Travel Notes: 3D/2N Sightseeing Getaway To Jeju Island | Clozette


From visiting historical sites to finding the best authentic cuisine, travelling is one of life's greatest adventures. Our "Travel Notes" series features travel itineraries from real people as inspiration for your future escapades.


When travelling to South Korea, people often opt to go directly to Seoul — and we understand why; the capital city has a lot of charm. But in recent years, Jeju Island has quickly become an international tourist destination in its own right. This calm island oasis is home to a rich ecosystem that provides a lot of organically grown and ethically sourced ingredients used in best-selling Korean skincare products. Jeju Island is also a popular honeymoon destination for Korean newlyweds, as its serene beauty provides the perfect getaway from the hustle of city life.


Jeju Island is merely an hour’s flight away from Seoul so it makes for a quick jaunt for the locals — but how about for those coming from all around? Clozette Editor Becks Ko shares her 3D/2N itinerary in Jeju-do, also known as the “Hawaii of Asia”.

Preparing for the trip


For a small island, there is a lot to discover in Jeju Island. Ever since the Hallyu wave swept over Asia and other continents, people have been wanting to visit South Korea to experience its immersive culture. Time to get booking before you start packing.


Interesting fact: though you need a visa to enter South Korea, you don’t need one if you’re flying directly to Jeju-do. Singapore passport holders don't need to worry about getting a Korean visa because they can get one upon arrival, so they can fly directly to Incheon International Airport with a connecting flight to Jeju-do (we'll talk more about this later). 


For our Philippine readers, direct flights from the Philippines to Jeju-do are currently unavailable, but you can opt for budget flights with a stop-over in Hongkong. You could also opt for a group tour with a chartered flight straight to Jeju International Airport; Rakso Travel Agency in the Philippines offers this with their packages via Philippine Airlines. If you're coming from Malaysia, you could also catch a flight from Kuala Lumpur directly to Jeju-do with AirAsia X or via an overnight layover flight with Shanghai Airlines.


Plane shot with clouds


For currency, we suggest buying Korean Won in your home country so as not to deal with the hassle of exchanging it at the airport. Most small establishments and public markets in Jeju-do also only accept cash, though some bigger establishments will accept credit cards. Won is very sparse in Philippine banks, with the waiting time taking up anywhere from three weeks to two months. It’s best to shop around for the best exchange rates with local money changers. As a last resort, you can bring US or Singapore dollars and have it exchanged in Korea or from foreign exchange kiosks in your local airport before your flight.



Next on your travel checklist is researching about the weather conditions during your trip. Jeju-do experiences all four seasons, with the ideal weather present in Spring from April to early July. Late July to September is the hottest period the island experiences and lodging expenses are considerably lower during this time. We suggest going during the spring season, May to be exact, so you can see the flowers in full bloom with minimal rain showers. If you prefer the Winter atmosphere, check out Becks' itinerary below.


Field in Jeju Island


Also, take into consideration that some venues will give a small discount on admission fees if you come in a group of 10 or more.


Finally, book your accommodations early. The spring season is the busiest for tourism, so the demand for hotel rooms goes up and so do the prices. Book your hotels in advance to get the best deals or schedule your trip during the slower months in Summer and Fall. Becks stayed in Shilla Stay Jeju, which is near Jeju International Airport. A taxi ride to and fro costs somewhere around KRW5,000/~USD4.32.



Day 1: Getting To Jeju Island and Trying BBQ Black Pork


Becks’ red-eye flight came from Singapore International Airport to Incheon Airport, landing around 9 in the morning. From there, it's a quick hustle off to Gimpo International Airport for a connecting flight to Jeju, arriving at the island around 1:30 in the afternoon. After resting and freshening up from the flight, Becks headed off to try Jeju-do's Barbecue Black Pork in Donsadon Restaurant. Quick note: the restaurant opens at 5PM so if your flight arrives earlier in the day, it’s best to go visit other venues before visiting the restaurant.


BBQ Black Pork

Source


Grilled black pork is a Jeju-do speciality as black pigs are native to the island. The supply of their meat is very controlled and limited, so there are very few restaurants that serve it. As to its taste, it’s very complex and almost resembles a steak rather than regular pork. Overall, it’s quite an experience that’s definitely worth its price of KRW7,000 (~USD6.03).



