It is called Samda-do, island of three plenties, because of its abundance of rocks, wind and women. It is called Sammu-do, island of three shortages, because there are no thieves, beggars or gates in front of houses. It was known as the Kingdom of Tamna, a kingdom which lasted for 464 years.
It is UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site and UNESCO Global Geopark, and it is one of New 7 Wonders of Nature. It is Jeju Island.
What more? Jeju is the home of Jeju Olle, a series of hiking routes on Jeju Island.
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 Seo MyungSook 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 14 Course
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 Southern 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.
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 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.
Walking Jeju Olle was indeed a Daebak experience. We have walked 6 of the 26 courses in this trip. Will be come back again to complete the rest of the olles? Yes, we will. Annyeong!