Jeju Olle is a series of walking courses that together trail around Jeju and nearby islands. As of January 2013 there are 26 paths. The icon of a Jeju pony, “Ganse” in Korean, acts as a guide along with blue and orange ribbons that help travelers find their way. My name is Alissa Dolan and my husband Andrew and I are attempting to walk all of the paths during our time on Jeju Island. There aren’t words to express the refreshing beauty of the Olle trails, but you are welcome to join me as I try to describe each course.
Starting Point: Gwangnyeong 1-ri (Office)
Finishing Point: Dongmun Market
Distance: 18.4 km
Estimated Walking Time: 6-7 Hours
Scenery: Streams, farmland, forests, beaches, oreum, coastal, urban
Main Sights: Musu Cheon (stream), Woldae in Oedo, Iho Beach, Dodu-bong, Yongduam, Mugeunseong (castle), Dongmun Traditional Market
- This is an easy course to find. From Shin Jeju, a taxi driver should know how to get to Gwangnyeong-ri. You can also take Jeju city bus number 887.
- The course ends at Dongmun Rotary in Gu Jeju, where a number of buses can be caught.
- The end of the Route goes straight through the traditional market and it is possible to miss the ribbons if you don’t watch carefully. Since it is so close to the end, however, there is little fear of losing your way.
One of the delightful characteristics of Jeju Olle is that, as it runs all around the island, it brings its beauty to you, wherever you live. We particularly enjoyed course 17 because, as residents of Shin-Jeju, this section of the trail passes very close to our home and favorite local spots. We were repeatedly surprised both by the number of places we had visited not realizing they were a part of the Olle course and by the number of areas we had not yet seen or fully appreciated.
This course starts at Gwangryeong-ri, a short taxi ride away from Shin Jeju. The first part of the path runs along Musu Cheon (stream) and provides hikers with views of forest paths and farm-side roads. Despite its proximity to the city, this part of the trail is very quiet. We had never hiked in this direction before and were pleasantly surprised by the variety of flowers and wildlife found in scenic fields and ravines.
The stream meets the ocean in a particularly beautiful spot, which we had never visited, despite having been in the area frequently. There is a small park and toilet facilities in this area. After this, the trail runs along the coast.
It first passes Iho Tewoo, a beach that many Shin Jeju residents frequent because of its proximity to the city. We had never realized that this was part of the Olle course. After the beach, it climbs Dodu Bong — one of our favorite oreum — for a view of the city from a point just over the airport. We were happy to learn that this hill is also included in Jeju Olle.
After the oreum, the course crosses large strips of farmland and then runs next to the ocean along a coastal road for some time. It leads to Yongduam, the famous rock that is considered to look like a dragon head. We had walked a kilometer or so of the path when we previously visited the famous site. The area just past the rock is another personal favorite, where a quiet stream flows picturesquely into the sea.
Before, at the rotary, the path winds directly through Dongmun Market. The subtlety of the path markings amazed us as it entered the traditional market. We lost our way more than once while looking for the ribbons and arrows. The market was crowded with shoppers and sales people. We could have just as easily been buying groceries as hiking a trail.
While this course did not offer as many new sights as some others, it connected many places that we had previously visited. It offered beautiful scenery and reminded us of the joys of living on Jeju.