Jeju Island is a small volcanic island that belongs to South Korea and it is located in Jeju Province. Jeju Island was formed more than 2 million years ago and it consists of basalt and lava. On the island, there are more than 350 volcanos, but none of them are active.
In the middle of the island, there is a Gotjawal forest in which unique specimens of flora and fauna lives because the place is still widely unexplored. The highest mountain in Jeju is none other than Hallasan, which is also the highest peak in the whole of South Korea.
Jeju Island became a very popular holiday destination for people all over the world. The island has a nickname “Hawaii of Korea” and couples often come here for a honeymoon.
In this travel itinerary, I will give you some suggestions on how to spend 3 days in this beautiful place. In addition to where you need to visit and what to experience, I will also give you suggestions about what to taste from local specialties.
Jeju Island is a great place for all nature and Korean culture lovers. The interesting thing is that even if it is a small island, it has three UNESCO World Heritage sites. Here you can go hiking on famous routes, see older woman diving, enjoy good coffee and have a great vacation.
This little guide will help you to explore the Jeju island in the best possible way.
Before I share with you the places you should and can visit, things to eat, and what to do in Jeju, you probably want to read my previous article here about what you need to know before traveling in Jeju:
What to Expect from this Itinerary?
In this article, you will find tips on what to do during your trip on Jeju Island. I try our best to make this article as comprehensive as possible so you could have fun, relax and visit all the attractions during your vacation.
I will share with you how you should structure your trip there.
Of course, it depends on how many days you plan to spend in Jeju and your travel preference. For me, I prefer to see more of nature than hopping from one café to another. I prefer visit natural attractions like Hallasan and even going to Udo Island.
I will also list down all the attractions, things to do, and also cafes, restaurants and foods you should try out.
How to Get to Jeju Island?
Jeju International Airport is located in Jeju City and there is are cheap flights from Seoul. There are other cities that have flights to Jeju such as Daegu, Busan, Gunsan, and Gwangju.
Also, there is a ferry service from Seoul and Busan but flights are a better option because two-way ferry ticket costs around $100 and you will travel from 3-12 hours depending on the location.
If you are staying less than 90 days you don’t need a visitor’s visa for your trip to Jeju.
When you are on the island you can rent a car or get around by the well-connected public buses. If you don’t prefer to rent a car and drive yourself, you will either have to use public transport or hire a driver to bring you around, which is also a very popular option.
Depending on your preferences, if you love to enjoy the local lifestyle and are more adventurous, take the public transport route.
If you want convenience, rent a car and drive yourself. And if you travel in a smaller group, opt for hiring a driver will be a better choice.
I went to Jeju with my wife. So, there are just the two of us. And we opt for self-driving. I get my international driver’s license in my home country, Malaysia, before I depart to Jeju.
Getting around Jeju Island
This can be a tricky thing because Korea has strict rules about internet maps so don’t expect help from Google Maps. But this is not an issue because every car you rented comes with a GPS where you can key in the local phone number for coordinate.
There is one more problem, all names of restaurants, shops, etc., are written with Korean characters, hence, make sure you do your research well before you get here.
Here’s the great news, most places around Jeju has Wifi. Thus, you can use a translator App for better communication. The locals are friendly and helpful. So, don’t worry too much about that.
Jeju Island Travel Itinerary (Top Attractions)
In my opinion, Jeju is not really a big island, but the island offers a lot of tourist attractions and there are plenty of things you can do.
My suggestion is to spend at least 5 days in Jeju. If you have only 3 days here, you will have to skip a lot of places of interest and your trip will be in a rush. The best is to have 5 days here so that you can spend your time traveling and exploring the island with enough time for relaxation.
Below are some of the must-visit places in Jeju Island. Of course, you don’t have to visit all of them. If you don’t have enough time, you can skip some of them.
1. Mount Hallasan
First and foremost, the Hallasan is the icon and the highest peak of South Korea. It is a national park and if you plan to hike this mountain, be ready because you will have to spend an entire day here.
The best time to go hiking is early in the morning. Be sure to dress in layers because you can’t be sure what to expect, also bring a hat and some sunscreen.
Don’t forget to take some food and water with you. Although there are stations selling foods and drinks, make sure you bring your own snacks, chocolate bars, and drinking water. There are stops with bathrooms. As long as you get yourself prepared for hiking, you don’t have to worry too much about it.
There are a few hiking trails in Hallasan National Park:
Seongpanak → Dongneung Peak
9.6 km / 4 hrs 30 mins each way
Eorimok → Nambyeok Bungijeom
6.8 km / 3 hrs each way
Eorimok → Eoseungsangak Peak
1.3 km / 30 min each way
Yeongsil – Nambyeok Bungijeom
5.8 km / 2 hrs 30 mins each way
Gwaneumsa Temple – Dongneung Peak
8.7 km / 5 hrs each way
Some trails are easy and some trails take longer and are more difficult. If you don’t have much time to spend, take the Eoseungsaengak Trail. This is the one that I opted for.
