Looking for things to do in Jeju, South Korea? This travel itinerary will help you plan your vacation to get the absolute most out of this gorgeous island.
Jeju Island is a small volcanic island off the southern coast of South Korea. It centers around Mt. Hallasan, the volcano that formed the island a few million years ago. The peak of Hallasan is the tallest mountain in Korea.
On the island, you’ll find activities from beaches to hiking trails to waterfalls to museums. While you certainly can “wing it” with your travel plans, there are a few things that require planning ahead. Having a basic travel itinerary will help you get the most out of your time in the Hawaii of Korea (yes, I made that up, but I think it fits.)
Note: This itinerary assumes that you are flying into Jeju International Airport and staying in the southern town of Seogwipo. I recommend renting a car for full freedom to travel.
Things to Do in Jeju – Day 1
Start your first day in Jeju Island by exploring Seogwipo! Seogwipo is the southern of two main cities on the island (the other being Jeju City.) It is well connected and has plenty of activities to enjoy. Many were in walking distance of our hotel, though you probably will need to drive a bit.
Swim in Natural Pools
One of the best parts of Jeju is just admiring nature’s handy work. Hwanguji natural pools along the southern coast were naturally formed by the volcano and the sea. They are a popular destination in the summer for locals and tourists alike.
There are three larger pools for swimming and floating. There are also some smaller “puddle” areas that would be great for kids or just soaking your feet.
Life jackets aren’t required, but they are highly HIGHLY recommended no matter your swimming level. (Trust me, I was a competitive swimmer and I was glad to have the life jacket.)
The pools are part of the ocean so you your fair share of waves. Jackets take the work out of treading water or avoiding waves so all you have to do is float and let the water take you. Bring your own or rent some there.
If you snorkel, this would be the perfect place to do so. Personally, I enjoyed just floating around and enjoying the cool water.
To get down to the water, you climb down a pretty steep stairwell and over some large ocean rocks. I recommend water shoes if you have them.
- Address: Seohong-dong, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
- Hours: always open but I don’t recommend going at night
- Price: ₩5,000 ($4) for life jacket rental
As an island, there is no shortage of beautiful scenery in Jeju. Waterfalls are scattered all around the island but some of the more popular ones are right there in Seogwipo.
Cheonjiyeon Falls is in the heart of the city. It’s an easy walk to get to and has plenty of souvenir shops, cafes, and restaurants nearby.
Jeongbang Falls is closer to the coast and flows right into the ocean. It’s a bit of a rockier terrain to access it, but well worth the effort.
Cheonjeyeon Falls is further west and features three different sections. You can visit all three sections in about 45 minutes of leisurely walking.
- Cheonjiyeon Falls: Cheonji-dong, Seogwipo
- Jeongbang Falls: 37 Chilsimni-ro214beon-gil, Donghong-dong, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
- Cheonjeyeon Falls: Jeju-do, Seogwipo-si, Jungmun-dong, 2232
- Hours: 9a – 5 or 6p
- Price: ₩2,000-3,000 (~$2) per person at each falls
Visit a Green Tea Farm
Jeju is known for a couple different things but its most delicious claim to fame is green tea. If you’re a matcha fan, you’ll absolutely love O’Sulloc Green Tea Garden and Museum.
Stroll through the green tea fields then head to the museum to learn more about tea culture in Korea. Of course, you can’t visit without sampling the product. Try some fresh brewed green tea or a green tea dessert. The green tea ice cream is perfect for a hot day.
In true Korean fashion, there is also an Innisfree skincare store in the tea museum! The products are specially made with green tea from the farm.
- Address: 15 Sinhwayeoksa-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
- Hours: 9a – 6p
- Price: free admission
Try Jeju’s Only Local Craft Beer
Head just a bit farther north west to end your day at the Jeju Beer Company’s brewery and pub. Jeju Beer Co is the islands first and only craft brewery.
They are most well known for their wit ale, but they also make a pellong ale and a geomeong ale. Take a tour of the brewery and learn how the beer is made (spoiler alert: it’s with local ingredients.) After the tour, head upstairs to the pub and grab some dinner and drinks.
You will need to make a reservation on their website to do a brewery tour. They start at 1p and last approx 30-40 mins. The brewery is only open Thursday – Sunday so plan accordingly!
- Address: 62-11 Geumneungnonggong-gil, Hallim-eup, Jeju City
- Hours: Thurs. – Sun. 12:30 – 7:30p
- Price: free admission
Things to do in Jeju – Day 2
Day 2 will be spent on the east side of the Island and will start nice and early. Set those alarm clocks and get your coffee ready. Trust me, it will be worth it!
