What to Do in Jeju, South Korea? | 11 Places to Go
In beautiful Jeju, there are many trails to hike and climb, sea breeze to feel against your face, and mountain top experience to revel in. The focus of our trip was nature and the pace was to go slow. Turns out, my itinerary was still overly packed. We had to skip a few attractions because we had to go even slower with Baby EX. At 16 months, she couldn’t really do much of the walking and hence we carried her most of the time. Nature isn’t that stroller friendly.
Because we wanted to immerse Baby EX in nature, we skipped attractions such as Teddy Bear Museum. Also, with Loveland being R21, we didn’t think of bringing a young toddler there. I went 10 years ago because a local guide brought us there. The park is a novelty but not somewhere I will recommend, unless you like looking at the different sex and penis sculptures.
We didn’t make it to Udo island even though I researched quite a bit on it. More on Udo below. Another place squeezed out from our itinerary are Oedolgae Rock and Hwanguji Pools. A friend recommended us a swim in these natural rock pools and they look fun, especially for teens and young adults. And if you are an outdoorsy person or a hiker, you may want to consider doing all or part of Jeju Olle Trail.
So, where did we go?
Jump to Your Preferred Section (Links):
Day 1 (19 October) – Seogwipo
Day 2 (20 October) – Seogwipo to Jeju City (Southwest route)
Day 3 (21 October) – Jeju City (Northeast route)
TIP: To easily locate an attraction in your GPS, you will need its phone number. I have consolidated all the numbers of Jeju attractions and restaurants in “Guide to driving in Jeju”. These numbers are like coordinates or postal code to locate a place more accurately than names in the GPS or APP. You’ll realise that Google maps or Apple maps don’t give a driving route around Jeju.
Jeongbang Falls, Cheonjeyeon Falls, and Cheonjiyeon Falls are the 3 famous waterfalls of Jeju island. They are located in Seogwipo, the southern part of the island. You can read more about them in my post “3 Famous Waterfalls of Jeju with a Baby“.
On hindsight, I didn’t think the falls were stunning compared to other nature spots of Jeju. I have seen better waterfalls. Oh, but the view from Seonimgyo Bridge at Cheonjeyeon Falls was breathtaking.
Perhaps, just choose one waterfall to tick off the list?
Daepo Jusangjeolli Cliff (주상절리대(대포동지삿개))
From Cheonjeyeon Falls, it’s about 6 minutes drive to Jusangjeolli Cliff. It was formed from the lava that erupted from Hallasan Mountain and flowed into the sea of Jungmun. These hexagon shaped pillars look carved out by stone masons.
We had to take many steps down to the viewing platform of the cliff. Definitely NOT suitable for stroller. The cliff structure is interesting and we spent only 5-10 minutes on the crowded platform to admire and take photos with it.
After the climb back up, we roamed around the park and took photos with Dol Hareubang (“grandfather made of stone”). They are stone statues carved from the island’s porous volcanic rock and often attributed to the island’s shamanic traditions. You can find these stone statutes around Jeju Island, but this was the only place we saw them.
Near the entrance, there are shops selling souvenirs and Hallabong (tangerine) juice in stone grandfather’s bottle.
- Hours: 09:00AM – 7:00PM (Last Admission 6:00PM)
- Pricing: Adults, ₩2,000 (S$2.50); Children above 6yo, ₩1,000 (S$1.30); Free for below 6, Seniors 65 and above and people with disabilities.”
- Tel: +82 64-738-1521
- Address: 2767, Jungmun-dong, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
- Paid Parking: 36-30, Ieodo-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Songaksan Mountain (송악산)
Compared to Mt. Hallasan, of Jeju, Songaksan Mountain is less talked about. It is also called 99 Bong (translated “99 Peaks”) due to its 99 small peaks. This mountain is perhaps one of the places in Jeju that is not so well-known. We were there in the morning and the crowd is not as crazy as other parts of Jeju.
