Fancy a holiday where you’ll be able to hop from one gorgeous beach to the next, visit all kinds of quirky museums, and see stunning natural landscapes? South Korea’s “island of the gods” – Jeju Island – is the perfect destination for you.
Jeju definitely has a lot to offer. But what most first-time visitors are surprised to find out is that Jeju is huge. Even with a rental car, you can’t go around the whole island in one day. The island’s many attractions are far apart, and this is why you need to make sure you know exactly where to stay in Jeju, depending on what you’re in the mood to see and do.
This quick and easy guide to Jeju’s best hotels and accommodations will help you decide where to stay. Whether you’re in the mood for an exciting road trip, tons of shopping and food crawls, or barefoot luxury, we’ve got the best of the island for you.
Where to stay in Jeju – the best hotels in South Korea’s holiday island
Top tips – choosing the best places to stay in Jeju
- If you’re only staying for a night or two, stay in Jeju City. There’s already so much you can do in the area without having to drive all the way to the island’s southern area. For a quick taste of Jeju’s natural landscapes, consider taking a day trip to Udo Island and then spend the rest of your stay going around Jeju City.
- If you’re staying for more than three nights, break up your stay. Stay one to two nights in Jeju City, then move south to Seogwipo City. This way, you’ll be able to explore more of the island without having to drive long distances each day.
- If you’re looking for a really relaxing and laidback vacation, stay in Jungmun Tourist Area. You’ll find most of the tourist attractions in this area and you’ll be able to spend your vacation just lounging and relaxing by the beach. This is also ideal for big groups and holiday-goers who like to take it slow. Some hotels in this area can also arrange for an airport/ferry pick-up and all-in tours, so you don’t need to do anything anymore and can spend all your time and energy enjoying your vacation.
Note: If you’re driving, you can use the phone numbers provided to navigate using your rental car’s GPS system. To find out more about driving in South Korea, read these guides: Driving in South Korea, How to use the Korean GPS.
Map – Landmarks and best hotels in Jeju Island
Overview: Jeju Island’s best places to stay
Jeju Island has two big cities where you’ll find all the best accommodations – Jeju City and Seogwipo City.
Jeju City lies to the north and is the main entry point to the island whether you’re arriving by air or by sea. This is a great area to do some shopping, historic sight-seeing, and food-tripping.
To get more of Jeju Island’s subtropical charms, you’ll have to drive south to Jeju’s second biggest city, Seogwipo. This is the ideal base for hiking and beach-hopping. This is generally a more rustic and laidback city than the commercialized and bustling Jeju City.
Another area where you can look for hotels in Jeju is Jungmun Tourist Area. This is technically still within Seogwipo, but this area was developed specifically with tourists in mind. You’ll find a lot of the high-end resorts and hotels here, as well as museums and shopping complexes.
Whether you’re coming to the island by air or sea, you’ll be passing by Jeju City, the island’s northern and main city. The city houses the island’s airport and main ferry which connects it to South Korea’s mainland. Fun fact: the Seoul-Jeju air route is the busiest in the world, with 11.1 million passengers in 2015!
Eleven odd million tourists definitely see something worth visiting Jeju for each year. The main city is a great base if you’re looking to do some shopping and food-tripping. You’ll also be near tourist attractions like Manjanggul Cave and Mount Hallasan.
If you plan to explore the island using public transportation, Jeju City is also a great base as you’ll always be within walking distance of a bus terminal. Just note that going from one end of the island to the other via bus can take hours, so make sure to factor that in when making your plans.
Best hotels and accommodations in Jeju City
★Travelers’ Pick: To give your Jeju holiday a great start, book your first night at Hotel Leo, one of Jeju’s best hotels. It has everything you’d want for a hotel – beautiful rooms, an art gallery, an on-site buffet restaurant, plus a great central location. It’s a great base for exploring Jeju City. Double rooms start at USD 100. (Navigate: 64-754-7000)
For larger groups, check out holiday rentals around Jeju City. Sky Tary is just a short drive from Jeju City center where you can enjoy spacious rooms and views of the sea. Apartments start at USD 130. (Navigate: 64-742-7042)
For a budget hostel in Jeju City, check out Mir Guesthouse. You’ll enjoy bright rooms and modern amenities, plus an observation deck and an in-house restaurant. Beds start at USD 30. (Navigate: 64-900-2561)
Quick tips for exploring Jeju City
- What to see and do: Shop! If you’re driving, park at Lotte Duty Free Shop (Navigate: 64-747-0283). If you like hiking, check out the Jeju Olle trails. Get on and off the Jeju Golden Bus and make your way around the city. You can also visit Udo Island as a fun day trip.
- Where to eat: When in Jeju, you have to eat seafood. Check out Haejin Hoetjip Seafood Restaurant (Navigate: 64-722-4584) and Myeongjin Jeonbok Abalone Restaurant (Navigate: 64-782-9944). If you’re in the mood for traditional noodle soup, head to Olrae Guksu (Navigate: 64-742-7355).
For that rustic island vibe, head to Seogwipo City.
This is Jeju Island’s second largest city, right in the middle of the island’s beautiful natural landscapes. The Seogwipo city center is a great base to explore the southern area – from the volcanic cone or “oreum” of Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak to the east, to the gorgeous waterfalls and parks to the west.
