For a tiny island floating in the Yellow Sea, Jeju Island is packed with adventure! Things to do in Jeju Island include everything from hiking up Mount Hallasan to shopping at Dongmun Traditional Market in Jeju City. Known as the “Island of the Gods,” Jeju Island also is the top honeymoon destination for Korean newlyweds, so the island is a perfect spot for a romantic getaway. With romance, trekking, beaches, horse riding, top-notch diving and sunsets on white sandy beaches, Jeju Island has no shortage of attractions, museums, beaches and breathtaking nature treks!
Things to Do in Jeju Island | Jeju City Shopping & Attractions
No matter which Jeju Island attractions you have on your itinerary, your first stop most likely will be Jeju City. The island’s capital is home to Jeju International Airport and the Port of Jeju, which is the landing point for daily ferries from mainland South Korea. (Ferries also take passengers to the eastern side of the island to the smaller island of Udo and the Seongsan region.) While many things to do in Jeju Island lie outside the city limits, Jeju City is a great home base and contains several can’t-miss tourist attractions as well.
Top Jeju City tourist attractions
Two of the best things to do in Jeju City are shopping and eating. Luckily, Jeju City is home to Dongmun Traditional Market, where travelers can gorge their eyes and stomachs on fresh seafood as well as pick up island souvenirs. This diverse one-stop shopping spot is Jeju Island’s largest and oldest market, and it is open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
What to eat at Dongmun Traditional Market
While shopping and sightseeing are the reason many people visit the market, the most popular activity at Dongmun Traditional Market is eating! Not only is the seafood fresh from the Yellow Sea, but it also can be cooked for customers on the spot. Some can’t-miss dishes to try at Dongmun Traditional Market include meat noodles, black pork and fresh abalone (jeon-bok). Adventurous foodies can look for samples of horsemeat sushi and sashimi.
What to buy at Dongmun Traditional Market
Dongmun Traditional Market features everything from fresh seafood to Korean souvenirs. Travelers will find an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables to try on the spot and plenty of dried herbs, bamboo goods, chocolates, clothing and hand-crafted items to take home as keepsakes and gifts.
Things to Do in Jeju Island | Day trips from Jeju City
Jeju City is indeed a great place to spend a day, but travelers wanting to get up close and personal with nature should plan on taking a few day trips from Jeju City. Many of the island’s top destinations can be reached by bus or taxi in less than two hours, and several attractions have nearby accommodations, so if you fall in love with one area and want to stay longer – no problem!
- Hallasan – one of the top things to do in Jeju Island is hiking up Hallasan (Halla Mountain). A shield volcano and the highest peak in South Korea, Hallasan is located smack-dab in the middle of the island and is open for daytime hikes. The mountain makes up Hallasan National Park and contains scenic foliage year-round. It also is listed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Hallasan features several hiking trails that range from short one-hour walks for beginners and laid-back backpackers to long 10-hour hikes for die-hard trekkers.
Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak) – perfect for travelers wanting a bit of exercise and a stunning view, Seongsan Ilchulbong (also known as Sunrise Peak) is an extinct volcano on the eastern edge of Jeju Island. Travelers who arrive early can climb 99 steps to the top to watch the sun rise over the sea and then descend to the coastline to watch the haenyeo, or female free divers, bring in their fresh seafood catches for the day. After that, sit down to a delicious breakfast or lunch at the “Sea Woman Restaurant.”
Jusangjeolli Cliffs (Jusangjeollidae) – for a relaxing day or sightseeing by the sea, head to Jusangjeolli Cliffs on the southwestern coast of the Jungman Region in Jeju Island. This natural phenomenon was formed from years of waves hitting the cliffside and shaping the rock into unique-shaped columns. Tour guides are available in the area, or guests can wander aimlessly around walking trails and nature paths.
Hallim Park – about an hour west of Jeju City is Hallim Park. This gorgeous garden complex contains waterfalls, caves, a small zoo and a folk village. Plus, it’s only a short walk to the twinkling white sands of Hyeopjae Beach. Hallim Park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.
Jeju Folk Village – catch a glimpse of what island life was like in the 1890s with a visit to Jeju Folk Village. The restored community, located on the southeast side of the island, features more than 100 homes and thousands of folk displays. The village is one of the best things to do in Jeju Island: it’s as educational as it is family-friendly! Jeju Folk Village is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Admission is 11,000 won for adults, 9,000 won for senior citizens, 8,000 won for teenagers and 7,000 won for children.
Yeomiji Botanical Garden & Cheonjeyeon Waterfalls – these neighboring attractions are well worth a trip to the southwest side of Jeju Island. Cheonjeyeon Waterfalls features three waterfalls that can be reached via hiking trails, and Yeomiji Botanical Garden is a large outdoor garden and greenhouse, perfect for a relaxing day of exploring South Korea’s native flora and fauna. Yeomiji Botanical Garden is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Tickets are 1,000 won for adults and 500 won for children younger than 13 years old.
Manjanggul Cave – a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular things to do in Jeju Island, Manjanggul Cave is a 7.4 kilometer-long walkable lava tube that contains natural cave formations (like stalactites and stalagmites) as well as an abundance of bats and insects! Manjanggul Cave is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is 2,000 won.
Where to Stay in Jeju Island
Jeju Island generally is divided by its four most popular areas for tourists – Jeju City, Seogwipo, Seongsan and Aewol. Plenty of hotels and accommodations are available in each area. Here are four to get you started. (Just click any link or photo to explore more great hotels in Jeju Island!)