ALL ABOUT JEJU: Jeju Bus Tour + The Easiest Way To Go Around Jeju Island (Day 4-5 | Sponsored by Trazy.com)
Do you have any plans of going to Jeju after exploring every corner of Seoul? To me, heading to Jeju one time is never enough. It might look like a tiny round island in maps, but I learned that it is even BIGGER THAN SINGAPORE. Maybe that's why one full day during my visit in 2016 was not enough. I was only able to go to their museums like the Hello Kitty Land, Teddy Bear Museum, O'sulloc, and the Van Gogh exhibit at that time.
Now that it's my second time in the island, I made sure to correct a few mistakes. First, I have to be ready even before my flight by knowing where I want to go and booking Jeju Island Bus Tour through my favorite Korean online booking site Trazy.com. Second, location-wise I chose a hostel that's nearer the places I want to go to. In 2016, a bus ride from my hostel near the airport to my destination will take me an hour and a half. Ubos oras talaga that you won't be able to go to so much places as planned! Anyway, so you don't have to commit the same mistakes that I did, here's a blog post just for you!
Where To Stay In Jeju?
This is my neighborhood in Seogwipo. I booked a hostel in the south of Jeju so that I am nearer the sites that I aimed to visit. As mentioned earlier, in 2016 I stayed in a hostel near the airport and it was just too far from places that I wanted to see. The name of my hostel is Slow Citi Hostel which I blogged more about on this post. It only costed me Php 2,614 for FOUR nights already. I always pick a hostel or dormitory over a hotel, especially in Korea since they are usually safe and clean even with the privacy set-up.
I learned through my tour guide that it has been THREE YEARS since Jeju experienced this kind of heavy snow storm. I am not sure if this is unfortunate to some, but as a girl who lives in a country that's only sunny and rainy--I think it's very lucky for me to experience this!
How To Go To Jeju from Seoul?
On my two trips in Jeju, my entry point is from Gimpo International Airport to Jeju International Airport. I booked all my flights via JejuAir since they have the best Korea domestic airfare for me. My flight from Seoul to Jeju costs just around 23,000 KRW or Php 1,150 inclusive already of taxes!
Going to Gimpo International Airport from your place in Seoul is possible by just taking the subway. There are airport buses that go to Incheon International Airport, but you still have to take the train for Gimpo so I guess the direct subway line is best. I was able to take the skipping train from Express Bus Terminal Station, so it cut my travel time almost in half. Since the luggage allowance in JejuAir is just 15 kilos, I made sure to pack light. This is also advantageous to me since I have to commute all the way!
How To Go Around Jeju?
Again, I learned a lot from my 2016 Jeju trip as I did not know then that bus is their main mode of transportation. You can actually use your T-Card even when in Jeju, or you can just pay in cash that you can drop in a clear box in front, next to the driver. He will also give you exact change through a machine that resembles the ones in vendo machines.
For me, it's a bit harder to understand bus lines, bus numbers, and bus stops compared to just learning a train line, but even harder to WAIT for buses in the cold! I also realized that bus stops are still far from some of the Jeju tourist destinations, so prepare yourself for WALKATHONS!
Another mode of transportation is the taxi, which obviously will be too expensive. Not a good idea if you're a budget traveler like me! Some rent their own car online but then again if you don't have license or you don't drive like me haha then this is not an option.
Now the best decision I made for this year's winter in Jeju trip is joining Jeju Island Bus Tours. It might sound costly at 75.5 USD (or around Php 3,775), but it will take you to more places in a day which you can't do on your own (this is based from my 2016 experience!).
Why Book for a Jeju Bus Tour?
Joining Trazy.com bus tours made my Jeju trip a little bit restful and chill. They picked me up from a walking distance hotel near my accommodation. I don't have to navigate and get lost, or wait for a bus that takes 30 minutes or so to arrive.
Meet up point will be indicated in an email you will receive after booking and days prior your tour:
Our spacious and comfortable tour bus:
I also realized that when joining tours like this, time will be more managed. I have to be extra conscious of all the given meet up time, or I will be left by the bus! This is also to my advantage since we were able to finish around 4-5 things in our itinerary for the day. The allotted time per location is also just enough, although of course there will be spots where I wanted to stay a little bit longer. But if your goal is to see more in just a few days in Jeju, then this is the way to go.
Another plus points for me is that with the price you paid for, it is already inclusive of all the entrance tickets so you don't have to think of them anymore. It also includes lunch! And they're always restos that are highly recommended! One time we even had a buffet. With this, you don't have to waste time thinking of where you can eat good Korean food, and for both tours I joined there is always available vegetarian option.
And lastly, and this is more relational, I enjoyed being in tours because I get more information and trivia about a place with our very knowledgeable Korean tour guide. Btw, they have an option of a Chinese tour or an English tour. Other than that, since I am alone, I made friends with my fellow tourists.
My seatmate and new friend through the Jeju Bus Tour, Christie from Jakarta, who was with her parents. They were kind enough to ask me if I want to join their table during our first lunch, and I am super grateful for that since it's so awkward when you travel alone and don't know where to seat or if I should just eat alone! Plus, we always had so much to talk about!
With our tour guide + Christie. It was a cold and windy trip!
Christie's dad loves to take our candid shots!!
With Christie's parents Ferdinand and Sassy:
They always call me during family photos, huhu!
The Jeju Bus Tour Options!
There are actually THREE Jeju Bus Tour available via Trazy.com: West Course, East Course, and South Course, all at $75.50. If I can, I would have booked for all three tour days so I can fully explore Jeju, but at the time I was booking, the South Course was not available. Anyway, so I took both the West and East Course.
