Muslim Travel Diary: How I Spent 5 Days in Jeju

As an avid fan of Korean dramas and K-Pop (any fellow ONCEs in the house?), travelling to South Korea is always a fun prospect for me. Although I’ve travelled to Seoul several times before, I only recently got to visit Jeju Island, and I only wished I visited the island sooner!

Jeju is an absolute gem in South Korea, with plenty of fun activities, captivating sights, and unforgettable experiences. However, I suppose one aspect of travelling to Jeju that might put some Muslims off is that it’s supposedly not as Muslim-friendly as other parts of South Korea. Thankfully, I was still able to plan my own trip there and, to my pleasant surprise, it wasn’t as difficult or inconvenient as some of my friends and relatives claimed.

Here’s how I spent five days in Jeju, South Korea’s most romantic island! Hopefully, it’ll help you to plan your own itinerary too!

Where to stay in Jeju + getting around the island

muslim travel jeju

Upon recommendation from my friends, I stayed at a hotel on Nuwemaru Street, which is like a pedestrian shopping area — cafes, restaurants, and shops galore, all within a stone’s throw of each other. It’s pretty much like the city centre of Jeju, located in the north-central part of the island, just a half hour away from the airport. Another area that’s popular for tourists to stay at is Seogwipo, located in the south-central part of the island.

Both the city centre and Seogwipo are well-connected to other parts of the island by bus, which is the main mode of public transport. If you’re travelling mainly by bus, I recommend getting a T-Money Card for a more convenient way of paying your bus fares. Alternatively, you could also rent a car or join a tour bus. Most hotels in Jeju can help you with that.

Travel tip: While Jeju isn’t the biggest island in the world, it still takes around five hours to travel from one end to the other, so do keep these travel times in mind when planning your itinerary.

Day 1: Dongmun Market → Iho Taewoo Beach → Nohyung Supermarket

muslim travel jeju

Image credit: Visit Jeju Official Website

My first official stop in Jeju was the famous Dongmun Traditional Market. Simply put, this bustling marketplace is a sensory overload punctuated by labyrinthine alleys, overflowing with colorful stalls selling fresh seafood, local produce, and an array of unique souvenirs.

There’s also plenty of street food here to fill your tummy with, including the famous tteokbokki (Korean rice cake) and eomuk (fishcake) stall that Blackpink visited on an episode of their weekly reality show “BlackPink House”.

Take note that most of the stalls here aren’t certified Halal. I was able to confirm with vendors whether or not something had pork or alcohol in it using my limited Korean but if you’re travelling with a guide that specialises in Muslim-centric tour groups, you’ll probably be in safer hands.

muslim travel jeju

I managed to grab hwaetang (fried squid), hotteok (Korean pancake), some bread shaped like Jeju’s stone grandpa, and a hallabong (Jeju mandarin) juice, before shopping for some souvenirs — I recommend getting hallabong-flavoured snacks.

muslim travel jeju

Image credit: Minerv via Canva Pro

After that, I headed to the stunning Iho Taewoo Beach which was about an hour away. This picturesque beach boasts turquoise waters, soft white sand, and breathtaking views, including an iconic horse-shaped lighthouse, a famous landmark of Jeju. ARMYs will probably recognise it from THAT Instagram photo uploaded by Jin (hint: it’s the “tattoo announcement photo”).

muslim travel jeju

Image credit: Visit Jeju Official Website

Finally, before heading back to my hotel, I stopped by Nohyung Supermarket, which is a special media art exhibition that uses the familiar setting of a supermarket to create an immersive and thought-provoking experience.

As I wandered through the five themed sections, I was greeted by various exhibits of lights, sounds, and colours. Naturally, I had to stop at some of the exhibits for some unique photos!

Day 2: Seongsan Ilchulbong → Maze Land → Snoopy Garden → Boromwat

muslim travel jeju

My second day in Jeju started at Seongsan Ilchulbong, one of Jeju’s most popular natural attractions. Also known as Sunrise Peak, heading to Seongsan Ilchulbong to catch the sunrise is one of the top things to do in Jeju. Unfortunately, because the peak was two and a half hours away from my hotel, I wasn’t able to do that.

