South Korea

Journeying through Jeju: A Guide for All

Jeju Island has always been a magnet for holidaymakers and newlyweds alike. It is a perfect match for all looking for coastal relaxation, while the abundance of seafood offerings as well as Muslim-friendly eateries make this enchanting island ideal for Muslim travellers too.

Iho Tewoo Horse Lighthouse. Photo by Lee SH on Unsplash

Jeju Island has always been a magnet for holidaymakers and newlyweds alike. It is a perfect match for all looking for coastal relaxation, while the abundance of seafood offerings as well as Muslim-friendly eateries make this enchanting island ideal for Muslim travellers too.

As I stand before the awe-inspiring Iho Tewoo Horse Lighthouses, one crimson, the other ivory, both captivating against the crashing waves and the distant silhouette of promenading couples on the beach, I can’t help but muse, “Ah, Jeju, you’ve stolen my heart!”

Away from the frenetic pace of South Korea’s bustling metropolises, in the southern part of Korean Peninsula, lies the jewel of the nation – Jeju Island. Ringed by cerulean waters and adorned with pristine sandy shores, this haven boasts the majestic presence of Hallasan, a slumbering volcano at its core.

Life here seems to dance to a different rhythm, leisurely and inviting. The locals exude a warmth that instantly envelops you, while the landscapes, oh the landscapes – they are simply breathtaking! It’s little wonder that Jeju stands as South Korea’s ultimate holiday retreat, beckoning millions of visitors, both locals and international, year after year.

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Jeju Stone Park.
The Instagramable spot in Jeju Stone Park.

Is Jeju Muslim-friendly?

Jeju welcomes all, including Muslim travellers. While the island might not boast as many Halal-certified restaurants as Seoul, it’s a misconception that Muslim travellers won’t find any Halal food options here. In fact, it offers access to quite a number of Muslim-friendly eateries and prayer rooms at select locations. Jeju strives to ensure a welcoming and accommodating experience for Muslim travellers, allowing them to immerse in new cultures while upholding their religious and cultural beliefs.

If you’re seeking inspiration on what to explore, experience, and relish on this enchanting island, consider this your quick guide to making the most of your Jeju escapade.

TOP THINGS TO DO IN JEJU

Learn about the local folklore at Jeju Stone Park

Dol Hareubang, Jeju Stone Park.
Dol Hareubang, Jeju Stone Park.

Let’s kick off your Jeju journey at the Jeju Stone Park, a sprawling complex weaving the ancient tales of this magical island. Explore the landscape reminiscent of ancient villages and learn about the legends of Seolmundae Halmang, the mythical creator of Jeju.

But hold your breath; here’s the quirky bit – you can also meet a number of Dol Hareubang, aka “the grandfather statues” at the park’s outdoor exhibition area. They were believed to ward off demons in ancient times. Legend has it, rubbing their noses brings fertility! While that might be an amusing throwback, these grand protectors still stand tall, welcoming visitors and guarding the island’s history. Oh, and don’t miss that Instagram-worthy shallow pool at the edge of the park; it is practically begging for a snapshot!

📍 2023 Namjo-ro, Jocheon-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do

Play immersive games or take part in non-motorised race at 9.81 Park

9.81 Park, Jeju.
9.81 Park, Jeju, is the world’s first smart racing theme park.

Switching gears to a thrilling adventure, head over to the 9.81 Park. This smart racing theme park offers gravity-powered racing experiences that promise excitement against the breathtaking backdrop of Jeju. Feel the thrill of zooming down tracks in motorless vehicles powered solely by downhill acceleration. The park also features various indoor activities, including arcade games and an indoor survival battle game, ensuring non-stop entertainment even on rainy days.

📍 880-24 Cheondeok-ro, Aewol-eup, Jeju City

Go tangerine picking at Miryeong Tangerine Farm

selective focus photography of unpicked orange fruits during daytime
Photo by Hoyoung Choi on Unsplash

If life gives you tangerines, make sure they’re from Jeju Island! These juicy citruses are so well-loved by the South Koreans that a whopping 95% of South Korea’s tangerines hail from this island alone. So when in Jeju, it’s an absolute must to indulge in these zesty delights. But why settle for market picks when you can pluck your own? Experience the zest of harvesting tangerines amidst the bountiful orchards of Miryeong Tangerine Farm. Wander among rows of trees, heavy with ripe, juicy fruits, that bring out sweet, tangy aroma.

