What to do in Jeju, South Korea

Jeju, Jeju-do, or Cheju – whichever name you call it by, this island off the southern coast of South Korea is almost too well-known. The island, known as the “Hawaii of Korea”, saw 13.37 million visitors in 2023, and a quick search of things to do or cafes to visit in Jeju on any social media platform will lead you down a literal rabbit hole. If you’re looking for other things to do and eat, we’ve got you covered with our list of new and lesser-known things to do in Jeju this 2024.

What to know about Jeju before visiting

things to do in jeju 2024 - eoeum-ri silver grass field
Eoeum-ri Silver Grass Field.
Image credit: @hestia via Instagram

The topmost question on everyone’s mind before planning a trip to Jeju has to be: how long should I spend on the island? Truth be told, the island is not that big, though it’s still 2.5 times the size of Singapore. You’ll take approximately 4 hours to drive around its circumference – a distance measuring about 185km.

A comfortable amount of time to spend on the island is about 3-4 days, allowing you to cover most of its top hits, and feast on the best foods this island has to offer. What are these, you may then ask? Top of the list is to see the sunrise and the sunset – everyone will tell you to climb Seongsan Ilchulbong, AKA Sunrise Peak.

things to do in jeju 2024 - sagye coast
Sagye Coast.
Image credit: @visitjeju.en via Instagram

Driving along the coast, you’ll find spectacular waterfalls, beaches, and more cafes than you can count. Visit O’Sulloc Tea Garden, climb Hallasan, or walk the Olle Trail – 21 connected treks that bring you around the island.

If you’re lucky, you’ll see the local haenyeos, or “women of the sea”, who dive up to 30m deep in Jeju’s waters to harvest seafood. Don’t miss trying cutlassfish, the famous Jeju black pork, as well as the island’s iconic tangerine, known as hallabong.

You can visit Cheju all year round, but the best times to visit are in spring and autumn, in particular around mid-March to June, and November. These are the times when the weather is balmy and comfortable, and you get to see the best of the year’s foliage, be it cherry blossoms or autumn leaves. Other flora you can look forward to in Jeju are camelia, canola, pink muhly, silver or pampas grass, and buckwheat flowers.

If you’re travelling to Jeju between July and August, you’ll have to be prepared for temperatures between 25°C-30°C, with high levels of humidity and lots of rain.

How to travel to and around Jeju

things to do in jeju 2024 - dakmeoreu coastal road
Dakmeoreu Coastal Road.
Image credit: @thewook_ via Instagram

How does one get to Jeju? There are several ways: direct from Singapore via Scoot, on domestic flights from Seoul or Busan, or by ferry from the mainland. FYI, the ferry service takes anywhere from under 3 hours, to 12 hours depending on where you start your journey. The quickest service is from Wando, while the Busan-Jeju ferry takes 11-12 hours.

Conversely, a flight from Gimpo International Airport to Jeju takes just 1 hour 10 minutes, and flying from Busan to Jeju takes 1 hour.

The absolute best way to get around Jeju is by renting a car – for Singaporeans holding a local driver’s licence, this means you’ll have to apply for an International Driving Permit, which costs S$20. Do note that South Korea goes by a right-hand traffic system: on the opposite side than Singapore.

If you aren’t renting a car, you can consider hiring a private charter or joining a day tour. Otherwise, you’ll have to take the public bus or flag a taxi. Another option you could check out is to rent an electric scooter or bicycle.

– Sightseeing & outdoor things to do in Jeju – 

1.  Bbulsora Park

Lesser-known sunset spot with dolphin spotting

things to do in jeju 2024 - bbulsora park
Image credit: Inkoo Kang (Jason) via Google Maps

If you tuned in to Korean drama Welcome to Samdal-ri last December, you’d have seen the gorgeous views enjoyed by the laidback community there. One of the filming locations in the series is at Bbulsora Park, also known as Horn Conch Park on the western coast of the island.

You won’t be able to find it on Google Maps, so the closest point of interest is Sindo Port, or Dogurial. Here, you’ll be treated to an uncrowded, tranquil stretch of seascape, and if you’re lucky, you’ll even spot pods of dolphins frolicking in the waves.