Day 2: Trekking Through Jeju

Manjanggul Cave, Seongsan Ilchulbong Sunrise Peak, Seopjikoji, and Dongmun Traditional Market


Abalone dolsotbap at Myeongjin Jeonbok

Becks started off her day’s adventure with lunch in Myeongjin Jeonbok for some delicious abalone dolsotbap (stone pot rice). The restaurant is famous for its fresh seafood-based menu, which is comprised of only four items. They only serve lunch and dinner and service was fast.


Afterwards, visit Manjanggul Cave, one of the biggest lava tube caves in Asia. If you’re looking for a surreal experience, this is it. You can visibly see the historical lava flowlines and its hardened forms, which is both cool and quite nerve-wracking. The terrain is uneven, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes and tread carefully during your visit. To explore the area, adults have to pay KRW4,000 (~USD3.46) at the entrance. Do note that the site is closed on every first Wednesday of the month.


Manjanggul Cave and Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak

Left: At the end of Manjanggul Cave; Right: Seongsan Ilchulbong Sunrise Peak.


Next, take a hike up to Seongsan Ilchulbong Sunrise Peak, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located on the eastern end of Jeju-do, you will find a huge crater at the top of the peak. In the springtime, the peak is surrounded by bright yellow canola flowers. To go up the trail, adults will have to pay KRW5,000 (~USD4.32) each. It’s closed every Monday.


The view at Seopjikoji


Seopjikoji offers a beautiful seaside view of the island. Breathe and revel in the clean, brisk sea air at this spot anytime you want as they’re open all-year-round. Other notable nearby attractions are the Jeju Folk Village and Udo Island. Admission is free, but they do charge a small parking fee of KRW1,000 to 2,000 (~USD0.86 to 1.73) per car.



To cap off the day, visit the Jeju Dongmun Traditional Market for dinner. This is Jeju’s largest and oldest permanent market where you can try out fresh and delicious Jeju cuisine. Part of its charms is that it’s a street market, night market, traditional market, and a seafood market combined into one place. It's definitely the place to go to if you’re planning for a Jeju food crawl.


Day 3: Jeju’s Scenic Tourist Destinations and Museums

Sinchang Windmill Coastal Road, Songaksan Mountain, O’sulloc Green Tea Museum, Innisfree Jeju House, and Jeju Aerospace Museum


The view from inside Monsant Cafe


Have breakfast at Monsant Café, a quaint place that offers a brunch and lunch menu with a fantastic view of the horizon. Nestled right on the beach, you can hear the ocean waves crashing on the shore as you dine on their scrumptious dishes.


After breakfast, take a scenic drive along Sinchang Windmill Coastal Road. Found on the northwest coast of Jeju-do, this drive allows you to spot a windmill farm that is iconic to the island. The white windmills are in stark contrast to the almost emerald-green hue of the water. This is definitely an Instagrammable venue, so bring your camera or phone and snap away as you wander down the road.


Next, head to Songaksan Mountain. The area is also called 99 Bong or 99 Peaks for the small peaks it has. Though not as tall as Hallasan Mountain, which Jeju is also known for, Songaksan Mountain offers a scenic view of the nearby islands and the Pacific Ocean. Visit the Songaksan Mountain Observatory for a more in-depth viewing of the area’s rich history.


O'sulloc Green Tea Museum

(Left) The tea plantation outside the O'sulloc Green Tea Museum; (Right) Sitting down with fresh matcha inside the O'sulloc cafe.


Spend the afternoon touring the museums. First stop: the O’sulloc Green Tea Museum, the first tea museum in Korea. It was established in 2001 to introduce Korean tea history and tradition to visitors. It features an indoor garden and a Tea Cup Gallery within its walls. You can also indulge in fresh tea, ice cream, or pastries from the bakery as well.


Next, visit the Innisfree Jeju House, which is located right next to O'sulloc. You can try out the brand’s items (made with Jeju-sourced ingredients) and other fun activities like making your own soap bar and mask pack. It also has an Organic Green Café, which serves organic food and drinks made from ingredients grown in Jeju.



Lastly, explore the Jeju Aerospace Museum. Displayed there is a diverse collection of planes from the world’s aviation history and the Republic of Korea Air Force. Here you can also learn about astronomy, stretching all the way back to ancient times and moving towards the age of exploration in the 20th century. Entrance fees are KRW10,000 (~USD8.64) for adults and non-Jeju residents.


If you’re planning a trip to South Korea anytime soon, consider a quick stay in Jeju Island in your itinerary. Aside from the gorgeous scenery, the calm and peaceful vibe in Jeju is ideal for ones who are looking to relax and get away from city life for a hot minute. If you’re looking for a nature-centric and laidback vacation spot, Jeju Island is the place to be.


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