Did you know? Tangerines in Korea were once revered as royal fruits during the Joseon Dynasty. Interestingly, the oldest tangerine tree on the island, over four centuries old, still bears fruit!

📍 123 Deoksuseo-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si

Have a dreamy K-drama moment at Manor Blanc

Manor Blanc, Jeju
The colour of the garden in Manor Blanc changes throughout the year according to flower seasons.

Prepare to step into your own K-drama world at Manor Blanc. Sip on Jeju’s famed mandarin orange juice, savour delectable cake flavours like red velvet, and revel in aromatic coffee amid an exquisite collection of European tea sets fit for royalty.

But the real magic lies beyond the café’s doors. Wander into the enchanting garden, a canvas that changes hues with each passing season. In winter, behold the fiery red Camellias in bloom, while autumn paints the landscape in the mesmerising cotton candy pink hue of muhly grass, turning the setting into a fairytale dreamscape straight out of a storybook.

Pro tip: Timing is key! To make the most of Jeju’s ever-changing palette, plan your visit according to the island’s floral seasons.

pink-petaled flowers
Photo by Hoyoung Choi on Unsplash

📍 46 Iljuseo-ro 2100beon-gil, Andeokmyeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do

Pet friendly animals at Saebyeol Friends

Saebyeol Friends, Jeju
Feeding the friendly animals is one of the activities available at Saebyeol Friends, Jeju.

This charming farm sanctuary is home to an array of friendly animals that’ll warm your heart faster than a cuppa on a chilly day. Say hello to adorable alpacas, gentle sheep, and the majestic ostriches that roam these grounds. You can also feed some of the animals here. Bring the whole family along for an unforgettable day of fluffy encounters.

📍 4554-20 Bongseong-ri, Aewol-eup, Jejusi, Jeju-do

Spot airplanes and buy souvenirs at Jeju Iyagi Café

Jeju Iyagi Café, Jeju.
Jeju Internatiional Airport is one of the busiest airports in the country, hence, visitors will be able to spot the airplanes at Jeju Iyagi Café in every five minutes!

Jeju Island boasts some of South Korea’s trendiest cafes, and the Jeju Iyagi Café stands out as an absolute gem. Settle into its cosy ambiance and treat yourself to not just good coffee but also panoramic views of the sea. What’s more thrilling? Watching airplanes soar over the café, a spectacle that occurs every five minutes due to the nearby Jeju International Airport. Don’t forget to explore the ground floor brimming with an assortment of Jeju souvenirs – perfect tokens for loved ones.

Jeju Iyagi Café, Jeju.
Jeju souvenirs sold at Jeju Iyagi Café, Jeju.

Take aesthetic pictures with silver grass at Eoeumri

brown and green plants under blue sky
Photo by Youngsik Ahn on Unsplash

Calling all aspiring photographers and Instagram royalties! Autumn blankets Jeju Island with the ethereal beauty of silver grass, and Eoeumri is one of the best places to capture those envy-inducing, aesthetically pleasing moments. Strike a pose amidst this natural wonderland and watch those likes pouring in!

📍 2San 68-5, eoeum-ri, Aewol-eup

Catch sunset at Dakmeoreu Coast

a gazebo sitting on top of a cliff next to the ocean
Photo by Linda Yuan on Unsplash

Slow down your pace and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Dakmeoreu Coastal Road. This 1.8 km stretch offers a leisurely 30-minute stroll, ideal for witnessing breathtaking sunsets. Take your time, savour the moment, and allow the serene beauty of the coastline to soothe your soul.

📍 Sinchon-ri, Jocheon-eup

EATING IN JEJU

Hairtail / cutlassfish (galchi in Korean)

Cutlassfish at Choonshim’s House
The galchi meat is known for its tenderness.