If you’re arriving to Jeju Island on a morning flight or ferry, I suggest you go straight to Seogwipo. From Jeju City, this is about a 2-hour drive. Look into one of the recommended hotels in Seogwipo below, and use that as a base to explore the southern parts of Jeju.
Best hotels and accommodations in Seogwipo City
★Travelers’ Pick: For a great (and amazingly affordable!) stay in Seogwipo, check out Virginia Hotel. It’s got a great location, beautiful rooms, modern hotel amenities, and room rates that won’t break the bank. Double rooms start at USD 60. (Navigate: 64-767-5555)
For bigger groups, look into holiday homes like Story Ville. It’s the perfect rental for couples and families, with overlooking views of Beomseom Island, a garden pool, and spacious houses. Vacation homes start at USD 200. (Navigate: 64-738-1320)
For budget accommodations in Seogwipo City, check out Mimi Guesthouse. It’s right at the heart of Seogwipo and features comfortable rooms and modern amenities. Beds start at USD 20.
Quick tips for exploring Seogwipo City
- What to see and do: You’ll be very near to most of Jeju Island’s tourist destinations. Be sure to hop over to the Jungmun Tourist Area to check out the waterfalls and the quirky museums. Allot one day to go to Udo Island and trek up the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak. Go on a yacht sightseeing tour.
- Where to eat: Personally, I loved the food options in Seogwipo City a lot more than those in Jeju City. One of our favorites was a restaurant specializing in black pork meat, which happens to be Jeju’s specialty. Make sure to pay a visit to Jeju Hukdon Saesang Suragan (Navigate: 64-762-8588) for one of the best BBQ experiences in South Korea. Try also the abalone soup in Jeju Halmang Ttukbaegi Restaurant along the Chilsimni Food Street (Navigate: 64-733-9934). While you’re in Chilsimni, explore the other restaurants for more seafood options.
For a totally relaxing and leisurely stay in Jeju, stay within the Jungmun Tourist Area. You almost won’t need to go anywhere else during your stay here, as there are lots of attractions within the tourist complex.
You’ll also find the best, high-end resorts in this area providing the perfect getaway from the city. You can spend your holiday lounging at the beach and eating fresh seafood, or pamper yourself in the hotels’ in-house spas and wellness centers. You won’t need to drive yourself around either, as the hotels offer great tour packages.
All this luxury comes at a price, of course, so if you’d rather stay at a more affordable location, check the hotels in Seogwipo City downtown on the previous section. If you don’t mind splurging occasionally though – maybe you’re celebrating something special? – read on for Jeju’s best luxury hotels.
Best luxury hotels in Jeju – Jungmun Tourist Area
★Travelers’ Pick: One of the best luxury hotels in Jeju is Kensington Jeju Hotel. It’s just a few minutes’ walk from the Jungmun beach and with indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center and sauna, two superb restaurants, and amenities for yoga and meditation, it’s the perfect, perfect island getaway. Double rooms start at USD 360. (Navigation: 64-735-8900)
Up next on our list of luxury hotels in Jeju is The Shilla Jeju, also with superb amenities – beautiful and modern rooms, pools and a fitness club, as well as an onsite casino for international guests. Double rooms start at USD 500. (Navigation: 64-735-5114)
Another top-notch hotel to check out in Jeju is Lotte Hotel Jeju. Its entertainment complex, outdoor pool, and casino will surely keep you entertained for days. Their spacious rooms also have great views of the natural landscapes, so you’ll surely be torn between staying within the luxurious hotel complex or heading out to discover more of the island. Double rooms start at USD 430. (Navigation: 64-731-1000)
Last on this list is Hyatt Regency Jeju, the ideal base if you want to stay right on the beach. You also have the option to swim in their indoor and outdoor pools, as well as work on your beach body in the hotel’s fitness center. This is a non-smoking property perfect for families with children. Double rooms start at USD 275. (Navigation: 64-733-1234)
Quick tips for exploring Jungmun Tourist Area
- What to see and do: Make the most of your luxury accommodations! Then check out the Yeomiji Botanical Garden and the Cheonjeyeon Falls. Complete your stay with a luxury yacht sailing trip that will bring you to Jeju’s beautiful coastlines – you may even spot some dolphins!
- Where to eat: Definitely try Jeju’s specialty, the black pork. For a BBQ with a view, check out Hayeong, a hill top Korean restaurant serving great food and stunning views. (Navigation: 64-738-6011).
If you’re going to travel around South Korea, check out these other guides on the Little Holidays:
If you want to see Jeju in a day, go to Udo Island. With beautiful beaches, scenic peaks, and flowery fields, a day trip to Udo Island is perfect for a laidback holiday.
Here’s everything you need to know about driving in South Korea. Of all the places in South Korea, Jeju is the most fun to drive in!
If you have a little bit more time to spare in South Korea (and you happen to love the sea a lot), hop over to Busan!
While you’re at it, check out this neighborhood guide to Seoul! It comes with a nifty quiz so you’ll be done with your South Korea trip bookings in no time.
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I hope this guide helps you choose the best accommodation in Jeju, South Korea! Wherever you decide to stay in Jeju, I’m sure you’ll have fun. So pack your bags and get ready to enjoy this amazing island!
Thanks for reading and happy travels to South Korea!
First published – May 23, 2017
Last updated – August 12, 2018 – fixed format, updated information on hotels and sights, added travel-planning tips