Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Jeju Island, South Korea along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Jeju Island is one of the most beautiful places to visit in South Korea, a volcanic island located south of the mainland. It features a moderate climate and is famous for having some of the most beautiful beaches in East Asia.
The island was formed some 2 million years ago through volcanic activity and has been inhabited for at least 10,000 years. It is unknown when the first humans arrived on Jeju Island, but it’s clear that there is a rich history to discover.
In addition to a rich culture and history, this Korean island is particularly known for its scenic and lush nature. In this article, I’m sharing some of the best places to visit in Jeju Island as well as activities and landmarks that shouldn’t be missed.
The Hallasan mountain is the highest peak in South Korea, reaching an elevation of 1,947 meters. The Hallasan is a massive shield volcano located right in the middle of Jeju Island and is surrounded by a national park.
One of the most interesting areas of the mountain is the Baengnokdam, a crater lake that has been formed by the collapse of a ridge. Trekking is one of the top activities, there are five designated trails that either lead around or to the top of the Hallasan.
Another fascinating aspect of the area is the vertical ecosystem at varying altitudes of the mountainside. More than 1800 different plant species and 4000 animal species thrive in the area surrounding the Hallasan Mountain.
The Manjang Caves, sometimes also called Lava Tubes, are a spectacular underground marvel that is of great value due to the extreme age of its formation. The tube system consists of three caves and at 13.4km is the longest in the world.
These caves have existed for 200,000 to 300,000 years in their current form. Visitors are especially attracted by the Lava stalactites and stalagmites as well as the beautiful lava columns, cave coral, and lava helictites.
The upper part of entrance 2 is the confirmed home of a staggering 30,000 bats. You should allow for around 90 minutes to complete a full tour around the accessible parts of the cave system.
Day trip to Udo Island
Udo (which means cow island in Korean) owes its name to its shape, supposedly the island looks like a cow laying down. Day trips to Udo Island are one of the most popular activities for visitors to Jeju Island.
In recent years, the popularity of the island has increased dramatically because several Korean movies have been filmed here. The scenery of the island is fascinating as the entire island consists of a flat, green lava plateau. Especially the beach Seobinbaeksa is of breathtaking beauty, largely thanks to it being made up of red algae fossils (Rhodolith).
Another great way to spend your time on Jeju Island is to check out some of the local waterfalls. The Cheonjiyeon waterfall is classified as a Natural Monument and is one of the most popular attractions of Jeju.
The waterfall is 22 m high and 12 m wide and characterized by trachyte andesite rock formations. The Cheonjeyeon waterfall consists of three separate waterfalls. In total, the water drops for around 73 m before it finally reaches the ocean.
Interestingly, Cheonjeyeon means Pond of the Emperor of Heaven. A truly fitting name for such a marvelous natural attraction. Another popular destination on Jesu Island is the Jeongbang waterfall. It is situated close to the ocean and features a 23 m cliff from which the water is tumbling into the depths.
Around 30 kilometers west of downtown Jeju lays the beautiful Hyeopjae Beach. The large amount of crushed shells give the sand a beautiful white hue. The water is cobalt colored and irresistible for water-lovers.
No matter where you look the view is amazing, on one hand, you have the beautiful island Biyangdo that is located close to the beach and on the other hand, you have the lush pine forests of Jeju Island.
A great way to overnight next to the around 200 m long Hyeopjae Beach is by using one of the numerous camping spots that are located close by.
Jeju Stone Park
The Jeju Stone Park is much more than just a beautiful natural sight. It’s a place of mystery that has regained many of the spirits and legends of Jeju Island. The stone park is a great way to combine natural beauty with a journey through the mythology of the island.
The main legend of the park consists of Seolmundae Halmang, who is portrayed as a mythological grandmother of Jeju, and her 500 sons. Interested visitors can also visit the Jeju Stone Museum, a stone exhibition and traditional Jeju thatched-roof houses.