Is the place not nice? Surprisingly, it turned out to be the highlight of our Jeju trip. The beautiful view of the ocean took our breath away as we headed up the slope.
I’m not sure if I would recommend a stroller here. There are long stretches of road, sometimes bumpy, so a stroller would be helpful. You’ll come to a crossroad, think it’s at the second intersection, where you can choose to take the coastal or the inland route. If you choose to walk the coast for all the awesome view, be prepared for many, many, many steps. If you trek inland, there should be fewer steps but you will miss out on the scenery.
Still, one parent can carry the stroller and the other the baby. It makes climbing the steps easier. However, Baby EX fell asleep as we pushed her along. Hence, hubby had to carry the stroller and the baby up and down the many steps. Hurt his back for a while after this trip. Thanks hubby for the hardwork! I was exhausted from all the steps, can’t imagine hubby with his heavy-weightlifting.
TIP #1: When you first arrived, you can
- Park at the official carpark. (Scroll photo below for reference) After you alight, walk along the bumpy coastal path or the grassland to climb up. When you “exit” the mountain, you will most likely walk along the main road, on the cycling track, to head back to your car.
- Drive past the official carpark and park further up the slope. (Scroll photo below for reference) There were cars parking by the roadside. Parking further up brings you nearer to the mountain and saves you some walking distance.
TIP #2: Once you arrived, you might need to use the toilet. You can walk a distance to the end of the official carpark but it means a longer walk to and fro the mountain. Unless you’re super urgent, I would suggest you climb a bit more where you will find cubicles not far up the slope.
- Pricing: Free
- Tel: +82 64-794-7711 (starting point); 760-2655 (actual mountain)
- Address: Songakgwangwang-ro, Daejeong-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
- Paid Parking: 36-30, Ieodo-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Seongsan Iichulbong (성산일출봉)
Seongsan Ilchulbong or the Sunrise Peak (“Seongsan”) is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage which rose from under the sea during a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago. Located in the east of Jeju island, people would wake up super early to climb the Peak for a gorgeous sunrise view. A huge crater lies at the top of Seongsan, and with 99 sharp rocks surrounding it, it resembles a gigantic crown.
Jeju Women Divers (Haenyos)
Right before you start the hike, you can catch the performance by Jeju Women Divers (Haenyos), at 1:30PM and 3:00PM daily. The divers would sing and dance before they geared up to dive in open sea. They are known for their independent spirit, iron will, and their ability to be underwater for a long time without oxygen tanks. Apparently, you can buy their fresh catch from the performance and get the “restaurant” nearby to cook them.
Look out for the sign pointing to where the performance will take place. You have to climb down a steep flight of stairs to reach where the divers are. Many just stayed at the top to watch from afar, while we made it halfway down. Near enough to see what they are doing, and not so bottom to save some energy for the hike up Seongsan. We thought the whole performance was quite uneventful, except for the singing. Perhaps we were not near enough to see it, or they just had a bad catch day, diving away and catching nothing.
Early morning gives you a more cooling hike while later evening means fewer people and none of the midday sun glare. Bring a sweater as it might get colder at higher altitude. This didn’t apply to us though as we were there about 1:30PM and it was a sweltering hot climb for us all the way to the top. Do bring water bottles along, because you will definitely need it. There’s one shop that sells water and snacks at the beginning of the hike. Needless to say, prices are very marked up.
It takes about 30 minutes for the fit to head straight up to the peak without stopping for rest or the view. But for us, we took 60-90 minutes to climb up the well-maintained trail. To give us credit, we were carrying a 10-kg baby and a big diaper bag. The trail is almost circular in which you don’t descend from where you climb up from. Unlike the ascent, the climb downhill comes with a wondrous view of the vast blue ocean.
Wear covered sports shoes. The hike starts off with gentle slopes, and then steep flight of stairs, one after another, always one around the corner. The final stretch of twists and turns without railings can get a bit challenging if you are on heels. Along the way, rest your feet at one of the pavilions with benches.
