One of the best ways to tour in Jeju, one of Korea's finest resort areas,
is to rent a car. Jeju is abundant in pleasant, peaceful drive courses
with beautiful scenery and a good highway system. There are numerous scenic roads and two cross-island roads north and south, and east and west. Traffic
is usually light except in Jeju City and Seogwipo, but even there it is not
particulary congested. The best drive course is probably Ilju Road (Road
12), which goes around Jeju Island along the coast. This highway connects
with coastal roads right down to the shore where you can see emerald beaches
and rocky inlets, and feed the seagulls. The other courses are inland.
Jeju is a volcanic island with Mt. Hallasan, created 100-300 thousand years
ago, in the middle. About 500 parasite volcanic cones called oreum dot
The inland courses take you to beautiful scenes of Mt. Hallasan, parasite
cones, and various walls and structures made with the ubiquitous black
Ilju Road is Jeju's oldest road. Anywhere along it the ocean spreads before
your eyes offering breathtaking vistas. Among Jeju Island’s 11 coastal drive courses, four clearly stand out above the rest.
|| 1. Hagwi ~Aewol Course
Take Ilju Road from Jeju City to Hallim, and turn towards the
ASEA Broadcasting Station in Hagwi-ri. There is seven-kilometer
drive course showing a wonderful view of the black lava shoreline,
emerald beach and rare wild flowers.
You can stop at the observation platforms or cafes and relax in a
picturesque setting. On days when the waves
are high, it is great to watch them crashing over the rocks.
|| 2. Mt. Songaksan ~ Mt. Sanbangsan Course
It is a wonderful drive course about 5.6 kilometers. If your car is
smaller than a 12-passenger van then drive up Mt. Songaksan for some
peaceful ocean scenery and fabulous views of Hyeongjeseom Island and
Mt. Sanbangsan. It is also worth going to Yongmeori (Dragon Head Shore)
and the Hamel Monument, both at the base of Mt. Sanbangsan. Hendrick
Hamel was a shipwrecked Dutch sailor who spent many years in Japan
and Korea around the turn of the 17th century before returning home and writing Europe's first report about Korea.
|| 3. Sinsan-ri ~ Seongsan Inchulbong (Sunrise Peak)
Along Road 12 from Pyoseon to Seongsan, is an SK fuel station.
Pass it and take the coastal road to Sinyang Beach, Seopjikoji, and
Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak). Also enjoy gathering shells and strolling around
at a fishing spot along the shore in Jongdal-ri. Along the coastal road you
can see stone towers that look like they might be breakwaters, but
actually built by people who believe this effort will help grant their
|| 4. Sehwa ~ Seongsan Inchulbong (Sunrise
A habitat of the munjuran (Crinum), Tokkiseom Islet is about
1.6 kilometers from Sehwa on the way to Seongsan. You can walk to
the islet at low tide, but don't linger too long or you might get
your trouser legs wet wading back to the mainland. Two kilometers
up the road is the bird habitat Hadori, quite well known;
stepping across the stones to the islet here imparts a marvelous feeling
that will bring you back to do it again. Continuing along the curving
road is an observation platform in Jongdal-ri, made of an old ship from
which you can see Udo Island and the magnificent Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak).
|| * A habitat of Munjuran (Crinum),
You can see the small Tokkiseom Islet from an observation pavilion
five minutes from Sehwa towards Seongsan along the coastal road, 50 meters
from the beach. This is the only place in Korea to see crinum tiger
lilies. The islet is filled with blooming lilies from July to September.
||* Seasonal bird habitat, Hadori
Next to Tokkiseom Islet is a reservoir where storks, spoonbills, and
various rare birds spend the winter from September to December. Also it is
popular among photographers for its thick forest and excellent view
of Mt. Hallasan.
| ■ Inland Roads Drive
|| 1. Road 1119
Here is a well-known drive course for eulalia reeds, the road from
Seongsan Ilchulbong to Seongeup Folk Village, tall standing eulalia
on both sides of the road turn silver in the autumn season and
wave gracefully in breeze. Mt. Hallasan and the volcanic oreum
mounds spread before you. The Seongeup-to-Seongsan course is
better than the other direction from Seongsan to Seongeup because
you can see Seongsan Ilchulbong, a dramatic cratered volcanic cone
perched out on its own little peninsula. Spend an hour or so scaling
the stone stairs up the side to its crenellated rim and…what a view!
Especially at sunrise.
|| 2. Road 1117 (Mid-mountain Road)
This is called the autobahn of Jeju, connecting West Industrial Road
(Route 95), 1100 Road (Route 99), and the 5-16 Road (Route 11). These
19 kilometers takes you through a wonderful reed course in the fall.
An ocean view and beautiful rippling silver eulalia fields creates
a unique scene. Gwaneumsa Temple halfway between 1100 and 5-16 Roads
is decorated with beautiful fall foliage. People like to visit at
night for a really dramatic view.
|| 3. 5-16 Road over Mt. Hallasan
This scenic road connects Jeju City with Seogwipo, 41.2 kilometers.
It passes through Seongpanak Resting Place at 720 meters above sea
level, and you will enjoy several picturesque views halfway up
Mt. Hallasan. One place in particular: a kilometer-long tree tunnel
covers the sky, extremely beautiful.
|| 4. Road 1112, cryptomeria forest road
Road 1112, leading into 5-16 Road, features an exotic landscape with
cryptomeria on both sides of the road. Tall, straight trees grow as
dense as a North American forest. Stop along the road to take a romantic
||5. Rape flower road
Jeju is well known for beautiful yellow rape flowers that emerge in
splendor in March and April. Pause along the way as you drive the
flower-lined roads. Try Road 16 from Seongeup Folk Village to Namwon, and
turn right at the sign for Jeongseok Air Museum.
| ■ How
to rent a car
A rental car information desk is near the arrival gate at Jeju International
Airport (first floor, Domestic). Here are four rental companies with prices
all about the same. It is usually possible to rent without a reservation.
| Rental Car Company
| Jeju Rent a Car
| Geumho Rent a Car
| Jeju Rental Car
| AVIS Rent a Car
1. Be sure to check the car for any possible scratches or dents at the
outset, and the level of fuel in the tank, and make sure these conditions
are mentioned on the rental contract.
(Renters are responsible for damage and for leaving the same amount of
2. You will be able to drive the car directly from the airport.
3. Return the car to the parking lot at the airport.
(Upon returning the car, its condition and fuel tank level will be checked
by an employee of the rental company, together with you. Any unreplaced
fuel or damage to the car will be charged to the renter's account.)
- Age: over 21 years old
- Driving experience: one year
- License: Valid international drivers license
- Maps are free at the Rental Company or the Tourist Information Desk at the airport.
[Notes on driving]
1. Unmanned cameras
Traffic is light on Jeju Island, so resist the temptation to speed because
unmanned cameras are watching! Speed limits in Jeju are 50 kilometers
per hour inside city, 60 on two-lane roads, and 80 on four-lane roads.
Renters are responsible for any violation of traffic laws.
2. 5-16 Road (Road 11) and 1100 Road (Road 99)
The roads passing over Mt. Hallasan are steep and curvy in places. Going
downhill, do not depend too much on the brake, rather utilize lower gears
to provide slowing resistance from the engine. If you do happen to smell
overheating from the brakes, stop and let them cool. This is true of motorcycles,