Looking for an escape from the daily grind? Tired of the harsh winters and the scorching summers of South Korea’s mainland? Perhaps you should consider taking the fifty-minute plane ride from Seoul to discover Jeju-Do for yourself. Jeju-Do is a wonderful island with many special qualities that set it apart from the rest of South Korea. In fact, the island has brought countless numbers of tourists from the mainland and nearby Chinese cities. Perhaps some of the biggest attractions are Jeju’s many beautiful beaches.

Maybe you are looking to have a quiet beach all to yourself where you can camp, read, and watch the sun set over a gorgeous backdrop of a UNESCO heritage site? If that’s too quiet or too tame for your ideal summer excursion, you can always get your feet wet by getting into watersports, like surfing, paddle boarding, or even speed boating. Perhaps you’re looking for a romantic getaway, or you want to splurge a little on the finer things in life? If so, there are accommodations available ranging from traditional Jeju-style beach bungalows, to five-star hotels and resorts. No matter what you’re looking for, chances are you will find it here on this quirky little island.

But visit soon! The days of Jeju being an undiscovered paradise are quickly fading. New investors and developers have already built large hotels and resorts around the biggest beaches on the island, and have their eyes set on the smaller ones in the coming years.

*Please note that many of the directions listed below are for buses from both Jeju City and Seogwipo. Jeju Island has two cities, and therefore, two city bus terminals.

Hyeopjae Beach

image photo jeju beach guide hyeopjae beach - The Ultimate Guide to Jeju Island Beaches

Location: Hyeopjae-ri, Hallim-eup, Jeju-si

How to get there:
From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal Seoilju bus → Hyeopjae beach (1hr, 30 min)
From Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal → Seoilju bus → Hyeopjae beach (2hr, 20 min)

Interesting Tidbits: Ah, the gorgeous Hyeopjae Beach. This is a great place to spend the summer months. This beach is quite long and hosts a large selection of restaurants, camping sites, and even a colorful shipping container village. These containers have been refurbished and painted bright colors, and house everything from handcrafted ice cream stalls, to quirky hipster styled AirBnB apartments for rent. It is easy to spend a lot of time on this part of the island. Hallim Park, which is a combination of lava tubes and botanical gardens, is right across the street. The definitive sight of Hyeopjae Beach is the vista of Biyangdo Island. Some people say it looks like a mammoth or elephant. Do you see it?

As a side note: Geumneung Eutteumwon Beach is technically a separate beach from Hyeopjae, but it is located in the exact same place. If you go left of the main beach at low tide, you will see for yourself. Behind the dunes are some of the island’s best camping areas!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Gwakji Gwamul Beach

image photo jeju island beach guide gwakji 3 - The Ultimate Guide to Jeju Island Beaches

Location: Gwakji-ri, Aewol-eup, Jeju-si

How to get there:
From Intercity Bus Terminal → Seoilju bus → Gwakji beach (1hr, 10min)
From Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal → Seoilju bus → Gwakji beach (2hrs, 30min)

Interesting Tidbits: Gwakji is a favorite of many locals on the island because it is not overly developed, and is not likely to be overcrowded with tourists. There are many areas to camp in or barbeque with friends. There is also a small pavilion and bathhouse where you can cool down in the summer heat. Be sure to grab some blue cheese burgers, or the island’s best fish and chips at Café Taehi! Gwakji Gwamul Beach certainly stands as one of the best beaches on the island.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Hwasun Golden Sand Beach

image photo jeju beach guide hwasun gold sand beach - The Ultimate Guide to Jeju Island Beaches

Location: Hwasun-ri, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si

How to get there:
From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal → Pyeonghwaro bus → Hwasun-ri (1hr, 40 min)
From Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal → Seoilju bus → Hwasun-ri (1hr)

Interesting Tidbits: This beach sits in the shadow of Sanbangsan Mountain, one of Jeju’s most beautiful geographic features. There has recently been more development in this area, though it is still quiet enough in the evening. Jeju is a volcanic island, so much of the natural sand on its beaches are either black or gold. Hwasun Golden Sand Beach is the most popular of the gold sand beaches.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂

Jungmun Beach

image photo jeju beach guide jungmun beach 2 - The Ultimate Guide to Jeju Island Beaches

