Adventures of 나쁜남자 and Kancheong Girl

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Jeju Travel Tips: All You Need to Know About Jeju

This is a comprehensive Jeju travel guide. Just to qualify myself, I have been to Jeju 5 times after I started dating my boyfriend. Each time we will be there for about 3 days. I am going to introduce you to the road less travelled by foreigners but highly recommended by the locals.

To put things into perspective, entire Jeju is divided into 5 regions - North, South, East, West and Central. The resort like places are aggregated in the South, if you are looking for nice scenery head West and your first stop will be the airport which is located North. Halasan is in the centre and Udo is in the East.

Image taken from hardwarezone forum by user belgarathc

1. Air Ticket

The first step to your Jeju trip is to book yourself a domestic air ticket from Gimpo Domestic Terminal. If you arriving on an international flight (I assume not from Japan or China), you will land in Incheon International Airport. From here, you can either take subway or a bus (recommended for ease and convenience) to Gimpo. Almost all buses will pass by Gimpo Airport (there is international and domestic), just ask the information counter. You usually need to pay for your bus ticket at the counter or you can pay the bus driver directly. T money works as well (make sure you have enough credit). The ride usually costs around 2,500 won to 4,000 won. Be at the airport 40 minutes before your departure time.

You will need your passport for verification when entering the departure area. If you are there in winter, don't leave your down jacket in your luggage because there is a likelihood that your plane is parked in a remote bay (meaning you have to take a bus and climb the stairs). Flight time is around 1 hour, buy some snacks, the carriers usually provide complimentary drinks (orange juice, green tea, water and coffee/tea).

2. Hotel

I have tried 9 different hotels which I will introduce below.

The first hotel I have been to is Lotte City Hotel. The hotel is located near the airport and Jeju city. There are not much attractions around the area (very city like) except for the market place. Nothing special about this hotel except that it's clean and modern. Prices of hotels in this area (North) are cheaper than those in the South.

The second hotel I am going to introduce you is The Shilla Jeju, it is located South of Jeju. You will get the resort feel in this area. The room refurbishment is not exactly updated but still clean. We enjoyed the breakfast in this hotel.

The view from the room's balcony is breathtaking. I think we paid about S$500 for a night because it was during Chuseok (one of the festival in Korea with long holidays). The price range for this hotel usually ranks at the higher end. If you are going to stay in this hotel, please buffer for some relaxation time in the hotel.

There is an indoor and outdoor pool in this hotel. The indoor pool is connected to the outdoor one. You can even find an activity/games room here.

The third hotel we stayed in was The Kensington Hotel. It is located near Shilla Hotel (South). I love this hotel because of the modern feel. I like the room designs, something different from the usual. They use wallpaper and colour combination to create the feeling that you are on a cruise ship. Price wise, in the range of Shilla Hotel. If you have time, you can walk around the building and the pool area, it's quite picturesque.

The fourth hotel is something not worth mentioning. We were supposed to stay in Heavichi but we ended up in Hotel Sumorum (South). It's clean and new but nothing fanciful. I don't think I have snapped any pictures because we had a hard time coming to terms with not being able to stay in Heavichi (reservation was done for an earlier date). But I think I took a photo of the hotel breakfast. There is a choice of American or Korean style breakfast set. The one below is abalone porridge (Korean style).

The fifth hotel we stayed in was WE Hotel Jeju (South). This is my recommended hotel in terms of price, comfort and location. This hotel is quite new and is termed as a medical resort. The interior and service are comparable to that of the high end hotels. The hotel is located in a huge compound near Shilla Hotel. All of this for half the price of what you pay for Shilla and Kensington.

My boyfriend told me that their indoor swimming pool is made of some miracle water that can beautify your skin complexion, we tried for two days and I think our skin condition did improve a little? Still don't know whether it's true but one thing for sure is that the pool water is very clean and there is no smell of chlorine. You can spin dry your swim wear in the washroom. Oh, remember to bring your swim cap, if not, pay 2,000 won to get one before entering the pool. I think Korea is quite strict about this.

The room has 1 double bed and 1 single bed (can accommodate 3 people). There is an area near the large floor-to-ceiling window with sofa and coffee table, nice place to enjoy the sunset. You can request for sea view room. So much has been said but a pity that I didn't take any photos! Do check out this hotel, highly recommended. I am pretty sure they will increase their price sometime soon.

The sixth hotel is Ocean Palace Hotel. This hotel comes with breakfast (choice is limited and taste is below average) which is highly not recommended unless it is free. The hotel room is pretty big and can easily fit 3-4 people. It is more like a studio apartment with a living room and kitchen (with washing machine). It is highly recommended for big group on a budget. Within walking proximity, you can find mini mart, starbucks and some eatery. The market is also close by.

