We went through a bit of Jeju previously but this time we’ll sum up how to do Jeju in 4 days. Part 1 looks at days 1 and 2 which were quite cloudy, but wait for day 4 when it’s all sun. I’ll tell you right off the bat we skipped Halla Mountain, so you might want to tack that on to one of the days. Don’t worry if your timing is off and you also get hit by a typhoon, we’ve been there and done that (Jeju Typhoon Driving).
- Book your flight
- Rent a car at the airport
- Probably a good idea to book a hotel or pension.
So it seems I’ve skipped over the big 3 in planning for a trip, but here’s why. Flights from Jeju Air are pretty much the only option to getting on the island, and if not, they are convenient. Flights right now are going for about 160,000 Won, and as low as 49,200 Won if you travel on Tuesdays or catch some special fare prices. Easy peasy done.
The car we rented, like the hotel we stayed at, was part of a package accessible to club members only. I guess it’s a mix between a membership and a timeshare idea, since the resort we stayed at was huge and had many guests. Breakfasts like champions daily, 2Br room too large for two people, Hallasan Soju accessible nearby, who could ask for more?
We had a small Matiz for the start of the trip since it was the cheapest option, but at the airport you should be able to get a nice Hyundai Avante (Elantra) for a similar price. Unlucky for us we didn’t know that and zoomed around in our mini car. If you’ve got a Korean license you could try your luck at one of the local car rentals for nicer cars, but even with my Korean license they didn’t want to send one my way. Possibly because of the language barrier. Avis Rental (AJ Rentacar) car came through strong with a nice white Hyundai Elantra. Cheap, it was a really comfortable drive. Good they didn’t know I dinged the car with my luggage even before I got in the car, made sure to report it before I got out of the lot.
Day 1 – Sunrise Peak (성산 일출붕)
Once you’re all settled at your hotel, head over to Sunrise Peak. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site with a crater at the top that overlooks the town. The view here is only part way up on the hike. There’s a single trail starting at a gradual incline with more and more steps on the way to the top. All of it is well maintained, it doesn’t really seem like a hike at all.
As my friend suggested, I took video at the top as well. 360 degrees of Jeju air. You’re not allowed to walk on the crater itself but its a great view nonetheless. I can only imagine what it looks like at sunset.
Pretty sure we just drove around after this and stocked up on some Hallasan Soju and Samgyupsal to bring back to the resort.
Day 2 – Jam Packed! Can you keep up?
- Cheonjiyeon Waterfall (천지연 폭포)
- Cheonjeyeon Waterfall (천제연 폭포)
- Sanbangsan Temple (산방산보문사)
- Dragon Head Beach (Yongmori 영머리해안)
- Secret Theme Park (시크릿테마파크)
- Jeju City (제주시)
9 am start! The drive to our first scenic of the day turned out to be quite scenic itself. Roll down your windows and let that fresh air in. On the island there’s just some characteristic fresh air you don’t get on the mainland.
Cheonjiyeon (천지연) waterfall is on the south side of the island, close to Seogwipo City. Pronounced a little differently than Jeon Ji-Hyun (전지현) it’s just as beautiful! Unlike some other waterfalls, this one is easily accessible. You walk along the river on a large path, passing a few Dol Hareubang along the way. Dol Hareubang are made from volcanic rock and are really the iconic symbol of the island. Along the way back we stopped to play some traditional games, be saddened at the sight of couple locks taunting us, and hop across a tile path on the water.
The drive to the next place brings you in view of Halla Mountain (한라산). We weren’t ready for a hike so we skipped this, but this really should be on your list. Possibly give this it’s own day knowing it’s the highest point in South Korea. This would count for leg day.
CheonJeYeon Waterfalls (천제연) is another waterfall about 40 minutes from CheonJiYeon. Not a typo, this waterfall is further west and a bit more secluded. If you love heights then the bridge is a great spot. It’s decorated in a very old fashion, seemingly untouched for decades. It’s very safe and it does have a railing although it may not look like it in the pictures. To get to the falls you have to walk down quite a bit, and one of them looks a little out of place, located underneath a road. The actual falls you’re interested in look natural hidden between the trees.
Dragon Head Beach (Yongmori 용머리해안) and Sanbangsan Temple (산방산 보문사)
Continuing the trip west on the island you’ll come to one of the more beautiful, quiet, and natural parts. Sanbangsan Temple and the giant golden buddha are the first things you’ll notice even before stepping out of the car. For the life of me I can’t think of the reason for not going inside the temple itself but we did take some pictures. It was probably because we were really tired and hungry by this time. Fortunately the cafe by the road provided a great place to overlook the scenery of yongmori beach across the road. Lazy box has a clean modern look, decorated with white walls with a wood accented interior. Coffee was great, coffee is always great. Knowing they are frequented by visitors you can sign a book to leave your mark. If we become famous, then whoever has that book would have a million dollar signature! We stopped by the cleverly named Buy & Bye convenience store to pick up some popsicles before crossing the road.
Yongmori extends towards the sea with elevations that give a different view of a beach. The area immediately surrounding is something you would see out of a movie, very country like and peaceful. Looking from the top of the steps, you really feel like you’re in a different time, and if it hadn’t hit you yet then you’ll really feel like you’re in Jeju. The photos are a little grey, but it was very quiet and serene. A gentle breeze blowing over the grass during sunset would make for some great video of paradise.
Secret Theme Park is similar to Love Land. Like Love Land, it’s 10 minutes from the airport but 40 minutes from Yongmori Beach. We decided to go anyway, knowing we would be exploring the nightlife in Jeju City. Love Land sounds like a friendly name, but before you bring grandma thinking there’s going to be rainbows and care bears think again. As quite a few of the expat community already know, there are some interesting theme parks in Korea. Secret Theme Park and Love Land are 18+, NSFW, don’t bring your kids kind of entertainment. Both are filled with sculptures of humans in sometimes amazing positions. With pictures, sculptures, and some raunchy audio you might find yourself in awkward silences. Obviously I won’t place the more racy pictures here as I need to keep employed, but a quick google search will give you an idea. “Hide yo kids, bring your wife.”
We couldn’t go home after the Secret Theme Park, would’ve been too awkward. We decided, as you should, to explore a bit of Jeju City Night Life. Hit up any interesting looking bar because I don’t remember the name of this one. We actually went to a bar place that later turned into a club, and then got tired of that and came here to have a beer.
Days 3 and 4 are on the way! Happy Travels~