Address: 3125-5 Sindo-ri, Daejeong-eup, Seogwipo, Jeju
Google Maps link

2. Sinchang Windmill Coastal Road

Sunset spot with 40m-tall windmills on the coast

things to do in jeju 2024 - sinchang windmill coastal road
Image credit: @seogwicub via Instagram

Popular amongst the locals, but less widely featured on Jeju guides, is Sinchang Windmill Coastal Road, with its offshore wind farm featuring 40m-tall windmills set against the black rocks and turquoise waters.

This beautiful sunset spot was also featured in the K-dramas Warm and Cozy, as well as Welcome to Samdal-ri. In the right weather conditions, the waves will lap over the path so it looks like you’re walking on water, all the way to the end of the bridge, where you’ll find a small lighthouse.

Address: 1323 Sinchang-ri, Hangyeong-myeon, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Google Maps link

3. Jimibong

Climb a volcanic cove on the tail of Jeju

things to do in jeju 2024 - jimibong jimi oreum
Image credit:@ohneul.co.kr via Instagram

You’ll be hard pressed to find a spot in Jeju that’s not scenic, but the view at Jimibong, or Jimi Oreum, is said by some to be the best. Plus, the trek up is only about 400m long, which means less work for greater reward, though it’s said to be a rather steep, 30-minute climb. When you reach the peak, you’ll find the remnants of a beacon fire station, which was used to communicate with similar stations on other peaks.

Oreum, by the way, comes from a Jeju word for small, defunct volcanoes on the island – there are more than 300 of them, and they’re symbolic of Jeju island. This local-favourite spot is a bird sanctuary, where you’ll see migratory birds such as sandpipers and black-faced spoonbills in winter.

Address: 산3-1 Jongdal-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Contact: Jimibong website

4. Baegyagi Oreum

Hike to the top of a volcanic cone with stunning views of the Jeju landscape 

things to do in jeju 2024 - baegyagi oreum
Image credit: @stonzer0 via Instagram

Another oreum you can hike up is Baegyagi Oreum, which like Jimi Oreum is located on the east side of the island, though it’s further inland. It’s so named for the medicinal herbs that grow in abundance on the slopes of this volcanic cone; walking up the scenic path, you’ll even see grazing cows.

The entire loop takes about an hour to complete, and you’ll get to reach the summit of this cone for magnificent views across the island, including other oreums in the distance.

Address: 산1 Seongeup-ri, Pyoseon-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Contact: Baegyagi Oreum website

5. Sogeummak Beach

Little-known, quiet beachfront

things to do in jeju 2024 - sogeummak beach
Image credit: @jejudo_here via Instagram

Escape the tourist hordes and head to some of the less populated beaches on Jeju, such as Sogeummak Beach. This beautiful beach is said to be a dupe for Coral Beach on Udo Island – the largest of the islands in Jeju Province.

Put this beach on your list of places to visit if you’re seeking the sun, ultra-fine white sand, and peace. You’re more likely to encounter local families, and thrillseekers engaged in water sports off the shore here, than tourists.

Address: 87-2 Hacheon-ri, Pyoseon-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Google Maps link

6. Gapado Island

Popular hiking destination with locals, covered in fields of green barley

things to do in jeju 2024 - gapado island
Image credit: @yasmene.s via Instagram

Home to just 250 residents, Gapado Island is not somewhere that most guides to Jeju feature. You’ll have to take a 20-minute ride on the ferry, which operates twice daily, from Moseulpo Port to get here, or join a day tour of Gapado Island.

It’s much less touristy than the other more popular islands, so you’ll be able to commune with nature, and enjoy the unspoiled beauty of the place. Come between mid-March to May, and the landscape is taken over by fields of green barley called hyangmaek. If you’re up for it, try gayeok, a mixed-grain drink featuring this native barley.

Pre-book ferry tickets to Gapado Island.

Moseulpo Port
Address: Hamori, Daejeong-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do

7. Jeju Stone Park

Gorgeous sky pond

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Jeju Stone Park may have opened in 2006, but construction at the park was only completed in 2021. Stones are a big part of Jeju’s history; the entire island is covered in basalt. Spanning an area of 1sqkm, or more than 140 football fields, the park was designed around the myths of Jeju Island.

things to do in jeju 2024 - jeju stone park sky pond
Image credit: @jejustonepark via Instagram

Spending 4 hours looking at rocks may sound boring, but you’ll want to visit the park on a sunny, blue-skied day for the sky pond on the roof of the Jeju Stone Museum. It’s meant to represent the cauldron that Grandmother Seolmundae, the mythical creator of Jeju, threw herself into to save her starving children.