Room 1:

Room 2:

Last but not least, my personal favourite, Jeju Bom Stay Resort. This place is a little inaccessible thus you will definitely need a car. However, I can assure you a pleasant stay at this resort. This is a museum cum resort. The host is friendly (family owned resort). You get a nice sea view, a small pool (if you select duplex with pool) and a fantastic breakfast. This resort is not expensive either.

They have limited villas though.

Place where you check in and get your breakfast.

Tasty breakfast
One double bed downstairs.
Two futon beds upstairs.
You get a nice living area where you can sit down and chill.

Sea view

A mini pool outside for you to soak and for kids to play. If you would like to use the pool, you can just inform the staff and they will clean and fill up the pool with clean water.

Update Dec 2016:
Recently we tried out Hyatt Regency in Jeju and this has topped the list of hotel recommendations in Jeju. I will let the pictures explain why.

Awesome view from the balcony, this view is to die for. You will notice a trail right beside the sea, this is part of olle trail course 8(photo of the trail further down).
The balcony
Nothing much about the room itself, slightly dated style but clean and comfortable. Top notch service from the staff.

Photo of the trail
Photo of the trail
Fantastic wedding venue with an ocean view, you can hold your ceremony either indoor (white cathedral like building) or outdoor.

This hotel is actually slightly cheaper as compared to Shilla and Kensington. I was there during winter (paid around SGD300 per night) and the outdoor pool were drained. There is an indoor pool but really small. Will try out the hotel breakfast next time round.

Update May 2018:
On our recent trip with parents from both sides, we decided to try out apartment/villas with three rooms. We booked Somerset Shinhwa world and Lotte Art Villa. The winner is Somerset Shinhwa World. This is a new apartment - modern, new and incredibly cheap. SGD286 for a night and can sleep up to 6 people. This apartment is built in the new Shinhwa resort area with a theme park. All the facilities are due to complete in a few years' time. We did not opt for the breakfast as it was overpriced at KRW45,000 per person. You can easily get breakfast from paris baguette, located within Shinhwa World, they have convenience store and kimbap shop too. Alternatively, whip up your own meal in the kitchen.

The second accommodation we tried out was Lotte Art Villa. We had high expectation but this was abit of disappointment. This cost around SGD790 per night, can sleep up to 8 persons. Breakfast is around KRW30,000 per person, not buffet style. Every room comes with a toilet and there is an outdoor jaccuzzi on the second floor. This place is too big for our liking, rooms are located on the first floor and kitchen and living room on the second floor. The car is parked on the second floor thus it is not so convenient to move the luggage from the car to the rooms. It is not conducive to get people to gather around too. Furniture are jaded as compared to Shinhwa World, we had problems with some of the equipment but staff are quitr prompt to assist. In summary, not worth the price. You are better off booking three rooms at lotte hotel, the facilities are much better there.

3. Car rental

Most people rent a car to drive around Jeju because it's more convenient and it's not very expensive to rent a car in Jeju as compared to Seoul. Our favourite rental company is KT Kumho because my boyfriend is in the military and they offer discounts. If you sign up for membership, you are entitled to discounts as well.

Update: KT Kumho has been bought over by Lotte.

There is a service desk at Jeju airport, if you have pre-booked a car, they will direct you to board their shuttle bus which will take you to the office of the car rental company.

Be sure to get GPS. The car company will provide you with a guide book with some coupons. If you are getting a Korean car (Kia, Hyundai etc), it comes with full insurance coverage and you need to be overly concerned with checking the car condition before driving off. If you are getting an imported car (like our mini shown below), be sure to check for scratches and inform the staff to note it down. The insurance coverage for imported car is not full coverage so better safe than sorry.

We have tried a few types of car, different sizes and price range. The cheapest will be Ray (third photo) and the most expensive is the mini (first photo). The Kia Sorento is quite comfortable to drive around in, especially if you are going to Udo and your car needs to take the ship ride. Don't ever board the ship with mini because the ramp will scratch against the bottom of the mini. Surprisingly, my favourite is the Ray. It's easy to manoeuvre, easy to find parking lot (certain lots reserved for small cars) and easy to illegal park (especially if you are going to Dongmum market). Most importantly, it is cheap (especially if you are travelling in small group of less than 3) and fuel efficient. I don't think I will ever rent the mini again though it's quite an experience.

The rental company expects you to refill the tank before you return the car. Try to refill before entering the city area. The nearer you are to the airport, the more expensive the petrol gets.

Update Dec 2016:
This car, Chevrolet Spark, has become my boyfriend's personal favourite. Just the right size for 2 people and more comfortable to drive as compared to Ray. We drove around for 4 days with just 1 round of refuel at 40,000 won. The rental is cheap too.

