Things to do in Jeju Korea: 11 Highlights Not to Miss

There are so many fantastic things to do in Jeju Island! Most people think of planning a Seoul Itinerary when considering a trip to Korea and are not necessarily aware of Jeju Island.

One of Korea’s best-loved islands, Jeju Island is teeming with natural wonders and fun activities for the adventurous traveller. It is particularly known for its exotic beach resorts and volcanic landscape.

With this in mind, it is no wonder that Jeju Island is a popular tourist destination for those looking to explore natural wonders, captivating beauty and uniquely rich culture.

things to do at jeju island
Looking over to the lighthouse

With so many Jeju Island attractions, a visit to the island can be overwhelming without guidance. Here are my top things to do in Jeju Island to get you started.

I’ve also included some of my favourite places to eat and sleep on Jeju Island to help you further immerse yourself in the culture!

Top Tip: If you don’t speak Korean it can be tricky to get around the island. Most taxi drivers don’t speak English and many aren’t able to read written Korean so it gets very tough. So taking a tour can be an excellent way to experience some of the unique things to do in JeJu Island.

Book a Jeju Island Tour

A Little Language Goes a Long Way
Knowing even a small amount of the local language can add a whole new level of enjoyment to any trip. Why not learn some basic Korean before you leave home?

Things to do in Jeju

There are many different and exciting Jeju Island points of interest, each promising to leave a memorable mark on your holiday. The following Jeju attractions only scratch the surface of what to do on the island, but they are a great place to start!

1. Hallasan Mountain

Hallasan is the highest mountain in South Korea, reaching a height of nearly 2,000 meters. Surrounded by the Hallasan National Park (Hallasan Seongpanak), the shield volcano is worshipped by some locals who believe that gods and spirits live in it.

For me, Hallasan was one of the best places to visit in JeJu Island.

view of jeju islands from heading up Mount Hallasan
Stunning view heading up Hallasan

Most travellers enjoy a hike up Mount Hallasan Jeju Island, absorbing the beautiful scenery and taking in the panoramic vistas. Depending on the season that you visit Jeju, the hike can be quite chilly – especially before you start walking and warming up!

I would definitely recommend wearing layers so that you can peel off your clothes as you begin to break a sweat during these Jeju island activities!

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information boards for mount hallasan jeju island korea
The boards containing information for hiking Mount Hallasan Korea

The beauty of the trails for Mount Hallasan is that there are various routes to choose from depending on whether you want a relaxing, moderate or steep climb.

To reduce the stress of planning the trip yourself, I would recommend that you book a Hallasan transfer trip.

the start of the trail heading up Hallasan Jeju Island Korea
The start of the trail up Mount Hallasan

The hike up Mount Hallasan is one of the top Jeju island tourist spots for good reason – there are stunning views. I visited Jeju Island in August and it was incredibly hot. Only 2 of the paths will take you to the summit of Mount Hallasan.

We decided not to take one of the summit paths. It actually would have been ok as it was much cooler up the mountain than it was in Seogwipo. But to get to the Mount Hallasan summit and back is a serious 8 hour day.

Korea isn’t the easiest country to get around. It is a perfect place to travel with a group – check out my post on 30 Fantastic Singles Travel Groups.

hallasan-rest-stop
The rest stop on the Mount Hallasan hiking trail

Instead, we chose to take the Yeongsil trail up Mount Hallasan – this only goes 1280 meters and is just over 5kms. There is a shelter/rest stop along the way along this mountain trail. It was quite basic but it did have 2-minute noodles.

We had chosen to hit a convenience store before getting to Mount Hallasan so this is what fueled our climb. Don’t forget to take lots of water on your hike.

Book Your Transfer to Hallasan Base Camp

Check out this post for some more detailed information about climbing Hallasan

2. Seongsan Ilchulbong

Also known as ‘Sunrise Peak’, Seongsan Ilchulbong is not only one of Jeju’s most famous geographical features, but it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Formed thousands of years ago by a volcanic eruption under the sea, Seongsan Ilchulbong Korea offers the best sunrise view on the island and is one of the top Jeju things to do.

view from Sangumburi Crater Jeju island Korea
The view from the top of Sangumburi Crater JeJu island Korea

The hike can easily be done by most travellers, with rest stops and benches frequently set out along the way. The estimated time to the peak of Seongsan Ilchulbong Jeju Island at a leisurely pace is about 45 minutes.

