Jeju Island’s Olle Trails aren’t exactly a hidden secret, but for the western traveler it may as well be. With rival sights, such as the Manjan-gul caves, Mt. Halla and Loveland… the Olle trails aren’t one of Jeju’s loudest boasts. It should be…
Prepare yourself to fall in love.
Have you ever found a love letter? That’s how it felt when I discovered an Olle Trail. I stumbled upon a trail by accident when I was searching for haeneyo, and a walking love story opened before me: unfolding villages, vast seashore cliffs, stunning and panoramic waterfalls, volcanic rock beaches and fields with grazing livestock, springing grasshoppers and butterflies! What a romance!
What is an Olle Trail?
An “Olle” is a pathway connecting a street to the gates of a home. Interpreted, it easily could mean secret paths of a heart to the rest of the world! The Olle Trails are some 20 walking trails along the Jeju coastline. As a trekking experience, trails are marked by colored arrows, ribbons and place markers called ganse and can take anywhere from 3-6 hours to complete on foot, promising you some of the most unfathomable, picturesque and jaw-dropping sights you’ll ever see. Best of all- some of those famous natural landmarks on your tourist itinerary are conveniently tucked into your journey!
The idea was discovered by Suh Myungsook, a prominent Jeju journalist who in 2006, was inspired to take a break from her thriving career to undertake a pilgrimage following the Camino de Santiago (a famous road leading pilgrimages from France to Santiago). Upon her return home to Jeju, she decided share her experience by creating walking trails that visitors to Jeju would fall in love with.
Why should you do it?…
Have you ever experienced a walking “love letter”?
“Signs are everywhere, if you look for them!” she said…
Trails are marked by blue & orange arrows, ganse signs(wire horse-like markings) and red and blue tied ribbons.
Washing away dust settling upon any smile
…and hopscotch upon sprouts, like high-leaping grasshoppers. One, two, three, four, five…
No, this is it, she flirted. I won’t go one step more! I’ll only meet you with a lazy afternoon smile.
Meet me now, today…or hold me forever.
How to start :
- Pick up a pamphlet of Olle routes at the airport Olle information booth (next to the Jeju tourism booth).
- You can visit the Jeju Olle site and download a free route map. The map marks site points, main attractions you’ll see and, give you a heads-up of where you’re at in your destination.
Buses make on-board announcements of the trail points in English and this makes getting there both, accessible and convenient.
What to take/wear:
- The trail map– it’s very helpful
- Sunscreen, hat/visor, sunglasses
- Water & some snacks
- A small daypack
- Windbreaker jacket
- Umbrella (weather dependent)
- Your camera
- Walking shoes (running or hiking shoes are encouraged); sandals for sandy areas.
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