And trust me, it took about 30 to 45 minutes to get to the top. And the view on top of Eoseungsangak Peak is absolutely stunning and beautiful.
I strongly suggest you do your research before you embark on your hiking journey. Check out the official Hallasan National Park website.
And depending on what season you are visiting, winter can be cold and slippery, while autumn can be beautiful with flowers blooming all over the mountains.
I went there in late February, it was cold and the floor was slippery. You have to be extremely careful if you try to hike during the winter season.
2. Seongsan Ilchulbong
Next comes the Seongsan Ilchulbong, which can also be known as the “Sunrise Peak” in English. Seongsan is famous for both the locals and in the eyes of tourists.
Seongsan Ilchulbong is a UNESCO Heritage Site that was formed into a crater from under the sea over 10,000 years ago.
Some people say that this is the best place to catch sunrise, and so it has the name “sunrise peak”. Too bad that I was visiting in February, the weather was too cold and when I got there, it was too late for sunrise.
You can spend about 3 to 4 hours here. Hiking to the top of the crater takes about 45 minutes. Sometimes, there will be huge crowd, so watch your steps.
When you are at Seongsan Ilchulbong you shouldn’t miss Haenyo which is the woman divers show. Haenyo is listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This is a really amazing thing to see and it’s completely free.
Women here dived since the 18th century. Haenyo training starts at the age of 7 and the average age of women divers is 65 years old.
Female divers go underwater without any diving equipment to gather seaweed, shellfish, octopuses and they can stay underwater for about 4 minutes. If the weather is good, you can check the Women Diver Museum too.
3. Cheonjeyeon Waterfall
There are plenty of waterfalls in Jeju, and one of them is the Cheonjeyeon falls. First, don’t mistaken it for Cheonjiyeon falls, both are different.
The Cheonjeyeon Waterfall consists of 3 waterfall sections – the top, middle, and the bottom sections, before the water flows to the open sea.
And depending on your month of visit, sometimes the waterfalls can be strong and sometimes the top section only falls when it rains.
When you’re there, don’t forget to check out the Seonimgyo Bridge, which is a beautifully designed bridge that stands out in the forest there.
4. Jeongbang Falls
Of all the waterfalls in Jeju, the Jeongbang Falls is the one that I like the most. It is the only waterfall in Korea where the water falls straight into the sea.
The view there is beautiful, and the waterfall has a black cliff as background. Plus, the steep cliffs, the old pine trees, and the stone floor around the fall make the whole scenery stunning.
Of all the 3 famous waterfalls in Jeju, Cheonjiyeon, Cheonjeyeon, and Jeongbang Falls, you can visit Cheonjeyeon and Jeongbang Falls. As for Cheonjiyeon falls, I went there at night, but the fall is not as magnificent as the other two.
So, if you lack time and you have to skip one of them, choose to skip the Cheonjiyeon falls.
5. Manjanggul Cave
Also known as the Manjanggul Lava Tube, it has the length of about 7.4KM that was formed thousands of years ago. Although the tube has 3 entrances and a long tunnel, visitors can only go as far as 1KM and only allowed to use the second entrance.
You can see stalagmites, stalactites, lava shelves, tubes, rafts, and many types of flowstones here.
The Manjanggul Lava Tunnel is worth visiting if you have never explored such a cave before. The atmosphere is mesmerizing and it will surely gives you a fresh experience.
6. Jungmun Saekdal Beach
There is no way you can miss out visiting the beaches in Jeju since it is an island surrounded with beautiful seas. And one of the top beaches in Jeju is the Jungmun Beach.
The Jungmun Beach is surrounded by cliffs and located next to the Jungmun Resort. There are many beach activities you can enjoy here, such as wind surfing, para-sailing, and waterskiing.
The Korea Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries has chosen Jungmun Beach as the best beach in terms of their water quality, operating management, scenery and safety.
During peak season, the beach can be quite packed with people. But still, if you’re visiting Jeju, make sure you make Jungmun Beach one of your must-visit itinerary.
7. Jusangjeolli Cliff
The Jusangjeolli Cliff formed by lava hardened from due to volcanic eruption of Hallasan into the Jungmun sea. You can see the rock pillars with cube and hexagonal shapes carved out around the cliff.
The locals called these rocks “Jisatgae”. You will think that these rock pillars formation are man-made, but they are not. The waves on the sea here are strong and it can be very windy at times.
8. Yongmeori Coast and Sanbangsan Mountain
The Yongmeori Coast and Sanbangsan are located next to each other and you can visit both these places at one go. There are two temples on Sanbangsan and hiking enthusiast can consider climbing the mountain.