Tale of motherly love aside, you can walk beneath the pond and emerge on a platform in the middle, so it looks like you’re standing on the reflective surface of the water.

Address: 2023 Namjo-ro, Jocheon-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 9am-6pm (Closed on Monday)
Contact: +82 64-710-7764 | Jeju Stone Park website

8. Sanyang Keunkot

Enchanted forest trail

things to do in jeju 2024 - sanyang keunkot enchanted forest
Image credit: @soosoo.soup via Instagram

Enter an enchanted forest when you visit Sanyang Keunonggot, in the World Natural Heritage Site of Sanyang Gotjawal. The term gotjawal is a traditional Jeju phrase referring to forested areas growing on uneven, rocky ground created by lava from volcanic eruptions; Sanyang Gotjawal is one of the most beautiful sections of Jeju’s gotjawal.

things to do in jeju 2024 - sanyang keunkot enchanted forest 2
Image credit: @sanyang_keunkot via Instagram

Of the entire forest, Sanyang Keunonggot is the only bit that’s been open to the public since 2022. You might visit for a glimpse of the unique ecology of the gotjawal, but more than that, its ethereal beauty forms the perfect backdrop for photo zones that look like they’ve been plucked out of the pages of a fairy tale.

Address: 956-6 Cheongsu-ri, Hangyeong-myeon, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Opening hours: 9.30am-6pm, Daily
Contact: +82 50-71322-4229 | Sanyang Keunonggot website

9. Gwangchigi Beach

One of Jeju’s best coastline views with moss-covered rocks & black sand

things to do in jeju 2024 - gwangchigi beach
Image credit: @llee_hann via Instagram

Seongsan Ilchulbong may be known as Sunrise Peak, but it’s by no means the only place on Jeju-do to watch the sun crawl over the horizon. Head to Gwangchigi Beach instead with the locals, where you’ll see the sunrise plus the silhouette of Seongsan Ichulbong.

The best time to visit this beach is in the morning and late afternoon, when the tide has retreated, leaving an expanse of black sand and moss-covered rocks, carved out by years of eddies. If you’re here between March to April, head across the road for the Gwangchigi Canola Fields, bursting with green and golden yellow blooms.

Address: 224-33 Goseong-ri, Seongsan-eup, 특별자치도, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Google Maps link

– Cafes, restaurants & drinks in Jeju – 

10. Last Spring: Jeju Food Laboratory

28-seater farm-to-table restaurant by ex-Joel Robuchon chef

things to do in jeju 2024 - last spring jeju noodles
Image credit: @wijuisgourmet via Instagram

If you’re up for a fancy meal on Jeju, consider making a reservation at Last Spring Jeju, a 28-seater restaurant that’s located an hour’s drive from the airport. It’s helmed by chef Kang Byung-wook, who previously worked at three Michelin-starred L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong.

Here at Last Spring Jeju, you’ll find yourself feasting on traditional Jeju produce and native recipes, some of which have almost been lost to time. Chef Kang champions ingredients grown by local farmers, as well as sustainable dining – one of the most popular dishes on his menu is Cotton Seaweed Noodles (KRW21,000, ~S$21), with white beans and local sea trumpet in a broth of Jeju black pork broth, with carrot and perilla oil. On the other hand, his Jeju Korean Beef (KRW25,000, ~S$25) stars hanwoo with sesame oil and tangerine flower honey – all produced on Jeju.

Address: 75-1, Gimnyeong-ro 1-gil, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Opening hours: Thu-Tue 4pm-10pm (Closed on Wednesdays)
Contact:  +82 64-904-1182 | Last Spring Jeju website

11. Sool Igneun Jip

Traditional omaegi sool made with 4-generation recipe

things to do in jeju 2024 - sool igneum jip
Image credit: Eunice Kim via Google Maps

As a quick introduction to the world of Korean alcohol: they’re generally known as sool, whether they’re fermented or distilled. Thanks to the volcanic terrain of Jeju, the sool culture here is unlike that on the mainland because it’s inhospitable to growing rice. As a result, millet-based alcohol known as omaegi sool is the representative alcohol of Jeju – omaegi is millet in the Jeju dialect.

