Jeju Island (제주도,濟州島) , formerly Cheju Island, is an island off the southern coast of South Korea, in the Korea Strait, southwest of Jeollanam-do Province, of which it was a part before it became a separate province in 1946. Its capital is the city of Jeju.
Jeju Island, also known as the "Island of the Gods," is a popular vacation spot for Koreans and many Japanese. It remains one of the top honeymoon destinations for Korean newlyweds. The island's mixture of volcanic rock, frequent rains, and temperate climate, make it very similar to the Hawaiian Islands in the U.S. during the summer months. The island offers visitors a wide range of activities: hiking on Halla-san (South Korea's highest peak), catching sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, viewing majestic waterfalls, riding horses, or just lying around on the sandy beaches.
Although tourism is one of the main industries on the island, many of the hotels and other tourist areas are run by mainland companies, so much of the income never gets put back into the local economy. Also, since the attractions are geared towards tourists, many of the entrance fees can be hefty (although the locally owned and operated ones tend to be cheaper). Similar to Gyeongju and some other areas, local residents can enter most places for free or for a steeply discounted price.
Jeju has its own English language magazine created by foreign residents on the island – Jeju Life .
Typical mild coastal climate with minimum temperatures above 0 C even in winter due to warm currents. The island is on the border of moderate and subtropical zones. The beach season runs from May to October. The climate here features a hot summer with the usual air temperature being 26 C (highest 33 C) highest water temperature of upper layers is 28 C. A Warm and dry autumn the air is becoming cooler and water temperature remains as in summer (24 C) until October. Short and mild winter with snowfalls in the northern part of the island and in highland, while in the southern part farmers harvest tangerines. And finally a warm spring when everything blooms.
- Jeju City - the capital and where you will arrive if coming by plane. Most of the attractions on Jeju Island are outside of the city, so if you don't have your own form of transport it's only worth spending time in the city for the wider range of bars and restaurants.
- Seogwipo - located in the south of the island, and close to a wide range of tourist sites.
- Seongsan - village in the east of the island, conveniently located for Udo Island and Seongsan Mountain, a volcanic crater. The village has a number of interesting seafood restaurants and can make for a pleasant overnight stay, but be aware that there are no nightlife options (apart from a disproportionate number of marts for the size of the village)
As the tourist trade in Jeju Island has grown larger in recent years, it is increasingly common to find some taxi drivers who speak English, Japanese and even Chinese, especially in Jeju City itself. However, you shouldn't rely on this as a means of getting around, and as with travelling anywhere it would be wise to learn some basic Korean phrases for travel purposes or to bring a phrase book.
People who speak Korean fairly well should be forwarned that natives of Jeju island speak a dialect of Korean that is almost unintelligible from the standard dialect spoken in the Seoul area. While all Jeju natives can understand standard Korean, some of them have a thick Jeju accent. This means that if you ask for something in Korean, they will understand you but you may find it somewhat difficult to understand the reply. All staff in the tourist industry are required to speak standard Korean, so this will not be a problem in places such as bus terminals, the airport, and most districts in the city itself.
Jeju international airport (IATA: CJU, ) has a total of 23 airlines providing direct flights (thirteen local, ten international). The vast majority of flights to Jeju are from Gimpo (Seoul's domestic airport) or Busan; there are also one direct fights per week to Incheon, seven direct flights per week to Tokyo Narita, seven to Osaka Kansai, four to Beijing, plus flights to Shanghai Pudong, Nagoya, Shenyang, Fukuoka, Dalian and Changchun. Jeju Air  offers affordable flights from Jeju to Seoul Gimpo, Cheongju. Eastar Jet  also started operation from Jeju to Seoul Gimpo, Gunsan, and Cheongju. Despite being budget airlines, they offer good service and are willing to change flights (including refunding the difference if you change to a cheaper flight), but they can be a challenge to book flights without speaking Korean.
They take off and land 143,000 times in a year including Boeing 747's using the 3 km runway and Jeju Airport can handle 7.64 million passengers a year. Based on mid & long term airport expansion plans, 375.5 Mil. USD will be invested to expand the air port till 2020. During the first phase of the project up to 2010, they are going to expand the capacity of the taking off and landing to 177,000 times and enlarge major facilities so that they could handle 18.64 million passengers, a year.
Unfortunately, travel between Jeju and North America is not the most convenient. Most itineraries will require either changing airports (likely in Seoul between Gimpo and Incheon), or spending a night in some other city. Your best bet is to try to sandwich the flight to Jeju between time in other cities in Asia.
