Since I’m going to Jeju tomorrow for a spa/golf trip, I thought it would be a good time to recap my first trip to Jeju that I took in April.
As a city girl it’s tough for me to live in a place with a slow pace of life. You’re probably thinking, ‘Surely, an island paradise is everyone’s dream!’ but no, I’m all about convenience, bright lights, instant gratification and getting angry at people who walk slowly. That being said, even city girls need to get away from the hustle and bustle once in awhile and I think Jeju is the perfect little escape.
Jeju is known for three things: wind, rocks and women. I can vouch for the first two… not sure about the third but from my brief observations there were more couples than anything since Jeju is a popular honeymoon destination spot. You will see a lot of people in head to toe matching outfits. Don’t be scared, they’re just Korean. Personally I think they need to add an extra thing on the list of things Jeju is known for: the abundance of cafes. But I guess that’s Korea in general. Wonder what they’re putting in those lattes…
Anyhow, here are a few tips for you based on my limited experience.
1) If you’re going to drink (which is very likely) don’t rent a car and just cab it around. The cost is about the same and the taxi drivers probably know their way better than you anyway.
2) There are some things that are a must eat in Jeju. My friend Chris has a solid list here that you should check out if you’re going to be a Jeju foodie. Must eats: black pork, mom gook, seafood hot pot, hoe (raw fish) and some legit Hallasan bingsoo: all pictured below. Oh and gogi gooksoo not pictured because it’s just pork noodles but that was pretty yummy too.
3) Hike one of the 21 Olle trails. The Olle trails go around the whole island and is a great way to appreciate Jeju’s natural beauty. I only did Olle 7 which is pretty rocky but I hear there are other trails that are much easier. So bring your hiking boots. Really, bring hiking boots. Olle 7 is also pretty nice because there’s a little cafe in the middle of the trail where you can have a quick bite and relax before heading back out. I recommend the carrot cake.
Cafe 7373: 1541-1 Beophwan-dong, Seogwipo, Jeju-do (+82-64 767-7373)
4) Skip out on Cafe de Seo Yeun aka Seo Yeun’s House. It’s the house that became famous through the movie Architecture 101 and is now a coffee shop. It’s literally in the middle of nowhere and full of tourists. Just don’t do it. If you MUST go, skip out on having coffee there and go have dessert at the cafe on the main road. They have some funky tasting food (Octopus pizza?) and soft serve affogato.
5) If you like Ando Tadao (the architect who did the Omotesando Hills complex in Tokyo among other things), I suggest checking out the Bonte Museum. Quick sidenote here, the museum is ALSO in the middle of nowhere and most taxi drivers won’t even know where it is so in this case, rent a car and drive. It’s a great space for a quiet afternoon and the nearby Podo Hotel is a great place for a quick bite and has impeccable service! They even had one of their drivers take me to the museum when the cab driver dropped me off at the wrong place.
I think going as a tourist/wanting to see and do everything is going to be quite different from going to relax and not to anything. Will give you an update when I get back from Jeju next week!