With its scenic natural beauty, stunning beaches and fresh seafood, it's no wonder that the island of Jeju in South Korea is high on the list for many Muslim travellers.
Not only does the island make a good respite from city life, but there are also more options for Muslim-friendly eateries and amenities in Jeju in recent years which is great news for Muslims ? If you've been saving for a Jeju trip and thinking about how you can spend less for your trip, fret not. We've prepared this guide with 5 money-saving tips for the best Jeju vacay!
#HHWT Tip: Need help planning your itinerary? Our 5D4N Muslim-friendly Jeju itinerary is just what you need!
1. Look out for flight deals
Flying direct to Jeju
If you're planning to travel to Jeju without visiting other cities in Korea, then you'll definitely need to snag a good deal for your flight to Jeju. For those of you flying from Kuala Lumpur, the great thing is that there's a direct flight to Jeju via AirAsia!
Credit: @aida_sarah on Instagram
Fares can go for as cheap as RM300 one-way and from a search we did on AirAsia's website, it seems that September is low season. That's not such a bad time to travel as summer is just winding down - you'll get plenty of sunlight in the day and cooling nights. Plus, since it's not too cold, you can take advantage of the island's beaches too. If you can, try to avoid the peak season from mid-Mar to May (spring) or January as that's the peak travel season. But if you do want to travel during these times, be sure to book early and look out for AirAsia's BIG deals or Free Seats promotion ?
Flying from other parts of Korea
Credit: @tmblue04 on Instagram
If you're not flying from Kuala Lumpur but doing a multi-city route in Korea or even travelling from Singapore or Indonesia and making a transit via Seoul, then you'd be pleased to know that there are many flights from Seoul and Busan to Jeju daily. The best part is that they are generally inexpensive. Besides major airlines like Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, there are many local budget flights like T'way Air, Jin Air, Jeju Air, Eastar Jet and Air Busan. Average prices of domestic flights are around KRW35000-45000 one-way but you can even get cheaper deals from as low as KRW22000! Do note that if you're from Seoul, you'd have to take the domestic flights from Gimpo International Airport instead of Incheon. Use flight comparison sites like Skyscanner or Expedia to help you figure out which flight is cheaper.
P.S. Are you travelling to Jeju this 2019? Make sure you check out our guide on 10 exciting things you won't want to miss in Jeju!
2. Skip the hotels
The most important tip when finding accommodation in Jeju is to skip the hotels. For budget accommodation, your best option will be guesthouses. There's no shortage of guesthouses with various levels of privacy and comfort levels, and you don't have to forgo comfort for a good price. One thing you should know is that Jeju is a big island - it's 2.5 times as big as Singapore! And there are pockets of areas where accommodations are aplenty. We recommend staying in the Jeju or Seogwipo city centre as it will give you plenty of transportation options (we'll get to that later!).
Here are some guesthouses we'd recommend:
Yeha Guesthouse is the perfect choice for affordable accommodation in Jeju City. With a convenient location of just a 3-minute walk from the Jeju Bus Terminal, staying at the guesthouse means you can get around easily on public transportation or on foot.
Credit: @kameradanhenpon on Instagram
Rooms come with basic amenities like a mini-fridge, personal locker and an attached bathroom with toiletries, towels, and hairdryer. It is definitely value-for-money as you get to access the public kitchen, dining area, and lounge too!
Credit: @kiln49 on Instagram
Another point to note is that Yeha Guesthouse is Muslim-friendly. Halal ingredients are provided as well as cooking utensils for Muslim guests, and you are free to contribute food to other guests too! That way, you can conveniently whip up your own meals there. How convenient!
Address: 9 Samo-gil, Samdo 1(il)-dong, Cheju, Jeju-do, South Korea
Contact: +82 64 724 5506
Rate per night: From KRW39302 for Twin Room (with bathroom) on Agoda
P.S. Travelling to both Jeju and Seoul? We show you how you can cover the best of both places with our 5D4N Muslim-friendly Jeju-Seoul itinerary!
