Review: Fish Tree Guesthouse on Jeju Island

fish tree hostel guesthouse jeju
Fish Tree Guesthouse on Jeju Island: built out of shipping containers.

Korean culture has some charming subcultures, one of which is very similar to something us USAers might call “hipster” or less kindly, “hippies”. This isn’t just limited to younger generations, though, and the owners, builders and managers of the Fish Tree Guesthouse in Jeju are a perfect example of that. This older couple decided to build and open their own hostel and coffee shop, of which the coffee shop is still under construction. Because they’ve aimed to do everything from scratch, the guesthouse is roomy, designed down to the very bones and feels like a home, complete with a wall full of books. Indeed it is a home, as the owners live there too.

book wall fish tree hostel jeju
The “cave” reading area, not pictured is a couch and several chairs for the more sophisticated sitters.

Let’s talk about that homey feel: a wall dedicated to chalkboard messages, another wall covered in (Korean) books, most of the interior “unfinished” as a design style, a kitchen full of ingredients in bottles and jars and other re-purposed and funky containers. Cushions on the ground in the computer area and an entire floor-level cave-like section next to the bookshelf, so you can properly lose yourself in a book. Spiral staircases led to the second floor and rooms and each bed in the dorm-style room had it’s own partition, like little cubicles for sleeping. The outside porch was huge and had several wooden tables and chairs that had me wanting to come back in spring, simply so I could sip coffee on the deck.

fish tree beds jeju island guesthouse
Dorm beds or outer space sleeping pods?!?! Okay, yeah, just really cool dorm beds.

But it’s not all butterflies and rainbows, the coffee shop is still under construction and there is a pension being built next door. The parking lot is literally a bunch of gravel and there’s not a proper walkway, yet. There’s also no WiFi on the second floor, where the bedrooms are, but the first floor is more than cozy enough to spend some time in. The biggest issue you could have here is the couple’s inability to speak English; I would recommend bringing a Korean friend or knowing a few phrases yourself. It won’t impact you majorly, but the couple was beyond sweet and definitely worth getting to know, so not being able to communicate well with them would be a shame.

fish tree hostel owner jeju
ISN’T SHE CUTE! Study Korean so you can talk to her.

When I walked into the hostel, the wife was baking homemade cookies in the kitchen and immediately offered me some. (I can forgive anything with cookies, not that there was much to forgive.) For breakfast the next morning, she freely toasted bread, sliced up some Norwegian cheese that her relatives had sent her and spread homemade (of course) mandarin orange jelly on top to make a strange but yummy breakfast sandwich. And, like the sweetheart that she is, gave me more cookies. That woman really knew the way to my heart, I even forgave her for purchasing Crocs as the bathroom slippers.

kitchen fish tree guesthouse jeju island korea
Do you see the cookies? I see the cookies!

Contrary to the “unfinished” look of the rest of the guesthouse, the bathroom was completely finished and clean and sparkly. It was only on the first floor though, so figure on getting used to that spiral staircase.

bathroom fish tree hostel jeju island korea
Nice bathrooms seal the deal.

Overall, I had a wonderful cookie-filled experience at this guesthouse and if you’ve got even a little Korean under your belt, I’d definitely recommend you give it a whirl. If you have a Korean friend with you who’s interested in design or construction, well, you might have a difficult time dragging them away. Not that I experienced that or anything, ahem, nobody I was with spent 40 minutes looking at workshop tools or metal joints or asking about kinds of paint while walking around the building, definitely not. Nope.

fish tree breakfast guesthouse jeju island korea
Breakfast: caramel Norwegian cheese, homemade mandarin orange jam and warm cookies. Or cereal, if you’d like.
patio outdoor fish tree hostel orange jeju korea
Part of the large outdoor patio; I’m itching to sit on a patio like this as soon as it’s warm enough.

If you end up visiting this guesthouse, drop me a line and let me know. I’d love to hear what you think. I hope you get cookies.

