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!
Quick Jeju Travel Tips
- Getting in: There are two main ways to get to Jeju – by boat and by plane. I’ve done both and plane is a million times better. Most mainland airports fly here in around an hour, and it’s very easy to navigate out of the airport. The boat takes 4 hours from Mokpo (which is 4 hours from Seoul), and I at least got a bit of seasickness on it lol.
- When to Visit: May and September are shoulder seasons but still nice enough to want to be outside and travel around. October can be a little too cool and July/August are both torturously hot and expensive.
- Where to Stay: This depends on if you have a car and what you want to do. I have a guide on where to stay in Jeju that breaks it down more thoroughly. My easy answer – stay in Seogwipo to be central. It’s more charming than Jeju City and close to a ton of attractions.
- Stay in Touch: Korea has eSIMs! Order ahead here and you’ll be emailed a QR code which you can use to set-up your service.
- Where to Book Activities: I always like checking Klook or Trazy for the best deals on anything related to tours and experiences in Korea.
- Getting Around: Rent a car! It gives you so much freedom to roam about. Regardless of what you do, download the Kakao T app for taxis and KakaoMap for navigation.
For a more tips, check out my Jeju travel guide.
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. Keep in mind rates vary greatly depending on when you go. In the height of summer, expect to pay upwards of $80+/day. In early March, I paid around $30/day.
2. Stay Somewhere Remote
Of all the places I’ve stayed in Jeju, my favorites have been these really quiet, countryside escapes. The absolute coolest place I stayed as at Romantopia, which is a 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.
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’re quite elusive! I foolishly tried seeing them at their most popular spot – Camellia Hill (카멜리아힐) – in late summer, but we were way, way too late for them. Heck, by the time I visited in late July we were even too late for the hydrangeas!
They were also mostly gone when I returned in mid-March, so I’d say your best bet seeing them in full bloom is probably February. I did manage to find a few trees at Seongeup Folk Village (성읍민속마을), which is what’s pictured above!
Where to Find the Camellias
- Camellia Hill, 카멜리아힐 (get discounted tickets here) – the most popular spot for camellias.
- Huree Camellia Festival,휴애리동백축
- Ilchul Land, 일출랜드 (get discounted tickets here)
- Camelia Town, 제주동백마을
- Wimi Camellia Tree Colony, 위미동백나무군락
- Gotjawal Forest,곶자왈
- Camellia Garden,동백정원
- Secret Spot: Camellia Arboretum, 동백수목원 – this is a super random spot I had to piece together a bunch of Korean instagrammers’ photos to find! Like you’d think something with camellia in the name would be easier to figure out!
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? Unlike Northern Ireland or Iceland, you can’t walk on them, but you can see them from viewing decks 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 place to go. I stayed at a hostel on my very first ever night in Jeju, and the sunset was absolutely gorgeous. However, when I went back in the next August, aka 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. Even when I went in high season, the area was quiet and empty! 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. (Pictured above!)
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 – Good if you want a little hike in since the waterfall is three levels.
- Cheonjiyeon, 천지연 폭포 – This one is best for photos. You can get close enough to get photos without worrying about crowds like Jeongbang, and it’s flat, so you won’t get as sweaty climbing to see Cheonjeyeon.
- Jeongbang, 정방 폭포 – Good if you want to get close to the waterfall. Unlike the other two where you can only see from a viewing deck, you can get into the water here. This means it’s pretty crowded RIGHT in front of the falls in the summer.
PRO-TIP: Don’t mix up CheonJEyeon and CheonJIyeon! They sound very similar and in Korean it’s “제 vs 지.” My friend and I were arguing over this our when we went to see Cheonjeyeon because I’d seen Cheonjiyeon the year before, and I was like, “I do not remember having to climb stairs for this. I wore a dress and sandals!” Sure enough it was just one little character/letter difference.
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.
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! 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. They tend to bloom a bit later, so you want to time your trip towards the end of of forecasts.
If you haven’t heeded my advice and are going to try to do this trip via public transport, you’ll definitely want to hire a driver to take you around to cherry blossom (and canola) spots as most of them are harder to get to by bus. I’d do this tour if I didn’t have my own car.
Best places to see the cherry blossoms in Jeju:
- Jeonnong-ro, 전농로 – this is in Jeju City and also known as the University Street. From memory, I parked on the side of the road and hopped out to take photos.
- Hallim Park, 한림공원 (get tickets here) – Known for maehwa blossoms (more on them here), which spring earlier than cherry or King cherry. Hallim is high on my list and located in northwestern Jeju. I think it also has canola fields.
- Noksan-ro, 녹산로 – By far one of the most incredible stretches of road if you go at the exact right time. For maybe a week, you’ll have cherry blossoms in full bloom up top while fields and fields of bright yellow canola flowers cover the ground. Even when I went when the trees were still fairly bare, it was incredible.