Don’t forget to take your camera to snap the sun as it rises over Jeju island! No matter what time of day you visit the views are fantastic.

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3. Cheonjiyeon Waterfall

Commonly known as the “Pond of God”, Cheonjiyeon Waterfall is made up of three sections. Cheonjiyeon waterfall is surrounded by lush plant life, including the rare Solimnan reeds. Further exploring around the waterfall will lead you to a cave, a pool of water and additional waterfalls.

lake surrounded by trees on the way to Cheonjiyeon Waterfall
Heading to Cheonjiyeon Waterfalls Jeju Island Korea

It is very easy to access Cheonjiyeon waterfall – it is almost in Seogwipo! The easiest option is to walk. Once heading in the right direction you will see the grandfather rocks – follow these to the waterfall.

It is very atmospheric and photogenic and well worth a visit. Other things to look out for in Cheonjiyeon Valley are Seonimgyo Bridge and the octagonal Cheonjeru Pavilion – these are some great things to do in Seogwipo.

⇒ Check out my posts on the best Seoul Day Trips, 8 fantastic Things to do in Incheon, 13 things to do in Myeongdong, my Seoul Itinerary 5 Days, 7 Fantastic Seoul Boutique Hotels and the best things to do in Gangnam.

Cheonjiyeon Waterfall
Cheonjiyeon Waterfall Seogwipo Jeju Island

Although you could easily spend the day indulging in the cool waters of Cheonjiyeon, there are so many awesome day tours that guide you to some of the other exciting places around Jeju Island – including the falls!

Book your Jeju Tour

4. Jeongbang Waterfall

Another one of Jeju Island’s top waterfalls is Jeongbang Waterfall. This waterfall is incredibly unique as it is the only waterfall in Asia that flows directly into the ocean.

Falling down the black cliff from a height of 23 meters, Jeongbang Waterfall Jeju Island is, without a doubt, one of the most spectacular natural wonders on the island!

Check out my post on Korea’s 3rd Biggest City – the 12 Best Things to do in Daegu

Jeongbang Waterfall
Jeongbang Waterfall JeJu Island Korea

A visit to Jeongbang Falls promises a great day out for those with a zestful love for nature.  Start in the conveniently-located parking lot, and set off to purchase your ticket.

The information board shows clearly mapped-out routes, with little scattered waterfalls to explore along the way. It is quite easy to walk to Jeongbang falls from Seogwipo and this is one of the loveliest Jeju island places of interest.

5. Jeju Love Land

A rather unusual element of Jeju Island is the number of sex-themed parks! Let’s face it, one sex-themed park on its own would be something unique and Jeju Island has a few.

The reason for the number of sex parks is that Jeju Island is a popular honeymoon destination for Koreans. Due to the generally conservative bent of Korean society, it is likely that many newly marrieds are quite inexperienced sexually. Therefore, these sex parks were created on the island to educate and entertain.

sculpture of upside down naked woman wearing red heels
One of the more simple sculptures at Loveland Jeju Island Korea!

The sex-themed outdoor sculpture park boasts a variety of sex education films and sculptures demonstrating various sex positions. Although a popular activity for couples, Love Land is also a fun place to go for groups of friends.

Whatever you do, don’t go to Loveland with your parents or with your children – far too uncomfortable!

woman on phallic sculpture at Jeju Island Loveland
What do you say to this?

Breaking the traditional taboos of sex, the park combines art with eroticism. If you are travelling as a family, Loveland park conveniently offers recreational play areas to look after your young ones! Be sure to look out for the name of the sculptures in the park as they definitely add to the entertainment.

love land jeju island lake and sculptures
The whole scale of Love land Korea

As the theme park is outdoors, I’d suggest that you book your ticket to Jeju Love Land on a day when the weather is good. A visit to Loveland is one of the more unusual Jeju island things to do.

Book your Jeju Love Land Ticket

6. Seogwipo Traditional Market

As in most Asian countries, the cuisine is integral to the culture, and what better way to indulge in traditional cuisine than at a traditional market?

