Bucket List Jeju Island South Korea

Hidden Beach of Jeju Island: A Jeju Korea Travel Guide

Hidden Beach of Jeju Island, South Korea: The stunning Jeju Island of South Korea (still relatively unknown to most westerners) offers incredible tropical beaches for any traveler to escape! Best of all is Jeju's Secret Beach, which you can enjoy all to yourself! Find out how to find it here!

In the summer, a ravishing, tropical landmass that floats at the foot of South Korea, Jeju Island forms one of two points that connect to form the most traveled commercial air route in the world. With its natural beauty, Jeju Korea never lets you forget how it earned its nickname “the Hawaii of Korea.”

Jeju Island, South Korea

Imported palm trees line the tiled city centers spangled every shade of Korean beauty, lingerie, or athletic store. We’ve told you about the easy-to-reach Iho Beach of Jeju City, and the best sites in Jeju City to find the Korean cherry blossom trees in the spring. We’ve detailed our experience teaching English abroad and our brush with the Jeju Island winter in the city. But outside the cities is where you hit the heart of Jeju Korea.

Sanbangsan Mountain and Hidden Beach on Jeju Korea

Outside Jeju City

Serpentine roads ride along jagged coastal cliffs, the black volcanic rock contrasting majestically with sapphiric jewel sea hues. Every square meter of land in Jeju Korea outside the cities springs forth lush summer greenery, a verdant dream that further compounds the drama of black volcanic rock and sea foam blue-green water. Outside Jeju City is where you’ll find the vibrant green tea fields of O’Sulloc, the massive volcanic mountain and highest point of South Korea known as Hallasan Mountain, the imposing crater of Sunrise Peak (as well as Jeju Island’s best beachy fish and chips restaurant).

 

It’s also where you’ll find one of the best hidden beaches of Jeju Korea.

A Jeju Island Escape

With its mild weather (relative to mainland Korea), and languorous turquoise waves, Jeju Korea attracts millions of tourists every year. Korean and Chinese tourists stripe Jeju Island’s beaches every summer, and it seems near impossible to enjoy the stunning ocean scenery Jeju has to offer and escape the crowds.

Jeju Korea Secret Beach

The Hidden Coves by Hwasun Beach

The black sand shores of Hwasun Beach itself don’t bring that much in the way of achieving that classic island escape feeling. It’s a perfectly nice beach, to be sure—a wide sprawl of dark brown/black lined with the red and white stripes of perky beach umbrellas sees its fair share of visitors on a sunny day. Boats, kayaks, and jolly water bikes are easily available for rent, and a miniature water park is built right on the sand, with kid-friendly water slides. Pack a picnic, load up on sunscreen, and you have everything you need for a family-friendly day in the sun at Hwasun Beach.

But you won’t get that private beach feel.

 

GET THE LOOK

 

How to Get that Private Beach Feel

On a particularly beautiful and sunny Jeju Korea day, we walked through Hwasun Beach, but only so we could reach a restricted area lined by caution tape. Walking over the tape, we met a pile of rubble leftover from a seemingly abandoned construction site on the edge of Hwasun Beach. Climbing the rubble, walking past the eye-sore of the construction site, we emerged into a stunning cove. And the best part? There was no one else there.


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Faces beet red, bodies covered in sweat, we contemplated settling down and enjoying the view at this first cove, but the vision of the construction site to the left kept us climbing. A slightly jungley climb took us through overgrown foliage until the next cove peeked out from a cliff-top viewpoint. We could see the immaculate coves down below, forming the bottom frame of the vision of Sanbangsan in the distance—a lava mass with an incredible temple built into it.

Hidden Beach on Jeju Island, South Korea

Secret Coves of Jeju Island

Climbing down to the coves, we dove head first into the clear water to cool off, enjoying the best Jeju Korea swim we’d had the entire summer. Rich emerald in some parts and breathy turquoise in others, the water hues bounced off the glimmering caramel-colored sand.


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Off the water, jet-black volcanic boulders provided some much-needed shade from the powerful afternoon sun. A bottle of sparkling wine (public drinking is perfectly legal in South Korea!) completed the magnificent scene.

Jeju Korea Hwasun Beach

The perfect day to spend a romantic summer afternoon on Jeju Island, our rendezvous at this hidden cove off of Hwasun Beach is a wonderful way to capture that island escape feeling. It does require a bit of hiking to get to it, but the pay-off is more than worth it!

Sanbangsan Temple, Jeju Korea

Our recommendation? Pack a picnic and enjoy the beach for the day, then walk to the nearby Sanbangsan (mountain temple) for a spectacular sunset!

 Sunset near Sanbangsan on Jeju Island

How to Get to the Hidden Beach of Jeju Korea

The closest bus stop to Hwasun Beach is Hwasun-ri (Hwasun Village).

  • From Jeju-si Intercity Bus Terminal: Take the 750-1 or 702 bus to the Hwasun-ri stop.
  • From Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal: Take the 702 bus to the Hwasun-ri stop.

Once you get off the bus in Hwasun-ri, head downhill towards the ocean. Keep Mount Sanbangsan on your right as you walk downhill. The main part of Hwasun Beach is about a 5-10 minute walk from the Hwasun-ri stop. Once you reach the big Hwasun Beach, keep walking along the beach until you reach the end, past the water slides. At the end of the beach there are cliffs and rocks that you need to walk past as well. This far portion of the beach may be blocked with caution tape due to renovations of the beach—it’s up to you if you want to let it stop you or not.

