[the travel bug] Hello Jeju!

jeju island travel guide

I’ve been to Korea several times before. In fact, I’d already been in and out of Incheon airport twice this year already. I’ve been to Seoul, Busan, Jeonju, and a couple of other places, but this time, I finally made it off the peninsula and got to tick Jeju-do off my travel bucket list.

I’ve wanted to go to Jeju-do, or literally, Jeju Island, for quite some time now, mostly for the volcanic rocks and incredible seafood that always looks amazing in the Korean variety shows. Spoiler alert: both were achieved.

I included our itinerary at the end of this post, which you can check out if you’re planning on visiting Jeju island. We stayed on the West coast, simply as it was where our Airbnb was located.

The view from our Airbnb!

The view from our Airbnb!

Yes, that’s a huge window facing the shore.

Yes, that’s a huge window facing the shore.

I am absolutely in love with that rug. There were so many plants in the flat as well.

I am absolutely in love with that rug. There were so many plants in the flat as well.

Jeju Airbnb - Hallim Coast

Our Airbnb was the cutest flat that was literally on the shore of a beautiful beach - to the point that we were comparing all the other beaches we came across in Jeju to the one we could see from the living room of our Airbnb. That window was by far, my favourite corner in the flat. It was a dream to have morning coffee at the bar, watching the waves softly crash against the shore, to do some light drawing, or just stare out the window. You could also see the sunset from the living room as well! Talk about living the dream.

Our host, Hyemi, was also super helpful and nice - she gave us a list of restaurants around the flat (including THE most delicious BBQ restaurant), arranged airport transportation for us, and was super helpful when I left my denim jacket behind (Oops. Don’t do this). I would definitely recommend staying here if you’re planning on exploring the West coast.

While I would recommend renting a car to get around Jeju, but if you’re like me and decided to adventure Jeju via bus, the 202 bus is just a couple of minutes away, and will get you around the whole West coast.

Jeju’s Volcanic Coasts and Rock Formatins

Jeju Aewol Handam Beach
Jeju Aewol Coast.jpg
Jeju Yongmeori Beach.jpg
yongmeori coast-jeju

Jeju island is a volcanic island - which means awesome rock formations. Most of Jeju’s coasts are rocky coasts, like the photo above. While they make building sand castles impossible, it’s quite fun to bop around on the rocks, pretending that you’re some kind of adventurer, exploring a new island. There are also small “ponds” in the rocks, where you can find a small ecosystem of crabs, shrimp, fish, and other shellfish.

Yongmeori Coast

One of the most interesting coasts we visited was the Yongmeori Coast, which translates to the Dragon’s Head Coast. You can only make this coastal hike when it’s low tide, so make sure you check the tidal hours before visiting. The whole hike took around an hour, but I would’ve really liked to bring a book and just sit on one of the rock formations and read, while listening to the waves crashing against the rocks.

 

잘 먹겠습니다! Eating in Jeju - seafood and black pork BBQ

Jeju Nolman Seafood Ramen Aewol
Jeju Black Pork BBQ

I was expecting amazing food when I went to Jeju, but I didn’t expect the food to be this amazing. We had our fair share of abalone, shrimp, crab, pork, and of course, side dishes. If you ever find yourself on the West coast, there are two restaurants that I would highly recommend you trying out.

Nolman: seafood ramen

It would be a stretch to call Nolman a restaurant. It’s more like a makeshift tent/shelter that would’ve been hard to miss if it wasn’t for the massive queue outside. Serving up seafood ramen, Nolman literally stuffs the serving with more fresh seafood than one would ever expect in a single serving. Due to some magical technique, the locals all seemed to be able to eat the crustaceans very neatly. It was almost embarrassing how messy I was, but I was too distracted by how delicious and rich the ramen was to care.

Go-Hyaang Black Pork BBQ

Jeju is famous for the black pork BBQ. There’s a street literally full of BBQ restaurants serving up black pork in Jeju city, but I would honestly recommend making the journey to Go-Hyaang BBQ. It’s slightly cheaper than the restaurants in the city, but have equally large, if not huge portions of food. We opted for a set meal, including shrimp, abalone, shrimp, an insane amount of side dishes, and of course, Jeju black pork. I never thought I could be this attached to pork, but it’s been three weeks since I had that meal and I still think of it blissfully sometimes. We went here just before the sun set and was able to watch the sun descend into the ocean from the ceiling-to-floor windows.

Travelling in Jeju: Final Notes

  • Check the local websites (e.g. Naver) for temperature. I made the mistake of packing based on the temperatures the iOS weather app was telling me. It was a whole ten degrees Celsius higher than the actual temperature. I kept recycling outfits as 80% of the clothes I packed were way too warm.

  • Download local map apps. Google Map is NOT reliable in Korea, it’s worse in Jeju. For this trip, I downloaded Kakao Maps, which now has a simple English interface. It’s especially helpful if you’re taking the bus as it shows how long till the next bus arrives.

  • Rent a car. Trust me, it’ll save a lot of transportation time and will be easier to get around. Most, if not all, the road signs have English on them so it’s possible to navigate the island even if you don’t speak Korean.

  • If you’re like me and my friends and literally no one can drive, it is quite convenient to get around by bus. The 202 bus runs along the whole West coast and will be able to get you to most of the tourist spots. This is a local bus that stops at literally almost every stop, so it’ll take longer, but it’s reliable and cheap. It comes every 20 minutes, on the dot. There’s the older and newer bus models, you never know which one you’re going to get, but if you are going in the summer, keep your fingers crossed it’s the newer model as the older model doesn’t come with AC.

  • If you’re going to be getting around via public transportation, get t-money. It’s a public transportation card that you can top up at convenience shops like CU. You’ll get a discounted bus rate when you use t-money.

I might do a part two of the Jeju trip as I’ve barely scratched the surface of our trip. Jeju is such a chill island and the people there are very nice. They stuff you with enough food to feed a small village and are very generous when you try to communicate with them in broken Korean. I’d love to go again and maybe explore the East coast next time! Have you been to Jeju island before?

Jeju west coast travel itiniary.png