For many foreigners living on Jeju, swimming is a top priority. Here are the top 10 swimming spots to escape the summer heat the next time you’re in Jeju. You can find most of the beaches on a webcam at bangjae.jeju119.go.kr.
Jungmun is probably Jeju’s most famous beach. A long strip of soft sand is bordered by palm-studded dunes on one side and clear blue water on the other. There is occasional surf (check the webcam to be sure) and it gets extremely crowded between June and August 31. (Strangely enough, on September 1st the beach is completely empty.) There is good snorkeling along the rocks.
This beach is absolutely gorgeous. The beach itself is made of powdery white sand, and the water is stunningly blue and clear. There is a great view of Bi-yang-do, a fishing island a kilometer off the coast. There are no waves, but it’s relaxing and calm and a great place for families with children.
Sinyang is not the best beach for swimming or snorkeling, but the wind makes it a perfect location for windsurfing and kite surfing. There is a shallow beach on one side, and the other side (across a parking lot) offers a spectacular view of Seongsan Sunrise Peak. If you’re looking for a more secluded beach, this is a great place to get away from the summer crowds.
There are two beaches in Hwasun area; one is adjacent to the power plant and is often crowded, but the lesser-known is found just west of Sanbang Mountain. It’s a smooth curve of white sand with shallow waves and is less busy than the main beach. The views of Sanbang Mountain and the tiny Brothers Island make it particularly special.
This place is completely awesome. Swesoggak is a river that flows into the ocean, making for a weird mix of warm, salty water on top and refreshingly ice-cold water below. There are rocks to dive from and a few nice platforms to climb down to and have a picnic.
Next to the river is an interesting black-sand beach that is constantly being worked on to make swimmable (there are too many rocks for easy entrance into the water). There is occasional surf here.
You know a place is great when it’s flocked to by locals. Donnaeko, a place much more frequented by Jeju residents than tourists, is a dream come true on hot days. Icy cold pools are fed by a slowly moving stream. If you walk upstream, you can escape 90% of the crowd and have your own private waterfall grotto.
This place is an absolute gem. Just like Donneko, Kang Jung Chun is loved by locals who come for the shockingly cold water and great rocks for diving. The swimming hole is fed by a lazy river which washes out to the ocean.
The actual swimming area is not that big, but it packs a wallop of a view - the river rushes out to the ocean and is met with crashing waves. Low tide reveals huge flat rocks that bake in the sun, perfect for warming up after an icy swim.
If nothing else, Iho is great for convenience. Minutes from the airport, close to hotels and pensions, great camping spots, and public showers make for an easy stay. There are several tent restaurants serving fresh seafood and soju right on the beach. There is sometimes good surf, check the webcam.
Another white sand beach, Pyoseon is long and flat. At low tide, you can walk across the main beach to a smaller, pristine (and often empty) beach with a great view. The swimming isn’t the best, but it’s a great beach to sunbathe at and take the occasional dip. At high tide, you can hunker down in the knee-deep water with local ajumma and rake the soft sand for clams.
FYOB – Find Your Own Beach!
That’s right, find your own beach or swimming hole! It sounds too good to be true, but if you explore a little bit, you can find your own amazing location.
There are lots of places to hike and find your own private stream or spot to swim, and literally any rocky area along the coast will have good snorkeling. Think icy cold pools, isolated snorkeling, and the feeling that you are doing something that few people ever get to do.