When it comes to island vacations, the first things that come to mind are probably surf breaks and sandy coastlines. Let Jeju Island change your perception.
On top of pristine beaches and surf spots, Jeju boasts incredible waterfalls, volcanic cones, lava tube caves, and green tea fields. Besides its incredible collection of natural wonders, it also has a fascinating culture that’s unique from mainland South Korea.
Experience the best of the island’s incredible panoramas and rich cultural heritage with this list of 15 unmissable things to do in Jeju:
1. Jeju Camellia Hill
Wake up and smell the flowers at Camellia Hill — the biggest botanical garden in East Asia! Here you can take photos, smell the blooms, or just admire the view of over 6,000 camellia trees. The arboretum boasts 500 different species, including ones known to produce the world’s largest and earliest blooms. During winter, there’s even a festival to celebrate the pink blooms. Besides the flowers, you’ll also see love-filled messages along the scenic trails and greenhouses.
2. Jeju Day Tour
Have limited time on your holiday? Join the Jeju Island tour so you can discover the island’s most awe-inspiring sights. Since there are only buses and taxis available on the island, the tour is the best way to get around Jeju Island.
Head south and see the Jusangjeolli Cliff, where you can marvel at incredible rock formations and watch the waves hit the coast. Then, take a trek to Cheonjiyeon Falls for crystal blue waters surrounded by vibrant greens. Travel to the east and spend some time at Woljeongri Beach, known for its emerald waters and relaxing atmosphere. Continue the trip with a visit to the Manjang Cave and take in the lava stalagmites and lava tube tunnels. Finish the jam-packed day with a hike up Mount Halla, the highest peak in South Korea.
3. NANTA Show
What happens when you combine comedy and culinary arts? You get Jeju’s NANTA Show! As the longest running show in Korean history, it’s a parody about cooking gone wrong in a professional kitchen. Watch “cooks” work under pressure as they perform to the tune of Korean folk songs, do acrobatic moves, and more. The best part? You don’t need to know Korean. Since the show revolves around non-verbal performances, an international audience can enjoy the whole spectacle.
4. Aqua Planet Jeju
Visit Aqua Planet Jeju, one of the biggest aquariums in Asia, and see more than 48,000 animals and 500 species of plants. Feel like you’re at the bottom of the ocean as you marvel at the world’s largest 330-square-meter touch pool on the basement floor, where you can see marine life up close and even touch some of the animals. If you’re taking the little ones with you, don’t miss out on the Kids Planet area so they can play educational games.
5. Wind 1947 Jeju Extreme Circuit
While the island may be known to be a relaxing holiday destination, there are still some exhilarating things to do in Jeju, and one of them is racing on the Wind 1947 Jeju Extreme Circuit. Boasting a sprawling area of 1,947 meters, it’s one of the longest race courses in South Korea. After choosing from different courses and racecars, you (and a friend) can cruise down the track with Mount Hilla as your backdrop.
Soak in the sights of Oedolgae, one of the most Instagrammable places to visit on Jeju Island. Estimated to have formed around 1.5 million years ago, the 20-meter-tall rock formation is surrounded by aquamarine waters and framed by lush greens. There are several trails to choose from, some short enough to be finished in 1.5 hours, while others can take up to five hours. Time your trek to see the sunset against Beomseom Island from the Oedolgae Sea Stack!
7. Jeju Folk Village
Travel back in time as you visit the 130-year-old Jeju Folk Village. Discover artifacts and classic architecture from the Joseon Dynasty as you walk by hundreds of houses and facilities that were once actual residences. Learn about Jeju’s fascinating folklore, and keep your eyes peeled for black-haired pigs running around the village!
8. Jeju Venice Land
Jeju truly has it all, including a taste of Italy. Head to Venice Land and feel like you’re in the Italian city as you sail on a gondola through scenic canals and bridges. But instead of centuries-old monuments and buildings along the waterside, see vibrant plants and statues. Bonus: There are also Italian restaurants and craft museums to enjoy!
9. Teddy Bear Museum
Looking for a personalized souvenir? Head to the Teddy Bear Museum, where you can make your very own stuffed toy! Before you design your plushie, feel free to snap photos with handcrafted teddy bears donning the most adorable costumes in different themed areas. Plus, you’ll also learn a bit about the local history since some displays use the stuffed bears to depict important historical events.
10. Hyeopjae & Geumneung Beach
No island escapade is complete without a trip to the beach and Hyeopjae is one of the best. Boasting white sand and clear waters, swimming or surfing in it is one of the most fun things to do in Jeju. Just a stone’s throw away from Hyeopjae Beach, Geumneung is another incredible beach. It provides an alternative to Hyeopjae since there aren’t a lot of tourists and it has a great view of Biyangdo Island. For a fuss-free visit to the beaches, book a private Jeju car charter, so you don’t have to worry about finding taxis or buses.
11. Hallim Park
There’s a reason why Hallim Park is one of the most famous Jeju Island attractions: it combines the best of nature and culture. As you walk around the almost-33-hectare park, you’ll find stunning floral fields, stone statues, and vibrant plants. But the jewel in its crown are the Ssangyonggul and Hyeopjaegul Caves which feature a lava tube and fossilized seashells.
12. Jeju Horseback Riding
Want to feel like a local? Go horseback riding at the Jeju Horse Park! Dating back 600 years, all the way to the Joseon Dynasty, the park features a massive area that’s perfect for riding around on horseback and taking in the natural scenery. In Korea, Jeju’s horses are famous for their distinct characteristics because of their domestication.
13. Alive Museum
If you want a family-friendly attraction with photo ops at every corner, look no further than the Alive Museum! Feel like Leonardo da Vinci, explore jungles, and escape from the sinking of the Titanic as you explore the museum’s five themed areas (Optical Illusions, Trick Art, Digital Art, Sculpture Art, and Provence Art).
14. Jeongbang Waterfalls
Soak in the sights at Jeongbang Waterfalls, one of the best things to do in Jeju. The 23-meter-tall cascading falls are framed by towering pine trees and black rocks, making an incredible panorama. What makes it extra special is that it’s the only waterfall in South Korea where the water flows directly to the sea.
15. O’Sulloc Green Tea Field
One of the most unique Jeju Island activities is to visit the O’Sulloc Green Tea Field. For the ultimate experience, have some tea by the field as you revel in the sights and aroma. Take it to the next level with a visit to the neighboring O’Sulloc Tea Museum, where you can see cups and teapots dating back to the ancient Korean dynasties.
Thanks to the wide array of unique sights and natural gems, you’ll never run out of things to do in Jeju. Have a relaxing and memorable vacation with this handy guide at South Korea’s largest island!