Three-quarters uphill, I thought we had reached the top. We rested at the pavilion and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Interesting to spot the tombolo (photo above) that connected Seongsan tuff cone to the main island. After resting, we were ready to descend, only to come face to face with another set of steps. Jaw drop. I popped the champagne too fast.
The last lap proves to be the hardest part of the climb, no thanks to our tired legs. But we have to get up there to descend from another more scenic route. The view at the peak is not as breathtaking as the one three-quarters uphill. So take your time there to enjoy the impressive sight.
Seongsan is about 1 to 1.5 hour drive from Jeju City or Seogwipo city. So if you set aside 30 to 60 minutes to climb, you have to leave your accommodation at least 2 hours before sunrise! 3:00AM?
Other than the sunrise timing, check the weather forecast for the day. An extra jacket would help if it is a windy or rainy day.
- Opens one hour before sunrise.
- April-October: Closes 8:00PM
- November-March: Closes 7:00PM
- Adults, ₩2,000 (S$2.50); Children above 6yo, ₩1,000 (S$1.30); Free for below 6, Seniors 65 and above and people with disabilities.
- Visitors must purchase tickets at least 20 minutes before closing.
- Tel: +82 64-710-7923
- Address: 284-12, Ilchul-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
After Seongsan, we had some time left in the late afternoon. Cape Seopjikoji was nearby and so off we went! Protruding from Jeju’s eastern shoreline, Seopjikoji is super popular. The huge crowd said it all. Easy and short walk but it was like squeezing my way through a crowded shopping mall. I didn’t remember if I came here a decade ago, but the moment I embarked on the journey, memories came back.
It must be the white chapel built specially for the 2003 drama, All In, that brought us to Seopjikoji then. One of my first few favourite Korean shows. But alas, a typhoon destroyed the beautiful chapel in 2013 and is now replaced by a ghastly gingerbread house.
This place garnered 4.2 stars of Kakao app at the time of writing. We don’t really see why. Yes, the dramatic coastline and extended plains have their beauty. However, add in the crowd, and there was no chance for us to be melancholic and take in the scenery. And it’s not in the season when flowers are in bloom.
- Hours: 9:00AM – 6:00PM
- Pricing: Free Admission
- Tel: +82 64-784-2810
- Address: 107, Seopjikoji-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-Si, Jeju Island
Innisfree and O’sulloc
Innisfree Jeju House and O’Sulloc Tea Museum are in the same compound and are generally recommended by young people in their twenties. I reckoned it is because everything from the interior design to the food are instagrammable. Perhaps I had high expectations for them that I was kind of disappointed by them. Its saving grace was the drinks, food and desserts. They were quite appetizing. More about them in “What to Eat in Jeju“.
Innisfree Jeju House
Innisfree Jeju House’s wooden and minimalist interior design exudes warmth, cosiness and calmness. The beautiful set up of its products brings another added layer of style and charm. I can see why young people flock to this place, as they have a keen appreciation for beauty. However, this appreciation might be thwarted by the crowd jostling with you.
Perhaps we would enjoy this place more if we didn’t have a toddler with us. We could have joined in their natural soap making classes, make-your-own-mask activity, or self-interactive activity of designing the postcards provided.
- 9:00AM – 6:00PM, Daily
- +82 64-794-5351
- 23 Sinhwayeoksa-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo, Jeju-do, South Korea
O’sulloc Tea Museum
O’sulloc Tea Museum was the first tea museum in Korea when it opened in 2001. It aims to introduce and promote Korean tea culture and history. Instead of a tour around the tea museum, we went up to an observatory for a bird’s eye view of the tea plantations. Before that, we had their yummy dessert and drinks and shopped in their crowded retail shop. At regular intervals, free tea tasting is available.
We bought a few boxes of tea, with wedding tea recommended to us by my sister in law. The tea is generally good with my preference of some flavour over others. However, if you can’t get what you want, you can still check out their retail shops in Seoul. They also sell green tea milk spread, cookies and chocolates. Gift sets are available too.
