Jeju Island in 3 days- For the active traveller in WINTER!
Jeju Island is considered the Hawaii of South Korea. Koreans love this place and flock to it for their vacations at any opportunity and it’s easy to see why.
A domestic flight from most airports in South Korea will take you the Island (Seoul and Busan particularly)
Getting around the Island:
- Most Koreans hire a car and self-drive around the island. If your budget isn’t a problem, then this is a great idea.
- Another way is the Golden bus which costs 12,000W a day and will take you to all the tourist destinations. It’s like a hop on-hop off kind of deal.
- But my favourite by far is trying to navigate the bus system here… Just find a map (hostel/hotel should provide you with one), locate the places you want to see and pay as you go (either in cash or a transport card)
- 600 Airport Bus
- 781 and 782 (blue lines) will take you to Seongpanak bus stop where you can start hiking Mt Hallasan
- 701 (red line) will take you along the east of the Island
- 702 (yellow line) will take you along the west of the Island
Things to do and See:
- Climb to the summit of Mt Hallasan (To be above the clouds)
- Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (To see a great sunrise/set or just a beautiful view- will take around 25 minutes to climb up the steps)
- Hamdeok Beach
- Hike parts of the Olle Trail (A great way to walk around the Island)
- 5 day markets (lots of awesome markets around the Island.
Things others suggest:
- Submarine experience
- Udo Island
- Hyeopjae Beach
- Majanggul Cave
- Various quirky museums and lands
Upon arrival, I was a little underwhelmed. I’m not sure what I was expecting but it definitely wasn’t this. The island itself is quite large and getting from one place to the other requires some planning. I decided to initially scout out Seogwipo as it was the area that I was staying in and then decided on a rough plan to hike to the summit of Mount Hallasan (1,950 m/ 6397 Ft) the next morning. I borrowed some crampons from the hostel (which you will definitely need if you climb the mountain in winter as there is so much snow- Do NOT attempt to climb without these), got on the first bus at 06:20 and started my ascent at 07:00.
I decided to hike up the Seongpanak Trail up to the summit (which is on the East of the mountain) 9.6 km one way and then back down Gwaneumsa Trail (north of the mountain) for 8.7km. It’s important that you start the hike early as you cannot reach the summit unless you reach Jindallaebat Shelter by 12:00- they are quite strict about this and will send you back down.
The summit is where you will find yourself above the clouds and it’s spectacular.
N.B: If you hike down Gwaneumsa Trail you will need to hike a further 4km along the main road to the bus stop (Jeju Medical centre) or get a taxi to this stop in order to get the bus back to your hostel/hotel.
But it wasn’t until I visited Hamdeok beach that I finally understood why the Koreans love this island so much. It’s stunning, peaceful and a great place to forget your troubles. I imagine that it’s even more glorious in summer.
So, stick Jeju Island on your list and enjoy!