5 Great Jeju Island Hotels off the Beaten Track

 

Jeju Island is one of the busiest holiday destinations in Asia. Each month up to 100,000 people visit the island and as a result Jeju Island hotels have a wide range to choose from including standard hotels, motels, resorts, minbak, campsites, hostels and guesthouses. Many hotels are amazing value for money but unfortunately many more are astonishingly overpriced, poorly located or run-down.  (For more information on travelling in Jeju Island see our new eBook.)

If you are walking or riding around Jeju Island using the Jeju Olle trails or a decent part of it, accommodation can be a concern.   On the bnbhero website there is a page dedicated to the Jeju Olle Trails where you can locate and book accommodation.      However, we tend to play it by ear, as it can be hard to predict how far we will get, particularly with headwinds.  A good way to find accommodation is to download the naver maps app and do a search for accommodation near where you are.  So we use our smartphones (make sure you have data before you go!) and type in 민박 (minbak/guesthouse) or 호텔 (hotel) to find the nearest accommodation in our vicinity.   The trip advisor app can also have some accommodation listed with reviews in English.  Search under B&B for guesthouses or minbak for some of the best value accommodation in Jeju Island.

We’re often asked about good places to stay in Jeju Island so we’ve put together this list of our favorite places that are more off the beaten track (i.e. in the countryside and usually near the Olle trail). It’s by no means a comprehensive list – these are just a few that have found a place in our hearts.

1. Island Tree – Pension

Island Tree is a neat and clean family run “pension” guesthouse in the beautiful little town of Hwasun on the Southwestern corner of Jeju. Hwasun has a yellow-sand beach which is great for kids – it usually only has small waves and is shallow for a long way out.

It’s a little pricier than what we’re used to but Island Tree is a very nice and relaxing stay and well worth the money. Everything is clean and new with wooden floorboards and very comfortable bedding. Each room has a neat little kitchen with utensils and pots – so you can cook your own food.   The price of our room included a delicious coffee in the morning from the café downstairs with views of the sea – great idea! This is a nice place to stay and relax for a few nights or to use as a base for exploring the rest of Jeju Island if you’re travelling by car or taxi.

There are a few rooms ranging from w80,000 to w100,000. We found the 80,000 “ondol” room enough for our needs, but the w100,000 standard room (with a queen size bed) has a lovely view of the sea.

Attractions nearby:

  • Hwasun beach is a 10 min walk away.
  • Sanbang Mountain and its incredible Buddhist temple is a 40-minute walk or a 5-minute drive away.

Address: 358-3 Hwasun-ri, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jejudo
Phone: 064 792 8777 (Korean and basic English)
www.islandtree.co.kr/net

Postscript: At this point it seems the Island Tree website is no longer up and running. We don’t know if they’re still open but will check soon and update this post when we know for sure.

2. Camping at Hyopjae & Geumneung Beach

OK, it’s not a hotel, but this is a really beautiful place to stay.   Hyeopjae Beach and its little sister Geumneung Beach are two of the most popular beaches on Jeju Island. They feature pristine white sand, black volcanic rock, a volcano shaped island on the horizon and crystal clear water. Both beaches are fairly heavily developed with hotels and pensions built right up to the sand but thankfully the land between the two beaches has been kept as a sort of forest-garden and a campsite.

It’s a very pretty spot and a beautiful place to camp. There are still some out of the way grassy areas where you can find a private place to pitch your tent. It’s just near the beach, but if you stay back in the trees a bit it’s still pretty quiet at night (high-season at the end of July-beginning of August may be different – see below).

Some words of caution:

  • Beware the giant centipedes (6 to 8 inches), they like to climb inside stuff like bags left open on the ground at night!
  • Korean beach-goers like to set off noisy fire-works at night… all night.
  • Camping during summer in Jeju Island is really hot and humid.
  • During the busy season (around July-August) Hyopjae Beach is lit up with massive floodlights at night and loud pop music is blasted out of loudspeakers…until the early hours of the morning – this may not be so good for light sleepers.
  • There are no free showers, but you can pay W2,000 for a very cold shower in a big shower cubicle.

Amenities: It’s free to camp here! There’s a free washing area for washing dishes and fairly clean bathrooms nearby. There are some Korean restaurants, several convenience stores and a fried chicken place near the beach.
Attractions nearby: Beautiful Hyopjae and Geumneung Beaches beach right outside your tent.

Geumneung Beach at sunset
Geumneung Beach at sunset

3. UFO Pension

The UFO pension is an outrageously kitsch place to stay and we love it – its right by the sea just a short drive out of Jeju city. The building itself resembles a real, life-sized UFO parked on the rocks beside the ocean. When we first saw it our reaction was “That is hideous!” but Sebastian (aged 9 at the time) said “That’s amazing! We have to stay there!” So we decided to try it… and were pleasantly surprised. It’s very clean, comfortable and well designed. All the rooms are clean, comfortable, colorful and have excellent views of the sea. In fact UFO is so close to the sea that you can listen to the waves breaking outside your window as you go to sleep.

