Hamdeok Beach on Jeju Island truly surprised me with its turquoise seas and tropical vibes. It even kind of went a little way towards convincing me about the whole “Jeju is the Hawaii of Korea” claim.
With calm water, a super long tide and tons of amenities, Hamdeok Beach turned out to be the perfect place to try solo traveling with my toddler. However, travelers without children would also be VERY happy there. It’s simply one of the best beaches to be found on Jeju Island.
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Jump to what you want.
- 1 Why we chose Hamdeok Beach (함덕 서우봉해변)
- 2 Things to do in Hamdeok Beach
- 3 Where to Stay at Hamdeok Beach
- 4 Visiting Jeju with Kids
- 5 Flying to Jeju Island
- 6 Getting around Jeju Island
- 7 How to go to Hamdeok Beach
- 8 What to eat on Jeju Island with Kids
- 9 Hamdeok Beach: Essential Info and FAQs
Why we chose Hamdeok Beach (함덕 서우봉해변)
Since it was our first solo mommy-daughter trip, we chose to make it as stress-free as possible, by picking a single location and sticking with it.
We chose Hamdeok Beach because it’s known as a great place for traveling with a baby in Korea. It has excellent amenities, beachfront hotels, and cafes, restaurants and various activities nearby. The 3 beaches of Hamdeok are shielded by Seoubong Peak, which is a BIG bonus. Jeju is notorious for strong winds, but because of the mountain’s protection, the water here is super calm. And that’s always a good thing when little kids are around.
For us, Hamdeok Beach turned out to be the perfect toddler-friendly place to stay, with soft sand, tidal pools to cool off in, and small sea life for wee ones to discover.
Things to do in Hamdeok Beach
You could happily spend all your time on Jeju just bobbing around in crystal clear seas, but it you need a change, here are some other worthy things to do in Hamdeok Beach.
Admire the disappearing sandbar
The disappearing sandbar is a totally unique feature of Hamdeok Beach. It vanishes at night and magically reappears every morning. And it’s absolutely massive. You can park yourself on that incredible sandbar in the middle of the sea and spend practically the whole day there, before it gets covered by water again in the evening.
The sandbar is technically not part of Hamdeok’s 3 beaches per se, but at low tide, it’s totally possible to walk all the way over to one of the real beaches if you desire.
The tide was SO long, and the sand so clean and soft, that I could let my 22 month old, wander away for quite a distance exploring, before I had to go chasing after her. Best of all, the tide stayed out until long after we (and our little ones) were ready to call it a day.
See and Be Seen at Cafe Delmoondo
Without a doubt, the place to see and be seen at Hamdeok Beach is Cafe Delmoondo. With good reason. It’s eminently instagram-worthy with several different patios from which to take in incredible views of crystalline blue seas, while munching on baked goods and sipping on iced coffee.
They’re also one of the few (maybe only) places on Hamdeok Beach that has couple cabanas, and real sun beds available for rent. They start at 10,000 won per hour per person, and it’s something I’ll definitely be looking into next time I’m there.
Stroll across a volcanic rock bridge
Head past Cafe Delmoondo and you’ll find a volcanic rock bridge to cross. It’s connected to a small island that you can explore.
Visit at sunset for an alternative view of Hamdeok Beach, and some fantastic light for pictures. Kids will love climbing on big boulders by the sea and throwing the little black rocks that litter the ground into the water.
Try some water sports
It’s possible to try a number of different water sports at Hamdeok Beach. You can rent motorboats, try waterskiing, ride a banana boat, or go sea-fishing. You’ll find various service providers all around the beach.
Check out the mosaic tiled break wall
There’s a long break wall next to the sea that’s covered in a mosaic of colourful tiles. You can walk next to, or on top of it. Just be warned that it’s very hot, with little shade, so be sure to have a hat or some other form of sun protection.
Where to Stay at Hamdeok Beach
We stayed at what used to be called the Co-op City Hotel Jeju Beach, in a double room with partial sea view, balcony, wifi, unlimited draft beer at happy hour and breakfast included. I was super happy with the view, the comfortable bed, amount of space and cleanliness of the room.
If you’re traveling to Jeju with kids, I’d recommend booking something that’s walking distance to the sea. It’s really hot and humid in Jeju during summer and you want to be as close to all the amenities as possible… especially if you’ve got toddlers hanging off of you.
If you plan to travel during high season, or on weekends in the summer, reserve your hotel as early as possible for the best selection and rates.
The following highly-rated hotels, pensions and resorts are all across the street from Hamdeok Beach.
- Utop Ubless Hotel Jeju: This is one of the most booked hotels near Hamdeok Beach, with AC, wifi and free parking. It’s just 400 metres away.
- Badaya Pension: you can enjoy sea views from this holiday home, 500 metres away from the beach. A great affordable stay for a small group of people.
- Poem House is literally minutes from the beach, and near restaurants, cafes and any other amenities you might require.
- Jeju Jukwang Resort is a well priced resort a little further away from Hamdeok Beach, but not by much. It’s still beachfront, quiet, and has an outdoor swimming pool!
Visiting Jeju with Kids
If you live in Korea, Jeju Island is a great place to take a trip with your kids. I headed down with Hallie from the Soul of Seoul blog, and her daughter Ava and it turned out to be the perfect choice. Here’s why.
