Guide to Jeju, Korea: Restaurants, Attractions and Hotels
Singaporeans are heading to Jeju Island more than ever, thanks to Scoot’s latest travel itinerary which allows an unprecedented direct flight to the vacation spot from Changi Airport.
It is a popular vacation spot for locals and tourists, best known for its undeveloped beaches, waterfalls, and great food. Most vacationers to South Korea only spend two to three days here, abandoning most of their vacation to the bustling capital of Seoul. However, with the new direct flight route, an increasing number of guests are spending more time exploring the island city, and we’re here to help plan your trip.
Read on for eating, seeing and staying in Jeju Island.
Where to eat, see and stay in Jeju Island:
(Image credit: jaemin don on Unsplash)
Where to eat
While Jeju Island is known for its black pork and seafood dishes, we couldn’t help but sneak into this burger recommendation. After all, if you’re about to spend a few days on the island, there’s bound to be a day when you crave something a little more familiar in taste, right? Just in case you’re wrong, the carrot burger, garlic burger, and spinach burger are not vegetarian. The garlic burger is a combination of garlic onion sauce, melted American Swiss cheese, sweet red onion, sautéed mushrooms and a meat patty. Go for the double if hungry, otherwise the single patty is also a heavy option.
South Korea, Jeju-do, Jeju-si, 특별자치도, Jochon-eup, Johamhaean-ro, 356
To be honest, we don’t know if the anglicized name is Hwae Shim (회심) but we’ll go on with it. The restaurant uses only fresh Jeju ingredients and offers a mackerel soba dish specially developed by the owner. He sees a generous helping of sliced raw mackerel, a base of peanuts and sesame seeds, and incredibly refreshing cold soba noodles on a hot day. Other favorites include the ever-changing “Today’s Sushi” (오늘의초밥), which is made up of items that can be found fresh that day, including Jeju crab and mackerel.
2458-19, Yeongpyeong-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, Korea 1F
Of course, no trip to Jeju is complete without fresh seafood. Jaridom serves raw fish, also known as Hwae, and is different from your usual Japanese sashimi. The cuts are much chewier, and they’re usually served with a whole bunch of food – pick up the pieces and dip them in Chojangbefore wrapping it in seaweed in a sheet of perilla and you’re done.
7, Donghongdong-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, Republic of Korea
Aewol Hami is a great spot if you’re particularly hungry or with a group of friends – the extensive menu covers everything from sets of sliced raw fish to different types of seafood stew. popular from the menu? Galchi Jorim, a braised mackerel stew served in a long metal pot with tons of prawns and shellfish.
2550, Aewol-ri, Aewol-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
There’s a difference between regular pork and Jeju black pork, and we’re not going to say too much about it – all you need to know is that it’s delicious and you have to try it if you haven’t already. Pork is native to Jeju Island, so you’ll find plenty of places that serve it, but we recommend one surefire place that’s also popular among locals and celebrities. You won’t have to lift a finger at Donsadon when the textured slices of meat arrive at the table: the staff will come to cook and cut the meat in front of you so you can enjoy the juicy bits at their best. Don’t forget to order a side of kimchi stew to sip on as it helps cut down on the richness of the meat.
15 Gwangpyeongdong-ro, Nohyeong-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
Another way to get Jeju black pork is in tonkatsu, and we think Jejuroum is a good place to get your meat fix. The tonkatsu crust has a light nutty touch that adds another layer of flavor to the tender meat, and it is served with rice and vegetables. Other popular items include the Kombu Salted Salmon Bowl.
14, Woljeong 3-gil, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
What to see
Go for a relaxing walk
Jeju is a great place to drive, especially if you’re here in the spring. Bright yellow canola flowers bloom in late winter and throughout spring, and you can feast your eyes on the golden fields on your drive. Stop your car along the side and wade into the yellow sea for the perfect photo.