  • If you cross the caution tape, keep walking over the loose rocks at the base of the cliffs for a few minutes, and then you’ll reach the first cove. This cove had some construction materials around it, so we kept walking to the next cove.
  • If you choose not to cross the caution tape, you can also take the Olle Trail 10. The second cove we settled into is about a 5-minute walk on Olle Trail 10 in the hills at the far end of the cove. To the right of the caution tape, you’ll see a set of steep stairs leading up to several trees. Climb these steps, and follow the path through the trees until you soon come upon this second cove. If this cove isn’t to your liking, you can walk as long as you like along Olle trail 10 until you find the perfect cove!

Olle Trails are a network of 26 trails that lead around the entire perimeter of Jeju Island. Hwasun Beach is the end of Olle trail 9 and the start of Olle trail 10.

Jeju Island sunset


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21 Comments

  • Reply
    Candidly Kate: My instagram vacation was faked - The Toronto Seoulcialite
    September 27, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    […] mountain crater) and there’s even a hidden beach nearby (check out the blog + vlog combo from Television of Nomads for details, and check out all their Jeju posts here). I still love you, Korea, but next […]

  • Reply
    Rashmi & Chalukya
    October 16, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    A new destination in KOREA to be added to our list thanks for the information. We loved your pictures and video. We would love to spend some time in miniature water park with kid-friendly water slides.

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      October 17, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Oh it’s quite fun! Jeju is in many ways very different from mainland Korea!

  • Reply
    Melissa | Parenthood and Passports
    October 16, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    This is great! We are heading to South Korea next summer. I love that you found a way to enjoy the beauty of a popular place and get away from the crowds. We found a hidden beach in Mexico several years ago and it was one of the highlights of our trip.

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      November 27, 2016 at 2:51 am

      Hidden beaches are definitely the ticket! Luckily Jeju is full of them–you just need to know where to look!

  • Reply
    Janine Good
    October 17, 2016 at 5:42 am

    Jeju sounds wonderful! I am not the biggest fan of crowds so would need to risk it when I go to try and avoid as many as possible as you note the beaches are usually striped with tourists! I would definitely agree that a picnic on the beach and a sunset would be a great adventure.

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      October 17, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      We love nature, and Jeju is full of it, so we feel quite lucky to live on Jeju!

  • Reply
    Kassie
    October 17, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Wow! Seems like it was the perfect afternoon. I love finding untouched areas while I travel even if it takes a little hiking and caution tape dodging 😉

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      October 17, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Oh absolutely, it just adds to the adventure!

  • Reply
    Allison
    October 17, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Jeju sounds wonderful and given I love Hawaii I’m sure that I would be right at home in Korea’s Hawaii. I was a bit concerned about the crowds you mentioned so it’s great to know that you can escape them when needed. A picnic at the beach and a subset at the temple sounds like a perfect day.

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      October 17, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      Oh yes, we’ve noticed that Koreans tend to flock to places in groups, so if part of the beach is very crowded, you might find that if you walk a little bit, there will be SIGNIFICANTLY less people.

  • Reply
    Gina
    October 17, 2016 at 11:30 am

    I’m so upset I missed Sangbasun Temple when I was there. I’ve seen so many lovely photographs of it and I’m sad I didn’t get to experience it for myself! Also, your photos of that beach look great. I would definitely make the trek over there just to enjoy a nice picnic with no one there.

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      November 27, 2016 at 2:52 am

      It’s a shame you didn’t make it to the temple but the plus side is that gives you a fresh new spot to check out for you if you ever return!

  • Reply
    Vicki Louise
    October 17, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    I’ve heard a little about Jeju Island before and it has always sounded amazing – but your hidden beach is Epic! Your pictures are stunning and I love the tip about taking a picnic and watching the sunset from the mountain – it would definitely be worth the climb!

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      October 17, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      It certainly is! One of the best parts of Jeju is finding little spots that you can enjoy all to yourself!

  • Reply
    Diana - MVMT Blog
    October 18, 2016 at 12:38 am

    I’ve heard mixed reviews about Jeju, but just reading this post I would not be able to think of any possible negatives to the island. I love doing active, outdoorsy activities when I travel, so I’d love to hike along some of the trails there. Thanks for sharing about the hidden beach too! It’s sometimes hard to enjoy a beach day when the beach is packed with people, so the hidden beach is perfect. Hope I get to visit Jeju one day.

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      October 18, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Every place has its pros and cons and Jeju is no different. However, if we’re going to be in Korea, Jeju is exactly where I want to be!

  • Reply
    Marinel de Jesus
    November 2, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    Jeju is an awesome long weekend getaway. I was there winter time and hiked the highest point in a lot of snow. Even then it was a fun adventure though very cold.

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      November 27, 2016 at 2:53 am

      I don’t do well in the cold either! But yes, Jeju is so beautiful it can make up for it in the winter!

  • Reply
    Bijindo – Take 2 on Korea’s Hidden Paradise | Live, Travel, Teach
    November 21, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    […] Looking for another amazing Korean beach?  Check out Jeju’s hidden beach featured on Television of Nomads […]

  • Reply
    Television of Nomads
    November 30, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    […] Hidden Beach of Jeju Island: A Jeju Korea Travel Guide […]

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