Ferry services from the mainland are also available. They are comparatively infrequent and slow however are reasonable value after factoring in accommodation savings made on overnight ferries. There are daily services from a number of ports:
- Busan Mon–Sat, 11 hours overnight, 7pm departure both to and from Jeju port. Third class (sleeping on the floor) W39,000, second class bed in a small shared room W53,000, and first class also available. For return journeys you must buy two single tickets (no discounts) and tickets can be brought at the ferry terminal up to the day of departure providing there is availability. The boat contains a restaurant, bar and small shop.
- Mokpo (5.5 hours, from W19,950)
- Incheon (13 hours).
- Wando 3 hours
Jeju port has six direct sailing routes employing twelve ships weighting 600 to 5,600 tons. They operate ships six times a week between major local ports including Busan and Incheon with a capacity of carrying 2,401,000 passengers a year. 6% of total travelers are coming in and out of Jeju by sea.
Buses and Taxis are the main method of public transportation. Some locals prefer bicycles to cars especially in areas outside of the Jeju-shi metropolitan area. There are places that rent bikes.
A good network of buses span out from Jeju City and the airport while local buses covering the southern side of the island run from Seogwipo. There are buses running along the coastal road surrounding the island, and it is easy to jump on and off, although the cost can mount up.
While the taxis rate is reasonable, the island is large enough that the fares can add up. Hiring a taxi for the day costs about Kw 100 000, but the driver will likely not speak much English, so have the hotel write down the itinerary ahead.
Jeju is also probably the only place in Korea that renting a car makes sense. Car hire is a good option to see the island's many sights. Hiring an English-speaking tour guide costs about Kw 200 000, plus car expenses (about Kw 50 000 for up to 3 people so a private car can be used, more than that requires a van and a separate driver).
The climate and size of Jeju, along with sedate driving by Korean standards, makes Jeju ideal for touring by motorcycle. There are a number of places that offer this, including Mr Lee's bike shop , although the legalities of a foreigner driving a motorcycle on Jeju are unclear. In Seogwipo, there is a motorbike rental shop (perhaps also part of Mr Lee's empire) on the same road as the Little France Hotel (exit the hotel and turn right).
You can ride around on a bike in Jeju much easier than you could in the rest of South Korea. There is less traffic, and if the weather is good, you could travel the island entirely by bike.
- Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival, Saebyeol Oreum area on Route 95, Bongseong-ri, Aewol-eup, Bukjeju-gun, Jeju-do. This is Jeju's biggest tourist attraction.
- Folklore and Natural History Museum. The museum is divided into four exhibition halls: natural history, folklore, special resources, and an audio-visual room. It contains natural history of the island as well as relics, animals and plants that are found around the island. The stuffed animals are popular among children.
- Jeju Education Museum. Shows the traditional culture and history of Jeju. There are several life-sized exhibits which can help picture the history better.
- Jeju Independence Museum. Chronicles the struggles of Cheju-do residents against the Japanese during the 20th Century. The main building has 2 floors of exhibit halls, as well as a small movie screening room. Outside are several monuments.
- Haenyeo Museum, 3204-1 Hado-ri Gujwa-eup, . Museum dedicated to the Haenyeo (woman divers). Kw 1100.
- Jeju Teddy Bear Museum - Millions of people around the world collect Teddy Bears and they seek out old, unique, and valuable teddy bears for their personal collections. The Jeju Teddy Bear Museum opened especially for the European collectors and is more exciting than ever with special "Teddy Bear" entertainment. Some scenes from the popular Korean Drama "Goong (궁)" was filmed in this museum.
- Visit the Green tea museum. The museum is located among the plantations of green tea and is built in the shape of a green tea cup. Here you can see tea collecting methods and take pictures in the middle of tea plantations. The O'Sulloc tea museum teaches you about Korean tea culture through a miniature of a green tea production line and many other interesting activities. There is a souvenir shop and of course a green tea-house with green tea and green tea ice cream. A very beautiful modern building, the museum is surrounded with summer-houses, stone towers and soft green grass lawns.
- Museum of African Art, . Housed in a stunning full-size replica of the Grand Mosque of Djenne, this museum has what is almost certainly Asia's best collection of African art.
- Jeju April 3rd Peace Park, Myeongrim-ro 430 (Bonggye-dong San 51-3), Jeju City, Jeju Do, ☎ 064-710-8461, . 9:00AM-6:00PM. This museum details the tragic April 3rd, 1948 incident. This was a series of events that lasted until 1954 that resulted in the deaths of up 25,000 to 30,000 Jeju citizens. Free.
- Visit Hallim Park . Hallin Park is a 27.000m2 botanical garden including 2 caves. The park's total area is divided into 16 gardens, including a tropical garden, garden of Washington Palms, a garden of foliage plants, and a Bonsai Gardens with Bonsai trees that are over 150 years old. There is also and jae-Am Folk Village.