Here's another guesthouse in Jeju city that's worth a mention - Suji Guesthouse! What's great about Suji is that it's not too far off from the main city centre in Jeju but you'll also get views of Mt Halla and the natural scenery.
Credit: Geena George on Facebook
Besides twin, double and triple rooms, Suji also has family rooms that can accommodate from 4 up to 8 people with really affordable prices too.
Credit: Sham Shahrul on Facebook
Some of their rooms have mountain views too which makes it perfect if you want to take a break from city life.
Address: South Korea, Jeju-do, Cheju, Naedo-dong, Nonse-gil, 28-2
Rate per night: From KRW21450 for Twin Room and from KRW37727 for Family Room on Agoda
A great accommodation option in Seogwipo for the budget-conscious is Minjoonggak Guesthouse. This modest guesthouse is located close to the island’s many attractions.
Credit: @minjoonggak_ on Instagram
Though the price tag of a night’s stay at the guesthouse is not steep, rooms come equipped with air-conditioning and heating facilities. You can even find a television in your room! This cozy little guesthouse will definitely give you a bang for your buck for its very cheap but comfortable rooms!
Other than twin rooms and dorms, they also have triple rooms and a Korean traditional room at affordable prices too.
Address: 305-6 Cheonji-dong, Seogwipo, Jeju-do, South Korea
Contact: +82 64 763 0501
Rate per night: From KRW20689 for Twin Room (with bathroom) on Agoda
Strategically located near the city centre of Seogwipo, Kodakkodak seems to be a hit with budget travellers! From the guesthouse, you can get easy access to attractions like Jungmun Beach, Mt Halla and Seongsan Sunrise Peak, thanks to its perfect location near the Jungang Rotary bus stop. Not to mention that the guesthouse is also really near to the scenic Cheonjiyeon Waterfalls.
Credit: Kodakkodak Guesthouse Jeju on Facebook
The guesthouse has various rooms - single, double, family rooms for 3 or 4 and dorms so it'll suit any budget! Prices for their double room (with bathroom) starts from a really affordable price of just KRW19,800!
Address: 39, Cheonji-ro, Seogwipo City, 63592 Seogwipo, South Korea
Rate per night: From KRW19800 for Double Room (with bathroom) on Agoda
#HHWT Tip: If you are traveling with your family or in a big group, consider staying in pension lodgings. They are usually equipped with spacious rooms with private bathrooms and kitchen facilities, perfect for a great get-together! And what's great is that you can split the cost with your group and you'll save more too. Check out our complete guide on accommodations in Jeju and helpful tips ?
3. Plan your travelling route in detail
To help you minimise the cost needed for travelling around Jeju, the key thing is to plan your route in detail. As mentioned earlier, Jeju is a huge island and travelling from one end of the island to the other by car can take you around 1 hour, even more if you take a bus! It's only after knowing the various spots you want to visit and factoring in the travelling time to and from your accommodation can you decide if you need to rent a car, travel by public bus or take a taxi.
Travelling by public buses
If you're planning an all-out budget trip, of course travelling by public buses is the way to go. This is especially great for solo travellers or maybe a couple as renting a car might be less feasible as you'd have to pay more per person as compared to being in a large group. Bus fares in Jeju are really affordable and the bus network is pretty comprehensive. Plus, there's most likely a bus to get to popular attractions and sights too, so you don't have to worry.
Credit: @travel_bobkim on Instagram
There are 2 types of buses - trunkline and express buses. The fare for trunkline buses is set at just KRW1200 (KRW1150 if you use a rechargeable card like T-money) and one-way fares for express buses are priced from KRW2000-4000. That's really affordable if you ask us! Most buses will start from Jeju International Airport and make a stop at major bus stations like the Jeju Bus Terminal and Seogwipo Bus Terminal. Check out this map for the different bus routes in Jeju!
Besides public buses, there are also 2 tourist shuttle buses that run in the East and West part of the island. Both buses - 810 (East) and 820 (West) will bring you to various attractions like Camellia Hill, Jeju Maze Land, O'Sulloc Tea Museum, Hello Kitty Island and more. The fare for this bus is KRW1150 (per ride) but the frequency is either 30 minutes or 1 hour (depending on time) and they only operate from 8.30am-5.30pm. Do check this link out to find out more.
