Jeju Island can be reached via plane or ferry from mainland. Unlike a lot of places the airport is close to Jeju City making it easy to get downtown and start exploring. We took the bus, bus number 100. The buses in Jeju don’t take cash bee, so first I ran off to a convenience store and got a T-money card, filled it up and we were good to go. For all buses in Jeju you don’t need to buy passes, you can just use your card to tap on and off. For the special express buses across the island they’ll probably ask you your destination.
We got a map at the airport of Jeju and its larger bus routes. There are about 12 main bus routes that go throughout Jeju. We went to the bus terminal, in the hopes that it would make things easier. We told them the name of where we were going which was usually a bus stop name (example: O’sulloc, Moseulpo, and Manjanggul) Then we were sold one way tickets.
The tickets stated the time our bus would leave and which platform to meet it at, which was extremely helpful. The first day it went great. We got to O’sulloc on bus 755 very easily. But it was the other days that didn’t go quite so well. When we wanted to go to Moseulpo, we wanted to go to Moseulpo Harbor, the last stop for the 755 but instead ended up on the 750 which for some reason didn’t even go to its last stop and just dropped us off in the middle of town. Then on our last day we wanted the 990 and ended up on the 701 and were sold a ticket at 2:10 pm for a bus that left at 2:00pm. It was a mess.
My suggestion would be to know which bus will take you where you want to go and get on that bus and no other. While the 750 and 701 got us near where we wanted to go they ended up dropping us off places we didn’t expect which cut into our time and left us confused. The 755 is the only line that goes to O’sulloc so it would’ve been very difficult to mess that up. Plus you don’t have to go to the bus terminal to catch the bus you want, it just happens to be where most of them start and stop.
There’s also tons of buses in Jeju city to help you get around, like this handy sign at our Hostel. There is also a Jeju bus app, however we had difficulty figuring it out since the app is in Korean, with little to no English.
Another semi-popular way to get around is by Taxi. There were moments where it was the best way to get where we wanted to go (Camellia Hill) and other moments where it was necessary (getting back from the caves). It can get pricy but sometimes you can also get a discount, on our last day we decided it would be quicker to just take a taxi to Loveland, a notorious NSFW art park a little bit out of Jeju City. To our surprise by taking a taxi we ended up getting a discount at the park, not a big discount but we saved a couple won by giving our taxi driver our money and him buying our tickets.
The other popular way to get around Jeju is by car. A lot of people rent cars and then have free reign over what they want to do and where they want to go, not constrained by bus schedules or the availability and price of taxis. We didn’t try this but several of my friends have and prefer it. There are also tours which will take you to multiple highlights for a fee, which I may try to do if I return.
The other way to travel, outside of biking or horseback riding is around the island hiking on the Olle trail. There are 26 scenic routes around Jeju, though I’m unsure whether you can stay on the trail and just hike the entirety of Jeju island. The shortest routes are 3 hours while the longest are about 8 hours and they range in difficulty. We managed to see a couple of route markers while we were out.
I feel like you never know what you’re going to stumble upon in Jeju, a place packed to the brim with nature and tourist-y entertainment. Like when we found ourselves at a rather intense fountain light show, complete with storm, projected animation and fire across from Dongmun market along the stream.
But it sure was an adventure and I hope I can go back, I’m already making a to-do list. I can’t believe I ran out of time to go to a beach or Hallasan mountain. At least my trip ended with delicious patbingsu.