlines that fly to the island for example Jin air, Jeju air, Air Busan, Asiana airlines, or t’way air.
Accommodation should be pre-booked for your comfort. One can find accommodation on sites like AirBnB, booking.com, Agoda and Yanolja. Agoda and Yanolja are the more popular sites where you will find recent detailed reviews. A simple search for ‘Jeju island’ will bring all the options after which one can filter using the provided map, proximity to amenities, or a particular area of the island. The pricing is similar for both Agoda and Yanolja with the only difference being that Yanolja is only available in Korean language. Be sure to check recent reviews to get a good picture of what is being offered.
You can also consider booking on arrival. This may be possible for some accommodations although availability is not assured and choices of rooms might be limited.
Accommodation options include hotels and pensions. Korean pensions are similar to bed and breakfast except breakfast may not be provided in some cases. They are usually located in quiet neighborhoods and most provide a kitchen, microwave, and utensils. If you are traveling on a budget, I recommend pensions. Their prices start from as low as $30 per night depending on the location and you can bring along some food to prepare during your stay.
Tip: Select accommodation that is near the attractions you’re interested in visiting, and near a bus stop if you’ll be using public transport to reduce walking time.
During the trip
Flight time to Jeju island is approximately an hour. On arrival, one can take a bus from the airport to whichever part of the island they’re going to. Download the KakaoMap app and use it to determine which bus to get on. For navigation while on the island and all over South Korea, the app is really handy.
Alternatively, you could rent a car for the duration of your stay. At the airport, there are rental car options if one would prefer to drive themselves around the island. The rental cars are opposite the exit from the arrivals terminal. It is slightly more costly than using the city buses but more convenient.
Tip: At the time of this writing, the island does not have a rail network so the subway and inter-city rail won’t be an option. One has to rely on other means i.e. buses, taxis and personal vehicles. While that may seem daunting, the buses and taxis are just as reliable as they are on the mainland.
Popular attractions on Jeju island include;
- Halla mountain; popular for hiking
- Eco Land
- Jungmun Beach
- Jejujet and abseiling at Daepo port
You can also find more attractions on Trazy (an app that is popular for travel among foreigners in Korea and may have tour packages), and blogs about the island’s attractions and activities. You can also explore to discover places you may like.
After the trip
Make sure to leave an honest detailed review about your accommodation to help other travelers.