The Seoul to Jeju flight is less than an hour long, so it’s a safe and manageable distance to travel with children. It’s a domestic flight with many different times and options, so you’ll be able to find something that suits your family easily.
If you’re traveling to Jeju with younger kids, I recommend picking one place on the island and sticking with it, unless you’re staying for longer than 3 or 4 days. If you have more time, you could pick a couple locations on the Island to check out.
I say this because Jeju is quite large, and traveling from point to point can take a really long time. It’s better to choose a home base and explore the immediate area, rather than gallivanting all over the island.
Flying to Jeju Island
We flew to Jeju during PEAK season – the 2 weeks when all of the hagwons (after-school classes) are closed for vacation during summer. Our round-trip flight from Seoul cost 150,000 won each. If you can travel at other times, especially mid-week, you’re likely to find things a lot cheaper, and less busy than we did.
If you want to make it REALLY easy on yourself, consider booking an all in one AirTel package that includes flights, a 1-4 night hotel stay and breakfast.
Naia, because she was under 2 at the time, was totally free. Keep in mind that kids over 2 have to pay full fare… at least on T’Way Air.
Finding Seoul to Jeju Flights
Most of Korea’s national and low-cost carriers ply the route between Seoul and Jeju Island. In fact, the air route between Seoul and Jeju is the world’s busiest!
PRO TIP: When you’re looking for flights from Seoul to Jeju, be sure to search from GIMPO airport and NOT Incheon.
Low-cost airlines that fly to Jeju include: Jeju Air, Jin Air, Air Busan, Eastar Jet, and T’Way Air. However, don’t be shy about also checking Korean Air and Asiana Air for flights if you’d like a little more comfort. Often, these fares are not much more than what you’d pay on a discount airline.
Getting around Jeju Island
If you’re traveling to Jeju with kids, you should know that public transport on the Island is not what it is in Seoul. Journeys are long, buses come few and far between and subways and trains are non-existent.
Unless you plan to stick around Jeju City, or book yourself onto a bunch of tours, renting a car is absolutely the BEST option for just about everyone. It really isn’t easy to get around Jeju Island. This is what I did on my second trip to Jeju with Naia, and it made getting around super easy and convenient.
You MUST have an international or Korean drivers license in order to rent a car in Korea. Be sure to arrange this in your home country BEFORE you arrive in Korea. You can reserve a rental car in Jeju Island with this exclusive offer from Trazy, including unlimited mileage, third party insurance, and the registration of an additional driver for FREE.
If renting a car isn’t an option for you, I strongly recommend hiring a private car or tour bus for airport transfers or any sightseeing around the island. Standing around in the hot sun, waiting for buses isn’t fun for anyone… especially young kids.
- Book a convenient private airport transfer on Trazy.
- Reserve private transfer between Jeju Airport and Jeju City on Klook.
- Explore Jeju at your own pace with a Private Van and Driver for up to 9 people
How to go to Hamdeok Beach
Address: Johamhaean-ro, Jocheon-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
In Korean: 제주특별자치도 제주시 조천읍 조함해안로 (조천읍)
If you plan on serious beach time, a metred taxi to Hamdeok is a good choice is you’re less than 4 people and don’t have much luggage. This is what we did, and it took around 45 minutes and cost less than 25,000 won.
If you plan on exploring a bit further afield, are more than 4 people, or simply can’t travel light, renting a car or hiring a private driver is really the best option.
What to eat on Jeju Island with Kids
If your kids are comfortable eating seafood, there’ll be no shortage of delicious things to eat. From grilled fish, to seafood pancakes to any number of briny stews, you’ll find it pretty much everywhere you turn on Jeju Island.
> Read our post about happily finding California style sushi rolls on Jeju Island.
Don’t fret if seafood’s not your thing though. There’s plenty of other options on Jeju. Burgers, fried chicken and pasta are easy to find. And if you’re looking for something unique to Jeju Island – be sure to try 제주흑돼지 or black pork bbq.
Hamdeok Beach: Essential Info and FAQs
When is the beach open?
You can access Hamdeok Beach in every season, but the swimming season is usually from late June to the end of August. Hours vary in summer time, but usually the beach opens at 10AM and closes between 7 – 9PM.
For me, the fact that there are even “hours” at the beach has always been a strange quirk of Korea. How do they even police these dates and times? But it turns out they do – which we learned when police boats arrived to tell Agri to get out of the water at Gyeongpo Beach after its “closing date” in early September. Swim at your own risk. 😉
What facilities are available at Hamdeok Beach?
You can find pretty much everything you need at Hamdeok Beach. There are toilets, dressing and shower rooms, restaurants, cafes, and convenience stores onsite. You can buy or rent almost anything you need for the beach there, including sand toys, floaties, and boards. You’ll also find hotels, motels, and even a campsite nearby.
Are there sunbeds and umbrellas available?
It’s possible to rent tables and chairs directly on the beach, but these are not the typical sunbeds with umbrellas we’re used to in North America or Europe. They’re basically just the plastic table with chairs you’d find outside any convenience store in Korea. They do have umbrellas though and offer shade if that’s what you’re after. Cost: 20,000 won per table.
The only sunbed type services I saw at Hamdeok Beach were at Cafe Delmoondo, but they’re not directly on the sand.