4. Food

While many websites recommend the type of food to eat, they do not provide information on which restaurant to go to. Jeju is famed for its seafood so a trip to the market is a must.

You will find Dong Mun Market (Dong Mun Shi Jang) not too far from the airport. If you are there, be sure to look out for 올레수산 (pronounced as Olleh Su San). The restaurant is clean (looking at the chef's outfit, they seem to have learned their skills from Japan), prices are reasonable (also clearly stated) and they can communicate in Chinese. Be sure to try out the sashimi and sashimi mixed rice (회덮밥 pronounced as Huei-Top-Bap) which costs around KRW7,000. They have a base charge of around KRW3,000 for the side dishes and sauces.

Jeju is also famous for their black pork. The better known ones can be found online (for example 늘봄).
I have tried this dish at three different restaurants. My favourite is 솥뚜껑 (pronounced as Sot-ddu-kkong). It is located in the south (near the resort area in Jungmun). One set (550g) good for 2-3 people includes a good mix of parts (neck meat, leg and belly) and it costs KRW40,000. Rice (KRW1,000) has to be ordered separately and remember to try their Kimchi soup (kimchi jjigae) which costs KRW6,000.

Update: There is a change of owner for the black pork restaurant recommended above, the quality has deteriorated. You are better off trying 늘봄 (Neul Bom). There is another restaurant gathering popularity due to its appearance in Korea's culinary programme. It is too crowded for my liking. You can check it out here.

Neul Bom, well patronized by tourists
Next special thing that can only be found in Jeju is this snack called Omegi Tteok (오메기떡). I will recommend buying it at Hareubang Tteok Bang (하르방떡방). This snack is made of rice (special herb thus the interior appears green) covered with red bean.

Jeju is also known for its green tea. Don't forget to drop by Osulloc, near the west. The place is crowded with tourists and if you are thinking of trying out their green tea roll (only available here), be sure to drop by early to avoid disappointment (you can easily get it at the Myeong Dong branch too). It is really hard to get a seat in there. The green tea ice cream (can get in Seoul as well) is fabulous too.

Walk over to innisfree at Osulloc and you will find another cafeteria there. Try their orange shaved ice (Jeju is known for their oranges) and sausage hotdog (black pork sausage which is Jeju's specialty).

Orange shaved ice
Black pork sausage tasted fantastic
Another must try is abalone. The abalone there are so much cheaper than anywhere else.

The first recommended restaurant is located near the airport, you can park infront of the restaurant. The name of the restaurant is 용두암바당회국수 (Yong Du Am Ba Dang Hwi Kuk Su). You should order their  전복회국수 (pronounced as Jon Bok Hwi Kuk Su which is abalone noodle, top centre dish in photo below, 15,000 won), 전복게우밥 (pronounced as Jon Bok Gye Wu Bab, abalone rice, if you order abalone noodle, a small portion of this comes with it, right dish in the photo below, 15,000 won) and 한치물회 (pronounced as Han Chi Mul Hwi which is sashimi cold broth, top left of the photo below, 10,000 won). After your meal, you can take a walk along the seaside.

The next abalone restaurant is called 착한전복 (pronounced as chak-an jeon bok) near Jungmun. They have English menu so foreigners need not worry. They serve set meal and the average price is 50,000 won per person. If you are going for ala carte, abalone porridge costs 13,000 won and the abalone costs 7,000 per abalone. Abalone pancake is costs 15,000 for a small portion (as per picture below). Google for Saekdaldong, 2481-10 for the location.

Ordered the porridge, pancake and abalone preserved in soy sauce
The next must try is hair tail fish/cutlass fish known as 갈치 in Korean. You can't find this anywhere else in Korea. This restaurant 춘심이네 (Chun Shim E Ne) is visited by casts of Superman Returns (triplets and sarang). You can order the set menu (grilled cutlass fish) which comes with sashimi and side dishes. This costs 65,000 won for a party of 2 but is totally worth it. There is a big car park lot near the restaurant. Be sure to arrive early as there are usually long queue. You can google for the location of this restaurant by typing Changcheon-ri, 160-4.

Sashimi and side dishes that come with the set menu
This is good for 2 person, roughly half the length of my arm
Update Dec 16:
They have changed their side dishes (no more sashimi) to the ones shown below. They also serve the stew version of the cutlass fish which is equally good.

Next up, cheap and nice place to get 짜장면 (Jjajangmyeon, black bean paste noodle, 4,000 won), 짬뽕 (Jjamppong, seafood noodle, 8,000 won) and 탕수육 (tangsuyeok, sweet and sour pork, 12,000 won). The restaurant name is 홍성방 (Hong Sung Bang). There are two types of Jjamppong, one is 빨간 짬뽕 (red soup base which is spicy) and 하얀 짬뽕 (white soup base which is mild spicy).