Korea has some great markets – they are one of the best things to do in Daegu and part of several Seoul day trips. One of the best markets in Jeju is Seogwipo’s traditional market.

seogwipo-market
Seogwipo Market Jeju Island Korea

Located in the arty area of Seogwipo (hence its name) the market is full of street food and interesting wares. A true cultural infusion, the vibrant market offers a huge variety of goods to explore. This is a must-do activity to immerse yourself in the Korean lifestyle.

pork-seogwipo-market
Pork skewers at Seogwipo Market

I suggest visiting Seogwipo market Jeju at lunchtime. We joined the longest queues and ended up with some fantastic snacks! Some amazing shaved pork skewers and then a pancake type product with an egg, spam, shredded cabbage and 3 types of sauces!

7. Saeyeongyo Bridge

Connecting Jeju Island to the uninhabited islet Saeseom, Saeyeongyo Bridge is renowned for being the longest pedestrian bridge on the island. Another one of Jeju Island’s attractions, you can expect to walk 20 minutes just to cross this bridge.

With this in mind, I would highly recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes when visiting Saeyeongyo bridge on Jeju Island.

Seonimgyo Bridge
Seonimgyo Bridge Jeju Island Korea

There is a little bar on the way to the bridge that has some rather interesting Korean wine that can be drunk out of shot glasses. Take the time to absorb the surrounding scenery and listen to the sounds of the birds.

If you are looking for something extra special, make the return journey to Seonimgyo Bridge at night and watch the beautiful LED light display on the guardrail of the bridge come to life. As an added bonus, no entrance fee is required to cross the bridge!

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8. Sangumburi Crater

Sangumburi crater boasts an impressive circumference of 2 km. No wonder it is a National Monument. The extinct volcanic crater is filled with lush plant life.

You can expect to find the likes of red-thorn trees and Magnolia trees as well as Ondaerim vegetation. The wide variety of vegetation makes the Sangumburi crater a popular spot for researchers as well.

Sangumburi Crater
Sangumburi Crater Jeju Island Korea – ready to be climbed!

Autumn is a great time to visit Sangumburi crater as the ridges adopt a golden tone from the silvergrass, and Japanese Cedar trees dominate the landscape. If you are looking for a spectacular Jeju Island sunset view spot – then Sangumburi Crater is the place to be.

tourist spots in jeju island
The actual crater

It takes about 15 minutes to walk up to the top of Sangumburi Crater on Jeju and it is very well worth it! The crater looks very impressive and is so so green.

Alas, it is tough to get a great shot of Sangumburi Crater due to how round it is – part of it is always in the shadows. It would be great to get an aerial shot here – perfect for a drone but do ask permission.

When I visited the crater it was 35 degrees and super humid so the climb up was a bit hideous but in better temperatures, it would be quite an easy stroll.

The most economic way to travel South Korea by train is the Korea Rail Pass. This pass is only available to foreign travellers. The KR pass covers 600 stations and 80 different high speed routes with unlimited rides. It is available in 3 or 5 consecutive days or flexible 2 and 4 days.

9. Manjanggul Cave

Manjanggul Cave is a top attraction in Jeju Island. Formed over thousands of years of volcanic activity, these lava tube caves can get quite chilly so pack a sweater to stay comfortable as you explore the well-preserved passages. Take note of the micro-topographic features inside.

Manjanggul Cave interior with people exploring it
Manjanggul Cave Jeju Island Korea

It is about a 2km round trip to walk through Manjanggul caves. Do walk the entire way as it ends with the largest lava column in the world. Rather difficult to photograph due to the darkness but still a cool thing to do.

And if you are visiting Manjanggul Caves in summer you will enjoy the cool temperatures in the cave.

lava-column-jeju-island
The lava column at Manjanggul Caves Korea

If you have time, be sure to also visit the Manjanggul Cave Museum which is full of interesting exhibitions and information boards. Take note that if you intend on spending time in the cave, you should probably visit the toilets before as there are no facilities for use once inside.

For extra help in getting to and from the cave, you can book a Manjanggul Cave transfer service.

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10. Lee Jung-Seop Gallery

A final suggestion for those travellers who love both history and art is to visit the Lee Jung-Seop Gallery. Known as one of Korea’s most iconic modern artists, Lee Jung-Seop is revered as an artistic genius.