Sharing photos from these two days:
Jeju Bus Tour West Course
Huge botanical theme park in Jeju, with different sections from caves to bird parks to flower gardens. I got lost here, haha! It was super huge than it looks! I think it is also prettier when we visited because of all the snow, but I can also imagine it with lots of flowers during spring and summer!
It was super windy when we went there, but no doubt Hyeopjae is Jeju's most beautiful beach! Overlooking from where we were standing are rock formations that resemble a pregnant woman! Ang cute!!
I made my own bibimbap, and got lots of veggies plus a bowl of soup on the side. Yummy!
O'Sulloc Tea Museum
I finally tried the famous O'Sulloc green tea ice cream, and went up the viewing deck to see the snowy tea farm.
Literally means "A cave inside a mountain", Sanbangsan came about 700,000+ years ago as a result of a violent volcanic activity. We weren't able to walk around at that time because of the strong snow and winds.
Jeju Bus Tour East Course
Horse Riding Experience
A short horseback riding experience, but still enjoyable for me as we were able to go around with a beautiful view of the snowy mountains. It's also the first time that I rode a horse during winter! Rental of cowboy hat and free use of locker are all inclusive in the tour bus package already. There's a photo op midway, where you can buy a framed photo souvenir by end of the course.
Seongeup Folk Village
One of the interesting locations we went to is the folk village in Jeju. I appreciate learning more about Jeju's history and culture by visiting the old houses and seeing actual stuff that they used. My most favorite part of this tour is the witty and informative narration of the house owner! He welcomed everyone to his ancestral home using the languages from the different countries that we all came from. Very cool guy!
He even jokingly said that the poster of Jewel in the Palace was a photo of when he and his wife were younger, hehehe. (btw some scenes of this kdrama were shot in this village)
I learned that back in the day, people of Jeju add an extra layer of hay on their roof every month, and change everything again every start of the year. In a way, they start summer with thinner layer of roof, and then it becomes thicker when the cool winter days arrive. Talk about function!
I also learned that Jeju mothers are very VERY hardworking. They carry this heavy clay pot filled with water, taking it around 3-5 times daily for their household supply. In Jeju, women work more than men.
There are also different meanings whenever they put these logs on their gate, depending on how many they put up:
Jeju BBQ or Bibimbap Lunch
A nice warm meal in the middle of all the activities! Those who preferred the Jeju BBQ even cooked their meat, while I got a huge serving of bibimbap.
Woman Diver Museum
Supposedly we were to watch an actual women divers show, but since the extreme weather did not permit it, we went for the plan B which is to visit the Woman Diver Museum. Not bad. I learned so much and was greatly affected by the strong women of Jeju, the haenyo or women divers, and how they are a big part of the province's matriarchal family structure.
As mentioned earlier, Jeju women worked harder than their men. In a documentary that we watched in the museum, most of the haenyo showed signs of tiredness and sadness, having to dive even though they are sick or just gave birth. Their perseverance inspire me. They dive without oxygen, and they start very young, no doubt the haenyo women are a big part of Jeju's economy, culture, and history.
They use this belt with varying number of weights to determine how deep they want to sink in the sea:
T he haenyo women built a very close camaraderie with their fellow divers as they share the same hardships everyday. I left the museum even more curious with the life that they lived, and the stories they shared.
Seongsan Sunrise Peak
I've been wanting to see this for the longest time! In photos, the Seongsan Sunrise Peak from bird's eye view has a huge crown crater in color green that looks like matcha!! Yun pala you will need to hike or view it from a helicopter to see this, hehe! Anyway, we strolled around the foot of the mountain, and enjoyed the view of snow and the sea.
One of the world's finest lava tunnels, the Manjanggul Cave was formed when lava spouts from deep in the ground and flows to the surface. The Manjanggul Cave has interesting lava stalagmites and tube tunnels, but we were only able to see it barely halfway. You have an option to go further, but with the call-time, Christy and I decided not to go too far.
Side-Trips: Jusangjeollidae and Gimnyeong Maze Park
Since the bus tours finish early at around 5-6pm, I decided to add side-trips in both days to maximize my short trip in Jeju. If you're planning to do this, just make sure to tell your tour guide ahead of time. I also made sure to choose a place that is nearer our last stop for the day.
During the West Course Tour, I stopped by Jeju's popular columnar rock formation the Jusangjeolli Cliff. Finally seeing this up-close is an achievement unlocked! This volcanic rock formation is similar to Ireland's Giant's Causeway, and to me it is even more spectacular in real life. When I was there, I heard "Yeppo!" countless of times!
Meanwhile, at the end of our East Course tour I asked to be dropped off at the nearby Gimnyeong Maze Land, a human maze in the shape of Jeju Island created by an American professor who fell in love with Jeju.
It is smaller than how it appears in pictures, but the maze and all its other areas are well-maintained. I enjoyed watching the "players" from the elevated areas, and finally tried Jeju's orange juice and orange pie before leaving. Oh, and you will also meet cute fat cats near their cafe!
I was able to go back to my hostel area by taking the bus 600. If you're clueless as to what bus number to take, don't forget to ask! I always ask the people behind the ticket booth of the tourist destinations since they are more knowledgeable with their area and usually they understand English.
In both days, I ended it with a good dinner. I tried the South Korean pizza chain Mister Pizza on one night, and another round of cheese ramyeun during my last night in Jeju.
Note that during winter or other extreme weather conditions, some of the activities in the itinerary might be replaced for safety reasons. Our group experienced this several times because of the sudden snowstorm, but even with the changes I never felt discounted. Jeju is really beautiful, and I am glad that I was given another chance to see more of it and this time I am at the right places.
Watch my Winter In Korea Day 4 Instagram Stories:
Watch my Winter In Korea Day 5 Instagram Stories: