Because I am one of two Koreans in my office, sometimes my colleagues ask me about travelling to Korea.
Is Hallal food available? Can I rent a car and drive? Do people speak English?
Hmm… I heard Hallal food is available in some restaurants in Itaewon(Seoul) but I found a few vegetarian restaurants in Jeju but no Hallal food. Jeju people love pork and Jeju black pork is one of their signature dish. However, Koreans love various vegetables and if you don’t mind being an instant vegetarian there are plenty places you can enjoy food.
Renting a car in Jeju is very common for Koreans and it is inexpensive. Besides some rent-a-car companies provide English GPS but their internet web sites don’t provide English service. I personally think it is not really safe to drive when the road signs are mostly in Korean. Hiring a taxi for a day should be the best choice.
Some people speak English but I don’t think Korea is much better than Japan. When I visited Japan, I was lost in Kyoto. The map from the information centre was in English but the road signs were in Japanese. When I tried to get some help from people they ran away with screaming as soon as I said “Excuse me” in English. At least in Korea, people won’t run away from you.
Travelling Jeju as a Korean is also quite challenging. Several times I asked directions to old local ladies and I couldn’t understand their language at all. Jeju language(It is now defined as a language not a dialect) is foreign to me! Buses have no numbers and I couldn’t read the time tables on the bus stops. It was just sooo complicated. I had to ask a bus driver every time when I take a bus. Most bus drivers are very kind but travelling by bus could be more challenging to foreigners. http://bus.jeju.go.kr/internet_2012_eng/
Nothing can be challenging if you can afford staying in a 5 star hotel and hire a personal tour guide. It is only challenging when you are a budget traveller and I am the one.
Don’t worry. Without a help from a 5 star hotel concierge or a personal tour guide, there are thousands of ways you can enjoy Jeju. Just bring a bit of guts and open mind then Jeju and the people there will welcome you! One thing I really don’t want to recommend is a package tour. I have checked several package itinerary and they are almost the same. Who visits Misterious road? Only Chinese tourist by the package tour, I think. Think of what you would like to do and pick attractions of your interest because Jeju has so much to offer.
When this endless budgeting is over, I will share my family trip itinerary which I planned a couple of year ago so anyone planning their own Jeju trip itinerary can refer to it. Again, if you are ever considering becoming a financial analyst, please reconsider. :p