Jeju may be South Korea’s largest island and a premier travel destination emerging in East Asia, but not many Western travelers are familiar. In addition to top-tier luxury lodging and entertainment venues, Jeju is also home to natural wonders.
The island itself is the remnant of a Volcanic explosion that took place two million years ago. Today, there are national parks and hiking trails. But those who prefer indoor activities will also have plenty to include on their itinerary; there are art galleries, theme parks, casinos, and spas.
As a small island, taxis and rental cars are the easiest forms of transportation. The most challenging part for many tourists will be arriving. All flights land at Jeju International Airport, with many coming from nearby cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Xian, Nanchang, Shanghai, Daegu, Incheon, and more.
Be sure to check the weather! Jeju has a temperate climate, with summers running hot and winters dropping steeply around New Year.
Activities in Jeju
Though Jeju has plenty of natural splendor to explore, many come for entertainment options. The island’s casinos offer standard fares like blackjack and poker but are also indicative of local preferences. Compared to other traditions from around the world, players in Jeju are more likely to favor baccarat and sic bo, similar to Macau.
Art museums are another popular destination for many travelers. As a culturally unique location that’s only recently been ‘put on the map’, art galleries like Kim Young Gap, Jeju Museum of Art, and Jinieoseu Rosai highlight national and regional traditions—modern and ancient.
As mentioned above, nature-lovers will feel at home in Jeju. Natural wonders range greatly, including Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) to forest tours of the luscious Saryeoni Path and the Sangumburi Crater. These are ideal for small groups, so feel free to invite some friends!
As an island, there are also beaches galore, from Woljeong-ri to Hyeopjae. Beach trips are an excellent way to travel around the island, and also present unique opportunities. Some beaches are ideal for sunset walks, while others have stunning views of neighboring islands like Marado and Biyangdo.
Lodging in Jeju
internationally, Jeju is known more for its high-class entertainment and lodging options. However, as the island has become more popular with casual tourists, there are expanding options in terms of hostels and hotels.
Most casinos are part of a resort, which includes spa experiences and elite housing. Phoenix Island and Daemyung Resort Jeju offer the most unforgettable opportunities in luxury stays. Morevo Resort and Jeju I’ve Resort provide middle-tier options, which include social opportunities like clubhouses and pools.
Hotels, motels, and guest housing are also available. Price points are affordable, with a range of options that will allow tourists to stay in the mix in popular areas or head to quieter seaside locales.
As mentioned above, Jeju is quickly turning into a nature-lovers destination. As such, camping grounds have become more popular in recent years for travelers during warmer months. Many of these grounds are located inside national parks, like Gyorae Natural Recreational Forest.
Travelers don’t need to pack tents in their stowaway luggage. Instead, local shops are happy to provide affordable solutions — many of them rented. One recent trend is glamping, which elevates the standard campground experience.
Travelers can check into locations like Dolharubang Campsite, which includes amenities like swimming pools, rentable bungalows, and washing facilities. Most travelers incorporate camping or glamping into their itineraries depending on the natural sites they want to tour. However, most tourists stick to hotels when traveling to Jeju.
One popular reason to travel to Jeju is medical tourism. This is most popular for residents of neighboring countries (in addition to South Koreans), from China to Japan to Singapore.
Jeju is also a haven for foodies with unique palettes. Travelers can try out local delicacies, which include seafood specialties and horse meat. There are also Asian specialties of all varieties, from street food to new creations like Korean Mexican. As an international hub, Western options are also available.