Earlier this month, my mom and a few of her friends came to South Korea to visit me and we made our way to Jeju Island to explore! After being able to go to Jeju, I would highly recommend putting it on your bucket list if you are coming to South Korea. The views and sights are wonderful and if you are a nature-lover like me, there is so much to see! Here are a few places I think were worth the visit and a few tips along the way to help you get around!
One of my favorite places that I traveled to during this trip was the Jeongbang Waterfall. It's located in Seogwipo and is the only waterfall in Asia that falls directly into the ocean. It's pretty quick to get there. Just a few staircases and you can see the waterfall but be careful because it may be a bit slippery once you watch on the rocks near the waterfall. I would suggest wearing walking shoes and not a dress or sandals basically anywhere you go in Jeju. The photos there are amazing, and the view is so breathtaking! There is also a woman nearby selling food; however, I didn't get any because I was unsure how clean it was and didn't want to risk it. There are also many delicious restaurants nearby that are delicious.
Ossuloc Tea Museum and Innisfree Jeju House
This place is for the tea-lovers and the skincare lovers! It's a perfect place to walk around the tea fields and snap a lot of photos. There is also a very small museum that talks about the history of tea sets in Korea and shows the process of making their famous tea. It's also a great place to grab the green tea set and enjoy matcha ice-cream, a green tea, matcha roll cakes, and a matcha milkshake. Afterwards, you can stop over at the Innisfree house next door and make bath soaps with friends! Personally, it wasn't interesting to me, but a lot of people were having a great time creating their own soaps. It was a good way to spend the morning and relax from all the outdoor hiking and long walks. Plus, I loved the tea set and buying tea was on my to-do list before leaving Jeju!
Visit One of Jeju's Famous Beaches
One of the beaches that I really want to visit was Samyang Black Sand Beach; however, there was no time to visit. Instead, we went to Hamdeok Seoubong Beach because it was close to where we were staying. If I were to go again, I would probably stay in Seogwipo because there is so much to see in that area. We stayed in Jeju City, which is close to the airport and there is also a lot to see there but it isn't as nice for tourists as Seogwipo in my opinion. The beach we went to on the last day was beautiful, but I don't think it can beat the black sand beach! The water was very clear, and the view was beautiful, though!
If you are a hiker, this is all for you! There are four routes located on this volcanic mountain that has been inactive for quick some time. However, only two of these routes make its way to the top of the mountain to see the crater. If you choose to go to the top, just know that it will take the whole day to get there and back! Also, it is not for people who are not used to hiking or working out. I did it with no training, but it was hard for me. The best way to see the mountain is go up one of the routes and come back on the other route to see both views. Just know that one is more difficult than the other, and even the "easy" route is not so easy! Be careful of ice towards the top, dress in layers, if you have hiking shoes WEAR THEM (otherwise your feet will be killing you the next day!). Also, it will take a whole day so if you don't want to spend a whole day here, maybe this isn't the hike for you! Remember to bring lots of water and a meal to eat when you reach the top! Lastly, start early if you want to reach the top because there is a time limit that they allow people to pass through to the top. It was such a challenge but it felt good to reach the top and see the crater! I enjoyed it and now I get to say I made it to the top! On the downside, my legs were killing me for the next few days... at least the meal after made everything worthwhile!
The food that I recommend for you to try in Jeju, is of course seafood! Jeju has great raw fish and cooked seafood places. Also, Jeju is famous for their black pork dishes, which can be found in Jeju City. There is even a street called Black Pork Street! If you want a suggestion for a place to eat, I went to 풍차닭해물탕 (there wasn't an English name) in Seogwipo where we ate seafood soup. It was so delicious! Otherwise, I just would ask the taxi drivers where to go and they usually took us to the best places! If you are too shy to ask, look at the ratings of different restaurants on Kakaomaps or Naver Maps. One last tip: make sure to download Kakao Taxi to get around Jeju! You can pay up front and don't need to put in a credit card and it is a lifesaver when you are going from one side of the island to the other.
Hopefully this helps in navigating your vacation in Jeju! I only had two full days, so I didn't get in everything I wanted to do. Some other places that past students mentioned to visit were Gwanheumsa Temple, Bangseongmun Valley, Manjanggul Cave, and Seogwipo Market. No matter where you go in Jeju, you will have a great time being in nature and exploring the beautiful island! Have a great trip!