This past week I had the experience of a lifetime in Jeju-do. My roommate and I traveled to the island and stayed from Wednesday to Friday. Unfortunately, our flight landed late at night on Wednesday and departed early in the morning on Friday, so we only had all day Thursday to fit as many activities in as we could. We definitely made the most of our time on Thursday because we did so many things and saw so many places all in one day. The best part is we spent under $100USD for our flight and accommodation on the island. With the unfortunate outbreak of the coronavirus, many people are not travelling which is why the flights were so cheap and our Airbnb wasn’t fully booked. Our flight from Gimpo to Jeju International Airport landed around 7:00pm.
Here is a picture of my first view of Jeju Island right after sunset.
While still on wifi, we planned out our transportation to get from the Airport to our Airbnb which was located in the Seogwipo area. Luckily, the bus system in Jeju is very simple and we took 2 busses and travelled an hour from the North part of the Island to the South part of the Island.
We woke up early on Thursday morning and planned to start our day on one of the famous Olle Trails. There are 21 Olle Trails all over the island and each one provides different views and walking paths. The one closest to where we were staying was Olle Trail #7 which I heard is one of the most beautiful and scenic trails on the island. The trail is about 17.7km long and blue and red ribbons were placed on trees throughout the entire trail so it was easy to follow. While looking for the starting point of the trail, we took a quick detour as we stumbled upon our first look at the ocean. If you want to find more information about the Olle Trails, follow these links to learn more! http://old01.jejuolle.org/main.do?lang=en https://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/ATR/SI_ENG_2_3_1.jsp
I enjoyed admiring the unique houses and hotels located near the area of where we were staying.
Jeju-do is famous for its oranges and we saw orange trees and oranges sold in markets everywhere. Many of these stone statues are placed all over the island. They are called dol hareubang and are said to be guardians of the island that ward off evil spirits and demons.
We eventually found our way onto the Olle Trail #7 and we saw everything from beautiful forest areas, to golf courses, mountain views, ocean views, and a waterfall. The walk was easy since no hardcore hiking was involved. It was a very relaxing trail.
We arrived at the famous Cheonjiyeon Waterfall as we walked on the trail. It was only 1,000won for entry. It was my first time seeing a waterfall and it was a beautiful sight.
There were also many street food options and sit-down restaurants in the area. After a delicious lunch of sea urchin bibimbap, we continued our walk on the Olle Trail and it led us to a scenic port area.
We walked across the Saeseom Island Saeyeongyo Bridge. While walking across, we had a great view of the dock with all the boats on our left, and on our right we had a perfect view of the ocean.
As we were crossing we were able to see the famous women divers, also known as Haenyeo. They were in the middle of diving for shellfish.
The Olle Trail #7 definitely provided us with the prettiest views and I couldn’t get over the fact that we saw palm trees everywhere and constant views of the sea.
We were able to see the Hwanguji Natural Pools. We enjoyed climbing across different rock formations and getting an even better view of the pools with the ocean in the back. It gave us a great experience of the volcanic rock beaches.
The next stop we made along the walking trail was my absolute favorite. We came across a giant cliff that we could walk across and we went to the edge and just sat down for 30 minutes admiring the breathtaking view of the endless sea.
It was fun being able to watch boats leave the port while relaxing to the sounds of ocean waves.
I can see why Jeju Island is known as the “Hawaii of Korea” especially with views like this.
We travelled about 30 minutes by bus to visit Jungmun Saekdal Beach. The path to the beach provided great views of luxurious hotels and even some early blooming cherry blossom trees.
We walked down steps and excitedly ran across the sand to the ocean. We ditched our socks and shoes so we could feel the sand between our toes and cool off our feet in the water.
Witnessing the sunset on the beach is something I highly recommend.
We ended our adventurous day with a delicious meal of famous Jeju black pork. Most of our day was spent walking along the trail and stumbling upon landmarks, but we also took advantage of the easy bus system and used it to travel to the beach and the restaurant we stopped at for dinner.
I wouldn’t trade this trip to Jeju for the world. It may have been a short trip, but we only spent around $100 and were able to see multiple breathtaking spots along part of the southern area of the island. Even though it was February, the weather was warm and flowers had already bloomed. I definitely recommend travelling to Jeju in February when there aren’t many other tourists and the weather is still amazing.
The next time I travel to Jeju I will definitely stay longer so I can experience the other ends of the island. Some of the places I wanted to see but didn’t have time for are the Manjanggul Caves, Mount Hallasan, Seongeup Folk Village, and so much more. I will never forget this experience in the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited and I can’t wait to come back soon.
Written by Diandra Freese