- Manjanggul lava-tube cave, (Jeju North Coast). . A 7 km cave, of which only a 1 km part can be accessed by the public. The tube is up to 23 m high and has been created by lava streams running through. Bring a jacket, since it is fairly cold and water drops from the ceiling. The lava-tubes can be reached by taking the coastal bus from Jeju, then walking the 2.5km from the bus station. It's possible to hitchhike as most cars on the road from the bus station will also be heading to the lava tubes.
- Sunrise Peak (Seongsan Ilchulbong), ☎ 064) 783-0959. The famous round almost-island you'll see pictures of everywhere in Jeju. Named "Sunrise Peak" because climbing to the top to view the sunrise is a popular activity. [Or, hoping to see it, due to most mornings being foggy!] About a 25 minute walk to the top, covering over 600 steps. Kw 2000.
- Visit Botanic Garden "Yeomiji". A big indoor botanic garden with halls of cacti, tropical fruits, flowers, water lilies, and much more. Yeomiji is home to a total of 2000 species of rare plants and 1700 species of flowers and trees. There are also open gardens in Japanese, Italian, French and Korean styles. The Garden is 1,120m2 and is described as one of the best botanical gardens in Asia.
- Hike Halla-san. There are several routes available. Only one of which goes to the top.
- Seongeup Folklore Village (Seongeup Folk Village). The "folklore" is a bit misleading, this is actually an authentic traditional Jeju village in which (some) people actually live. Unfortunately, while there is a bit of signage in English, to really appreciate and understand this place requires a tour guide or book. Free.
- Jeju Folk Village Museum, . Not to be confused with the above, this is a created museum that presents a vivid and lively exhibition of the island's cultural assets. Built on an area of over 150,000 square meters, the village has reconstructed and moved living structures from varies styles. Get the audioguide: a steal at only Kw 2000. Pace yourself, seeing everything can take up to 4 hours. Kw 6000.
- See Iho Beach about 7 km east of Jeju-City, whose main feature is two types of sand, one dark gray, one yellow which produces brilliant structural effects in the water. There is a variety of diving schools in town.
- See the Cheonjiyeon Waterfall. Cheonjiyeon Waterfall is one of the most famous waterfalls on Jeju Island. Cheonjiyeon (meaning a waterfall connecting the sky (Ch'eon) and land (ji)) receives a large number of tourists to get their picture taken with the falls in the background. Although there is one main area where water falls over the cliff, depending on how much rain has fallen recently, the stream may spread and cascade down at several points. The water falls into a large, artificial pond that has been created by two small dams to maintain the water at a certain level.
- Gimnyeong Maze which is interestingly complex and fun to walk through. (Located near the Manjanggul lava-tube cave.)
- See Seopjikoji Koji means a cape in Jeju dialect. It consists of the bow shaped Gojaut Koji near the sea and Jeongji Koji near the beach. Koji is made up of the suspension. It was a filming place of the Korean drama, ‘All In’ So a lot of sightseers have visited here. Walking along the sea, you may feel like you are in the ocean.
- See Jusangjeolli Jusangjeolli is the form of a hexagonal cross section, a long pillar or triangle shaped as if it was cut with a knife. It is unbelievable that the Jusangjeolli is made by the waves. The miracle of nature is so wonderful. Jusangjeolli makes us feel the miracle of nature.
- Visit Mini World and Miniature Theme Park. Here you can get up close to small scaled replicas of some of the most famous architectures from more than 30countries. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Tahj Mahal and many Korean sites are part of this interesting display. The 2 parks are in different parts of Jeju Island.
- Go to Jeju's most eccentric attraction, Loveland. Almost a reason in itself to visit Jeju, this bizarre sculpture park was created by graduates of Seoul's Hongik University. Few of the exhibits are generally shocking, and it makes for some interesting holiday snaps that you won't want to show your parents. Although you will likely see some Korean families in the park, this is one where you should definitely leave the children at home or in the attached playground. The park is on the way from Jeju City to Seugwipo, at 680-26, Yeon-dong, Jeju. Admission costs 7000. Elsewhere on Jeju you will find similarly-themed copycat parks and phallic representations are an ancient symbol of the island, and the Chinese government recently prevented the opening of an imitation loveland in Chongqing.
- Go on the Submarine tour. At a depth of 30metres and a course of around 2.8km long Submarine tour is a great way to see below the surface of Jeju's splendid seas. Here you can see the world of soft corals and colorful fish all amid a fantastic underwater landscape near Munsom Islet. You may even be lucky enough to see Haenyo hard at work.
- Visit the Sculpture park. This park located near Mt. Sanbang is a relaxing walking area where you can discover over 160 different sculptures in a peaceful atmosphere. The sculpture park also has an observation tower.
