As a whole, Jeju Island is not pocket friendly for budget backpackers. With prices at a lot of museums and attractions starting at 8,000 won, it is not hard for costs to mount up quickly. We spent 3 nights and 2 full days exploring the Island. Of course, we missed out on many things due to being so frugal, but with the two days we had, we saw plenty of amazing things for 2,000 won or less. By planning ahead, you can save a ton of cash and still have a fun-filled packed time. Below we have compiled a 2 day itinerary for you, but first we need to discuss getting around the island.
Getting Around Jeju Island
First and foremost, do not underestimate the size of Jeju island. Whilst it looks small on a map, the drive time from the North to South can take at least an hour in a car, or two hours on a scooter. You have 4 options:
1. Rent a car – $50-70 per day
2. Rent a scooter – 25,000 – 30,000 won per day
3. Bus – A single fare starts at 1,300 won and increases based on the distance
4. Hitchhike – Free
At first, we wanted to rent a scooter, but being the “last-minute travellers” we are, we forgot to change our licenses for international ones. Consequently, we were unable to rent a scooter. Unlike countries in South East Asia, South Korea is very strict with who they rent a bike to – NO LICENSE = NO BIKE. So instead we begrudgingly headed for the bus terminal. We started the day by taking buses but because of the infrequency of the buses, we began to hitchhike. Looking back now, not being allowed a scooter was a blessing in disguise because we realized it would have taken too much time to get from place to place and the cost is higher than using buses and hitchhiking.
If hitchhiking isn’t for you and you would prefer to rent a car then check out Michelle’s excellent Self-Drive guide.
So here it is; our itinerary, which buses to take and where and when to hitchhike.
Day 1: Exploring the South West of Jeju Island
O’sulloc Tea Museum: Costs – FREE
See the lush green tea fields and learn how tea is made. There are also many flavours of tea that you can try and buy.
Get there – From the Intercity bus terminal (North of the island) take bus 755 and get off at the O’Sulloc Tea Museum stop. Bus costs 2,800 won.
Mount Sanbangsan: Costs – 1,000 won to hike but the two temples are FREE
In the mood for a hike? Hike up the mountain for panoramic views of the ocean road.
Get there – Get back on the 755 bus at the same stop you got off at for the tea museum. Get off at the Saturday Market Entrance stop. Bus costs 1,300 won. From here walk 30 seconds back to the cross roads and turn right. Walk straight until you reach the post office. Across the road from the post office there is a bus stop, from here you can take the 750-1 or 702 bus bound for Sanbangsan Cliff. Bus costs 1,300 won.
Jusangjeolli Cliff: Costs – 2,000 won
The fascinating volcanic rock formation is a must visit. The black rock surrounded by the crystal blue sea makes this place a picture haven.
Get there – Hitchhike from Mount Sanbangsan. Try to catch your ride from just out of the car park area. Most tourists, in rented cars, are now on the same route that is full of viewpoints and attractions.
Cheonjeyeon Falls: Costs – 2,500 won
Get there – Hitchhike from Jusangjeolli Cliff. When you leave the cliff area, walk through the car park and to the top of the one road that leads out onto the main road. Take a left at the top and hitch a ride from there.
Cheonjiyeon Waterfall: Costs – 2,000 won
Get there – Hitchhike from Cheonjeyeon Falls. Walk through the car park and out onto the main road and turn right. Hitch your ride from a few hundred meters up the road (outside of the supermarket) because the road is bendy and you need to give the car a safe space to pull over for you.
Jeongbang Waterfall: Costs – 2,000 won
Get there – Hitchhike from Cheonjeyeon Falls. Walk left out of the car park and then take the first right. You can try to hitchhike from here, but we didn’t have much luck. We needed to walk 1km to where the road splits and take a right (it is well signposted). We managed to get a ride here because the road leads straight to Jeongbang Waterfall.
Back to the North of Jeju
From the last waterfall, walk to the bus stop and take a bus back to your accommodation. The bus costs 2,800 won. Note: Day 1 is a very long day. We left the intercity bus terminal at 10.20am and did not arrive back until 8.00pm.
Day 2: Relaxing and exploring the East side of Jeju Island
Manjang Cave: Costs – 2,000 won
Walk through a lava tube and admire the interesting structures and formations inside.
Getting there – From the Intercity Bus Terminal, take bus 701 and get off at the Iljiudong stop. Bus costs 2,300 won. Walk straight and immediately turn right. You can either hitchhike the 2km long road or take a walk.
Seashore Road (beaches): Costs – FREE
Get there – Hitchhike from Manjang Cave. Just walk through the car park and take the left, where the road splits. Hitch a ride from here. Alternative option – if you don’t want to spend time on the beach you can head to Mount Halla for more hiking. We were too tired from day 1 so just took the day easy.
Seongsan Illchulbong (sunrise peak): Costs – 2,000 won.
Hike up the peak ready to watch a perfect sunset. Right by the peak is where you will also find the famous lady divers. They do a song and a dance for spectators before they dive in to catch fish and other sea creatures for the day.
Get there – Hitchhike from the beach.
To get back to the Intercity bus terminal, take bus 701 from outside of the sunrise peak area. The bus costs 2,300 won.
So there it is, a fun-filled packed 2-day itinerary for Jeju Island. With a grand total of 25,700 won spent over two days. The equivalent of $23.67
For a full guide of South Korea, check out our backpacking guide.