Located close by is the Jeolmul Recreational Forest that can be visited in combination with the Jeju Stone Park. Visitors should keep in mind that the park closes on every first Monday of the month.
See the Sunflowers at Kim Kyung Suk Farm
The sunflowers at the Kim Kyung Suk Farm create a sea of yellow and green that is impressive even for people that normally don’t have much of an interest in plants.
The biggest draw of the sunflower farm is the opportunity to shoot some fantastic photos using the sunflowers as a backdrop. Of course, this is only possible during summer when the sunflowers are in full bloom.
But taking pictures is not the only reason people visit the Kim Kyung Suk Farm, this is a place where you can find unique products that are otherwise not available. Such as sunflower ice cream, a sunflower choco ball, or even skincare products based on sunflowers.
Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (Sunrise Peak)
The Seongsan Ilchulbong, also called Sunrise Peak, is a 182 m high tuff cone that is characterized by its beautiful crater that is 600 m in diameter and falls to only 90 m above the sea level. Along with the lava tubes, it is designated as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site.
Visitors who are up for a challenge can climb to the top of the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak. This usually takes around one hour and is possible during both winter and summer.
The climb is worth it not only for the magnificent sunrise but also for the beautiful view over to Udo Island. The tuff cone was designated as a natural reserve in 2000, underlying its significance as a place of natural beauty.
Yeomiji Botanical Garden
The Yeomiji Botanical Gardens consist of a large indoor area and an outdoor area. The indoor garden is around three acres in size and follows different themes such as a jungle Garden, a tropical fruit garden, and a flower garden.
The indoor garden also features an observation tower (38-meter tall). The great view makes the climb worth it! The outdoor gardens are surprisingly big, offering 24 acres of land.
The outdoor area features around 1,000 kinds of plants, separated into various gardens, such as the Korean garden or the French garden. The Yeomiji Botanical Garden is a must-visit for any plant lover that comes to Jeju Island.
The Loveland is perhaps the most unique and unusual attraction of Jeju Island. The theme of this park is the sexual nature of humans. There are around 140 sculptures on display in the park. All of them display various forms of sexuality.
The park also shows small movies to educate about sexuality. Loveland is still relatively young and was established in 2004 after absolvents of the Hongik University of Seoul started creating the sculptures in 2002.
Loveland also offers a small two-story museum that educates visitors about sex in general and sexually transmittable disease in particular. Visiting the Loveland takes between 30 minutes and one hour. Keep in mind that the minimum age to enter the park is 18.
Teddy Bear Museum
The Teddy Bear Museum is located in the Jungmun Tourism Complex and exhibits a unique collection of teddy bears. The museum also aims at teaching its visitors the history of teddy bears and why they have become much more than just a regular toy.
After all, some teddy bears can become something like a best friend, or even a member of the family. The museum was opened in 2001 and boasts a remarkable total size of 13,553 m².
The price for a ticket is around 10,000 won for adults, 9,000 won for teenagers and 8,000 won for children and seniors.
The Seonimgyo Bridge is a famous tourist spot that is located on top of the Cheonjeyeon waterfall. The red and white colored bridge is decorated with seven instrument playing nymphs, carved into each side of the arch.
Visitors enjoy beautiful views over the three tiers of the waterfall. At night the Seonimgyo Bridge is lit up with 34 stone lanterns, adding to the beauty and atmosphere of the Cheonjeyeon waterfall.
The bridge is around 130 meters in length and acts as a great spot for pictures or just a leisurely stroll. Visitors do not need to worry about cars, the whole area is a designated pedestrian zone.
Jeju Folk Village Museum
Visitors interested in the past of Jeju Island should not miss the Jeju Folk Village. The museum allows its visitors to explore over 100 traditional houses.
What makes this intriguing is that all of the houses have once served as residences, they are not just there for the sake of the museum. Interested visitors can get a unique glimpse into the village life of the 19th century.
When the museum was created, expert historians where consulted to make the village as realistic as possible.
The Hamdeok Beach is a great spot for some relaxation. The beach is known for its shallow water and attracts a large number of visitors during the warm summer months.