The lady who runs it is really helpful and kind too. This is a good place to use as a base for exploring the East coast by car or as a stopover for cyclists. Standard rooms cost W70,000 while the large family Suite on the 3rd floor will set you back W140,000

Attractions nearby:  Unfortunately there are no beaches, but the rocky coastline is a great place to explore rock pools at low tide.
Phone: +82 64 744 0600 (Korean only)
Email: ksb8743@korea.kr
Address: 765 Aewolhaean-ro Aewol-eup, Jeju-si, Jejudo, South Korea
www.jejuufo.co.kr

The UFO Pension
The UFO Pension

4. Kilsunae Minbak 길수네 민박

This peaceful little minbak is really just the top floor of a two-storey house. It’s quiet, clean, well-organised and filled with light. It’s on the north-west coast and is not particularly close to any beaches, but it’s peaceful and quiet and would make a great base for exploring the island by car.

Kilsunae Minbak is more like a pension – you get a whole self-contained unit for W60,000 complete with a large sleeping/living area, your own little kitchen, private bathroom and 2 balconies. As with many minbak there are no standard beds, just thin mattresses and bedding for the floor.   The house is surrounded by a neat little garden, and on the edge of small village surrounded by a mixture of houses and vegetable fields. The lady who owns the house is helpful, kind and will be very patient with you even though she doesn’t speak a word of English. There is also a secure shed for bicycles if needed.

If you’re on a tight budget, there is a small room on the ground floor for W30,000 but we don’t recommend it as it’s not very private – you would have to walk through the owner’s living area to get to the bathroom. Ask the owner about discounts during the off peak times, particularly in the Fall.

Attractions nearby:
There are not many things to do near here, but here is a nice place to take stock and relax for a while. On the coast straight down the hill from the minbak there is a small, shallow (thigh-deep) swimming spot. The water is spring fed and separated from the sea by a low wall – the water is extremely cold and refreshing.
Phone: 011 289 0097/ 011 755 5780 (Korean only)
Address: Jeju City
제주시 애월읍 신엄리 1149-1 (신엄리9길 22-4)

Minbak in a spare upstairs room. South Korea
Kilsunae Minbak

5. Donghwan Minbak   동환민박

Donghwan Minbak is in an old dusty brown two-storey building above a restaurant right next to the sea in a tiny speck of a village on a wave-battered stretch of coastline. Everything about the place looks faded from the sun and time – this place has seen better days. It’s right on the edge of town and the wind blows day and night whistling through the building – sounds kind of depressing right? It’s not, it’s absolutely lovely. The rooms are clean and everything works just fine (except the TV), there’s even a little kitchen and fridge and table and chairs on the balcony. The owner is polite and helpful and the view from your room is nothing but ocean and beautiful distant islands. In the evening you can watch the sunset over the sea without leaving your room. And the best thing is it’s only w30,000 a night! If you’re planning to seclude yourself away somewhere lonely and romantic to finish writing your novel – this is it.

Attractions nearby:

  • Beautiful rugged coastline: You’re not supposed to swim there, as it’s not a designated swimming area but we managed a dip in some rock-pools. There are no life-guards so be careful.
  • Boat tours to nearby Chagui Island
  • Submarine rides
  • A short ride or drive from one our favourite cafes, Curry & Coffee Murmulda.

Phone: 064-772-2955 (Korean only)
Email: ksb8743@korea.kr
Address: The minbak is above Donghwan Restaurant and run by the same owner. 동환식당 제주특별자치도 제주시 한경면 고산리 3615-6
Map: http://map.naver.com/?lng=126.1645908&lat=33.3082196&dlevel=11&mapmode=0&pinId=16890192&pinType=site&enc=b64

One of the rooms at Donghwan Minbak
One of the rooms at Donghwan Minbak

 

New lovely B&B’s, hotels and motels are springing up all the time in Jeju Island and we’re always on the lookout to try out new places.  These are a couple that have caught our eye that we hope to stay in next time we go to Jeju Island.
Chanta & J’s Cafe Guesthouse near Seongsan Ilchubong
Botong Guesthouse near Seogwipo

If you have a favorite that we haven’t included we’d love to hear from you in the comments or on our Facebook page.  If you’re interested in Jeju Island, take a look at our new film Jeju: A Bicycle Adventure in South Korea.

2 comments

  1. This is a wonderfully informative list and is going straight into my bookmark folder until I get the chance to use it in the warmer months of next year…From what I have been reading, Jeju Island is chock full of things to do, and sounds like more than a long weekend is required to fit it all in! I have also heard that there are some great scuba spots…do you scuba? Any recommendations?

    1. Thanks Lara. Sorry for taking so long to reply! Unfortunately we don’t scuba. Sorry, can’t help you there. Yes, we’d definitely recommend you spend more than a long weekend on Jeju… I recommend at least a week.

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