In the heart of Jeju’s culinary heritage lies the coveted ‘Galchi’, known as hairtail or cutlassfish. It is often served in a spicy stew or the ‘Galchi Jorim’ in Korean; but do opt for the grilled version if you can’t handle the heat – it is milder but equally delightful!

Sure, mastering the art of extracting succulent white meat from delicate bones might require a touch of finesse, but trust us, the tender, sweet flavour makes it worth every effort. Find this signature dish sprinkled across Jeju’s dining spots; from the sea-front charm of Bada Punggyeong (yes, it’s Muslim-friendly!) to the celebrity-favoured Choonshim’s House, which is also a pork-free venue.

Knife-cut noodle soup with perilla seeds (deulkkae-kalguksu in Korean)

The wholesome meal served at Dasoni Restaurant.
The wholesome meal served at Dasoni Restaurant.

For a comforting meal, savour the knife-cut noodle soup infused with perilla seeds, known as deulkkae-kalguksu. The mild yet flavoursome soup complements the wonderfully chewy hand-cut buckwheat noodles. Head over to Muslim-friendly Dasoni Restaurant for a taste of this delicacy amidst a zen-like ambience, complete with traditional floor-seatings and a serene garden backdrop. Don’t miss out on their other specialties like Sujebi (hand-pulled dough soup) and lotus leaf rice.

Halal Indian food

Bagdad Halal Indian Cuisine is well-loved by locals and visitors in Jeju.
Bagdad Halal Indian Cuisine is well-loved by locals and visitors in Jeju.

When a craving for authentic North Indian delights strikes, Bagdad Halal Indian Cuisine is your saviour. From aromatic chicken makhani to perfectly prepared tandoori chicken and traditional naan bread, each dish is a journey for your taste buds. The friendly staff and inviting atmosphere will make this dining experience a memorable highlight. Pair your meal with a refreshing lassi or a perfect cup of masala chai tea for the ultimate satisfaction.

For those looking for more Halal-certified and Muslim-friendly options, a comprehensive list of restaurants can be found here.

Muslim-friendly restaurants and prayer rooms in Jeju.
Muslim-friendly restaurants and prayer rooms in Jeju.

STAYING IN JEJU

Grand Hyatt Jeju

Photo by Grand Hyatt Jeju.
Photo by Grand Hyatt Jeju.

If luxury is your travel mantra, the Grand Hyatt Jeju is your haven. As part of the Jeju Dream Tower, this hotel is the largest Grand Hyatt in Asia Pacific with 1,600 rooms and suites exuding contemporary elegance fused with modern Korean artistry. The rooms are the largest in the island, and come with floor-to-ceiling windows that allow guests admire the beautiful views of Jeju City.

Having said that, our favourite part of the hotel is the multitude of dining options available, from the vibrant ‘Las-Vegas’ style buffet, a world-class steak house to top-notch traditional Korean cuisines. Plus, there’s a dedicated retail space showcasing over 200 Korean fashion designers and brands for guests’ shopping delight.

ARRIVING IN JEJU

AirAsia X offers exclusive direct flight to Jeju from Kuala Lumpur.
AirAsia X offers exclusive direct flight to Jeju from Kuala Lumpur.

There’s currently no direct flight to Jeju from Malaysia, so one of the best ways to visit this dreamy island is to land at the Gimhae International Airport, Busan. AirAsia X is the only airline that offers direct services from Kuala Lumpur to Busan. The flight takes about 6 hours and 10 minutes, for three times a week. From the Gimhae International Airport, travellers can head to the domestic terminal and catch a connecting flight.

IMPORTANT NOTES

For more information, visit english.visitkorea.or.kr/svc/planYourTravel/travelInfo/subTravelBasics.do and english.visitkorea.or.kr/svc/thingsToDo/subMuslimFriendly.do.

Gaya Travel Magazine extends our heartfelt gratitude to Korea Tourism Organisation Malaysia Office, AirAsia X, and Jeju Tourism Organization as well as Jeju Special Self-Governing Province for making the writer’s trip to this beautiful island possible. Visit m.visitjeju.net/en for more information regarding Jeju.

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