I did manage to reach the area early in the morning, so I decided to hike up to the top, from which I got to enjoy a stunning view of the ocean, the city below, and the misty crater of the peak itself. The hike itself isn’t too challenging but I did need around 50 minutes to reach the top. Thankfully, the hiking trail was quite pleasant, with plenty of greenery. There are also a few stops to rest at mid-hike.

muslim travel jeju

After descending from Seongsan Ilchulbong, I boarded a bus to another one of Jeju’s top attractions: Maze Land. As the name suggests, this popular attraction (featured on Korean variety show Running Man) is a themed park offering a fun and challenging experience for visitors of all ages, punctuated by its collection of different mazes.

muslim travel jeju

Image credit: Visit Jeju Official Website

The most famous maze is the Stone Maze, the world's longest stone maze, stretching up to 5.3km long. I’ll admit, it got a little bit disorienting at one point, but eventually, I managed to find my way to the exit. What helped make the experience more serene were the abundant trees around the area. There are also some photo spots in the area for that #potd and a museum you can visit.

A relaxing afternoon

muslim travel jeju

After hiking and finding my way out of a maze, I decided to make the rest of my afternoon a little more chill. I headed to one of the newest attractions in Jeju, the Snoopy Garden for my next stop. Fans of BTS and Blackpink have probably seen this location before. After all, both Jimin and Jisoo have visited the area and shown it off on Instagram!

For those not in the know, the Snoopy Garden is where you can step into the whimsical world of Peanuts characters — childhood favourites like Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the gang. There are multimedia exhibits here, spaced out in a museum-like setting, as well as various interactive photo zones.

muslim travel jeju

Personally though, I liked the outdoor garden the most. Nestled between verdant greenery and colourful blooms were Peanuts installations that doubled up as popular photo spots, including the K-Pop-famous “Jimin/Jisoo photo spot” where the idols look out into a lake at the end of a pier with Snoopy. If you’re planning to take a similar photo, be prepared because there’s usually a long queue at that particular photo spot!

muslim travel jeju

Image credit: Jeju Tourism Organisation Official Website

Finally, I ended my second day in Jeju by immersing myself in a floral paradise. The Boromwat Botanical Garden (featured prominently in Apink’s Remember music video) is a vast expanse of meticulously landscaped gardens teeming with diverse flora, from vibrant wildflowers to ancient trees.

In spring and fall when the weather is colder, you can see buckwheat flowers while summer brings with it colourful lavender and hydrangea fields! After breathing in the fresh air and taking in the scenery, I stopped by the Boromwat Cafe for a quick coffee before heading back to the city centre.

Day 3: 9.81 Park → Saebyeol Friends → Hwansang Forest → O’Sulloc Tea Museum (mention Camelia Hill)

muslim travel jeju

The next day, I travelled in the opposite direction of day 2, towards the western edge of Jeju. My first stop was arguably the highlight of my trip. 9.81 Park is a relatively new attraction in Jeju that offers an adventurous day best enjoyed with a group of friends.

The main highlight of this integrated smart playpark is the thrilling Gravity Racing track where you hop on a go-kart and race down a winding track pulled by gravity! If you’re with your friends, you can actually compete to see who gets to the finish line in the shortest time! It’s one of the best new things to do in Jeju in my opinion!

muslim travel jeju

Apart from that, there are also AR games, laser tag, and other adrenaline-pumping rides, like a 360-degree swing. There was also a unique cafe where the coffee was served by a robot arm! Plus, fans of NCT and RIIZE might also recognise this location as RIIZE members, Sungchan and Shotaro (formerly of NCT) had also visited 9.81 Park in episode 1 of their What's Up SUNGSHO vlog series!

Image credit: Visit Jeju Official Website

After the exciting morning, I decided to take it easy. I headed next to Saebyeol Friends, a farm filled with cuddly animals located at the foot of Saebyeol Oreum, one of Jeju’s top attractions. Here, you get to interact with adorable farm animals (like sheep and alpacas) and enjoy a relaxing stroll through a garden.