Watch the Sunrise at Seongsan Ilchulbong
Seongsan Ilchulbong is a tuff cone crater formed approximately 5,000 years ago. Basically, this means it resembles the shape of a large basin. It’s a gorgeous place to watch the sunrise over the ocean.
There is a parking lot at the base of the peak to park, and then it’s a short hike to the top. It could easily be done in 20 minutes, but plan for 30 if you like a more leisurely pace.
This peak is technically part of a park that offers boat and horseback tours. During the day, there is an entrance fee but to see the sunrise, you’ll arrive long before any employees are there to charge you. The entrance path will kind of be roped off…go around and keep to the path on the right. Is it right? meh IDK, but it’s common so don’t stress.
The hike up is a heck of a leg workout for that early in the morning, but you’ll get some incredible views of Jeju on the way up.
If you’re hungry for breakfast afterward, the Paris Baguette at the bottom opens early. If you wait a couple hours, the Starbucks to the side opens a bit later, around 8.
- Address: 351-2 Seongsan-ri, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
- Hours: 7:30 – 7p, open longer in the summer. Note: closed the first Monday of each month
- Price: free!
Explore Udo Island
Udo is a sub-island just a few miles off of Jeju’s east coast. It’s a small island but it’s packed with beautiful beaches, restaurants, cafes, and walking trails.
Catch the ferry to Udo from the Seongsan port. You can book tickets in advance if you’d like but its easy to purchase from the terminal day of also. You will need your passport to get to Udo.
On the ferry, you can travel as just passengers or with your car. The island isn’t huge but many people find that having a car is the most efficient means of travel. Bringing yours over with you will spare you the hassle of renting one.
The ferry runs every half hour starting at 7:30a or 8a, depending on the season. It’s a short 15 minute ride over with some beautiful views.
Spend the morning enjoying the island with some of these activities:
- Walk the Olle Trail
- Try the locally-famous peanut ice cream at Jimmy’s
- Relax on Geommeolle black sand beach
- Swim in the emerald waters of Seobinbaeksa beach
- Seongsan Ferry Terminal: Jeju-do, Seogwipo-si, Seongsan-eup, Seongsandeungyong-ro, 130-21 #63643
- Hours: 7:30a – 6:30p depending on season
- Price: ₩8,500 ($7) per adult passenger, ₩21,600 ($19) per car
Visit South Korea’s Largest Aquarium
About 45 minutes south of Seongsan Ilchulbul is Hanwah Aqua Planet, Korea’s largest aquarium. There are a ton of exhibits to see aquatic animals from around the world. As of July 2021, they also have a Minions featured exhibit for kids (and adults) who are minion obsessed.
They put on shows throughout the day so try to catch a few while you’re there. The main one is a diving show which is…an experience. I was expecting some animal tricks and fun facts but it ended up being much more. Divers perform dives and tricks from a high dive and other surfaces while singing. If you see it, comment below with your thoughts on the experience. 😆
A leisurely stroll through the aquarium is a nice way to end the day before dinner.
- Address: Jeju-do, Seogwipo-si, Seongsan-eup, Seopjikoji-ro, 95 KR
- Hours: 9:30a – 6p
- Price: ₩39,000 ($34) per adult admission
Things to do in Jeju – Day 3
Day 3 is a day to sleep in and take it easy. Spend some time on the north side of the island near Jeju City.
Relax on the Beach
Woljeong-ri Beach is a favorite beach for many who visit Jeju. It’s got white sand and beautiful blue water.
Bring some towels or chairs to sit on and plenty of sunscreen. When you get hungry or thirsty, the beach is lined with SO many cafes and restaurants. Cafe Morebi is one of the best but just look at all your options – this only scratches the surface!
- Address: 480-1, Haemajihaean-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
- Hours: always open
- Price: free
Explore a Lava Cave
One of the most unique features of Jeju Island is the Geomunoreum system of lava caves throughout the island. Manjagul Cave is one of the largest of these tubes and one of the largest lava caves in the world.
As the volcano that formed Jeju Island erupted, the lava formed this system of tubes and caves. Many have been designated as Unesco World Heritage Sites and Maanjagul Cave, in particular, was designated a natural monument is 1962.
About 1km of the cave is open to the public. Inside, you’ll find a variety of geological features like stalagmites, pillars, and “lava rafts.” Pro tip: bring a sweater, it actually gets very cold down there!
- Address: 182 Manjanggul-gil, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
- Hours: 9a – 6p; closed the first Wednesday of every month
- Price: ₩4,000 ($3.50) per adult admission
See some “Art”
I have to start out with a disclaimer here – this is for ADULTS ONLY. You’ve been warned.