#HHWT Tip: If you're travelling around on Jeju's buses, do factor in the waiting and travelling time when you plan your itinerary as it takes longer to travel by bus.
Renting a car
Driving by yourself around Jeju is really the best way to get around the island as you're not bound by any timings and you'll get to cover multiple spots in one day. Renting a car might sound expensive but it doesn't have to be, especially if you're in a group of 3, 4 or more, then the car rental fees can be split among your travel group.
Credit: @ingsyuuu on Instagram
We highly recommend booking your car through Lotte Rent-A-Car or AJ Rent-A-Car as they’ll be able to converse with you in English. Car rental rates vary according to the car you choose but daily rates can start from as cheap as USD30-40. Before you rent a car, make sure you have your international driving permit with you and don’t forget to get full cover insurance for your car! One of the important things to know is that you should avoid same-day car rental at all costs as booking online in advance is always a cheaper option. Plus, during high season, you might not even be able to get an available car unless you book early.
#HHWT Tip: There are some companies like Lotte and AJ which lets you sign up for a membership for an even better discount ?
P.S. Did you know that there’s a prayer room on the second floor of Lotte Rental Car Autohouse? It’s even complete with Quran, qibla and prayer mats. Find more prayer spaces in Jeju here.
4. Explore Jeju's breathtaking nature without breaking the bank
One of the best things about Jeju is that nature is in abundance and visiting these scenic spots come with only a small fee or free! So, that means you can really save a lot if your purpose of visiting Jeju is to see its gorgeous natural sights.
Seongsan Ilchulbong (Seongsan Sunrise Peak)
Credit: @choi_he_ on Instagram
You can’t say you’ve been to Jeju without heading to Seongsan Ilchulbong – one of Jeju’s must-see destinations. The crater at the peak of Seongsan was formed after an undersea volcanic eruption thousands of years ago, making the place a scientific gem.
It’s also been called Seongsan Sunrise Peak but if you can’t wake up for sunrise, fret not as the view from up there is still magnificent any time of the day! It takes around 20-30 minutes to hike up to the top. The hike seems daunting at first as there are a lot of steps but just keep going and you’ll realise it’s not that bad! Do remember to wear comfortable shoes though.
#HHWT Tip: Once you’re done with the hike, get a hallabong juice (jeju orange juice) from one of the fruit juice stands. Gulping it down after all that climbing is the best reward you could possibly give yourself ?
Address: 284-12, Ilchul-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Opening hours: 7am-8pm (Apr-Oct), 7.30am-7pm (Nov-Mar)
Price: KRW5000, entrance is free on the first Monday of every month
You’ve probably seen a lighthouse near the beach in a Korean drama or movie. Chances are it was filmed at Seopjikoji! This picturesque cliff and beach area became a popular tourist spot after the hit Korean drama All In in 2003.
This scenic cliff area has some of the best views of Jeju’s coastline plus some incredible volcanic formations. Take in the stunning views at Seopjikoji and hear the sound of waves crashing – this is probably the best way to chill out and have a relaxing evening. It’s also a romantic place if you’re here with your significant other ?
#HHWT Tip: Climb all the way up to the lighthouse to get the best view of the cliff.
Address: 107, Seopjikoji-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Opening hours: 24 hours
Hike up Mt Halla
This one’s for the adventurous souls! If you’re in Jeju and you love a little bit of a challenge, why not hike up Mt Halla? At 1950 metres above sea level, it’s South Korea’s tallest peak! The best part - it's free ☺️
Credit: 산드라 Sandra on Facebook
Did you know that Mt Halla is actually a volcano? But it hasn’t erupted for more than 5,000 years so it’s practically dormant. You can climb the mountain all-year round (even in winter!) but the weather in summer and autumn/spring is milder and it’s a more favourable climate to climb.
