Don’t let the fact it’s winter in Jeju Island put you off. Jeju in winter is a wonderful time to visit the island – less tourists and cheaper prices for all!
I visited Jeju last winter – at the start of December – and had a great trip. I spent two days in Jeju City (you only need one) and then had four days to explore the rest of what Jeju Island had to offer.
I hired a car and took myself on a solo road trip around the coast. Loved it!
I’ve put together a post on the best things to do in Jeju, to help you plan your trip, but that goes for all year round.
This post is specifically for anyone wanting to visit Jeju in winter.
I think Jeju Island would be a great place to visit when travelling comes back, and winter is a great time to go. Here’s why…
Top Tips for Visiting Jeju in Winter
Why visit Jeju Island in winter?
I managed to get good hotel rooms for £20ish per night, with private bathroom, a central location and a double bed all to myself. I was really happy with all the hotels I stayed in, although, I’d recommend you book hotels on the coast, in the smaller villages, rather than in the cities. One of the best things about Jeju Island, is the stunning coastline.
Read this article for help on booking the best places to stay on Jeju Island. Trust me!
Considering Jeju is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Koreans and Japanese people, it was really quiet in the December in Jeju that I was there.
Visit Jeju in winter and you get to enjoy blustery walks on muted beaches by yourself. The roads are quieter as tourists usually wait till summer, the museums are quieter, and you can actually get a good look at the impressive waterfalls without jostling for space.
So, the prices are better, the roads are quieter, the attractions less busy and you won’t get too hot – what’s not to love about visiting Jeju Island in winter, hey?
Let’s move on to what to do in Jeju in winter.
Jeju winter itinerary
If you’re looking for a winter itinerary for Jeju I’d definitely recommend you check out my road trip video for tips (embedded below).
I do intend on putting together a 4-day itinerary for Jeju, in time. Basically though, pick up a car from Jeju International Airport and then drive round the island coast road – click for more Jeju driving tips.
You can stop at waterfalls, museums and attractions along the way. For me though, it was the coastal villages that were the real highlight of Jeju.
A Jeju Island winter isn’t the same as winter in England – you can still get out and do things, and it’s very unlikely you’ll be snowed in. It did rain though, towards the end of my trip. So make sure you have your raincoat packed, and an umbrella sorted. With the right attitude it can just add to the atmosphere.
Weather in Jeju in winter
If you’re wondering about the weather in Jeju in winter, then watch this video I made about my Jeju Island road trip. You can check out the weather I experienced – from glorious sunshine to rain…
How to do a Jeju Island road trip
You really don’t have to worry about the cold on Jeju – the coastal climate and constant circulation of warm currents actually makes Jeju Island warmer than the rest of Korea. I was pretty warm when I was there – as you can see in my clothing choices in the video above. Especially compared to Seoul, I had to buy another jumper there it was so cold.
You will need to watch out for the wind though and definitely pack a coat!
I’ll never forget visiting one of the cafes at the end of the last day. It was SO windy, and this lady held up her 2ish year old onto the edge and let her stand there to feel the wind – a sheer drop into the sea on the other side.
Gawd, made me feel sick. I had to leave.
Does it snow on Jeju Island?
Yes, it can do in winter, especially on Hallasan Mountain.
On that note, if you’re planning on hiking up Hallasan Mountain in winter, you need to carefully study the weather maps so you know you won’t get caught in troublesome weather. It’ll make for amazing snow capped views if you time it right though, it’s not a UNESCO site for nothing!
I actually bailed on climbing Mount Hallasan, which was a shame as it was one of my main reasons for visiting the island. I just decided that with my inexperience, the amount of other things to do on the island, being by myself and the weather being so interchangeable – it just wasn’t a good idea.
Gutted to miss out on these incredible views though.
I didn’t actually realise there was a tour that runs year round on Jeju Island in winter. You can find the details of the Mt. Hallasan Small-Group Nature Hike & Lunch here. This is a better way of experiencing it, as you’ll have a guide and some support in the unpredictable weather.
Seongsan Ilchulbong / Sunrise Peak in winter
That’s Sunrise Peak in the background of the photo there.
You could still climb Sunrise Peak, if you’re looking for some outdoor adventure in Jeju in winter. Again, I’d recommend joining a group if you’re travelling by yourself though, just for fun and safety. There’s a highly rated UNESCO Sites & Sunrise Peak Hiking Small Group Tour which goes to Manjang Cave, Haenyeo (Woman Diver) Museum, and Seongsan Sunrise Peak here. This is a good way to travel between them if you don’t have a car, and an opportunity to experience the sites with someone who knows what’s going on!