- Visit the "All In House". This is the house the famous Korean drama series "All In" was filmed. It is like a museum that provide everything about the drama.
- Horseback riding
- Scuba Dive BigBlue33 leads dive trips on Jeju Island in English, Korean, and German.
Most ATMs on Jeju do not accept foreign ATM/Debit cards for cash withdrawls; most of the few that do are located in the city of Jeju. So get all the cash you can at the airport, especially if you are not staying in Jeju City.
- One Jeju specialty is brown colored clothing. These have been dyed via juice from the persimmon fruit, which is the traditional way of dying clothing.
- The stone statues, usually in pairs, are called grandfather statues and are for protection. Many places sell small stone replicas of them made of of Jeju volcanic stone.
- Shop at Jeju Folk Arts Complex. This place is practically a big gift shop of beautiful traditional art. Prices of items at the Jeju Folk Arts Complex are cheaper than those you find elsewhere.
The people of Jeju have evolved various lifestyles, depending on whether they live in fishing villages, farm villages, or mountain villages. Life in the farm villages was centered on farming, as it did around fishing or diving fishery in fishing villages, and did around dry-field farming or mushroom/mountain-green gathering in the mountain areas. As for agriculture, the production of rice is little. Instead, beans, barley, millets, buckwheat, and dry-field(upland) rice are the major items.
The most well known fruit is the mandarin orange. It has been grown here as early as the era of the Three Kingdoms. Mandarin orange, were offered as presents to kings along with abalone as special products of Jeju. Pork from black-haired pigs is also a local specialty.
Foods from Jeju mainly made with saltwater fish, vegetables, and seaweed, and are usually seasoned with soybean paste. Salt water fish is used to make soups and gruels, and pork and chicken are used to make pyeonyuk (sliced boiled meat). The number of dishes set on a table is small. And few seasoings are used. And usually, small numbers of ingredients are required to make dishes native to Jeju. The key to making Jeju-style foods is to keep the ingredient's natural flavor. The taste of the food is generally a bit salty, probably because foods are easily spoiled due to the warm temperature. In Jeju, there is no need to prepare Kimchi for the winter. It is quite warm during the winter and Chinese cabbages are left in the field. When they do prepare Kimchi for the winter, they tend to make few kinds and small amounts.
If you are not looking for luxury, guesthouses abound on Jeju, and due to its reputation as a honeymoon getaway there is a wide variety of accommodation. Outside of the peak tourist seasons (such as Korean national holidays), and as long as all you're looking for is a clean affordable room, don't be afraid to come to Jeju and find accommodation as you travel. In Jeju, Seogwipo and the smaller towns there is an abundance of rooms in small guesthouses with character.
- Yeha Guesthouse (cheap & clean), 561-17, Samdo 1-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, South Korea, ☎ +82 64 713 5505, . Beautiful guesthouse(hostel) located near the Jeju Bus Terminal. English,Chinese,Japanese and Korean available. Domitory, Double, Double+1Single and Double+2Single rooms are available. New and clean with beds in a shared room starting at 19,000KRW.
- Little France, 486-1, Seogwidong, Seogwipo. Affordable guesthouse with very friendly owners.
- Jeju Hiking Inn, 587-15, Seogwidong, Seogwipo (Jeju Hiking Inn is located in Seogwipo City, about a 3 minute walk from the harbor and the Limousine Bus (line 600) that connects you to Jeju International Airport. This bus runs every 10 minutes from 06:20 ~ 22:00), ☎ 064-763-2380, . from 22,000KRW.
- The Shila Jeju, 3039-3 Saekdal-Dong, Seogwipo-Si, ☎ +82-64-735-5114, . 5 star hotel. The Shilla Jeju is set in its own private 21-acre cliff-top gardens at the centre of the comprehensive Jungmun Resort Complex on the South coast of Jeju lsland. Since the opening in 1990, as Korea's first 5 star resorts, The Shilla Jeju has been the most prestigious venue in the Jungmun Resort Complex.
- Hyatt Regency Jeju, 3039-1 Saekdal-song, Seogwipo-si (on Jungmun Beach), ☎ +82 64 733 1234 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 5 star hotel with 224 rooms and suites. All rooms have balconies and most have ocean views.
- Korean Airlines Hotel, 486-3 Topyeong-dong, Seogwipo-Si, ☎ (064)733-2001 (email@example.com), . 4 star hotel. 225 guest rooms in a 9-floor building with, some sea-side, some mountain-side. Traditional on-dol rooms as well as suites for business travelers.
While South Korea in general is a remarkably safe country, the crime rate on Jeju is even lower. In fact, Jeju has the lowest crime rate in the whole country. Violent crime is almost non-existent, although just like in all tourist hubs, there are a number of pickpockets, so you should still remain vigilant.