Destinations Magazine

The Top 10 Things to Do in Jeju, South Korea

By Livingthedreamrtw @livingdreamrtw

Last Updated on by Jeremy

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Jeju Island is often called the Hawaii of South Korea and is one of the most popular vacation spots for both visitors and locals alike.

In fact, Jeju is so popular that the flight between Seoul and the island is considered to be the busiest flight in the world with over 80,000 annual flights (that's 200+ per day) servicing over 20,000,000 annual visitors. This is a pretty insane figure, but it only really hits home when you see the departures board in the airport- almost every one of them is to Jeju!

Naturally, we had to go and hit it pretty hard during our five-day visit. While there are a lot of spots we checked out, we settled on the following as the ten best things to do in Jeju!

1. Hike Mount Hallasan

The Top 10 Things to Do in Jeju, South Korea

It is hard to visit Jeju without noticing Mount Hallasan. This volcano is the highest mountain on the island (and South Korea as a whole) and on a clear day is visible from just about everywhere. Naturally, you must go hike on it!

There are a number of trails on Mount Hallasan including a summit trail and others that go around the mountain. As summitting is a bit time-intensive and also rather strenuous on its own, we decided to do the much more manageable Yeongsil Trail. This five-hour hike had some pretty significant elevation gains and looks out over the beauty of Jeju Island from above the clouds throughout most of the route.

When hiking in Jeju, keep in mind that most of the parks have strict time limits on when you can enter to lower the risk of being out on the trails too late in the day. This happens at the gate and at various check-points as you go. As such, getting in early is highly recommended (also to grab a coveted parking spot as these trails are popular!).

2. Visit the Seogwipo Market

The Top 10 Things to Do in Jeju, South Korea

South Korean markets are no joke, and on Jeju Island the Seogwipo Market was one of our favorites. While not a mega-complex like some of the markets of Seoul or Busan, the Seogwipo Market covers many city blocks and is home to street food vendors, restaurants, and shops that sell some of the island's many famous products.

When visiting this one, do yourself a favor and get some hallabong- a mandarin orange that the island is famous for. The vendors are everywhere and sell it both fresh, as packaged candies and pastries, and even as flavored makgeolli (rice wine)!

8. Take a Stroll on an Olle Trail

The Top 10 Things to Do in Jeju, South Korea

The Olle Trials on Jeju Island are interesting because they are 21 connected walking paths that quite literally wrap around the circumference of the island.

As the total trail length is roughly 260 miles, odds are good you're not going to hit them all on a single visit. In fact, you may not even finish any given one considering their length!

We really appreciated just stopping on these trails, walking a bit in any direction, and taking in the views over picking any strategic spot for further explorations (partly due to our time limits), but you can really dig deep and find some hidden gems in this one in the Olle Trail guides!

9. Climb Up Sunrise Peak (Seongsan Ilchulbong)

The Top 10 Things to Do in Jeju, South Korea

The cone crater known as Seongsan Ilchulbong is often referred to as sunrise peak as it is one of the most popular spots on the island for watching the sunrise.

We did not wake up early enough to check this one out for sunrise (partly because we were staying over an hour away), but we did ascend this volcano after watching the free diving women demonstration in the lagoon at the base of the mountain.

This peak is incredibly popular for hiking and is quite full of visitors at any given time. But the well-developed infrastructure (namely stairs) makes this one a great spot for climbing for stellar views for anyone who is hit enough to tackle the 600-foot climb.

During our visit to Jeju, the island had a lot of haze in the middle of the day. So if you notice this during your visit we would recommend summiting this one earlier rather than later- although this is often hard to time around the afternoon demonstrations for the divers.

Bonus - Go to a Tourist Trap Museum on Jeju

The Top 10 Things to Do in Jeju, South Korea

There is one final Jeju attraction we would like to highlight, and that the museum scene as a collective. Why? Well, because they appear to be tourist traps!

While we would not consider the museums on Jeju to be a top 10 or must-see by any means, it is worth noting that the island offers some rather impressive tax incentives for anyone looking to open a museum. As such, there is a museum for more or less every topic you could think of (over 100 by some reports)!

There is a tea museum (a glorified store but with some admittedly stellar products), a museum to international liquor, chocolate museums, several teddy bear museums, a glass museum with the world's largest glass ball, and multiple sex museums to name a few.

While we made our way to Love Land for some giggles at some very X-Rated statues (also to kill some time before we could get into our Airbnb), we also found it was the most expensive entry fee out of any spot we visited on the island and was completely kitschy with its over-the-top statues and shops.

As such, if you have a bit of extra time to kill and can find a museum to match your favorite interest, making a detour to visit it could be a good idea. Just don't expect much if our experience at Love Land is any indication. A tourist trap is a tourist trap, but you still have to do at least one for the novelty.

Overall, there are a number of amazing things to do on Jeju Island in South Korea. While the above list is most certainly not comprehensive, it does give a great cross-section into many of the top attractions and is perfect to tackle with four to five days on the island. If you do them all, we guarantee you'll have a fantastic time on Jeju!

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