The water is emerald-blue and a red lighthouse, as well as an arched bridge, add to the beauty of the area. Visitors interested in kayaking are in the right place here as the beach is relatively calm and ideal for water sport.
No matter if you decide to take a walk along the coast or just want to relax in the sand, the Hamdeok Beach is a great spot. It is also easy to get here considering the beach is just 14 kilometers away from the Jeju bus terminal.
Visitors should keep in mind that the beach is at its best during the morning when the tide is low and you have a huge sand bar to play on. In the evening the tide is high and the beach almost completely disappears.
Gimnyeong Maze Park
As the name suggests, the Gimnyeong Maze Park offers its visitors plenty of fun and adventure by sending them on their way through different mazes. All of them well-kept and taken care off.
The park is so beautiful and scenic that several TV commercials and movies were filmed here. Going through the mazes and trying to find your way out can be an adrenaline inducing experience and is particularly enjoyable with friends or family.
The hedges that form the mazes consist of beautiful Leyland Cypress trees. The fascinating Jeju symbolism was used as an inspiration for this maze, representing the five periods of Jeju’s history. The Gimnyeong Maze Park also offers visitors access to a popular cat park that is home to around 50 cats.
Temples in Jeju Island
Like in the rest of the country, there are numerous Korean temples with impressive architecture. The temple of Yakchunsa is perhaps the most iconic on the island.
Sanbanggulsa Temple is also worth visiting, even though it’s not the typical Korean-style temple. The Bulsari Tapsa is another interesting temple to visit in Jeju Island, which is somewhat of a hidden gem.
- Yakchunsa Temple
- Sanbanggulsa Temple
- Gwaneumsa Temple
- Jejumok Gwana
- Bulsari Tapsa Temple
- Dongamsa Temple
List of Museums in Jeju Island
If you’re interested in learning more about the local culture and history of Jeju Island, visiting some of these museums should definitely be included in your itinerary. Personally, I especially recommend the Folklore & Natural Museum or Seongeup Folk Village and the Haenyeo Museum.
The Teddy Bear Museum is another museum in Jeju Island that I recommend, especially if your visiting the island with children. But overall, it’s such a surreal collection that it will be memorable for any visitor.
O’sulloc Tea Museum is also an interesting museum, at least for tea drinkers, as it conveys the story of Korean tea tradition.
- Spirited Garden
- Haenyeo Museum
- Jeju Folklore & Natural Museum
- Maze Land
- Teseum Jeju
- Nexon Computer Museum
- Angel and Woodcutter Museum
- Kim Tschang Yeul Art Museum Jeju
- Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art
- Jeju National Museum
- Trickeye Museum
- Jejuyo Ceramic Culture Museum
- O’sulloc Tea Museum
- Teddy Bear Museum
Natural attractions in Jeju Island
If you appreciate nature more than human-made attractions and structures, then you’ll be happy to know that Jeju Island has been named one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
There are countless of beautiful places to visit in Jeju Island. Below are some of the most notable ones, including Halla-san, which features the tallest point on the island and the highest mountain in all of South Korea.
I recommend visiting the waterfalls as they are all stunning, Cheonjiyeon, Cheonjeyeon, and Jeongbang to name the most famous waterfalls on the island. The Manjang caves are also worth visiting along with the Bijarim Forest and Daepo Haean Jusangjeolli Cliff.
If you spend a lot of days on Jeju Island and have time to explore some other areas, I suggest having a look at the following natural attractions as well.
- Daepo Haean Jusangjeolli Cliff
- Jeju Kimnyoung Maze Park
- Yongduam Rock
- Keuneong Haean Gyeongseungji
- Baengnokdam Lake
- Seongsan Ilchulbong
- Cheonjiyeon Waterfall
- Cheonjeyeon Waterfalls
- Jeongbang Waterfall
- Bijarim Forest
- Si Oreum
Want more recommendations on things to do in Jeju Island, South Korea? Leave a comment below!