Jeju Island’s Love Land is one of the most unique theme parks you’ll ever visit. It is entirely devoted to love; more specifically, sex and all things erotic.
Jeju Island was once (and I’m sure still is) a popular honeymoon destination for Korean couples. It was especially so in the 1970s when arranged marriages were quite popular. Many couples got married and came on their honeymoon without really getting to know each other or connect on an intimate level. To help ease the awkwardness and ~set the mood~, many hotels in the area were rumored to hold “ice breaker” type events.
Fast forward 30-some odd years and that idea served as a muse for art students at Hongik University in Seoul. Students created various sculptures, displays, and exhibits that became Love Land in 2004.
You can walk through the park in about an hour at a leisurely pace. You must be 18 to enter, but if you do have minors with you, there is a separate are for them to hang out while you walk through (not sex themed, don’t worry.)
Is it a bit awkward? Yes. Is it worth seeing because it’s so unique? Absolutely. Have a little giggle and enjoy the art 😉
- Address: 2894-72, 1100-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
- Hours: 9a – 12a
- Price: ₩12,000 ($10.50) per person
Grab a Drink
Finish your day with a drink at one of the first, and arguably the most well known, craft brewery in South Korea. Magpie Brewing Co. was founded in 2011 in Seoul. Since then, they have expanded and moved all brewing operations to Jeju Island.
You can tour the brewery on the weekends, or just go for dinner and some drinks. Their beer is creative, but aims for easy drinking year-round. Fun fact: they brewed the very first sour beer in the country!
- Address: Jeju-si, Donghoecheon 1-gil 23
- Hours: Wed – Sun 12p – 8p; closed first Wednesday of every month
- Price: ₩20,000 ($17) for brewery tour, otherwise pay for what you eat/drink
Things to do in Jeju – Day 4
On your last day, you’ll really get to the heart of the Island by hiking Mt. Hallasan. I recommend an earlier start. If you plan to summit, it will take most of your day.
Hike Mt. Hallasan
In the center of the Island, you can’t miss seeing Mt. Hallasan as you explore. It looks intimidating, but hiking it is a quintessential Jeju experience.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be Bear Grylls to make it to the top. There are two paths up with different levels of difficulty.
- Seongpanak Trail is 9.6km to the top. It’s estimated to take 7-9 hours “round trip” but contains easier sections of trail.
- Gwaneumsa Trail is 8.7km to the top. It’s estimated to take about 8 hours “round trip” and is the harder of the two trails. The ascent on this trail offers better views.
Pro Tip: Take Seongpanak trail up for an easier route, then take Gwaneumsa trail down for the views. There are usually taxis at the Gwaneumsa trailhead that you can take back to your car.
In order to summit, you will need to make a reservation ahead of time. This is to control numbers for COVID, but also to keep track of everyone for safety.
There are checkpoints on each trail that you will need to reach before 1pm to continue. You must also start your descent from the summit by 2:30p (1:30p in the winter.) With an early start, these shouldn’t be an issue.
Don’t forget your phone or a camera, there are photo spots at the summit and you’ll definitely want to capture the views.
Of course, for a less intense day of hiking, you can always try one of the other two trails that don’t reach the summit. Eorimok Trail is 4.7km one way and Yeongsil Trail is 3.7km one way. These would each probably take about 4-5 hours total.
Notes & Tips:
- Even if you take the easy trail, this is not an easy hike. You won’t be climbing trees or scaling rocks but the climb is tough on the legs. Bean There is not responsible for sore muscles 🙃
- Bring water! Bring what you think you need and then add more. There are no places to refill bottles or get a drink once you leave the trailhead. Keep a frozen or insulated bottle in the car for after.
- Pack plenty of snacks. You’ll be burning those calories so you’ll need fuel.
- Bring a breathable mask. We had ours pulled down most of the time and pulled them up when we passed people. I recommend a gator-style mask.
- No animals, glass, cooking, or drinking is allowed on the mountain.
Trust me, you’ll be tired and sore after this hike. Grab some dinner and call it a night.
- Seongpanak Trailhead: 제주특별자치도 제주시 조천읍 516로 1865
- Gwaneumsa Trailhead: 제주특별자치도 제주시 오등동 (NOT Gwaneumsa Temple – the trailhead is about 1km west)
- Hours: start hiking as early as 5a in the summer/6a in the winter; hiking hours end at 1p
- Price: ₩1,000 ($1) for parking
I hope you enjoy your trip to Jeju Island as much as we did! This is really a gorgeous part of Korea and there are so many unique things to do. Let me know which activity you enjoyed the most and if you found any other hidden gems. Share this with your travel partners and pin to save!
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