Be A Wanderer: Jeju Island Part 1

(This is going to be a wordy post focused on main information such as accommodation, transportion, budget, etc. where to go and eat — basically the fun part. I’ll talk about in a different post 🙂 )

I’ve been to Korea a total of 4 times already. Three out of four of those trips have been focused on Seoul though during my third time I did a day trip to Gangneug. For my 4th trip back to Korea our focus will be on Jeju Island.

I’ve seen Jeju Island featured in different Korean shows that I’ve watched (Kang’s Kitchen, Hyori’s Bed and Breakfast, Coffee Friends) and every tome I watch these shows I’m always charmed by the island. It’s always been dubbed as a relaxing place perfect for “healing” from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Going to Jeju

So far I haven’t seen a direct flight from Manila to Jeju so our first day was dedicated solely to getting from Manila to Jeju. We rode the 7am Airasia flight bound for Incheon. And then transferred to Gimpo airport where we caught the 3pm Jeju Air flight for Jeju. It was a bit hectic checking in and catching our flight to Jeju which left little to no time for a lunch break. Another option would be to take a later flight or to already be staying/starting from Seoul.

Getting Around Jeju

Options for getting around Jeju is via public transportation (bus), tour bus, private taxi, and rental car. We opted for the last option because I prefer to personalize my trips, and public transportation isn’t as elaborate as the one in Seoul. Between renting a car and hiring a private taxi/driver, renting was the cheaper option although this option has some pre-requisites.

(1) You can drive

(2) You or someone in your group knows Korean (this is a personal pre-requisite)

We rented a car via the lotte rent a car website. It was really affordable and their site was easy to even for foreigners.

Where to Stay

Downtown Jeju vs Seogwipo

(I focused on these to because they were the main options but there are other areas around the island where you can stay)

Personally I chose downtown Jeju because it’s closer to the airport and we have an early flight going back to Incheon. So having the accommodation be around 30 minutes at most from the airport beats the 1 hour drive. Although compared to Downton Jeju, Seogwipo was closer to most of the places we want to visit and also to a lot of restaurants and cafes I wanted to try. I also found that accommodations or at least hotels were generally cheaper in Downtown Jeju because Seogwipo’s accommodations lean on the hotel resort type.

I think practically Downtown Jeju works for me and Seogwipo would be a better option if most of your activities are located in that area and you want a resort vibe for your accommodation.

Airbnb vs Hotel.

This will depend in a multitude of factors such as how big your group is, which area will you be staying at, and what type of accommodation are you looking for. We chose to stay at a hotel because the prices between Airbnb and Hotels at Downtown Jeju were close to one another. Factoring in the type of service you get from a hotel vs airbnb, hotels beat airbnb for my Jeju trip.

We stayed at Lotte City Hotel Jeju which is one of the best options for Downtown Jeju. We got for an amazingly affordable price at Agoda (coupled in with a discount promo from BPI) Their service so far has been amazing. Upon check-in our room also got upgraded from a Standard Twin to a Family Room (good for 3 pax but there’s only 2 of us.) Parking is free so no worries about that. It’s close to the airport. The area around is also good, across the street there are restaurants plus your standard korean skincare shops.

Budget

Transportation and accommodation for Jeju is cheaper than in Seoul. For the food however I had the wrong assumption that it would be cheaper as well but the prices are the same nevertheless food has always been amazing in both areas ☺️ Shopping for goods are generally at the same price as well especially for those roadshop korean skincare brands

Airfare (Airasia + Jejuair): around 15k (flight to Jeju 4k+, flight to Seoul 10k+)

Money Saver Tip: Buy promo fares as much as possible!

Accommodation (Lotte City Hotel Jeju): 7.5k for 4 nights (standard double room 15k good for 2 people)

Money Saver Tip: It’s cheaper if you’re a group of three and book a triple room the price of a double and triple room were quite close to each other.

Regularly check Agoda and other booking sites for discounts. Also keep a watchful eye for any promos with your credit card. I got an additinal 7% off when I booked with my BPI card at Agoda.

Transportation (Car rental fee + Gas): around 7k for 4 days (I made a mistake with the type of gas for the car and booked Gasoline which was the most expensive type out of the 3)

Money Saver Tip: if you’re renting a car with Lotte Rent a Car make sure to register as a member the prices are super duper cheaper. Plus try comparing the rates from when you initially booked (can be done as early as 3 months befores your trip) and a week before your trip. Fortunately I did this and got more discount on the total price of the rental.

Also if you’re confident with your driving you can opt out of a car insurance. I did get paranoid at times but it did save me 3k – 5k (this depends on the rental period and type of coverage)

Food: around 4.5k for 4 days (but I don’t really have a big appetite so I usually split my food with my companion. Coffee stops + desserts have also been included in the computation)

Entrance Fees: 1k (the most expensive attraction we went to was Hallim Park which costs Php 600 the rest were cheap)

Total: 35k, not really a budget travel. I tried to save in some areas as much as I could but I do tend to splurge on food and we didn’t get a good price on the airfare to Seoul.

When to Visit

We went to Jeju during end of March this is the period forecasted for the Cherry Blossoms. The temperature is still on the cooler side (especially at night and when there’s no sun to provide that warmth during the day), not ideal for swimming or any beach activities aside from sightseeing.

Aside from Cherry Blossom season which is late March to early April, I also want to go during summer specifically July when hydrangeas are in bloom and also during winter around January when camellias are in bloom.

Like any place with 4 seasons Jeju changes depending on the time of the year and each time there’s a different reason why you should visit the place. If you’re leaning on sightseeing vs beach activities you can check out what’s in season for the month and decide based on that. But for beach activities definitely go during summer (June – Aug) although it does get hot during July and August. For hiking activities I personally prefer autumn (Sept – Nov) season for the stunning red, orange, yellow landscape.

Planning the Itinerary

Google and trip advisor are your friends. Travel bloggers are also a good source of information. But one of the most helpful sites I’ve visited is Jeju’s tourism website they usually have special articles per month which highlights good places to visit in the area. Also I followed some Jeju specific ig accounts that posts amazing pictures of different travel spots in Jeju.

If you want to level up your search for hotspots, I try searching via Naver (which is like their version of Google on more elaborate and integrated in the Korean culture) Since new sites don’t really pop out every time this is best to use when searching for restaurants and cafes to visit. Since the content is in korean you’ll need to know how to read or at least type your search in korean. I use google chrome when navigating the sites because it has auto translate to english. 🙂

Final Thoughts/ Advice/ Tips:

I really recommend knowing a bit of Korean when traveling to Jeju. If it’s a grouped tour you’ll survive without any knowledge of Korean but if you’re on your own you’ll need this because a lot of the signs are in Korean even at the airport. And being able to read and communicate basic information at tourist sites or in restaurants makes things easier for everyone. Another option is to have a translator app for all your translation needs for that I recommend Papago ( it’s one of the more accurate Korean translator app I’ve used)

Let me know if I missed any main travel information about Jeju that you’re interested in. I’ll go in depth about driving in Jeju and the places we visited in my next posts! 🙂

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