Hikers walk along Route 20 of Jeju Olle Trail near Gimnyeong Beach. Courtesy of the Jeju Olle Foundation
By Jun Ji-hye
The Jeju Olle Foundation has launched a weekly guided walk program called, “Wander Jeju on Foot,” for foreign visitors to Korea’s southern resort island of Jeju.
The program, which is available in May and June, is designed to guide first-time hikers along Jeju’s Olle Trail, a 425-kilometer footpath that runs along the coasts of Jeju and consists of 26 routes.
While hiking on specially-selected sections, participants can obtain useful tips for exploring the trail and interesting information about Jeju Island from experienced and trained English-speaking trail guides affiliated with the Jeju Olle Foundation.
The program has two itinerary options that are repeated on a biweekly basis.
Program A introduces walkers to Jeju Olle Route 10, the most beloved route by both domestic and foreign hikers.
Starting from Hwasun’s Golden Sand Beach, along the southwestern coast of the island, the day hike traces the coastline westward, which has geologically unique features, such as the layered sedimentary rock cliffs of the Yongmeori Coast and the two volcanic craters at Mount Songak.
Route 10 ends at the former Altteureu Airfield, where the scars of Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea still remain.
Program B reveals the serenity of the rural landscape in northeastern Jeju. Walking along the first half of Jeju Olle Route 19 in the morning, participants can encounter turquoise waters at the two neighboring coastal villages of Jocheon and Hamdeok.
In the afternoon, the tourists will move to Seongsan to visit the renowned Seongsan Ilchulbong, or Sunrise Peak, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site.
Then a short walk on Route 1 is left to finish the day out at Gwangchigi Beach.
Program B includes spots for those who want to experience both Jeju’s natural and touristic parts.
Hikers walk along Route 10 of Jeju Olle Trail near Sagye Beach. Courtesy of the Jeju Olle Foundation
The foundation said the program was launched in response to rising demand for walking tours among foreign tourists visiting the resort island.
The foundation expressed hope that foreign participants will be able to discover the true charm of Jeju Olle Trail through the newly launched program, which integrates nature, culture and the local community of the island.
“The group hike will provide down-to-earth experiences in order to enjoy the trail to the fullest,” a Foundation official said.
The program will take place every Saturday until June 26. After a two-month intermission in July and August, the program will resume in the fall season.
The foundation said that reservations should be made at least one day before the date of the particular program.
The Jeju Olle Trail was recently listed among the “Top 10 Best Coastal Walks” in Active Traveller, a U.K. magazine specializing in outdoor activities and travel. The magazine features destinations with activities such as walking tours, hiking, kayaking and sailing.
The trail, the only Asian path among the top 10 coastal trails, was listed along with other renowned trails, such as GR34 in France, a 1,700-kilometer-long coastal path also known as the Customs Trail and the Milford Track in New Zealand, the famous filmimg location of the movie, “The Lord of the Rings.”