Have you ever wondered what other activity besides running would make you the best at running? Even if you are not a sports fanatic, this South Korea’s first UNESCO Natural Heritage Site offers several things that would turn you into an outdoor person.
Through the invitation of Jeju Olle Foundation, visiting the biggest island in South Korea was a dream come true. Surrounded by the seas, rocks, and winds, we were enraptured by Jeju Island’s untouched natural beauty.
This well-known island attracts visitors from all over the globe. The allure of streaming into Jeju’s breathtaking coastlines and scenic routes immediately captured our sense of excitement.
The best way to travel Jeju Island is walking the Jeju Olle Trail, especially for those who seek for an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Let’s explore the Jeju Olle Trail, together. Shall we?
Jeju Island is the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site that has the most parasitic volcanoes.
There is nowhere like Jeju in the world, which has various types of volcanic topography in a single island. Jeju Island won the UNESCO’s ‘Triple Crown’ in World Natural Heritage, Biosphere Reserve, and Global Geopark.
This island has more than 360 parasitic volcanoes created by volcano eruption. Jeju Olle Trail is a series of walking routes, consisting of 21 main routes that loop the island’s coastal regions. There are 5 sub routes that take in Jeju’s interior.
Together with 26 routes stretch 425 kilometres in total, each route has its own unique charms, including several volcanic cones and craters, and offers unparalleled views of Jeju Island’s individual setting.
Jeju Olle Trail consists of 21 main routes.
Jeju Olle Trail is a series of walking trails that stretch around the entire coast of the island. The word “Olle” in Jeju dialect means a narrow pathway that is connected from a street to one’s doorstep. It also infers a way that Jeju natives take first step outside the island to communicate with the world.
The Jeju Olle Trail passes through not only the scenic places such as coastal areas, forests, oreums and ranches, but also through local villages and traditional markets where you can meet local residents and experience Jeju’s culture.
Jeju Olle Trail is well managed by the Jeju Olle Foundation.
Founded in September 2007, the Jeju Olle Foundation is a non-profit organization established by Myung Sook Suh, President of the Jeju Olle Foundation who worked as a journalist for 23 years.
After traveling Camino de Santiago in Spain, she started dreaming about a “footpath for slow traveling” in her hometown, Jeju Island. She bravely quit her career at the age of 50 and created Jeju Olle Trail with the help of many volunteers who shared her dream.
In fall of 2012, she opened 21 routes as regular courses and it was the introduction of the Olle courses going around Jeju Island. With the Jeju Olle Foundation, many volunteers are committed to building the Jeju Olle Trail and keeping it well until.
Jeju Olle Trail allows you to walk and meet the real Jeju.
One of the reasons you should walk the Jeju Olle Trail is the marvellous sceneries Jeju offers, such as the blue ocean, oreums, stone walls built with black basalt, the green fields all year round, and the grove of deep tangerine trees.
If just visiting famous attractions is seen as the ‘travel of a dot’, the Jeju Olle Trail can be called the ‘travel of a line’ that connects each dot. Through this travel of a line, you can naturally communicate with beautiful nature, culture, and people of Jeju, which may not be possible when you travel around marking dots.
Walking along the streets, you can enjoy fresh seafood and special snacks cooked with agricultural products from local farms.
Jeju Olle Trail is open to everyone.
As a non-profit organization, the Jeju Olle Foundation operates and manages the Jeju Olle Trail only with private donations, corporate sponsorships and souvenir sales without government subsidiser admission fees.
After obtaining the necessary information on the characteristics of the routes, transportation, and lodging, travellers can select the route that best suits their ability and walk freely following the arrows of ribbons and ‘Ganse’, the symbol of Jeju Olle.
Anyone regardless of age or gender can walk easily since there are only few mountainous regions and rugged trails. There is also a separate wheelchair section.
You can walk the Jeju Olle Trail freely by following a signpost.
There are several signposts along the way to orient yourself along the Jeju Olle Trail. There are arrows, Ganse (pony), and ribbons to guide you the right way. If you don’t find a signpost or feel like you’ve come a wrong way, go back to the last point of signpost and look carefully to find the right way.
The word ‘Ganse’ means a pony that is a symbol of Jeju Olle. The name has its root in the Jeju dialect ‘Gansedari’, which means lazybones. To enjoy Jeju Olle to the hilt, we recommend you to stroll, play, and rest like the Ganse that slowly walks the meadow of Jeju.
Blue arrow on the ground, stonewall, and telephone pole is the basic post that guides the direction of Jeju Olle Trail. Orange arrow guides the reverse direction of the trail. This is the post you should follow, when walking from the finishing point to the starting point.
Blue and orange ribbons are tied to a tree. These are placed on a rocky mountain path, where it is difficult to place an arrow. Ribbons are hung at a height, above the eye level. You can find them easily, even from afar, on a windy day, so look further than closer, when checking the course.
The plate shows the remaining distance and the direction.
Sign-stone for Jeju Olle Trail Starting Point
Sign-stone for starting and finishing points of each route is made of basalt. You can find the map, course of each route and location of restrooms.
Wheelchair Accessible Area
S on Ganse’s saddle indicates the starting point of wheelchair accessible area and F indicates the finishing point.
Detour and Hazard Signpost
These signposts are placed at dangerous areas or temporary detours. You can check on details of the detour route, including the map, total time and distance. There are two orange strips on a detour.
Jeju Island is a home to fresh seafood, village cafe, and tangerine trees.
Apart from walking the Jeju Olle Trail, Jeju Island is also a home to small seafood restaurants, village cafes, and tangerine trees, adding flavours to the trekking experience.
The irresistible fishy smell of seafood, welcome scent of coffee, and sweet and sour tangerines called to our weary legs come take a rest. From basking in the panoramic sea view and lava stones, sipping Jeju’s very own aromatic coffee, to indulging in abalone noodles, ginseng chicken porridge, and tangerines, everything was mutually rewarding and visually jaw-dropping.
Jeju Olle Trail was indeed a Daebak experience, and 5D4N was definitely insufficient. Our escapade to Jeju would not end here, so Jeju will see you again sooner or later! Annyeong!