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Indoor activities for winter in Jeju
I can strongly recommend you drive to the Clifftop Bar in the south east of the island. Stunning views out to sea, and a really cool bar too. Inside you can play games, chill on the bean bags and just soak up that sweet South Korea cool vibe.
READ MORE: The Best Places to Visit in Canada in Winter
Museums on Jeju Island in winter
Jeju Island is of course known as a beach destination, which isn’t always good for the winter. But, what many people don’t know is how much there is to do in Jeju that’s indoors.
There are over 100 museums on Jeju Island! Just a few examples include:
– The K-Pop Museum
– The Teddy Bear Museum
– Jeju Folk Village
– The Museum of Sex
– Space Museum
– Chocolate Land
– Greek Mythology Museum
– Aqua Planet Underwater Aquarium
And many, many more.
I actually really enjoy the Bukchon Dol Hareubang Park – a park set up to educate people about the importance of Dol Hareubangs to Korea. Although it is mostly outside, it’s worth getting your coat on for!
“Dol hareubangs, also called tol harubangs, hareubangs, or harubangs, are large rock statues found on Jeju Island off the southern tip of South Korea. They are considered to be gods offering both protection and fertility and were placed outside of gates for protection against demons travelling between realities.”
All of these are great for wintry rainy days, you just need to plan your schedule accordingly. Really, I should’ve looked at the weather and done my Jeju road trip anti-clockwise instead of clockwise – that way I would’ve ended up in the Jungmun Tourism Complex, in Seogwipo where most of the museums are, on the rainy days.
Ah well, no regrets. This way meant I did get to do the waterfalls in the good weather – so that’s a blessing.
Temples in Jeju
The Yakcheonsa Temple makes for a great stop off in Jeju in winter. Here you can stay over and live as the monks do, or just have a chilled and easy look round the temple.
It’s in stunning grounds and is huge (again, check out the video above). I spent a few hours here and really enjoyed listening to the monks singing, and being able to go upstairs in the temple too.
Cafes in Jeju
The Jeju Island cafe game is STRONG. There are so many cool cafes and places to eat dotted around the island – mainly on the coast – that you are going to be caffeined up to the MAX.
My favourite cafe for food was the Tangerine Cafe above, but for coffee, it’d be the famous Mônsant Cafe high up on the hill in Aewol. The Tangerine Cafe made me this amazing breakfast which after the week before in Japan, and a few days in Seoul, I was craving a bit of western food. It fit the bill perfectly!
This place was in an amazing location on the coast, and had some great walks nearby so you could really feel like you’d earned your cake at the end of it.
Things to do in Jeju in winter
You can still visit the Falls, the beaches, the temples, the peaks and the street markets in Jeju in winter, and all the other amazing Jeju attractions – you just need to keep an eye on the weather, and bring a rain jacket.
Check out my list of the 21 unique things you can do on Jeju for more inspiration.
Jeju in December is a great time to be there – there’s a slight Christmassy feel, and even British and American Christmas music playing in some places.
It’s tangerine picking time and some fields and cafes offer tangerine picking experiences you can join to keep you busy. You get to keep what you pick too!
My top thing to do in Jeju in winter though, apart from hiring a car and just travelling round the entire island, would be to visit the Botanical Gardens and climb the tower. I was genuinely amazed at how much you could see up there, and how cool the views were. It was also really nice and toasty warm.
As well as my blog post on Jeju year round, there are also some winter in Jeju specific activities, including snowflake mountain trekking, boat fishing and the flower paths at Camellia Hill to enjoy if you’re visiting Jeju in winter.
Visiting Jeju in winter
Crisp air, less tourists, blustery beach walks – Jeju in winter is definitely the best time for me to visit the island. Make sure to pick up one of these cool souvenirs from South Korea to remember your trip.
I’d definitely recommend adding Jeju to your Korea winter itinerary, along with Seoul, doing some Seoul day trips from there, and then I’ve heard Busan is wonderful too.
Somewhere for me for next time!
PIN THIS JEJU WINTER TRAVEL GUIDE FOR LATER
Friday 16th of September 2022
Hi Vicky! Loved your post, lots of useful information and tips. I have a question… How much you paid to rent a car in Jeju Island? Thank You Emme