Lee Jung-Seop Gallery sign
Lee Jung-Seop Gallery Jeju Island Korea

Make your way to Seowipo and enjoy getting lost in the art that built Jung-Seop’s legacy. Influenced by his time as a refugee during the Korean war, his artworks communicate a deep feeling that is entrenched in Korean history and culture.

Lee Jung-Seop gallery is across several floors – the top floor has a nice view of Jeju Island in good weather.

seogwipo-street-art
Seogwipo Street Art

The gardens here and the streets around the gallery are very photogenic and have lots of shops and cafes. This was my favourite area in Seogwipo.

11. Seopjikoji

Seopjikoji is a pretty area is in the east of Jeju Island and has featured in many Korean tv dramas – and is therefore quite popular. There are a lighthouse, a gingerbread house and some great views of Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak from the end of the lighthouse.

walking around Seopjikoji mound of land and lighthouse
The walk up to the Lighthouse at Seopjikoji Jeju Island Korea

I hired a bike to get around Seopjkoji when I visited which worked very well. It is a slightly odd area but very photogenic.

gingerbread-house-jeju
Gingerbread House at Seopjkoji Jeju Island Korea

If you’re planning some solo travel don’t miss my posts on the best Singles Holidays over 40, vacations for over 50 singles, the best singles ski holiday options, the 30 best singles travel groups, Bali Retreats for Singles and some fantastic solo spa breaks.

How to get to Jeju Island

Seoul is the usual port of arrival for most into Korea

Flights to Seoul

Jeju is a very popular domestic destination and there are many low-cost cheap flights. The flight from Seoul takes just over one hour. Remember – this flight will take off and land at the domestic airport in Seoul, not the international airport Incheon.

Flights Seoul to Jeju

If you’re visiting Seoul one of the best deals on offer is the Discover Seoul Pass. This pass allows free entrance to 42 Seoul Attractions, discounts on 35 Seoul Attractions and it’s a transit card. There are 24/48/72 hour options available.

Seopjikoji coast line Jeju Island
The view walking along Seopjikoji

Do you need a Visa?

It can be a real pain trying to figure out if you need a visa for a country and then all the hassle of figuring out how to apply, how long you can go without your passport, when the embassy is open etc.

iVisa has completely revolutionized this process and put it all online and make it super simple and paper and hassle-free!

Shortcut Travel Toolkit
Ready to Book? Here are my travel favourites:

⇒ For accommodation Booking.com – great prices, great clear layout of accommodation options & brilliant for cancellation (& good photos!)

⇒ Or feel like a local by staying at an airbnb or having one of their great local experiences Airbnb

⇒ For flights skyscanner.net – always have the cheapest prices and great tools to help easily figure out if it would be better to leave the day before etc

⇒ For car hire rentalcars.com – huge range of options and a price match guarantee

⇒ Every trip is improved if you know at least a little bit of the local language – Rosetta Stone is the best and often have great getting started deals.

Skip the Line tours – Viator have over 14,000 of these – I am always so happy when I have pre-booked one of these! And you can cancel most Viator tours with full money back if you’re more than 24 hours out

⇒ And finally and super important – Roam Right for Travel Insurance have an excellent rating and lots of choice. I particularly like their policies that just cover medical or car rental. They also have great options for adventurous travellers.

Where to Eat In Jeju Island

South Korean cuisine is as colourful and vibrant as the culture. Whether you are visiting Jeju Island for a short vacation, or a longer holiday, here is my list of top places to try.

Sunny Garden

Offering traditional Korean barbeque, the Sunny Garden is a top spot to go for brunch, lunch or dinner. Prepare to cook your own meat on the open stove at your dining table.

If you love Korean beef, quick service and are looking for an authentic experience, Sunny Garden Jeju Island is the place for you.

Ankeori Pakeori

Looking for good Korean food at affordable prices? Ankeori Pakeori should definitely be on your list of food spots to try. They are known to serve their kimchi very well, and their customer service is out of this world.

You can expect a table full of interesting dishes to try if visiting Ankeori Pakeori Jeju for lunch or dinner.

exterior of cafe villa de ato jeju island

Mint

Mint serves super tasty contemporary cuisine in the arty district of Seogwipo. Boasting an outstanding view, it will be tricky to choose which is better – the food or the vista. I would recommend going to Mint on Jeju Island on a clear evening to watch the sunset – it is breathtaking.

