I Spent a Week in South Korea's Jeju Island on An Ultimate Wellness Retreat

I Spent a Week in South Korea’s Jeju Island on An Ultimate Wellness Retreat

Jeju has so more to offer than its honeymooner-friendly beach resorts. From bountiful nature to an array of wellness facilities, it's the perfect destination for a little rest and relaxation!

Often nicknamed the “Hawaii of Korea”, Jeju Island is a popular vacation spot brimming with stunning beach resorts and volcanic landscape. Many visitors enjoy hiking the dormant Hallasan volcano (which has a crater lake) and the long Manjanggul Cave where you can see lava tubes. The island is also home to Loveland, a unique park with erotic statues for honeymooners.

However, instead of packing your travel itinerary with a long checklist of sightseeing spots, slow down to recoup some needed rest and relaxation. Escape the hustle and bustle of city life to the island’s best wellness spots where you can become one with nature and pamper yourself listlessly.

From spas to wellness resorts, here are my top picks of experiences you can treat yourself to in Jeju!

1. Stay in this seafront wellness resort

Image credit: Alicia Chong

Not only is Chuidasun Resort by the sea, it boasts an all-inclusive package with activities that will allow you to find peace and heal from your daily stress. A particularly memorable activity is the active meditation session it conducts for guests. 

Image credit: Alicia Chong

I was initially sceptical as to how walking around a studio would help my well-being. As the session progressed though, we did some jumping, dancing and even shouting. This gave me an outlet to vent my frustrations in a way that I have never done before. 

On hindsight, this reminds me of Sandra Bullock dancing in a scene of The Proposal, albeit not as humorously. 

After getting the blood moving, we settled down to a traditional tea ceremony. You can choose two types of tea to drink from the availability of four. We opted to try Jeju Organic Tea and Dark Tea. You can also choose to try your own hand at making the tea after the instructor demonstrates the first round.

Image credit: Alicia Chong

We were each given a plate with slices of tangerine and paste cakes made from mugwort and nuts to go with the tea. Fun fact: A famous legend has it that if ladies eat nothing but mugwort and garlic for 100 days, they will transform into great beauties. 

Speaking of beauty, get your much-needed uninterrupted sleep in one of the 17 rooms available. Rooms are completely sound-proof and to ensure that you aren’t disturbed by too many gadgets, there aren’t any television sets. To our amazement, we woke up the next day with none of our usual sinus problems.

Image credit: Zenhotels

The cost of one night’s stay is a bang for your buck at S$146.25(125000KRW), inclusive of an active meditation session and tea ceremony. 

Address: 2688, Haemajihaean-ro Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do

Website: http://www.chuidasun.com

2. Seogwipo Healing Forest

If you insist on leaving the sanctuary of your resort to see some sights, I highly recommend Seogwipo Healing Forest. Do take note that you’ll have to make advance reservations to enter the forest and it’s mandatory to have a guide. 

Image credit: Alicia Chong

As we were visiting at the beginning of autumn, we were delighted to find ourselves lucky enough to walk through breathtaking hues of red, orange, yellow and green foliage. Our guide explained to us that the land once belonged to farmers and nomads who used lava stones as fertilizers for growing shiitake mushrooms. 

Image credit: Alicia Chong

We visited a natural pebble stone pool (pictured above) said to improve the blood circulation and energy flow in our feet. A word of caution though it was quite slippery and painful to step on, but do endure it. After standing in it for a few minutes, my feet indeed felt lighter and I experienced a pleasant floating sensation. 

All this walking had made us hungry, so we stopped by one of the huts to have lunch. Specially prepared by the locals at a price of S$19.86(17000 KRW) per Charong box, we had a refreshing meal of sweet potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, oysters and capsicum skewers, one buckwheat crepe,  broccoli and rice balls. 

Image credit: Alicia Chong

Our last stop in the healing forest was a recreational centre where you can get a foot bath, experience a tea ceremony and meditation session in a hut made out completely of Hinokitiol wood. 

Image credit: Alicia Chong

As there is a quota of people allowed (300 per weekday and 600 on weekends), do make your reservations early! Admission into the forest starts at S$1.16 (1000KRW) / adult and S$0.70(600KRW) /youth. 

Address: 2271, Sallongnam-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do

Website: healing.seogwipo.go.kr/index.htm

Phone number (for reservations from foreigners): +82-64-760-3067~8

3. Herb Dongsan 

After completing your afternoon hike, soak your travel-weary feet in a warm, rosewater bath here. With peppermint oil and salt to exfoliate your feet, your soles will be soft and rejuvenated. One session costs just S$13.87(12, 000KRW) for 20 minutes.

The staff of the centre also applied oil to our necks to further alleviate our sore bodies and sprayed our faces with rosemary mist at the end of the session. 

Image credit: Alicia Chong

In the pictures above, you can see how clear the water was before and after — toxins and waste were washed out from my body and feet in the process, making the water murky. 

To end your night, take a walk around the herb garden which is illuminated with a ton of fairy lights and wire structures. Classical and Christmas music was playing to add to the ambience. Don’t miss out on taking Instagram-worthy pictures with Elsa and Olaf!

Image credit: Alicia Chong

Address: 170, Donoreum-ro Pyoseon-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do

Website: www.herbdongsan.com

4. O’Sulloc Tea Museum and Tea Plantation

If you have some free time the next day, you should definitely visit the O’Sulloc Tea Museum. Appreciate their collection of teacups that date back to the Joseon Dynasty as well as sip some of their freshly brewed and home-grown tea. P.S. Do not miss out on their matcha ice cream! 

Image credit: Matt Kieffer (TOP) and Amanda Ho(BOTTOM)

Take a walk around the plantations to fully immerse yourself in the green. After all, the color green is often said to be relaxing on the eyes and great for calming the body. 

Once a barren land, O’Sulloc takes great pride in cultivating its three healthy green plantations. The aroma of the Dolsongi tea field is said to be enhanced from the mix of Hallasan mountain breeze and the sea. The tea leaves contain high levels of amino acid as the plantation is still young, strengthening the taste when brewed. Hmmm, the matcha tea was calming indeed!

Image credit: Alicia Chong

Address: 15 Sinhwayeoksa-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea

Website: https://www.osulloc.com/kr/en

5. Jeju Innisfree House

Have your cake and eat it too at Jeju Innisfree House! With cakes that are baked with mugwort and matcha, you don’t have to feel guilty consuming these low-calorie treats. Plus, these ingredients have been said to be good for your health and skin!

Image credit: Alicia Chong

Seize the opportunity to create your own natural soap with ingredients such as green tea, tangerine and volcanic clay. Don’t be fooled, molding those soaps can be tricky! Choose from 12 different ingredients to make your own face masks too.

Address: 23 Sinhwayeoksa-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea

Website: https://www.innisfree.com/kr/ko/Main.do

See You in Jeju!

From eating to walking and just learning to breathe, Jeju has shown me that wellness isn’t only about dieting and exercising. Sometimes, we have to slow down, take that stroll through the forest and have that aromatic foot bath. There is a quiet joy to the island life of enjoying nature and being in tune with one’s body. 

For more information on wellness destinations in Korea, you can refer to Korea Tourism Organization here

Also read: 14 Awesome Attractions in Jeju Island You Shouldn’t Miss

Brought to you by the Korea Tourism Organization (Singapore). 

About Author

Alicia Chong
Alicia Chong

Besides dreaming of far-fetched locations, Alicia enjoys training herself and others on ice in figure skating.