Head to Sool Igneun Jip to taste omaegi sool – it’s brewed in barrels according to a recipe that’s been handed down through 4 generations. If you’d like to try your hand at brewing, you can make a reservation at least 5 days in advance for the experience – it’s charged at KRW40,000 (~S$40) for a 60-90-minute workshop, with a minimum attendance of 2 guests.

Address: 4726 Jungsangandong-ro, Pyoseon-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10.30am-5pm (Closed on Sunday)
Contact: +82 64-787-5046 | Sool Igneum Jip website

12. Jeju Beer Brewery

Craft brews made with local ingredients

things to do in jeju 2024 - jeju beer brewery
Image credit: @sulchaego via Instagram

One for the craft beer fans, Jeju Beer Brewery is the island’s biggest microbrewery, specialising in craft brews. There are several other smaller microbreweries that have popped up, but Jeju Beer was the first.

Jeju Beer is brewed with local ingredients such as Jeju tangerine peel and Jeju black barley – you can check out the process on one of their brewery tours, then visit their experience zone and pub on the third floor. At the pub, treat yourself to fresh brews from the tap, as well as beer snacks such as sausages, beef jerky, tangerine peel, and other pairing options.

Book your brewery tour.

Address: 62-11 Geumneungnonggong-gil, Hallim-eup, 특별자치도, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 12.30pm-7.30pm (Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays)
Contact: +82 64-798-9872 | Jeju Beer Brewery website

13. Haehwatang Cafe

Tranquil spa-like cafe with floating lanterns

things to do in jeju 2024 - haehwatang cafe
Image credit: @nami4seasons via Instagram

Every 30 minutes, the interior of 1-year-old Haehwatang Cafe transforms into an oasis. Swirls of mist cloud the air for all of 10 minutes, with a pool of floating, candle-lit lanterns at its centre adding to an aura of tranquillity. For a change of scenery, their al fresco area gives beach club vibes, with elevated day beds, lounge chairs, and even seats by the waterfront.

Wherever you opt to sit, there’s a comprehensive menu of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, such as Jeju Island Green Tangerine Ade (KRW7,500, ~S$7.50) and Strawberry Latte (KRW7,500, ~S$7.50), alongside grub like Brown Cheese Croffle (KRW13,000, ~S$13).

Address: 5855 Iljuseo-ro, Hallim-eup, 특별자치도 Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Opening hours: 10am-10pm, Daily
Contact: +82 0507-1436-5150 | Haehwatang Cafe website

14. Cafe Uda

View of Bamseom Island, with bean bag seats & industrial-chic interior

Every other cafe on the island boasts of jaw-dropping, scenic views and prettier-than-thou decor – Cafe Uda is one more to add to your list. With a smaller crowd than some of the other joints, you’re more likely to find that elusive sense of peace here, with its high-ceilinged interior, and cushy bean bag seats on the terraced steps facing the sea, and Bamseom Island.

Brunch UDA goes for KRW19,000 (~S$19), starring local black pork sausage and house-made tomato pickles, while a Montecristo Sandwich with 2 types of ham is priced at KRW17,000 (~S$17). Pair these with signature drinks such as UDA Latte (KRW9,000, ~S$9), topped with house-made vanilla cream, or Black Sesame Latte (KRW8,500, ~S$8.50).

Address: 1631-1 Hogeun-dong, 특별자치도, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Opening hours: Fri-Wed 10.30am-7pm (Closed on Thursdays)
Contact: +82 70-7757-0000 | Cafe Uda website

Add these new things to do to your Jeju itinerary

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to do on this South Korean island – it’s full of wonderful things to do and awe-inspiring vistas, great for both first-time and frequent visitors. Whatever the season, its rugged beauty is a refreshing change of scenery for all of us city-dwellers.

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Cover image adapted from: @ohneul.co.kr via Instagram, @sanyang_keunkot via Instagram, @hestia via Instagram

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