Planning a Korea trip can be quite overwhelming, and planning a Jeju island trip on top of that is going to be stressful with all the Korea. This post is like a starter pack to planning your Jeju trip and ensure that you have an efficient schedule on the island.
2/3 days is kinda short imo for Jeju, 4/5 days would be perfect. Realistically, all my past and recent (3 in total) trips to Jeju were all 3D2N because of time and money constraints so this is the timeframe that we will be looking at here.
The first and foremost thing you will have to book is the flight to Jeju. Your only other choice other than taking a flight is to take a ferry, but that way is time consuming and the ferry booking sites are not in English so I won’t recommend that. There are domestic flights to Jeju from all around Korea, but if you will be in Seoul, Gimpo Airport -> Jeju Airport is the one you should be looking at.
Budget airlines like Jeju Air and Jin Air offer return tickets for slightly over $100 during mid-season and full-fledged carriers like Korean Air and Asiana are more pricey. Note that Jul/Aug is the peak season for travel so tickets might be sold out (as well as for long weekends with PH in Korea). My advice is to book them early, and get return tix. You don’t want to be stuck without a flight out of the island.
I usually use Skyscanner or Interpark Tour (only in Korean) which has good offers on cards if you are living in Korea.
2. Inland transportation
Next step is to decide on how you are going to travel around Jeju. There are 3 options here: (1) rent a car, (2) hire a private cab and by (3) public transport.
Renting a car is my best and most recommended option if you are traveling with an international driving license. It is the most convenient and efficient way to explore the island. There are various rental companies that offer rental and drop-off from Jeju airport, but I would strongly strongly suggest that you book online in advance for better prices. They are usually fully booked during the peak seasons so you might not be able to get one over the counter.
Main companies are AJ, Hertz/KT Kumho that have their websites in English. Otherwise you can also check out Jeju Car Rental on Trazy, a pretty convenient service and they are on discount right now. From experience, a 5-seater 1600cc normal sedan will cost around 40,000won per day. Fuel costs are about 50,000won for 3 days depending on how far you travel I guess.
Tips on renting a car in Jeju:
Always buy insurance! Yes it’s the most important. Get the staff to program your GPS in English and teach you how to find the destinations especially if you do not read/write Korean. Make your reservation beforehand.
Private car hires (2-4 people) costs about $100-$150 for 8 hours per day where you get a driver who will drive you to where you want to go. Costs more for bigger cars and extra hours.
There are no subway/trains in Jeju island, so buses are the main form of public transport together with taxis. The 2 main intercity buses that you will find most useful are #701 and #702 which depart from Jeju Bus Terminal. The basic fare is 1200won and additional charges by distance. You can use your T-money cards for these buses.
#701 goes from North Jeju (Airport side) around East Jeju to Seogwipo (South) while #702 goes around West Jeju.
The only thing about the buses is that they come at infrequent intervals of 30min to 1hour so it might be inefficient if you are going to multiple places in a day.
After booking your flights and deciding on a transport method, it’s time to look for accommodation. Most of the accommodation are clustered around (1) Jeju airport, (2) West Jeju and (3) East Jeju near Seongsan Ilchubong. For a 3D2N trip, I would recommend staying one day at West Jeju and one day at East Jeju instead of driving across the island to and fro everyday. It takes about a 2 hours drive to get from West to East Jeju and pretty time-consuming both ways.
Some places that you can check out:
West Jeju: Yangtte Farm and Pension ~100,000won per night for 4 pax
East Jeju: Playce Camp Jeju ~50,000won per night for 2 pax
South Jeju (Seogwipo): Hotel Teddy Valley ~100,000won per night for 3 pax
These are the places that I’ve stayed in personally in Jeju, and they are all pretty good and reasonably priced.
There are many many attractions in Jeju, too many for a short 3 days trip. Hence, I will list the attractions according to my experience for you here haha (a star * represents my strong recommendation for that attraction). Because Jeju is so big, you definitely need at least a rough plan of where you want to visit each day so that you don’t waste all your time on the roads. I would suggest dividing it into 3 areas: (1) West Jeju, (2) South Jeju/Seogwipo and (3) East Jeju so you go one big round around the island. 1 day each for each area would be just nice.
(1) West Jeju Attractions
- Aewol Gwakji Gwamul Beach (lots of nice cafes here)
- Yongmeori Seashore (beautiful, divers selling fresh seafood)*
- Jeju Glass Castle (good for night viewing as well)
- The Ma Park (horseriding/horse performance)
- O’Sulloc Tea Museum
- Innisfree Jeju House
- Hyeopjae Beach
- Saebeyol Oreum (parastic volcano site, short hike, good scenery)
(2) South Jeju Attractions (Seogwipo area)
- Jeju Green Tea Maze Park
- Jungmun Daepo Coast Jusangjeolli Cliff
- Soesokkak Estuary
- Cheonjeyeon Falls*
- Seogwipo Submarine (exotic experience)
- Jeju Love Land
- Teddy Bear Museum
(3) East Jeju Attractions
- Udo Island** (best place in Jeju rank #1, beautiful scenery, fun activities like jet boat rides and bicycle rides around the island)
- Jeju Folk Village
- Seongsan Ilchubong (the must-visit place in Jeju, crater formed from a volcanic eruption, good for watching the sunrise)
- Manjanggul Cave
- Seopjikoji Hill
- Hanhwa Aqua Planet Jeju (biggest aquarium in East Asia)
You can’t possibly visit all of these places in 3 days, so I would say pick just 2/3 of each category and go with a more relaxed trip instead of trying to cover many places in one trip. I feel that Jeju is very attractive because it’s really the opposite of a bustling busy urban city and a great place to just relax, feel the beauty of nature and spend a good time with your travel mates or even just some good time to yourself alone.
Hope this post helped with your planning!