Becoming one with nature

Image credit: Visit Jeju Official Website

Next, I headed to one of the most popular K-Pop locations in Jeju, the Hwansang Forest Gotjawal Park, where famous K-Pop idol groups like BTS and Twice have visited for filming and photoshoots (BTS’s The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 2 album shoot and Twice’s Signal music video).

Beyond being a backdrop in K-Pop albums, the Hwansang Forest is actually a remarkably rare and captivating natural treasure, featuring a distinct landscape of volcanic rock and low-lying vegetation that’s hardly found anywhere else in the world. The forest's unique geology and vegetation create a mesmerising landscape, with moss-covered rocks, winding paths, and pockets of lush greenery that make it a great place for forest bathing and therapeutic hikes, which make for some of the most soothing things to do in Jeju.

I never really understood the Korean concept of “healing” until I took a stroll under the canopy of trees here. As I breathed in the fresh air, I really did feel the stress leaving my body. And, if you want more healing experiences, there is a foot bath experience here called the Damyang Cafe, where you can soak your feet in a plant oriental foot bath.

After this enriching experience, I headed to the popular O’Sulloc Tea Museum, one of Jeju’s most popular attractions. Here, I took some time to admire the rolling hills and tea plantations before I headed into the museum for a glimpse into tea production in Jeju. My favourite part though was shopping for tea-flavoured products at the museum shop, where you can find anything from tea leaves to breakfast spreads, chocolates, and more!

Day 4: Oedolgae→ Saesom Island → Yeomiji Botanical Garden → Seogwipo Healing Forest

Image credit: Noppasin Wongchum via Canva Pro

I filled my fourth morning in Jeju with yet more coastal vistas, this time travelling to Seogwipo and visiting Oedolgae, an Insta-worthy 80m columnar rock located along a coastal cliff. Designated as a National Cultural Heritage Scenic Site in 2011, the rock formation, sculpted by winds and wave erosion, is one of the must-see sights in Jeju, especially since it was featured as another location for BTS’s The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 2 album shoot.

One thing I noticed about the area was that it can sometimes get particularly windy because of its coastal geography. So you may want to bring a jacket if you’re someone who easily gets cold.

Image credit: artran via Canva Pro

Afterwards, I headed towards Seogwipo Port where I walked to Saeseom Island using the Saeyeongyo Bridge, the longest pedestrian overpass in the area. Even before I got to the island, I was already excited because the bridge had appeared in one of my all-time favourite Korean dramas — Extraordinary Attorney Woo!

It’s the episode where Kwon Min-Woo and Choi Soo-Yeon go out to buy drinks before the former takes a photo of the latter in a heart-fluttering moment. Although granted, it looked more romantic in the drama because the scene was shot at night, when the bridge is illuminated!

Once on the island itself, I took a stroll along the beautiful coastline, where I admired the sea views and the colourful flowers along the trail. I can see why it’s such a popular place to visit, the views were breathtaking! The ocean breeze made it even more relaxing.

Experiencing the healing forest

Image credit: Visit Jeju Official Website

After returning from Saeseom Island, I travelled to Yeomiji Botanical Garden where K-Pop girl groups Apink and Oh My Girl once filmed their music videos. Here, you will find the largest greenhouse garden in Asia! Combined with its vast outdoor garden, the area is home to over 2,300 diverse flora, from fragrant roses to exotic cacti, all displayed in several themed zones.

The floral haven is also known for its fresh air that epitomises the charms of the island as a whole. Definitely one of my top recommended things to do in Jeju!

Finally, as the afternoon rolled around, I headed inland toward the Seogwipo Healing Forest. This was an attraction that most of my friends recommended. As the name suggests, the Healing Forest is where you can find solace and rejuvenation as you reconnect with nature.

There are several scenic walking paths and themed zones here which you can explore at a leisurely pace while listening to the soothing sounds of the forest. However, I recommend joining a guided tour as the forest and its trails were meant to be experienced in certain ways for the best effect. I shan’t spoil you, but one of the sections included lying down on a relaxing hammock!

