I set aside 3 days for Jeju (also known as the “Hawaii of Asia”) on my first trip to South Korea and although I had to compromise some shopping time for it, I never regretted it. The island is extremely beautiful (there’s no lack of waterfalls, mountains and greenery) and the people are extremely friendly (it’s hard not to be when you are staying somewhere so gorgeous actually). Most importantly, it’s a good break from spending too much time in the city. 🙂
Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT expensive to visit Jeju. Here’s everything you need to know!
#1. Air Tickets
I got a return ticket from Seoul to Jeju on AirBusan at just about ₩80,000 (approximately SGD90) – which is close to the price of a return train ticket to Busan! To get cheap tickets, check out the budget airlines such as AirBusan and JejuAir about 3 months before your intended flight date.
Don’t fret if you don’t see the promotional tickets. Just keep checking every week! I know the sale fares can go as low as ₩50,000. Good luck.
#2. Are there any other ways to get there?
Yes, of course! If you are already planning to go Busan from Seoul, you can always take a ferry to Jeju from the Busan ferry port. But, the journey takes about 12 hours – versus a flight from Seoul that takes just about an hour. Plus, it’s not necessarily cheaper. A one-way ticket can easily set you back by ₩80,000.
#3. How do I get around Jeju?
Option A – Self-drive
If you can drive, I would highly recommend self-driving. You can then explore the whole island at your own speed and it’s a relatively easy drive as long as you have your GPS! Do note that you’ll need to get your International Driving Permit in order to self-drive in South Korea. AND, apply it early as it takes about 10 working days to process your online application.
Option B – Hire a driver
I know, driving on a foreign land can be daunting to some so the next best option would be to hire a driver for the entire day. You can customize your own itinerary and the driver can also double up as your tour guide to provide tidbits of history here and there! I used Won (email: email@example.com) and would highly recommend him. He charges ₩130,000/day for up to 8 hours and ₩150,000 flat if you exceed that.
#4. What are the must-visit places?
- Yong-du (dragon head)
- Mystery road
- Mr Songaksan
- Jusangjeolli Cliff
- Jeongbang Falls
- Manjang Cave
- Seongsan sunrise peak
- Jeongbang water fall
As you can see, I left out the museums and cafes because the above attractions are all gifts from nature and you’ll never be able to experience them anywhere else.
#5. Where should you stay?
You can’t go wrong if your hotel is situated at either:
1) Jeju City
If you prefer to be closer to the huge shopping malls (you know, for some shopping after all the sight-seeing), you should stay somewhere in the Jeju City. However, if you are looking for a more laidback vibe, any hotel in the Seogwipo city will be perfect. Do note that shopping is limited at the latter but it is a great base to explore the volcanic cone of Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak and the gorgeous waterfalls.
We hope we just made your Jeju planning a lot easier and feel free to contact us if you need any further recommendations! 🙂