The Jeju Olle is a series of hiking trails that have been opened to tourist who seek an alternative way to explore Jeju. As of today, there are more than 15 routes opened, starting from the north east of island and going around it. Each of the routes are interconnected and offer hikers a unique sight of Jeju – whether it’s the open fields on the east, the rocky coast of the south or the lovely beaches in the west. We chose Route 7 (You could find more information on the Jeju Olle and Visit Korea websites) as it’s one of the more popular ones.
The night before the hike, we were actually quite worried about the weather as the sky was really moody. The strong wind didn’t help one bit. Thankfully though, we woke up in the morning to find that the sky was clear. It was the sunniest day since we got to Korea. After breakfast, Sylvia offered to drive us to the starting point, saying that we would be too tired to enjoy the scenery if we walked there. (Bear in mind, it’s only a 15 minute walk 😉 )
Following the trails couldn’t be easier, most of the path is marked by arrows painted in blue and ribbons tied on tree branches. They are easily spotted and available in every possible turnings and splits.
Route 7 starts with Oedolgae Rock, a strange-looking rock that stands in the sea water. The Olle 7 starts off easy, as the park surrounding the rock provides proper walking path. The view here is brilliant and the sea water surrounding the coast is crystal clear – a great spot for landscape photography buffs. After the first quarter of the path, you would come across a warning sign (In Korean no less) that says next kilometre or so would be on the rocky coast and could be dangerous/difficult for those who are unprepared. This portion took us quite a long time to get through as the rocks were huge and tripping was a high possibility that we didn’t want to go through. (Not with the D90 around my neck!) Along the way, we come across many Korean hikers who seem to be used to the terrain’s nature and have easily overtaken us. Once this part was completed, most of the route 7 involves going through seaside roads as well as ports and private properties of the farmers. According to the official guide, the entire route would take 4-6 hours to complete but we are on the rather slow side – completing in 8 hours. (Started at 11am and completing at around 7pm)
If you’re planning on a Jeju trip and have time for something different, Jeju Olle is an attraction worth considering. Plus, if walking along the coastal roads is your thing, route 7 will be a great choice. Despite being tired with muscles aching and what-not, the whole experience was worth it and although we missed out on the check point stamps, (FYI you can purchase an Olle passport and have it stamped at the checkpoints. There are 3 checkpoints at each route.) I will never forget the beautiful scenery that we have enjoyed along the way.