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.

Seongsan Ilchulbul sunrise peak jeju island south korea
Seongsan Ilchulbul (Sunrise Peak) from the bottom

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 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 may need to drive depending on where you stay.

Chase Waterfalls

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.

Cheonjiyeon falls Jeju Island South Korea
Cheonjiyeon Falls

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

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.

Things to do in Jeju natural pools
Hwanguji Natural Pools

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

Shop for Souvenirs

Jeju isn’t exactly a shopping destination, but personally I love browsing local shops, especially for souvenirs. You’ll find plenty of shops outside each waterfall destination with handmade trinkets, magnets, hats, etc.

If you want a unique shopping experience, stroll through the Maeil Olle Market. This permanent street market features local vendors selling everything from clothes to fresh fish.

  • Address: 18 Jungang-ro 62beon-gil, Seogwi-dong, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
  • Hours: 7a – 9p (ish)
  • Price: free to walk through, prices vary by vendor and item

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.

Things to do in Jeju sunrise peak
Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak)

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.

Seogwipo Jeju views from sunrise peak
Views of Jeju on the way to Sunrise Peak

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:

  • 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

On day 3, you’ll really get to the heart of the Island by hiking Mt. Hallasan. You won’t need to wake up quite as early as yesterday, but I do 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.

Mt. Hallasan Jeju
Mt. Hallasan from a distance

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.

Things to do in Jeju Mt. Hallasan
Mt. Hallasan view from the summit

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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About Author

Kiersten is a former barista, current travel writer, and forever coffee addict. Learn more about your coffee shop tour guide here.

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