Three years ago, we completed our journey to the east side of Jeju by public bus, using the East Course tour package by Yeha Tour as a reference. There are 6 places of interest, when lunch is excluded from the list, as mentioned in the brochure below (check the image below, on the right side), that I will rewrite for reading comfort:
- Trick Art Museum (Fall: Sangumburi Crater)
- Seongeup Folk Village
- Woman Diver Show
- Seongsan Sunrise Peak
- Via Jongdalri Shore Road
- Manjang Cave
However, having had a very limited time and wanted to have more free time for ourselves, we decided to travel on our own by public bus and visited selected objects only, Seongeup Folk Village and Seongsan Ilchulbong. The bus station was 3 minutes walking distance from You & I Guesthouse in Jeju City, lucky us.
Budget and Breakdown
It’s been a while since we did it, but I still remember the approximate total cost for the whole trip. It was about KRW 22,000 (S 19.32) with the following breakdown:
- Bus fare, ranging from KRW 2,000 ($ 1.75) to KRW 3,500 ($3.07) for 1 way trip: KRW 10,000 ($ 1.75), including one wrong stop because we were lost.
- Seongeup Folk Village entrance: free
- Seongsan Ilchulbong entrance: KRW 2000 ($ 1.75), including Woman Diver Show (but we didn’t go there) that actually situated in the same neighborhood as Seongsan Ilchulbong. Additionally, Jongdalri Shore Road is situated on the way to Seongsan Ilchulbong, so there’s no entrance fee for that. If you take the right bus, I think you’ll find one. Although we didn’t notice that, actually.
- Lunch: KRW 10,000 ($ 1.75) (it may vary depending on the restaurant)
Suppose we visit all other East Course places of interest based on the brochure, such as:
Most probably, the guests need to choose either Trick Art Museum or Sangumburi Crater.
- Manjanggul Cave, entrance fee: KRW 2000 ($1.69)
It would be about KRW 45,000 ($ 29.57) altogether, including lunch, bus fares and may be some unexpected expenses, e.g. snacks, souvenirs and additional bus fares when you lost.
Price wise, it is a lot cheaper to travel on your own. Nonetheless, the tour includes English speaking guide that actually helpful (I believe) to get better understanding of each attraction and it can save a lot of time because for sure they know exactly the fastest way to visit all of them in one day. Travelers having a limited days of visit and not wanting to hassle with road direction and language barrier, joining the tour will be the best option.
In this case, I’m not able to share my experience with the tour since I didn’t join it at all.
Suppose you are a budget conscious traveler or just want to be (slightly) more adventurous by mingling with locals, public bus is the right choice in terms of safety and cleanliness. Moreover, if you stay in Jeju City, which is basically closer to the airport than most touristic places situated in the west, east or south of Jeju Island, transportation matters the most as it can take an hour or more to reach those attractions.
However, there are things to consider what to expect before and when using the public service:
- It could take longer to reach each destination. Why? Because the bus may pass and stop in residential areas or non-touristic sites prior to main destinations. Moreover, you’re in the new environment when anything is possible, such as choosing the wrong bus, stopping at the wrong station or missing the museum building because you walk a bit too far. So, my advise is that leave the hotel earlier in order not to run out of time. If your have more time, stay longer in the island so you can travel in your own pace. Let’s say, if you can’t make it to Trick Art Museum today, you’ll be able to do the visit next day.
- Select the attractions wisely. Get as much information as possible before selecting the attractions, especially if you have a limited duration of stay. In my case, I’d rather visit a place I will love that can be reached easily by bus without too many transfers and something traditional in the island that I cannot find elsewhere. Who says you have to visit all places mentioned in those brochures?
- Not all attractions have English inscription boards and guided tour. Seongeup Folk Village is one of the examples. If you are really into details about all places, joining the tour with English speaking guide is the best choice you can have.
- (Nearly) all touristic place are not visible from the road. It’s pretty hard to guess whether that’s the bus stop for the museum or the waterfall. Usually, you should walk a bit further to find the real building or entrance. Therefore….
- Listen to the announcement carefully. The bus is narrated in both Korean and English, delivering concise information about the next station or stop and the closest tourist attraction from the station. It defines when you get off the bus. When in doubt….
- Do not hesitate to ask. Either to the driver or other (local) passengers. Though language barrier could be an issue, and it is usually the issue, Korean people are willing to help. Somehow the driver has his own initiative to inform you that you need to get off in certain station if he knows where you want to go.
- The time table could be a bit tricky if you don’t read Korean. Although the departure hours are written in familiar Arabic numeric form, certain notifications are only in hangeul letters, including words like weekend and weekdays. But it’s not really something to be afraid of. As long as you don’t hesitate to ask when in doubt.
- There are more departure hours on weekdays than weekend. So please check the schedule carefully.
In a nutshell, it is eventually your call whether you decide to take a public bus or join the tour. There are advantages and disadvantages in each option. So, choose what’s best for you.
Sharing is Caring
That’s our experience of exploring Jeju Island of our own. Suppose you have something new to share about it (since we did this 3 years ago), please feel free to share in Comments below this post. Kindly correct me if I accidentally share wrong information.
Have a great travel!