Uncovering the secret love letters of Jeju Island Olle Trails

Last Updated on August 17, 2017 by Christine Kaaloa

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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 sex park… the Olle trails aren’t one of Jeju’s loudest boasts. It should be…

Prepare to fall in love with Jeju Island’s landscape

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 trekkingexperience, 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!

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IMG 0476“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.

Olle trail markers

 

jeju island olle trails

My love letters to you trail like curious fingertips along a rocky spine…

The history behind Jeju Island Olle Trails

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?…

jeju sunrisepk olle

inviting the sun to kiss us with a glance– to Sunrise Peak we’ll go!

Jeju farmer

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Walking about…  simple splendors are easy to find.

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Walking about…  simple splendors are easy to find.

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Washing away dust settling upon any smile

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Love come back! We’ll play games of hide-n- seek…

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…and hopscotch upon sprouts, like high-leaping grasshoppers. One, two, three, four, five…

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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 an Olle Trail? 

–  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.

Finding the Olle Trails

Buses make on-board announcements of the trail points in English and this makes getting there both, accessible and convenient.


IMG 0590Prepare to Fall in Love!

 

What to take/wear if you’re going to walk Jeju Island Olle Trails?

–   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.

Read my Jeju Island Travel Survival Guide for more tips about traveling in Jeju Island.

Have you ever experienced a walking “love letter”?

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Jeju Island Travel Guide, Outdoor Adventures, Photo Essays

17 Comments. Leave new

  • […] biking excursion? An island bus tour or a Olle trek? Originally, this might’ve been my firstagenda but with a waning clock, my options were now close […]

  • Hi! I ve been working on my Jeju trip and has considered Olle trail as Part of my schedule. You went on Route 1 right? How long does it take from starting point to Sunrise Peak?
    I plan to go on Manjanggul Cave too, don’t know if I’d be able to cover these places in one day if i go on Olle trail.

    By the way, did U go to Seopjikoji?
    Really thank U for sharing on your adventure 🙂 it really helps.. and excites me so muchhh ♡♡♡

  • My wife and I attempted Trail 20 in early June 2016, after some research. Checking in to our guesthouse was quite an adventure as our flight was delayed by 30 mins and we ended up arriving after 9 pm. While the bus ride was good, minor stops were not listed on the route map, so we guessed when to stop! Good thing we were right.

    Trail 20 gave us great views of the wind-power windmills. The terrain went from beach to coastline fields to lava rocks (very uneven) to forest trail.

    The weather was good – cool and drizzling at times. In total 22 km from 10 am to 6 pm. Much time was spent on photo-taking!

    I got my first Olle trail stamp!

  • Hi, lovely post! I’m looking at going to Jeju and spending a couple weeks doing Olleh trails – was wondering if you have to book accommodation in advance? What was your experience? Hoping to go in September 🙂

    • Christine Kaaloa
      March 22, 2016 2:17 am

      @Anna: You don’t need to book in advance in any country, unless you’re traveling during a holiday/festival periods. My first time there, I winged it and Seogwipo and discovered …it’s better to do research in advance. The second time, I took my mom and I had a targeted focus– I wanted her to experience some of the K-drama film locations (I have a post on it on this site). So I booked accomms in advance in the Jungmun Resort area

  • […] Recommended:  Try one or all of the Olle Trails if you get the chance (more info here)! […]

  • I am about to head back to Jeju for my 5th time and have never done the Olle Trail. Really looking forward to it!

  • New version of Jeju Olle Trail’s English website is here: http://www.jejuolle.org/#

    You can also use this simple URL(www.jejuolle.org) and move to the English page clicking the language button.

    Christine, thx a lot for your great words and photos. And it would be much more appreciated if you change the URL which is on your post linking the website of Jeju Olle Trail.

    Good day~!

  • omg! the pictures are beautiful! and beautiful writing also! love it 🙂 i’m going there next year. can’t wait 😀

  • May I know which route is this?

    Thanks in advance

  • […] Photo Essay: Jeju’s Olle Trails and Love Letters […]

  • Laura in Cancun
    October 18, 2010 3:35 pm

    I wanna go!!

  • What beautiful pictures! I never pictured Korea like this before. Wonderful post.

  • Oh! I love your writing in a poetic way. soo relaxing.

  • Love it.

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