Besides the canola blossom season, tourists here should not miss a coastal road. Our favorite is from Gimnyeong to Woljeong, a short 6km journey which is best known for its other name: the Windmill Coastal Road. Think tall wind turbines and beautiful coastal scenery dotted with red and yellow by visitors to Woljeong-ri Beach – a perfect scene if you ask us.
Walk on the path(s) of Olle
Many come to Jeju Island to hike the Olle Trail, a long-distance trail that mainly consists of 21 connected numbered main roads and five sub-roads. The routes vary in difficulty, and our favorite – and most popular – is Route 7. It starts at Jeju Olle Tourist Center, located in downtown Seogwipo and ends at Wolpyeong Awenangmok. This coastal path passes by stunning natural landscapes like the rock of Oedolgae, the Soesokkak estuary and Columnar Joint.
Hallasan is South Korea’s highest mountain and rises 1,950m above sea level. The mountain is best known for its ever-changing landscape – think a gorgeous red in autumn because of the foliage of fall and snow-capped peaks in winter. There are four hiking trails that lead to the upper crater, but only two of these trails reach the very top of the mountain. The best route up would probably be the longer one (Seongpanak trail) which starts with a gradual incline, with seemingly endless stairs closer to the top, and the best (in our opinion) down would be the Gwaneumsa trail of 8, 7 kilometers. It’s sure to tire you out – if you include rest stops along the way and at the summit, this activity will take a good six to eight hours out of your day.
If that’s too much for you, an easier hiking alternative would be Sunrise Peak, or Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, which will only take you up to an hour.
Visit a Hallabong farm
Hallabong is the representative fruit of Jeju Island, and is a cross between Kiyomi orange and Ponkan citrus. It’s fairly easily recognizable due to its protruding stem, and you’ll find everything from Hallabong rice wine to Hallabong jam while you’re here too. If you want to buy a house, you can always get them in a traditional market near you. Alternatively, head to a Hallabong farm for the best experience. A popular place for Hallabong picking is Hyosung Hallabong Experience Farm. PS take note that the season runs from December to March.
1499-1 Hogeun-dong, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
Do cart races with your friends
Wind 1947 Jeju Extreme Circuit is the longest circuit in South Korea, and it’s quite a fun activity with your friends in good weather. The 1,947-meter cart track course will include panoramic views of Hallasan – if you’re not too busy trying to outrun everyone, of course.
Where to stay
Grand Hyatt Jeju
The Grand Hyatt Jeju is one of the most convenient places you can find in Jeju, especially if you plan to have your base on the north side of the vacation island. In addition to being 10 minutes from Jeju Airport, it is also the largest Hyatt hotel in Asia-Pacific: the twin towers are home to 1,600 rooms and suites, 14 unique restaurants and bars, two high-end spas range, as well as Jeju’s largest outdoor terrace with infinity pool and HAN collection. K fashion mall. While the Cozy Rooms are fine, you’ll be pleased to hear that Grand Hyatt Jeju rooms start with a spacious 65 sqm.
JW Marriott Jeju
If high-end hotels are your vibe, then JW Marriott Jeju is another place on the island you might want to consider. The historic complex recently opened in May 2022, along the scenic coastline of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The design incorporates island elements like traditional volcanic stone and slate architecture, with impressive views of the Jeju coastline.
Now, StayFolio isn’t just one hotel. The online platform is focused on providing stunning and curated venues for customers, with a particular focus on South Korean establishments, as this is where it is based.
There are over 100 options for Jeju Island itself, each with a distinct style and character in terms of interior and architectural designs. Each of the listings comes with a story and a bit of background about where you’ll be staying, and it adds a lot of charm to the already aesthetically pleasing homes. Our favorites on the list of options on Jeju Island include graybox, a three-bedroom house atop a tangerine field that features an outdoor swimming pool and private barbecue deck for up to six people. Other cozier alternatives are Coda, a quiet venue designed with Japanese-style sensibilities.
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.