As for Yongmeori Coast, you can walk around the cliff by the sea. And you have to be careful as some parts are without handrails and it can be quite crowded during peak seasons. The sea water will splash on the rock flooring, hence, Yongmeori Coast is closed for visit during high tide.
If you like beautiful scenery of the Jeju sea, you cannot miss out visiting Seopjikoji. The place was made famous because it was a featured filming site for multiple Korean TV drama like “The Uprising” and “One Thousand and One Nights”.
The word “koji” means a sudden bump on land. And at the end of the land near the cliff, you can see a lighthouse there. And when you get to the lighthouse, you can have a fantastic view of the entire ocean at a glance.
10. O’Sulloc Museum
The O’Sulloc Tea Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions. As the name suggest, you’re visiting a tea plantation. You can buy many types of tea leaves here as souvenirs too.
There is also a cafe where you can try out their teas and also their famous cake rolls. During peak hours, this entire place will be very crowded.
11. Udo Island
If you have more time, make sure you plan your trip to Udo Island. Udo Island was so named because the shape of the island looks like a lying cow. It is a relatively small island with scenic sights, local heritages such as stone walls, tombs, and also female divers.
There is a hill on Udo Island called Udobong Peak where there is a lighthouse located on top. Standing on the peak offers a magnificent view of the whole island. Plus, Udo is famous for its peanut ice-cream, make sure you try it too.
My 3-Day Travel Itinerary in Jeju
I spend 4 days and 3 nights in Jeju. As what I have mentioned, 5 days will be better. There are way too many attractions and things to do in Jeju. So plan to stay here for more days if possible.
As for the means of transport, a lot of people opted for hiring a driver. As for me, I’m visiting Jeju with my wife and we went for self-driving.
I applied for my international driving license in my home country, Malaysia before I get to Jeju. The car rental company prepared shuttle bus and took us from airport to their office to grab the car.
Once I got the car, I’m all set to go. There is a GPS provided on the dashboard of the car. For the coordination of attractions or places you want to visit, you just need to key in the land line (phone number) of the place.
Day 1: Jeongbang Falls and Cheonjiyeon Falls
I took flight from Seoul to Jeju and when I touched down, it was almost late afternoon. Hence, after checking in to my hotel, I visited Jeongbang Waterfall. And at night, I went to Cheonjiyeon Waterfall.
Day 2: Hallasan, O’sulloc, Sanbangsan, Yongmeori Coast, Jusangjeolli Cliff, and Lotte Hotel
On day 2, me and my wife woke up early because today was our full day tour of Jeju. And hiking up to Hallasan was one of my most breathtaking experiences in Jeju.
We took early breakfast and went to Hallsan Mountain, hiking up the Eoseungsaengak Trail and it took us about 30 minutes to reach the summit.
We went there on late February. It was winter and it snowed that day. So, the floor is slippery and you have to be extremely careful.
After checking out Hallasan, we go to the O’sulloc Tea Museum. Guess what, it was crowded.
After O’sulloc, we drove to Sanbangsan. And along the way, we saw a lot of yellow canola flowers. So we stopped and took some photos…
After Sanbangsan and Yongmeori Coast, we went back to Jungmun area and the next stop was the Cheonjeyeon Falls.
Before the sunset, we went to another tourist hot spot in Jeju – Jusangjeolli Cliff:
Before we end our day 2, we managed to check out the beautiful windmill inside Lotte Hotel.
Day 3: Seongsan Ilchulbong, Udo Island, and Seopjikoji
You can’t come to Jeju without visiting the Seongsan Ilchulbong because it represents Jeju.
The word “Ilchulbong” means sunrise peak. And some said that the sunrise here is the most beautiful. If you want to, you can catch the sunrise here. But make sure you arrive early.
After Seongsan, we took ferry to Udo Island.
If you visit Udo, rent a bicycle instead of this electric motorbike. The reason is that the battery can run out pretty fast and it happened to me. This is the reason I didn’t manage to make it to the lighthouse in Udo.
After Udo, we took ferry back to Jeju. And our last stop is Seopjikoji.
Day 4: Back to Seoul
As I said, I have only 3 days in Jeju and I think 3 days are really not enough. If possible, try to spend 5 days here.
I did not manage to visit the Manjanggul Cave or any of the parks here in Jeju, like Loveland. I prefer to visit the natural wonder rather than man-made parks. And this is why I chose to go Hallasan.
Before I took my flight back to Seoul from Jeju airport, I did manage to make some time to visit the local market here:
Jeju Island is really one of the most beautiful places that I have visited. With beautiful beaches, mountains, and delicious foods, I will promise myself that I will visit Jeju again.
So, what do you think about my 3 days itinerary? Let me know in the comment section below.