It’s time for the fifth entry in my series of itinerary ideas for my potential trip to Japan and Korea later this year. Today I’m focusing on the Jeju Island, which I’ve colored red in the Google Maps screenshot below. I spent three days driving around Jeju Island back in 2017 and while I currently think it’s improbable that I’ll revisit it this year I thought it be a good exercise to brainstorm ideas for a possible return trip. If I do end up going back to Jeju again hopefully the weather will be better since it was cloudy and windy almost the whole time when I was there in 2017.
Hallasan National Park
Located in the very center of Jeju Island, Hallasan National Park is centered on Mt Hallasan, a dormant volcano that is also South Korea’s tallest mountain. I completed skipped Hallasan National Park in 2017 because low, thick clouds meant I wouldn’t have a view from up on the mountain. While I’m not much of a hiker, if I were to return to Jeju and the weather was good I’d try to complete at least one of the hiking trails.
I visited Sunrise Peak in 2017 and although this might sound odd, I think it might be better for me to get there closer to midday if I can’t get there right at sunrise. This is because a ton of tour buses show up in the morning hours, making the whole place very crowded, and because the sun position in the morning makes it trickier to photograph the mountain from down on the nearby beach. Sunrise Peak is definitely worth a second visit if I return to Jeju but I’ll delay my arrival a little bit.
About 1.5 miles across the water from Jeju’s eastern shore is Udo Island. I could see Udo from up on Sunrise Peak but I didn’t visit it in 2017 so I might try to get out there if I return to Jeju. From the reading I’ve done online, it seems like Udo is like a miniature version of Jeju with some nice scenery and a small peak on the island to climb. I’d only be day tripping to Udo from Jeju but it could make for an interesting time.
I drove along a lot of Jeju’s coastline in 2017 and stopped at 3 or so beaches but the weather meant I couldn’t fully enjoy them. Of the ones I visited in 2017 my favorite was Hyeopjae, which is on the island’s northwestern shore. Should I come back to Jeju in 2019 I’d pay Hyeopjae another visit but I’d also like to see some new ones, particularly if the weather is good. I’d be willing to bet there’s at least one or two spots on the island’s southwestern coast that get really good sunsets.
Like most people, I arrived on Jeju Island by flying into Jeju City. Immediately afterwards I got a rental car and drove south to the town of Seogwipo where my hostel was located. Part of me feels slightly guilty for not bothering to check out Jeju City so maybe if I find myself again on the island I’ll take at least a few hours to see Jeju’s capital. Perhaps there’s not too much there that interests me but if I have some spare time I might try to at least experience some of it.
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