With so many beautiful things to do in Jeju, you should not miss it while you’re visiting South Korea!
If you really want to fall in love with this country, I highly recommend you dedicate part of your trip to visiting Jeju Island. It’s considered one of the New7Wonders of Nature, and it’s by far one of the most beautiful places in Korea.
I’ve visited this gorgeous island four times now in three different seasons, and I definitely see many return trips. There’s just something about Jeju, whether you’re hitting up the popular attractions or just driving around and enjoying the views.
I’ve heard of many expats visiting and only really staying in Jeju City, which is a huge mistake. The real beauty lies spread out around the island, so here are my picks for the top things to do in Jeju so you don’t miss out!
30 Awesome Things to Do in Jeju
1. Rent a Car
I cannot emphasize this enough — do yourself a favor and rent a car. Like I said, I’ve been four times. Half those times were by bus and the other half were with a car. I wound up paying taxi fees that amounted to renting a car because of how remote some places are. There are so many lesser known spots and cafes, I don’t really see how you’d get there without one. While we rented an electric car through Sixt on my first visit, I realize now that that was quite an expensive rate ($80/day). When I went on my own, I used Trazy and got it for almost a quarter of that.
2. Stay Somewhere Quite Remote
Of all the places I’ve stayed in Jeju, my favorites have been these really unique, countryside escapes. The absolute coolest place I stayed as at Romantopia, which was this cute, eco-friendly guesthouse somewhere random in southeast Jeju. Not only are the buildings cute, and the interior even cuter, the woman who runs them is the absolutely loveliest and if you go in the right season, you can see all her hallabong trees full of fruit. Check here for prices & availability
3. Find the camellia blooms
One of Jeju’s defining natural symbols are the red camellia blooms (동백 or 카멜리아) that pop up in winter and maybe early spring. They feel quite elusive! When we first went in late summer, we went to the most popular spot — Camellia Hill (카멜리아힐), but we were way too late for them. Heck, we were even too late for the hydrangea flowers!
They were even mostly gone when I went in mid-March, so I’d say your best bet of seeing them in full bloom is probably February. I did manage to find a few trees at Seongeup Folk Village, which is what’s pictured above!
Where to Find the Camellias
- Camellia Hill, 카멜리아힐 (get discount here)
- Huree Camelli Festival,휴애리동백축제
- Ilchul Land, 일출랜드
- Camelia Town,제주동백마을
- Wimi Camellia Tree Colony, 위미동백나무군락
- Gotjawal Forest,곶자왈
- Camellia Garden,동백정원
- Secret Spot: Camellia Arboretum, 동백수목원
4. Do go chasing waterfalls.
There are three main waterfall areas that are worth visiting in Jeju: Cheonjeyeon, Cheonjiyeon, and Jeongbang. They’re each good depending on what you’re looking for:
- Cheonjeyeon, 천제연 폭포 – hiking, since the waterfall is technically three levels
- Cheonjiyeon, 천지연 폭포 – photos — you can get close enough for a decent photo and it’s less sweaty than Cheonjeyeon
- Jeongbang, 정방 폭포 – Actually getting close to the waterfalls. You can’t get into the water in the other two, but Jeongbang, you can! That does mean it’s more crowded right in front of the falls in the summer than the other two.
Tip: Don’t mix up CheonJEyeon and CheonJIyeon! They sound very similar and in Korean it’s “제 vs 지.”
5. Check out the pillar rocks at Jusangjeolli Cliff
Kind of similar to the pillar-like rock formations you can find in Northern Ireland or Iceland! Basically, Daepo Jusangjeolli Cliff (주상절리대) was formed when Hallasan erupted into the sea. Doesn’t it almost look like someone came in and carved them all? You can’t go onto them, but you can see them from viewing points from above. You could also book a luxury yacht tour, which actually takes you a bit closer!
6. Enjoy the beaches
Of course, one of the best things to do in Jeju is head to the beach! I should warn you, though, that beach culture in Korea is a bit different than you might expect in other countries. For one, most Koreans don’t like to just wear their swim suits — they typically have rash guards or T-shirts on top. For another, Koreans aren’t exactly into sunbathing, so you’ll see them not only covered up, but in the shade as much as possible.