The Dirty Deetz

Name: Fish Tree Guesthouse (물고기나무 게스트하우스)
Address: Jeju Teukbyeol, Jachido, Seogwiposi, Sungsaneup, Samdalli 1037
제주특별 자치도 서귀포시 성산읍 삼달리 1037
Phone Number (Korean only): 064-783-1037
Prices: Dorm Room: 20k/night, Double Room: 50k/night (all prices in Won)
Capacity: Unless they have rooms hiding up their sleeves (possible), I saw 6 beds in the dorm-style room and 1 double/private bedroom.
More Information/Their Website (Korean only): http://blog.naver.com/fishtree72

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What do you think of Fish Tree Guesthouse from the pictures? Where did you stay when you were in Jeju? What’s your favorite hostel look like?

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14 thoughts on “Review: Fish Tree Guesthouse on Jeju Island”

  1. SO cute and quirky, I love it!! Those little bunk/cubbies are amazing… I hate having the bottom bunk in dorms because they inevitably become seating areas, but this idea is great!

    1. That’s never bothered me much, but I see where you’re coming from. Having your own little cave definitely helps, but I’ll say this a fourteenth time, the cookies won me over, not the beds.

      OMG I have (cookie) problems!!

  2. Wow, this place looks adorable! I am definitely going to try to stay there on my trip to Jeju in the spring. I love when people take time to give their hostels character. The bunks look cool, too, I like how there are stairs to the top bunk instead of that awkward ladder that I always fall off. And cookies and caramel and Norwegian cheese?! I’m sold. 🙂

    1. Aw I’m so glad to here that! And if you’re there in the spring, you’ll even get to use that front porch for breakfast/coffee. I’m seething with jealousy. 😀

      Let me know how it is, when you go! And have an awesome time in Jeju, though how could you not? 🙂

  3. oh.. this is beautiful. How do i make a room reservation with the owner of this place? I can’t read, write and speak in Korean. I’m travelling to south korea in 2 weeks time..

    1. You’ll probably need someone who speaks Korean to book a room for you. The number is at the bottom of the post.

      Have a fun trip to Korea!

  4. Hi, may I know how can I book the fish tree guest house at jeju? Is it near to jeju airport? Thanks

    1. Hi May! You have to call the hostel and talk to the owners to book a room. They only speak Korean, though. It’s not close to the airport, however.

  5. Hi Sally,

    My name is Jessica, I am French and currently wwoofing in South Korea and travelling time to time here and there.

    I would like to thank you for your review of Jeju-do’s guesthouse Fish Tree where I am staying one week. I was attracted by the house style. The kitchen is fun, the living-room very cozy and the masterpiece: the dorms are amazing (huhuhu love it!). I like the smell of the entire place.
    Now there is wifi for the second floor as well. The coffee shop is finished, they did a nice job. I didn’t get the mandarin cookies for free but they are delicious with the herb teas they make. The breakfast is included as before and they occasionally share diner with the guests.

    The guesthouse is how I love: a bit lost in the countryside but with enough buses to reach the main tourist attractions, most of the guests come by car, hahaha, I didn’t !

    The owners seem to remember you as they were asking me how I got to know about this place. My Korean is way too poor to make sure of all details ><°

    Apparently they are building few independent little houses in the same style close to the main building, probably rental accomodations. I didn't get time to ask about that yet.

    Storm is going crazy out there but I feel safe here inside. My upper bed is almighty XD

    JUHU ^^

    1. Bonjour! That’s such a sweet story, thanks for telling me about your stay and giving me an update! I really enjoyed that hostel and the people that own it really are fantastic. Glad to hear the coffee shop is up, running, and nice. 🙂 I’d love to go back again sometime.

      Enjoy your stay there and WWOOFing in South Korea! Take care Jessica! 🙂

  6. Hi!
    Such a nice guesthouse in jeju, thanks for sharing it and I totally fall for it.
    I will be staying there for my upcoming trip this coming october for sure ^^

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