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 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 during my second visit. My friend 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). If you look on a map it’s kind of to the southeast to Jeju City.
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 – specifically the chogaijip (초가집) style. These types of hanoks are characterized by their rice straw roofs and would’ve been used by Korea’s lower classes vs the tiled-roof hanoks used by upper classes in Jeonju and Seoul. Everything here from the homes to the trees is historically significant. While, I personally liked the feel of Naganeupseong Folk Village up near Suncheon better, Seongeup is still worth a walk around.
13. Get your green tea Field 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 was a student adn could barely afford the face masks.
This area can be a tiny bit confusing, but it’s 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 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.
PRO-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 is 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 midday. It’s honestly wowed me every time. I’m not alone – it’s on the UNESCO World Heritage list!
The peak was formed from a volcanic eruption, and the very top is actually a crater. Now, the thing every tour and travel guide will tell you to do is to hike it at sunrise. The hike is fairly short and will take maybe an hour. However, as someone who’s done this hike twice, let me tell you the real magical view is at sunset when you walk away from the peak.
Because here’s the thing – the cool view of the crater is really only visible from the air. Literally the photo every website uses of Seongsan Ilchulbong was taken with a drone or from a helicopter. If you hike up, you’ll just get a bunch of grass. And as far as sunrises go, Korea and Jeju have a million beautiful sunrise spots.
No, trust me. Instead of hiking up, walk to the left of the whole peak along this path that winds along the cliff edge, 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 the view from my secret beach spot from above.
15. Take a day trip to Udo Island
An island of an island? Yup! Udo (우도) 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. Seriously, take a day to circle the whole island. Just know you may not be able to bring your rental car (they get weird about it sometimes), but there’s a shuttle and fun little cars to get around.
16. See the coast from Yongmeori Beach
The real beauty of Yongmeori (용머리해안) is getting a chance to walk by the beach along the sandstone stacks. My friend, Hallie, has a whole post on what to expect with photos so you can see what it looks like. It’s definitely not a swimming beach like the ones I listed above, which is why I have it separated.
Unfortunately for me, even after multiple visits, I still haven’t had a chance to see these cliffs for myself! If the tide is too high, they’ll close the beach area, and it’s been closed every time I try to go. The above is as close as I could get and it was from my very first trip! Someday…
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 yellow 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 packed all the wrong clothes.
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?”
Really, though you’ll see fields of canolas all around the island – it’s hard to miss them!
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.
19. Check out the cute cafes all around Jeju
I promise I’ll write a post of all the cool ones I’ve found eventually. However, like Seoul and really all of Korea, Jeju has a lot of very random, cool cafes. Some are fairly easy to get to, but others 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
Foodie Things to Do 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. Try a meal with 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. Get Peanut Ice Cream and/or Makgeolli in Udo
I saw peanut ice cream (땅콩아이스크림) and makgeolli (a Korean alcoholic drink) are a must-try on Udo, but I actually like the one I got from Cloud Hotel’s cafe better. I’m pretty sure peanut ice cream is just vanilla ice cream with peanuts on it, but regardless it’s still tasty! I don’t drink makgeolli, but it’s a sweeter alcohol that’s very, very popular in Korea – especially after a hike or on a hot day.
22. Drink Anything Hallabong
One of the things Jeju is most famous for is its sweet hallabong (한라봉) ! They’re little oranges, and you might know them by the Japanese name, Dekopon, or Sumo Citrus in the U.S. I love getting icy hallabong smoothies personally, but really you can get them in all forms!
23. Try Anything 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 green tea ice cream.
24. Get Donato’s Pizza in Hyeopjae
Okay, so not really Korean haha. BUT Donato’s Pizza (협재화덕 도나토스) 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 four 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 National Park.
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 parts 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, but really what I want to do one year is spend a month or two walking them all.
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. I’ve driven through but never had a chance to just wander through on foot.
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.
FAQ for Things to Do in Jeju
This depends on what you want to see and how quickly. I mean, there are crazy fast day tours that’ll take you to a few major sites, but you kind miss out on the whole reason Jeju is such a nice place to visit. I’d do at least 3 days but closer to a week will let you explore as you’re meant to – slowly!
Jeju is kind of the crown jewel of Korea. It’s often nicknamed the “Hawaii of Korea” because it’s so pretty and is a popular spot for summer vacations and honeymoons. It has a ton of beautiful natural landmarks and the tallest mountain in the country – Hallasan.
Mmm… not really. It just feels like any other coastal Korean city – ugly skyscraper apartment buildings and all. You’re better off staying in Seogqwipo.
Let me know if I’m missing any of your favorite things to do in Jeju Island! What would you add to this list!
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