Beaches in Jeju
- Hyeopjae Beach,협재해변 – Probably the most popular, I’d think. I stayed here on my very first night in Jeju, and the sunset was absolutely gorgeous. However, when I went back in the next August, high season, it was absolutely packed with people cooling off in the water.
- Handam Beach, 한담해변 – Handam has a few cute cafes, including Bonmal and Monsant, which look very different from each other but are right next door! If you want, you can go for a little walk along the coast or go kayaking
- Woljeongri Beach, 월정리해수욕장 – Woljeong is another beach you can go kayaking at. While Handam and Hyeopjae are in northwest Jeju, Woljeongri is northeast.
- Secret Spot: Jongdal Beach, 종달항 – If you want to feel like you have your own private beach, I highly recommend staying at this cute guesthouse. It’s pretty remote, so when I went in July, the area was quite quiet and empty even though it was high season! It’s right across the street from this lovely beach area with a view straight to Seongsan Ilchulbong. I had the whole place to myself and could go for a swim while the sunset!
7. Walk around Jeju Stone Park
As one might expect from a place created by volcanic activity, stones play a major role in Jeju’s history and culture. The Stone Park (제주돌문화공원) commemorates their importance in one place. It’s a really lovely place to walk around, and if you want to embrace your inner geology nerd, there’s a great museum in the park that goes into more detail. Get discount tickets here
8. Catch the king cherry blossoms!
Ahhhh, I’m so sad, I was about a week too early to catch the cherry blossoms in Jeju. Next time, maybe! The king cherry blossoms are different from the normal, Yoshino cherry blossoms that cover the much of the country. While the Yoshino variety is, obviously, from Japan, the Jeju King variety is very much original to Korea.
Best places to see the cherry blossoms in Jeju:
- Jeonnong-ro, 전농로
- Hallim Park, 한림공원
- Noksan-ro, 녹산로
9. Go underground to see the Manjanggul Lava Tube
Mangjanggul (만장굴) is one of the biggest and best lava tubes in the world. It’s also a great thing to do in Jeju in the summer if you need a full reprieve from the sun. You’ll walk about 1 km to the lava tube, and it’s pretty dark! I remember it being insanely quiet too. Watch your step!
10. Visit the Sunflowers at Kim Kyung Suk Farm
High off my Rhode Island sunflower fix and narrowly missing the bloom period for a field near me in Pennsylvania, I actually looked up where to find sunflowers in Jeju. Nicole also wanted to find some after seeing them featured on Innisfree’s account, so together we found the Kim Kyeong Suk Sunflower Farm (김경숙 해바라기농장). It’s pretty out of the way, but if you drive it’s really easy.
Unfortunately, we were either just a bit too late or something had eaten away at the flowers because they were pretty dead and wilted when we arrived. We didn’t have to pay, though, so I guess that’s a minor perk?
11. Check out Lee Jung Seop Street
Lee Jung Seop is a famous Korean artist, and he lived in Seogwipo for a year as a refugee during the Korean War. The street (이중섭) and nearby gallery is in homage to his work, and it’s a great place if you want to find some cute cafes to relax in. I loved this little pink cafe, Villa de Atat, that’s right at the entrance.
12. See some traditional hanoks at Seongeup Folk Village
Seongeup Folk Village (성읍민속마을) is a great little area to visit if you want to experience more of Korea’s traditional hanoks. Everything from the homes to the trees is historically significant. While, I personally liked the feel of Naganeupseong Folk Village up near Suncheon. Seongeup is still worth a walk around.
13. Get your green tea fix
Easily one of the most famous and popular things to do in Jeju is to visit the O’Sulloc Tea Museum area! I’ve written extensively about my love of the Boseong green tea fields, so no surprise I’ve gone here multiple times. I also love it because I’ve been a devoted fan of Innisfree since 2011 when I could barely afford the face masks.
It’s a tiny bit confusing, but the area is actually three attractions in one:
- O’Sulloc Tea Museum, 오설록티뮤지엄 – see history of the tea, can buy the fancy O’sulloc teas and get green tea ice cream
- Innisfree House, 이니스프리 제주하우스 – A cute cafe (I think one of two, the other is in Seoul) that’s half cafe with delicious sweets and drinks and one half Innisfree shop
- The actual fields – The actual tea fields you can wander around
The museum and cafe are more or less connected, and there’s a little bit of the field right near them as well. You can cross the street and see some cute plant sculptures and really get the tea fields to yourself the further you walk. While the museum and cafe close at 6, the gardens are always open.