- 9:00AM – 6:00PM, Daily
- +82 64-794-5312~3
- Seokwang Dawon Entrance, 1235-3, Seokwang-ri, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo City, Jeju
Udo Island (우도)
Udo, Cow Island, got its name because its shape looked like a cow. is a beautiful place, at least that’s what I imagined to be. The small island is a short 15 minutes’ ferry ride from Jeju’s Seongsan Port.
I researched quite a bit on the place and planned a half day trip for it. Sadly, we had to shelf the plan at the last minute because we simply ran out of time, and we didn’t want to rush through. A trip to Udo Island can usually be paired off with a trip to nearby Seongsan Ilchulbong. I would recommend checking it out if you have three or more full days on Jeju Island.
If you are leaving Jeju city to catch an early morning ferry and looking for some breakfast, you might want to stop by the en-route A Factory Bakery/Cafe for croissants and coffee.
At Seongsan Port (+82 64-782-5671), you can park your car in the nearby multi-storey carpark and then cycle or walk around Udo island. Otherwise, board the ferry with your car and drive around Udo.
The round trip charges are:
- Ferry with Car: ₩21,600 (S$26.50) for the car, in addition to admission to the island for ₩8,500 ($10.50) per adult.
- Ferry without car: Ferry and admission will be ₩5,500 (S$6.80) per adult. For reference, renting electric bikes or scooters for 2 is around ₩10,000 (S$12.20) to ₩20,000 (S$24.40). Prepare poncho for wet weather!
For ferry schedule and fares, this article proves to be useful: takingflights.com/passenger-and-car-ferry-schedule-and-fares-to-udo-island.
On Udo Island
We had wanted Hallasan fried rice for brunch on Udo before heading to Seo-Bin-Baek-Sa (Sanho Beach) for the island’s famed peanut ice cream as dessert. Some blogger suggested black pork burgers for lunch.
After Sanho beach, there’s Geommeolle the black (728-3394). A small black-sand beach surrounded by rocky cliffs. Hire speedboats for scenic views around the bay and through the Dongangyeonggul Cave (cliff with a cave) during low tide.
As you trek up Udobong Peak (728-2742), wild grass and lalangs along the way will create a dreamy feel. But don’t be deceived as it gets difficult for those with inactive lifestyle. If you have limited energy, skip this for the climb up for Seongsan Ilchulbong, that is if you are going on the same day. There are a few paths to choose from and one will lead you to the lighthouse and another to an underwhelming view.
Other recommendations I found online:
- Hu-Hae-Seok-Byeok: Vertical cliff with well aligned faults, like neatly stacked rock pieces.
- Biyang Island: Black pebble island, with yellow-and-black lighthouse, connected to Udo by a narrow road.
- Ju-Gan-Myeong-Wol: Unique cave where the morning sun reflects water unto the wall of the cliff, forming the shape of the moon.
Aewol Coastal Road (애월해안도로)
Located in the northwestern coast of Jeju, Aewol Coastal Road is a winding road that stretches from Hagwi-ri to Aewol-ri. We drove in the general direction of Aewol-ri and turned into what seemed to be an area of bustling activity. We inched our way in to find ourselves in a cluster of restaurants and cafes.
As we squeezed through the heavy traffic in narrow roads, we came face to face with the magnificent sunset that illuminated the sky in a bright orange hue. Couldn’t stop to marvel for long as our car had to move on and not block the way. Carpark was full. By the time we found an empty spot by the road to park and catch the sunset, we passed the golden hour. And so after a few snaps, we drove off.
If I can turn back time, I would have probably cut our time at Innisfree and spend more time in this cosy area.
That’s all folks! Let me know if you have other fun places in Jeju to recommend. :) For more Korea travel tips, refer to our itinerary of our South Korea trip (Jeju and Seoul).