Credit: Jeju Tourism Organization on Facebook
There are 5 hiking trails at Mt Halla but only 2 will take you to the summit – Seongpanak (9.7km) and Gwaneumsa (8.7km). While Seongpanak is longer, it’s also less steep and easier to climb. Plus, the start trail is better served by public transport. Gwaneumsa is a shorter route but it’s steeper and the view is more scenic, especially in autumn (pictured above).
#HHWT Tip: Do note that the park administration has a cut-off time for when you can start your climb as well as when you need to leave the summit. This is so that you won’t head back to base when night falls. Check out the Hallasan official website for more information and the opening times for the trails.
Seongpanak Trail starting point – 1865 516-ro, Jochon-eup, 조천읍 Cheju, Jeju-do, South Korea
Gwaneumsa Trail starting point – Sallokbuk-ro, Odeung-dong, Cheju, Jeju-do, South Korea
Opening hours: 5.30am (Spring – Mar/Apr & Autumn – Sep/Oct), 5am (Summer – May to Aug), 6am (Winter – Nov to Feb)
Cut-off time to start: 12.30pm (Spring/Autumn), 1pm (Summer), 12pm (Winter)
Cut-off time to leave summit: 2pm (Spring/Autumn), 2.30pm (Summer), 1.30pm (Winter)
Every beach and coastline in Jeju is unique and has something mysterious and magical in store for you. Behold the marvels of volcanic rock formations when you visit the Jusangjeolli Cliffs.
The hexagonal columnar rock formations along the edges of the sea will take your breath away! The beach has a heavenly palm tree garden beside it, from where you can see the silhouettes of mountain ranges inland. Being cradled in the midst of so much beauty, you might wonder, if you are still on planet Earth ?
Address: 36-30, Ieodo-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Operating Hours: 9am – 7pm (last admission: 6pm)
Price: KRW2000 (Adult), KRW1000 (Child/Teenager)
Chill out at pristine beaches
No visit to Jeju would be complete without chilling out at its beaches. After all, it's called the "Hawaii of South Korea" for a reason! And visiting the beaches is completely free too, so that's a plus point.
Credit: travel2unlimited on Facebook
One of the most pristine white sand beaches that Jeju has to offer is none other than the Hyeopjae Beach! Hyeopjae Beach is so magical, you can see the changing colors of the water distinctly from different shades of turquoise to blue, it is absolutely breath-taking!
Credit: Suanne Go on Facebook
Other beaches in Jeju that are worth a mention are Hamdeok Beach, Jungmun Beach, Iho Taewoo Beach and Woljeongri Beach.
BONUS: Watch the haenyeo divers' performance
This might not be a nature sight but it's one of the best ways to immerse in the local of culture of Jeju. The haenyeos are a community of women divers along Jeju's seaside towns who catch exquisite shellfish like abalone or sea urchins for a living and they don’t use oxygen masks.
One of the places where you can watch them in action is at the foot of Seongsan Ilchulbong. Most of the haenyeos are in their 70s with the oldest in this particular community, being 85. They work every day for 4-5 hours if the weather permits and dive 10 to 25 metres to catch more than 80kg of seafood. During the performance, the haenyeos will about their livelihoods and how they long to be someplace far away where they’re not working.
Most of them had no choice but to work as haenyeos as the livelihood was passed down to them by their mothers. Their lives are really tough but the good news is, this strong haenyeo culture has been recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage. While the performance is free to watch, you can support them by buying the fresh seafood they catch!
Address: 284-12 Ilchul-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
Performance times: 1.30pm-2.30pm, 3pm-4pm daily
5. Set aside money for Muslim-friendly meals
As Muslim-friendly eateries in Jeju are not as widespread as those in Seoul and most of them sell fresh seafood, it's inevitable that you'd have to fork out a little bit more to spend on your meals. So, we'd recommend setting aside some money for this. Since, we've already provided tips on how to save on flights, accommodation and transport, this shouldn't be such a difficult task to do! Here are some of the cheaper options we'd recommend:
Uribong Sikdang (우리봉 식당)
Uribong Sikdang is located near the top tourist spot in Jeju – Seongsan Ilchulbong (Seongsan Sunrise Peak). This Muslim-friendly is known for its abalone seafood hotpot and grilled mackerel. Perfect after a whole morning of hiking!