Tip: Head a bit further down to the right of the museum, and you’ll get tea fields all to yourself! We did this on my second trip when all the leaves had been plucked in front of the museum.
14. Catch the sunset at Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak
Not only Seongsan Ilchulbong (성산일출봉) one of my favorite things to do in Jeju, it’s one of my favorite places in all of Korea. I’ve seen it at sunrise, sunset, and on a cloudy day, and it’s wowed me every time.
The peak was formed from a volcanic eruption, and the very top is actually a crater. It’s actually more famous for being a place to hike up and watch the sunrise, but, take it from someone who’s done that twice, it’s way more magical at sunset from further away.
The thing is, you can’t actually get a cool view of the crater unless you’re above it with an aerial view.
If you walk to the left of the whole peak along this path against the cliff, you’ll eventually find yourself headed towards the Cloud Hotel. That’s where you’re going to see the most golden, magical view of Seongsan Ilchulbong!
Honorable mention goes to my beach view from my secret beach spot from above.
15. Take a day trip to Udo Island
An island of an island? Yup! Udo is an even tinier island off the northeast coast of Jeju Island! It’s such an incredible place, and I have an entire post dedicated to how to visit and things to do in Udo.
16. See the coast Yongmeori Beach
The real beauty of Yongmeori (용머리해반) is getting a chance to walk on the beach. It’s definitely not a swimming beach like the ones I listed above, which is why it’s separate.
Unfortunately, even after multiple visits, I still haven’t had a chance. If the tide is too high, they’ll close the beach area. Yeongmeori is an extension of Seongsan and looks like a dragon head extending into the sea (Yeongmeori means dragon head in Korean)
17. Find all the canola fields
On my fourth visit, the one thing that topped my list of things to do in Jeju was to find see those dang canolas in person! They’re another iconic nature symbol of the island, and I had never been able to see them because there’s not exactly a long enough holiday in March and April to make a trip down.
Well, I finally saw those beautiful fields for myself, and I was quite giddy. They’re just so yellow and pretty, you forget that you’re actually kind of cold in late March and you’ve very much packed too lightly.
Canola Fields in Jeju:
- Seopjikoji, 섭지코지 – Go here early in the morning — it gets very crowded in the middle of the day! Plus you don’t have to pay for parking if you go and leave early enough. It’s a bit of walk along the coast, and then you’ll see a field of them by the light house.
- Noksan-ro, 녹산로 – This is where you can drive and see the cherry blossoms and the canola fields all in one!
- Jeju Horse Park, 조랑말체험공원 – I think this is probably the most impressive area to see them because it’s so big! The modern windmills actually make for a cool backdrop as well.
- Sanbangsan, 산방산 – This is probably my least favorite area to see them. Maybe they’re more impressive closer to Yeongmeori Coast, but I went near Sangbangsan. It’s not that big of an area, really, just like a little square with a view of the mountain behind. I mean, you can get a good photo of it, but you get there and you think, “Is this it?”
18. Walk around Yeomiji Botanical Garden
I had wanted to go Yeomiji (여미지식물원) on my first trip, but it was too out of the way compared to what else I wanted to see. Nicole and I went here first because we both were eager to go. The garden is within the Jungmun Resort and more or less connected to Cheonjeyeon. If you’re a fan of botanical gardens like I am, you won’t want to miss this! And if you’re a photographer, you’ll have a field day. Get discounted tickets here
19. Check out the cute cafes all around Jeju
I promise I’m writing a post of all the cool ones I’ve found! But Jeju has a lot of very random, cool cafes. Some are fairly easy to get to, but some are quite hidden away and really best visited with car.
Some cafes to visit:
- Songeup Land, 성읍렌드
- Cafe Nating, 카페나팅
- Monocle Jeju, 모노클 제주
- Mongsangt Aewol, 몽상드애월
- Bonmal Cafe, 봄날
- Villa de Atat, 빌라드아토
- Lazybox, 레이지박스
What to Eat in Jeju
I’m not the biggest foodie and eat pretty much whatever is put in front of me when I’m hungry. However, there are a few things you’ll want to definitely try specifically in Jeju!
