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 to walk the Jeju Olle Trail, especially for those who seek for an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
During the 5D4N Jeju Olle Media Tour, we walked five courses of Jeju Olle including many of the diverse vegetation, spectacular beaches, and mesmerising culture and heritage.
What is Jeju Olle?
There is nowhere like Jeju in the world. This UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site has more than 360 parasitic volcanoes created by volcano eruption.
Former journalist, Ms Myung Sook founded Jeju Olle Foundation and started developing footpaths back in 2012. Jeju Olle is a series of walking trails, consisting of 26 routes that stretch 425 kilometres in total 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.
Jeju Olle 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 19 Course
Route 19 consists of the oceans, oreums, gotjawals, villages, plantations, and many other aspects of Jeju.
From the coastal road, the route welcomes you to the downtown of Jeju, overlooking the sandy beach and emerald green water. There are accommodations, restaurants, convenient facilities, walkways, and camping sites along the way.
Approaching the inland, you will be captivated by an open space created from lava, and the meandering roads in a less known village and plantations.
Jeju Olle 18 Course
Although the route is not too short, you wouldn’t have difficulties walking the trail. The route includes Sara-bong and Byeoldo-bong often walked by the locals.
Route 18 starts at old downtown of Jeju which is very close to Dongmun Market. Then you can walk to Sanji-cheon and Jeju-hang which is located in the North end of Jeju.
The route is covered in old trees, overlooking the endless ocean. Hurry back on the trail and hike toward the two oreums in old Jeju-si, Sara-bong and Byeoldo-bong, it offers a beautiful view of old downtown of Jeju, the sea, and the mountain.
After passing a small road and pine forest, you will arrive at another ocean. Route 18 offers silver glass, wild flowers and ends at Jocheon Manse Dongsan.
Jeju Olle 14 Course (Total Distance: 19.1km)
The route is relatively long with some forest and pebbly pathways. It is one of the routes mostly loved by Jeju Olle hikers, who enjoy both mountainous and coastal olle.
The first half of route is mountainous Olle with forest paths, and the other half is coastal olle on the West Coast of Jeju.
There are greenhouses and fields on the way and trail meets a forest path covered in pine trees and vines. Located below Jeoji Oreum, you will find your way into the trail surrounded by stone walls.
Past the forest path, quiet field trail awaits. There are vines over stone walls and wild flowers with scent below the walls. Past a farm road and green fields, the meandering forest path boasts a beautiful landscape and excellent view.
Unlike other forests with dirt roads in Jeju, there are winding zigzag roads, uphills and downhills and there are lots of stones and rocks along the trail. Route 14 may seem steep and rough, but achievable at the same time.
Jeju Olle 7-1 Course
The path includes Gogeun-san, a hill relatively steeper compared to other oreums. From far, you can see the ocean, islands, and Halla Mountain.
The trail interestingly starts at a paved road, covers more parks, residential areas, and then turns into a mountainous path with some uphill and downhill sections. Covered in camellia and forest, the breathtaking scenery captures the city of Seogwipo and the Sounthern sea of Jeju.
Route 7-1 ends at Jeju Olle Tourist Centre located in the downtown of Seogwipo-si.
Jeju Olle 6 Course
Route 6 covers a relatively easy route passing through the down-town of Seogwipo. You will climb up the Oreum at the beginning of the route following by walking through dense forest.
This route is a mixture of coastal road and oreums, stretching over the ocean and lying between trees and bushes. There are lots of seafood restaurants nearby the busy harbour on the shore.
You will find yourself immersed in tranquility and wide-open coast, looking over Seopseom and Black Rock Beach. Walking the Route 6 opens your eyes with the true charm of Seogwipo-si.
What’s more than Jeju Olle?
Other than just walking the Jeju Olle, there are also numerous attractive places that the island offers and that you shouldn’t miss.
Innisfree Jeju House
Innisfree is a natural brand that embodies the natural beauty of clean Jeju Island. At Innisfree Jeju House, you can experience everything about the brand with a variety of activities that satisfy the five senses, as well as spending a relaxing time surrounded by the beautiful nature on Jeju Island.
Innisfree Jeju House was built to preserve the natural environment of the area. Visitors can feel as if they have become part of nature while they enjoy Innisfree’s cosmetics made with quality ingredients harvested from Jeju, as well as organic food made with fresh local ingredients.
Dongmun Traditional Market
A trip to Jeju would not be complete without paying a visit to Jeju Dongmun Traditional Market, which was established after the liberation in 1945.
As the oldest and biggest traditional market, it has served countless customers in Jeju with diverse items at affordable prices. Tourists like us would storm into the bustling and vibrant market upon seeing the long alleys of shops spreading over a large area in the city’s heartland.
A vast array of products could be found – mackerel, small octopus, abalone, fruits, clothes, herbs, liquors, and so much more that we had a dilemma of selecting the ideal souvenirs back home.
Walking Jeju Olle was indeed a Daebak experience, and 5D4N was definitely not enough! Our escapade to Jeju Island would not end here, so we will see you again sooner or later! Annyeong!