Jeju, South Korea – One post to rule them all…

One big post for Jeju as promised, but where do I start with this… Alright best to start with getting to Jeju from Taipei. Our journey the whole way was with Korean Air and as usual the have been spectacular. As we had to transfer through Incheon Airport (ICN) we had to clear customs and immigration in Incheon. This took an incredible amount of time (1hr in the line for immigration clearance) and made it a rather tight transfer even though we had two hours for it (we checked in with 35 minutes to departure so just in time for domestic). The second leg to Jeju was a quick hour long hop with a nice view when taking off with the setting sun and another plane taking off at the same moment on an adjacent runway.

Jeju itself was easy enough to get through, a quick collection of bags then onto grabbing a taxi to get us to our hotel. This part was interesting as the driver didn’t know of our hotel or speak any English so after a bit of play we managed to get the GPS in his taxi pointing to what we thought was the hotel (it was thankfully). For the point the hotel is known to the locals as Noon Hotel whilst its sold on all the English hotel sites as Luxury and Boutique Hotel at Noon and the sign on the building only says Hotel at Noon… quite confusing.

The area we were staying in is known as Yeon-dong and seems to be the more night clubs and… other establishments area which means there’s plenty of good food and drinks around but also a few seedier places. We picked here though as the price was far better then staying in Jeju city itself and the city was only about 5 to 10 minutes by cab away.

As for the island of Jeju itself its rather small and pretty easy to traverse if you have your own form of transportation. If you aren’t hiring a car (I suggest to do so if you can its a heck of a lot easier to get around) Taxi’s are quite cheap and will happily drive to all the major attractions (they can also be rented for a full day as a private driver, quite the good idea too). Public Transport on the other hand is a struggle unless you can speak or read Korean. Basically the whole island is nicely connected by buses but the buses most of the time will only announce stops in Korean or have signage in Korean (if at all). Whilst there is English bus sheets they aren’t easy to follow. Also of note Google Maps navigation system doesn’t work for either cars, public transport or walking on the entire island so whilst it has the entire island fully mapped there is little English translation and there is no navigation unlike most other cities around the world now a days (coming from Taiwan this was quite the shock). So best point of advice on travelling around Jeju, hire a car or a driver for yourself, know Korean or plan the public transport beforehand.

So in terms of things to do? There is quite a bit but Jeju to my friends and I was a relax and unwind destination. We checked out the Lava Tube caves which are world heritage listed and a few of the main places in town and the black sand beaches. Are there other things to do? Most definitely but since its also Summer it was the wrong time of the year to attempt the hiking trails or a few of the outdoor places. The southern side of the island is covered in amusement parks which would be nice to check out but again middle of Summer it’s not the best place to be.

Overall its a lovely and very beautiful island. I wouldn’t mind coming back for a bit more then two days at some point and if I ever were to do so I would go the hire car route and explore the island in my own time, and preferably in Spring when the weather is nicer. All in all its a nice place to visit and worth the venture if you can afford the extra bit of time.

As always some photos below. Next up is Seoul. We’ve been here a bit over a day now but mostly just relaxed (yesterday was Liberation Day for South Korea) and explored the city a bit. I’ll do a post tomorrow probably covering the first two or three days.

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