While it’s significantly easier to travel to Jeju island in a rental car, you can absolutely travel the entire island by bus. It’s safe to say Jeju has excellent links between the airport, Jeju city, and Seogwipo city, but if you also find yourself staying in any of the big resorts or hotels along the coast, the airport shuttle buses are very convenient too. Here are some of my thoughts on how easy it is to travel in Jeju and recommendations on other modes of transport if you’re looking for a little more adventure during your trip.
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Travel with Rental Cars
If you happen to be a group and plan to take a couple of things on your trip to Jeju, it’s far more convenient and better value for money. There are plenty of electric car options these days which I do recommend, saving you the hassle with refueling the car afterward to replenish what you used on the trip. There are also electric charging points dotted throughout the island and plenty around the cities and many bigger hotels so for convenience, these are worth getting.
Electric cars have a prepaid top-up you can either purchase for unlimited charging or you can go without buying at the rental agency if your properties have access to charging points or you’re only staying for a short trip. Naturally, any car will do depending on your budget, and it’s really all about the convenience of going where ever it is you want to go.
Jeju Bus Transport Links
If you plan ahead and aim to make the most out of your days by waking up reasonably early, you can absolutely travel around the entire island by bus and have a great experience. As mentioned, the best public transport links are in the bigger areas from the airport, Jeju city and Seogwipo, while areas towards the east where Seongsan Ilchulbong is also quite well linked. The coastal areas and smaller parts of Jeju island will have fewer services running, limited hours and may not run that late into the night, so if you plan to travel these areas, its best to plan ahead and look up the bus service and route in advance to take you there.
Public buses are travel-friendly, displaying every bus stop so you know when to get off at your stop. The fares are very reasonable ranging between 1,000 – 2,000 KRW per trip with free changes between buses if they’re within 30 minutes. These will take you to every major landmark or tourist spot and run early so you can fit in plenty in the day. While buses accept cash, I highly recommend picking up a T-money transport card at any Korean airport on arrival in a vending machine or convenience store (cost less than 5,000 KRW) and you can top it up at the same time. This makes tapping in and out of each bus smooth and removes the hassle of having the correct change for each fare.
I would say links to the east of the island are better than the west, with routes running from the major cities and airports all the way there while there are fewer lines running towards the west as it’s more coastal and less touristy, but again, still have buses running on the day for local residents… Just plan ahead on the services you may need if you’re heading there.
Riding by Bike / Electric bike
Renting a car, motorbike or scooter requires a local or international driving licence permit so unless you have one or someone in your group does, these aren’t available to you. BUT, Jeju has an amazing atmosphere with fresh air, a cooling ocean breeze, and an immersive nature which many locals visit for healing. One of the ways you can enjoy traveling around Jeju is to rent a bike for a few hours, a day, or most of your trip. It’s not something I would recommend doing to travel around the island since it would take a while unless you’re into cycling), but cycling around Seogwipo city, Seongsan in the east, Jungmun coast, Aewol in the west, and around Jeju city makes exploring far more enjoyable with more ground covered than walking or being restricted to the bus routes.
Want something to travel further? Rent an electric bike! These are awesome and are more geared to handle the hilly terrain as Jeju has a lot of small hills. These are exactly like normal bicycles with a battery pack to help when you get tired or need a little more boost. I used this on my trip from Jungmun to Seogwipo city which takes roughly an hour each way. The coastline views are amazing and the roads are great to cycle along since they’re fairly wide. I also recommend doing this or renting the motorbike in Udo if you can as that’s an awesome experience to travel in the much smaller island just off Jeju island.
So while the car is the most convenient to travel anywhere on Jeju island, the bus links make public transport very effective to also roam around as long as you plan ahead with the bus routes, running times, and stops to reach your destinations. And if you’re feeling scenic and want a more atmospheric experience, cycle around or get the electric bike for a completely different adventure!