Location: Yerae-dong, Seogwipo-si

How to get there:
From Jeju International Airport → #600 Airport Limousine Bus → Jungmun Resort (Hyatt Hotel) (1hr)
From Seogwipo Jungang Ro. → #5 bus → Hyatt Hotel (45min)

Interesting Tidbits: This is Jeju’s most well-known beach as it is built into the massive Jeju Resort Complex. There are many impressive 5-star hotels here, such as the Shilla, the Hyatt, and the Kensington hotels. The Shilla and Hyatt have their own private beach huts and tents. There are also many other fun-filled facilities nearby that offer activities, like surfing and banana boat riding. Although some might not realize it, this beach is divided into two parts: one that is heavy with tourist activity, and one that is more hidden from all the hustle and bustle. If you are a strong swimmer, or just want to have a more private adventure with some friends, seek out this hidden half, and you may find that you have the whole beach on Jeju’s coveted south side all to yourself…

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Pyoseon Haevichi Beach

image photo jeju island beach guide pyoseon - The Ultimate Guide to Jeju Island Beaches

Location: Pyoseon-ri, Pyoseon-myeon, Seogwipo-si

How to get there:
From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal → Bunyeongro bus → Pyoseon-ri (1hr, 53min)
From Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal → Dongilju bus → Pyoseon-ri office (1hr, 49min)

Interesting Tidbits: This is a really big beach. It really doesn’t matter how many people decide to visit; there will always be ample room for you to stretch out, sunbathe, or swim. It is also a hotspot for more adventurous water sports like kite surfing. Although Pyoseon is quite close to the Haevichi resort, there never seem to be huge crowds here. This probably has something to do with the sheer size of this beach. At low tide the beach seems to stretch on forever. Did I mention how big this beach is?

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Sanhosa Beach

image photo jeju beach guide sanhosa 2 - The Ultimate Guide to Jeju Island Beaches

Location: Udo Island, Jeju-si

How to get there:
From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal → Dongilju bus → Seongsan Port entrance (2hr, 18min)
From Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal → Dongilju bus → Seongsan Port entrance (2hr, 38min)
From Seongsan Port → Ferry to Udo (15 min; the ferry costs around 1,000 won)

Interesting Tidbits: While technically not on Jeju’s main island, U-Do, or Cow Island, is still a must-see location. On a clear day, the sky and water seem to melt into each other. You can also see Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak) and many of Jeju’s small volcanic hills (Orem) in the background of the western side of Udo Island. This beach is a quick 5-minute walk from the main ferry. After exploring the main beach, I recommend zipping around this tiny island on a scooter, or one of Udo’s quirky and colorful three-wheeled cars. There are many cute cafés, and be sure to check out one other beautiful — albeit smaller — beach on the island’s eastern side. Don’t forget to try Udo’s famous peanut makgeolli!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Hahyo Soesokkak Beach

image photo jeju beach guide hahyo soesokkak beach - The Ultimate Guide to Jeju Island Beaches

Location: Hahyo-dong, Seogwipo-si

How to get there:
From Jeju City Hall → 5.16 bus → Biseok Road → Transfer to Namjoro bus → Hyodon Middle school (2hr, 14min)
From Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal → Dongilju bus → Hyodon Middle School (1hr)

Interesting Tidbits: So you want to go somewhere a little less known, eh? This place will provide you with a very different sort of beach experience. Be sure to take a look at the wooden walkways that run along the sides of the valley. If you’re going with a friend or that special someone, maybe look into renting a paddleboat or kayak.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Hado Beach

image photo jeju beach guide hado - The Ultimate Guide to Jeju Island Beaches

Location: Hado-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si

How to get there:
From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal → Dongilju bus → Hadori (2hr, 16min)
From Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal → Dongilju bus → Hadoridong-dong (2hr, 38min)

Interesting Tidbits: This beach takes a long time to get to by bus, but it is very clean and not at all touristy. This is more of a place to go to if you are planning to get away from it all and enjoy a nice, relaxing retreat from your day-to-day schedule. Camping and kayaking is a must if you visit here.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂

Gimnyeong Beach

image photo jeju beach guide gimnyeong - The Ultimate Guide to Jeju Island Beaches

Location: Gimnyeong-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si

How to get there:
From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal → Dongilju bus → Gimnyeong beach (1hr, 17min)
From Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal → Dongilju bus → Gujwa Sports Center (3hr, 21min)