Expect long queue here as well. You can google for Hamo-Ri 938-4 on google map in case you are driving. Hard to find a parking lot there though.

If you are looking for food in Udo, do stop by 하하호호카페 (hahahoho cafe) for their special black pork burger with peanut sauce selling for 10,000 won. The name of the burger is called 우도땅콩버거 (pronounced as udo ddang kong burger). Ddang kong means peanut in Korean. As per the menu board, the portion is good for 1.5 person.

Good for 2
Taken from Naver
5. Places to visit

I am sure just by googling, you will find the common places to visit. This will include the following:

Hallasan if you intend to hike, might take up to a day)
Il-Chul-Bong (near udo)

Olle trail (trail near the sea, worth a look or drive)
Sanbang san
Seopjikoji (shooting site of Korean drama All In, unfortunately, the house has been demolished)

Yongduam rock (rock in the shape of dragon head, you will see hareubang statue there as well)

Jeju Folk Village (filming site of Da Chang Jin)

Mysterious road (road that looks uphill but is actually downhill)

Manjanggul cave (I find it too wet and dark, no phone signal inside)

Daepo jusangjeolli cliff

Cheonjiyeon fall

Hyeopjae beach

Shin Chang Windmill Coastal Road (near Hyeopjae beach, highly recommended, can just drive past)

Taken from Naver map. Jeju-Si, HanGyeong-Myeon, Shin Chang Ri 1322-1
Shin Cheon Ranch (near Il Chul Bong and part of olle trail course number 3. This was featured in several drama, during the first half of the year, place is used for cattle rearing and the next half, used to dry tangerine skin)

Sea of tangerine skin, taken in Dec 2016

Soesokkak is where water from Hallasan flows to. There ia an area near Oeldolgae where you can swim (refer to second picture). The view is spectacular. I will definitely try swimming there one day.

I would like to highlight a few of my favourties here.

Ranking number 1 is Woljeongri Beach. I have never seen waters so green and clear before. Coupled with the windmill in the background, you can expect to snap wonderful pictures here.

There are public toilets and wash areas around but they charge a fee. I highly recommend a dip.

Do drop by this churros place (M Churro, 엠츄로) near the beach. There is a small parking lot infront of this cafe (FOC if you buy something from the cafe). This will solve your parking problem when visiting the beach. This cafe offers a scenic view of the beach. Try their churros (3,200 won for plain/sugar/cinnamon 3,700 won for the chocolate special), Yuzu drink (상금유자) and bingsu (shaved ice). Google for 550-1 Woljeong-ri, Gujwa-eup on google map.

The next recommendation is Songaksan (송악산). You can walk along the seaside trail and enjoy the magnificent scenery with horses in the background.

Scenery you get from the trail
Horses in the background
These are real hangar used during Japanese war time. You can find airplane frame in each of these.

Next up is Udo. You should really visit this island. It is easy to travel around the island (bus, car, scooter, bicycle, ATV etc). You can only reach the island by ferry (your car can ride on this ferry too, the ticket price for your vehicle depends on the capacity, 7 seater costs more than normal sedan). During the festive season, queue for the ferry can be long at seongsan (I presumed most will take the ferry from this port). Recommended to arrive early and watch out for the last ferry out of the island otherwise you will have to spend a night there. By the way, we spotted dolphins when taking the ferry to Udo so keep a lookout.

Grab a map of Udo before you board the ferry, common places of interests are Seobin Baeksa (white sand beach near the port), the lighthouse etc.

The specialty of Udo is peanut. Do give the peanut ice cream a try near 검멀레 해수욕장 (Geommeollae Beach which beans black sand beach). Try the peanut ice cream from Jimmys Natural Ice Cream shop near the beach. Google for 317-2 Yeonpyeong-ri using google map. They offer a dinning area on the second floor where you get a good view of the beach and the speed boat. You can ride the speedboat, price written on the signboard near the beach. It is not expensive but the thought of putting on life jackets reeking of sweat put us off.

If you drive along the coast, you will find this heart shaped pool. The locals stacked up the stones to catch anchovy.

If you are there during winter, go strawberry plucking at the place shown below. You pay 18,000 won for one person and eat till your hearts content while you are inside. You are also allowed to fill up one pack of strawberry for takeaway.

You can go orange plucking as well but buying it from any roadside stall will do.

If you would like to get my itinerary or if you need help with your trip around Jeju (translation assistance etc), feel free to message me.

Visit my latest Jeju travel post here.
If you are interested in Busan, check out this post.

Hope you enjoy Jeju!

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4D3N Jeju Itinerary