South Korea’s Jeju-do Island is difficult to miss. It is so popular a vacation destination that it is referred to as the “Island of the Gods”. Where is Jeju-do exactly? It is that island located off the southernmost tip of the Korean Peninsula. Jeju-do (aka Cheju Island) is a wonder of nature in the South Korea Strait, with an eastern longitude at 127°27°E and northern latitude at about 33°22°N. This charming South Korean island is dubbed as the “Hawaiian Island of Korea”, although their climates are not anywhere similar. Although Jeju can be as warm as Hawaii with summer heat reaching 28° Celsius, it snows on the northern parts of the island. It never snows in Hawaii. Jeju is composed of eight inhabited islands and 54 unoccupied islets. Getting to Jeju-do involves travel either by air or by sea. Below are important details on how to get to Jeju-do.
Getting to Jeju-do by air involves direct flights since there is a small but world-class international airport in Jeju City, the island’s capital. The Jeju International Airport may have a runway that is only 3 km long but it receives more than 7 million passengers a year with 13 local flights and ten direct international flights every week. Airplanes fly to and from Tokyo six times a week, Osaka four times a week, Beijing two times and Hong Kong three times. There are also budget flights coming in from Shanghai, Pudong, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Shenyang, Dalian, and Changchun. The leading local airlines are Korean Airlines, Asian Airlines and Jejuair, and the majority of domestic flights to Jeju Island come from the Gimpo domestic airport in Seoul.
Getting to Jeju-do by sea involves 12 ships that that make six direct sailing routes to Jeju’s international port. The ships travel from the major ports of Busan and Incheon to Jeju Island six times a week, transporting over 2 million passengers a year. Tourists traveling by sea make up 6% of the total number of travelers to the island. Sea travel is slow, however, often taking about 11 hours from Busan and 13 hours from Inchon. Boats also come in from Mokpo, Wando and Nolyeogdo.
Jeju-do is not very far from China and Japan. Sasebo in Japan is only 250 km away, while Yangtze in the Shanghai district of mainland China is just about 420 km. Travelers from these locations visit Jeju-do regularly by sea.
While bus, taxi and car rental services within the island are very efficient, there is no way of getting to Jeju-do by land. There’s no reason why travelers shouldn’t go by air since in South Korea, traveling domestic by air is easy and almost as affordable as taking the subway. It is not even necessary to buy plane tickets in advance.
Local tourists travel to Jeju-do regularly especially honeymooners, and the trend is certainly catching on among international tourists. The island is considered by most South Koreans as the country’s top honeymoon destination, and perhaps one of the top honeymoon stops in the world. Getting to Jeju-do is inexpensive, efficient and promises a kind of vacation that cannot be enjoyed elsewhere in the world.