Soul Kitchen

Soul Kitchen offers the ultimate comfort food menu if you’re looking for a break from traditional Korean cuisine. While the restaurant offers a true steakhouse ambiance, it also has a wonderful vegan and vegetarian menu.

Childonga

Childonga is the ultimate dinner venue if you’re looking to try the famous black pork in Jeju. While the interior of the restaurant is similar to most other venues, the food is unparalleled.

Although the staff at Childonga don’t speak much (if any) English, the food is definitely worth the effort of struggling through the language barrier.

Cafe-Mayb interior jeju island
Cafe Mayb Jeju Island South Korea

My favourite place for coffee and photos in Jeju was Cafe Mayb. This super cute cafe does a nice breakfast and also serves wine and beers come the evening. There is also a nice florist next door to Cafe Mayb.

Paris Baguette is a safe stop for coffee and baked treats. There are many Paris Baguette outlets across South Korea.

And the Grey Owl Cafe has good coffee and ham and egg muffins – it isn’t easy to get a western-style breakfast on Jeju Island.

And for a cafe with a view, unique modern design and good coffee visit Cafe Over the Window.

Don’t miss Jeju’s famous tangerine juice! It is on sale all over the island and absolutely delicious. I lost track of how many tangerine juices that had.

Jeju Island’s tangerine juice tends to be served slightly frozen so they are wonderfully refreshing. And sometimes this Jeju island juice comes in plastic bottles shaped like the grandfather rocks – my favourite.

jeju island korea colorful cafe interior

Boutique Hotels Jeju Island, South Korea

Finding a temporary home base in a foreign space is very important. Depending on what you want from your trip to Jeju Island, you need to be careful about the area you choose to stay in. Here are some of my top choices for where to stay on Jeju Island, Korea.

Chason Hotel The Smile

Chason Hotel The Smile is in the heart of Seogwipo – perfect for travellers looking to explore nearby waterfalls, visit the iconic sights and discover the local food. The hotel offers the usual perks of excellent WI-FI, a continental breakfast and the best coffee.

I would recommend Chason Hotel The Smile for couples travelling to Jeju Island, however, they do also offer family rooms. All the rooms at this Jeju Island hotel are very clean, neat and provide all the amenities you could wish for.

Compare prices on TripAdvisorBook Now

grandfather-rock on jeju island
Grandfather Rock on Jeju Island

Hidden Cliff Hotel and Nature

The Hidden Cliff Hotel and Nature sits on the top of a hill and is surrounded by thick woods teeming with life. The hotel is surrounded by hidden hiking trails for the adventurous soul, and offers a large infinity pool to cool down in at the end of a long day.

The vibrant rooms at The Hidden Cliff Hotel and Nature have wooden finishings and a private balcony to relax on. As an added bonus, Jungmun Beach is just a five-minute drive away from this hotel on Jeju Island,

Compare prices on TripAdvisorBook Now

Bayhill Pool and Villa

Bayhill Pool and Villa offers luxurious rooms with private terraces and ocean views. Located in a slightly secluded area, it’s the Jeju hotel to stay if you are looking for a quiet getaway.

The spacious rooms at Bayhill Pool and Villa have a stylish modern interior for you to enjoy and unwind after a day exploring,

Compare prices on TripAdvisorBook Now

sum burger restaurant exterior on jeju island

Final thoughts on Jeju Island

Jeju is every nature lover’s paradise and has something special for everyone – couples, families and solo travellers. If South Korea is on your bucket list, then you need to make a stop in Jeju Island part of your Korea Itinerary.

One of the top spots for travellers to visit in South Korea, the to-list in Jeju seems never-ending. I hope that my list of things to do and places to visit has come in handy and wet your appetite.

My suggestions should help you to plot your trip to Jeju Island, but remember that each adventure is unique, and you can never be too sure what to expect.

Who Paid for What With this Post

I covered all my costs for this trip. This post does contain affiliate links. This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. Just wanted to make sure that you knew.

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Here are the 11 Most Instagrammable Things to do in Jeju - from UNESCO listed Seongsan Ilchulbong to Korea's highest mountain Hallasan to Love Land!

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