At just KRW15,000, you’ll get generous portions of abalone, crab, mussels and tofu. The seafood broth is flavourful yet light on the palate and sipping it is very comforting, especially on a hot summer’s day. If you’ve got a bit more to spend, we highly recommend getting their premium Salt-Grilled Hairtail Fish (KRW28,000). We particularly loved that it had no fishy aftertaste and its soft texture.
#HHWT Tip: The best part about dining in a Korean restaurant is the abundance of side dishes, which are included in the total price of your food. So, feel free to ask for a second serving ☺️
There’s a dedicated prayer room for Muslim travellers here too! And it’s complete with prayer mats, qibla direction and the Quran. Do bring your own prayer garments though.
Do note that while the menu inside the restaurant at Uribong Sikdang is in Korean, you can refer to an English translation outside.
Halal status: Only seafood dishes sold, no alcohol/meat is used in preparation of dishes. Alcohol is served in establishment, so do dine at your own discretion. Prayer facilities in establishment.
Address: 273, Ilchul-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do (Korean: 제주특별자치도 서귀포시 성산읍 일출로 27)
Opening hours: 8.30am – 9pm daily
Contact No: +82 64-782-0032
Bada Punggyeong (바다풍경)
Sipping on fresh seafood stews while admiring the stunning view of the sea? Count us in! Bada Punggyeong specialises in a variety of fish stews and grilled fish. While their Braised Mackerel Stew (from KRW29,000) is their specialty, we recommend getting the Grilled Mackerel instead which is half the price, KRW14,000.
The fish skin is grilled to a perfect crisp but the fish is still fresh and tasty ?
#HHWT Tip: If you need to do your prayers, inform the staff and they’ll bring you up to the third floor where you’ll be praying in a room with a lovely view of the sea.
Halal status: Only seafood dishes sold, no alcohol/meat used in the preparation of dishes. Alcohol is served in establishment, so do dine at your own discretion. Prayer room in establishment.
Address: 654, Seohaean-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea (Korean: 제주특별자치도 제주시 서해안로 654)
Opening hours: 11am – 11pm daily
Contact No: +82 64-711-7992
Jeju Onuii (오누이회국수전복돌솥밥)
Jeju Onuii is known for its Abalone Hotpot Rice. Abalone is sliced and then cooked in a hot stone pot with pumpkin and gingko. The best way to eat it is to mix all the ingredients together so you can taste everything in a single bite.
Each set of the abalone rice costs KRW15,000 and comes with mackerel and side dishes. Pretty affordable if you ask us! Once you’re done with the dish, what the Koreans like to do is to add hot water to the leftover rice and drink it as soup.
While Jeju Onuii is not on the official list of Muslim-friendly restaurants in Jeju, the eatery only sells seafood and does not use any alcohol or meat in its cooking. Note: We recommend dining at your own discretion.
Halal status: Only seafood dishes available, no alcohol/meat is used in the preparation of food. Alcohol is served in establishment, so do dine at your own discretion.
Address: 2 Handongbuk 1(il)-gil, Gujwa-eup, Jeju, Jeju-do, South Korea (Korean: 제주특별자치도 제주시 구좌읍 한동북1길 2)
Opening hours: 10am – 8pm daily
Contact No: +82 64-782-6801
P.S. If you don't mind splurging more for a Muslim-friendly meal in Jeju, check our complete list of Muslim-friendly eateries in Jeju!
With these 5 money-saving tips, we hope you're now more than ready to conquer Jeju on a budget. As you can see, it's not a difficult task if you know where to cut costs. Once you've settled the trickier bits like snagging the best flight deal and the right budget-friendly accommodation plus planning your route properly, visiting many of the natural sights in Jeju is not expensive at all ☺️ Time to SHARE this with your travel buddies and start planning your Jeju vacay now!