20. Jeju Black Pork
I had Jeju black pork (제주흑돼지) a few times, once in hamburger form in Seogwipo and a few times in the above form. If you’re a Korean pork fan, you’ll love all reiterations! The black pig is native to Jeju and apparently has a distinct taste. I don’t know if I tasted anything different, but both were delicious!
21. Peanut Ice Cream and/or Makgeolli
I saw peanut ice cream (땅콩아이스크림) and makgeolli (a Korean alcoholic drink) as a must-try on Udo, but I actually like the one I got from Cloud Hotel’s cafe better.
22. Anything Hallabong (한라봉)
One of the things Jeju is most famous for is its sweet hallabongs! They’re little oranges, and you might know them by the Japanese name, Dekopon, or Sumo Citrus in the U.S. I love getting the Hallabong smoothies personally.
23. Jeju Green Tea
Circling back to green tea — don’t just visit the places I mentioned above, try some tea products while you’re there! O’Sulloc green teas are absolutely top notch, and, of course, you know I love me some ice cream.
24. Donato’s Pizza in Hyeopjae
Okay, so not really Korean haha. BUT Donato’s Pizza in Hyeopjae serves probably the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life. And this is from someone who grew up eating pizza every Friday and has eaten plenty of it in the three times I’ve been to Italy. It’s such a random hidden treasure, and it’s so, so good! Don’t worry about it being like Korean pizza, it’s not at all.
Things to Do in Jeju Still on My List
Believe it or not, even four trips weren’t quite enough to do everything. There are still quite a few things I still have or keep discovering. I keep telling myself I’ll do them, but I think I need to go with a friend to motivate me.
25. Hike Hallasan.
I didn’t have time or energy the first time, and it was way too hot to hike it this last trip. However, I feel like it’d be a shame to visit three times and not hike Hallasan. It’s the tallest mountain in South Korea, after all!
26. Visit Loveland.
I feel like if anyone has heard of Jeju or Korea, a lot of times it’s because of Loveland or similar parks in the country. Don’t go if you’re even remotely prude! I didn’t go the first time because it was out of the way and, honestly, it’s not that fun walking around a sex park by yourself… (Get discounted tickets here)
27. Watch a Hanyeo performance.
Hanyeo are these badass women divers in Jeju, and sadly, the practice is slowly dying out. While we caught sight of them at Ilchulbong during the sunrise, I still have yet to see a performance!
28. Walk parks of the Olleh Trail (or all of it).
The Olleh path goes all around Jeju with different trails in different parts. I’d like to experience walking at least one of them!
29. Visit Bijarim (or Bija Forest).
It’s the largest nutmeg forest, and its oldest tree is 800-years-old. It’s also supposed to be extremely good for the immune system to breathe in the forest air.
30. Visit Gimnyeong Maze Park
This is a huge maze in the shape of Jeju, and it’s near Manjanggul. You can also go up to an observatory to see the maze from above.
Tips for Visiting Jeju
While I have an entire post of Jeju travel tips, here are some quick tips to get you started.
Best Place to Stay in Jeju
It really depends! Like I said, my favorite place was Romantopia, but it’s also not particularly close to anything without a car. I have a whole guide on where to stay in Jeju that breaks down the different areas and why one may appeal to you over another.
When to Visit Jeju
The best time is probably in May or September. October is nice but just a little too cool some days, and July/August can be a little torturous with the heat. However, there’s something to do no matter what time of the year, even in December, so I wouldn’t worry too much!
How to Get Around Jeju
Before you get into this list, I strongly urge you to download the KakaoMap App to get around if you’re not driving. GoogleMaps doesn’t work in Korea, and Jeju’s whole bus system changed in August 2017, so a lot of info will be out of date! KakaoMap is the most detailed, and I just used it on my last trip, so I know it’s up to date with all the new bus numbers and bus stops!
I’d also recommend downloading Kakaotaxi because sometimes you’re going to be in remote enough areas that you won’t stumble across one!