Interesting Tidbits: The sights are what make Gimnyeong a special beach. This is another one of Jeju’s beautiful white sand beaches, and like Gwakji, it is known around the island for having some of the clearest turquoise water on Jeju Island. There is also something serene and calming about watching the nearby white colored windmills slowly spinning away in the distance. Outside of the pretty scenery, there is also opportunities to go yachting from this location.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂

Hamdeok Beach

image photo jeju beach guide hamdeok - The Ultimate Guide to Jeju Island Beaches

Location: Hamdeok-ri, Jocheon-eup, Jeju-si

How to get there:
From Jeju City → #10, #11, or #20, Dongilju bus → Hamdeok Seowoobong Beach (1 hr)

Interesting Tidbits: Hamdeok beach is the full package: it hosts three separate beaches, a large open park surrounded by cafés, walking paths, and the countless tents housing families during the summer months. There are also many restaurants in this area. In summer time, it is likely you will stumble across events like music festivals, or sights like people eating under tent cities, as there always seems to be something going on here. Seowoobong Peak overlooks this beach and provides a wonderful view of the whole area. On the main beach, there is a large, naturally occurring sand bar that separates much of the shallow water from the open ocean. This allows much of the swimming area to be far warmer than many other beaches. Remember: even here at northern Jeju’s most popular swimming hole, there are private areas and secret spots to be found.  Of the three beaches, the third is tucked away under Seowoobong Peak, and it is generally very quiet and quite spacious.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Samyang Black Sand Beach

image photo jeju island beach guide samyang - The Ultimate Guide to Jeju Island Beaches

Location: Samyang-dong, Jeju-si

How to get there:
From Jeju City → #11, #20, #26, #100 buses, Dongilju bus → Samyang Black Sand Beach (30 min)

Interesting Tidbits: The black sand is what makes this beach so interesting. Jeju is a volcanic island, so the sand you see at this beach is natural. It is made from the coarse volcanic rock. This beach has a residential feel as it juts out from the town of Samyang, a few minutes east of Jeju City. This beach is very popular due to the fact that it is so close to the city. Don’t let the rocky façade and the industrial background fool you; this is a nice place to spend the afternoon. However, there are other, much better choices just down the road.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂

Iho Beach

image photo jeju island beach guide iho - The Ultimate Guide to Jeju Island Beaches

Location: Iho-dong, Jeju-si

How to get there:
From Jeju City Hall → #7 bus → Iho Taewoo Beach (40 min)
From Jeju City Hall → #31, #37 bus → Ogwang-ro entrance (40 min)
From Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal → Jeju City Hall → # 7, 31, 37 buses → Iho Tewoo Beach (2hr)

Interesting Tidbits: How do I say this without sounding mean? …well, I can’t. Iho Beach is kind of ugly. There, I said it!

Let’s look at what Iho has to offer though. This is the closest beach to Jeju City, and it does have some good facilities. Many locals visit this area and will often stay until quite late at night on the weekends. There are also many shops and places to eat right on the water. During the summer time, there is a small nightlife scene where one can grab a drink and listen to local DJs spin their records and go dancing. There is also a public swimming pool nearby. Iho is certainly not a terrible beach, but it is nothing that you can’t see somewhere else on the mainland.

Rating:  🙂 🙂

 

So that’s it for my guide to Jeju’s beaches. There are a few other landings here and there, but you should definitely search these out, should you have time to spend on this beautiful little island. Please remember to stay safe, keep our beaches and hiking trails clean, and most of all, to have fun out here! Hope to see you Jeju-side soon! Until the next entry, I’m Andrew Robinson, your City Ambassador to Jeju City and Seogwipo!

-Edited by Rafi Feliciano 

 

*Images featured courtesy of – Featured Image: JejuHomeStay, Hyeopjae: VisitKorea, Gwakji: AlanOnJeju, Hwasun: JejuMandarins, Jungmun: VisitKorea, Pyoseon: Tistory, Sanhosa: D30mmglg94tqnw, Hahyo Soesokkak: TripToKorea, Hado – SkyMaple, Gimnyeong: OnFooooot, Hamdeok: TopicImages, Samyang: Blogspot, Iho: Kim MyoungSung