All in all, this serene forest was the perfect ending to a day of exploration.

Day 5: Geum Oreum → Hyeopjae Beach

Image credit: Jeju Tourism Organisation Official Website

On my final day in Jeju, I decided to let my inner ONCE run wild by visiting the filming location of Twice’s (arguably) most iconic song, Signal. It was none other than the picturesque Geum Oreum, Jeju’s famous volcanic cone where one can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the ocean and nearby cities!

I decided to hike to the top (it only took me about 20 minutes), where I saw the postcard-worthy crater, a 1,200m expanse of verdant greenery that took my breath away. I wish I could have stayed for the sunset (it’s what Geum Oreum is famous for) but I had to leave to catch my flight later in the afternoon.

Before heading to the airport though, I managed to squeeze in one last location, the sandy Hyeopjae Beach often visited by Korean celebrities and idols. Before you ask, no, I didn’t manage to see anyone famous there. What I did see, was a beautiful coastal vista complete with soft white sand underneath my feet. After taking some time to soak in my final moments in Jeju, I made for the airport to board my flight home with a heavy heart.

Muslim travel tips for Jeju

Things to eat in Jeju

As mentioned earlier in the article, many of the eateries in Jeju are not halal-certified. However, there is SOME good news. While heukdwaeji (Jeju Black Pork) is one of Jeju’s iconic dishes, the island is just as famous for its rich variety of seafood dishes. It IS an island after all!

To my pleasant surprise, most of the seafood dishes do not contain haram ingredients, despite the eatery not having halal certification. But I do understand if you’re still a bit apprehensive, so don’t worry, I’ve curated a list of the Muslim-friendly restaurants I ate at in Jeju for your reference.

Muslim-friendly restaurants in Jeju

If you want to be completely halal-compliant, then you’ll want to eat at Asalam Restaurant, one of the few and only halal-certified restaurants in Jeju. Located in the city centre (near where I stayed), Asalam Restaurant serves Yemeni cuisine — think falafel wraps, creamy hummus, and more. It also has a prayer room for Muslims!

Another popular restaurant is Bagdad, an Indian restaurant serving a variety of North Indian cuisine. It was hands-down my favourite restaurant in Jeju because of how flavourful everything was. Apparently, it’s one of the most famous restaurants in Jeju, popular even amongst non-Muslim locals! In fact, it was featured as a filming location for Lee Hyori’s “Hyori’s Homestay” reality show which featured IU as a special guest!

If you’re looking for some local Korean food (seafood mostly), look for these Muslim-friendly restaurants in Jeju: Bada Janchi, Bada Punggyeong, Jeju Ddukbaeki, Haechon, and more. You could also opt for vegan eateries like Jedaero Jeju. Some of the bigger hotel chains in Jeju, like Ramada or Grand Hyatt, also have some Muslim-friendly eateries on site.

Also read: Halal Food in Jeju: 15 Places to Visit When You’re Hungry

Where to pray in Jeju

When it comes to praying in Jeju, as I came to discover, you may find it just a little complicated. Technically, there is only one mosque in Jeju, and it’s located at the Jeju Islamic Center near the heart of the city. However, apart from that, you can also find prayer spaces at the airport, the aforementioned Asalam Restaurant, and at some of the major hotel chains on the island, namely WE Hotel, Shilla Hotel Jeju, Lotte Hotel Jeju, and Ramada Plaza Jeju Hotel.

Unfortunately, only a handful of attractions have prayer spaces available for Muslims, and these are Sunrise Lands, the popular Teddy Bear Museum, and Jeju Best Hill.

Final thoughts

And there you have it: A recap of how I spent five fruitful days in the beautiful island of Jeju! While I travelled to Jeju solo and found it easy enough to manage, I do recommend engaging the services of a tour guide that specialises in Muslim tour groups. It makes everything a whole lot easier, especially when it comes to meal times!

Despite that, if you’re looking to travel solo as I did, I hope this itinerary has given you at least a bit of inspiration as to how to plan your own journey!

Brought to you by Jeju Special Self-Governing Province

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