• JEJU OLLE TRAIL PART III

    Routes 7 to 12

    A catamaran sails on the calm water at sunset off the south coast of Jeju Island
  • JEJU OLLE TRAIL PART III

    Routes 7 to 12

    A catamaran sails on the calm water at sunset off the south coast of Jeju Island

JEJU OLLE TRAIL PART III

Routes 7 to 12

Jeju Olle Trail Routes 7 to 12 include many of the best, most eagerly anticipated trails on the island. When people are looking at which ones to choose, if they’re not doing the whole thru-hike like us, then it’s often these routes that get the attention. And rightly so. This section of the Olle Trail is packed with variety and offers up some truly spectacular scenery.

Our own Olle Trail journey had reached the halfway point. With the eastern side done, we were excited to get started on the west. We’d walked these Olle Routes in 2017, following the orange arrows instead of the blue. But far from lessening the anticipation for this part, the memories from that trip only served to heighten it. We were intrigued to see both what had changed in the past two years and how our experience would differ walking in the opposite direction.

MISSED OUT ON OLLE TRAIL PARTS ONE AND TWO?

CATCH UP HERE


CATCH UP HERE

What is the Olle Trail?

The Jeju Olle Trail, if you don’t already know, is a 425 km network of trails that circumnavigates the whole of Jeju Island. There are 21 routes (two with differing inland and coastal options) plus five side routes, giving 28 in total. While some people walk a route here or there, an increasing number choose to tackle the Olle Trail as a thru-hike, and over the course of a month, that’s exactly what we planned to do.

Where to start?

As we were flying in and out of Jeju City, it seemed like the natural starting point for us. You can of course begin at Route 1 on the northeast corner of the island, following the trails sequentially. Another option is to start and finish in Seogwipo on the south coast. The Jeju Olle Centre in Seogwipo is now the only place to get a certificate for completing all the trails, so it’s worth considering if you’d like such a memento. It also feels like the true Jeju Olle Trail hub, with the pub, guesthouse, office and three routes starting or finishing there. Planning on going full circle like us? The excellent bus system will get you easily to your starting point of choice.

What to expect in this guide?

In this, the third of our four part Olle Trail guide, you’ll find an account of the six routes going clockwise from Route 7. We also include times, distances travelled, food and accommodation options, a few thoughts and reflections, and the third of four videos from our hike around Jeju Island.

WATCH THE VIDEO

THE JEJU OLLE TRAIL

As we camped more often than not, our days on the Olle Trail didn’t neatly follow the official routes. Having identified a good place to camp, we would often stop before or after the stamp spot that marks the route change. As such our account of the Olle Trail is broken down into our own day by day experience. 

If you’re looking for a detailed account of each official route, the Jeju Olle Trail Guidebook is an excellent reference. It’s available for free at Jeju Olle Centres but there aren’t always English copies around. A full PDF of the guidebook is available for download. It can be tricky to view on your phone though so it’s handy to have the actual book. More importantly, don’t forget to pick up your Olle Trail Passport. You can self stamp your progress along the way at the beginning, middle and end of each route, and claim your official certificate when all are completed.

A Note On Times

The daily times mentioned below are split into total time and walking time. The total time is everything from start to finish with all stops, sometimes including both lunch and dinner. Walking time is the amount of time (roughly) that we spent on the move. As we carry big bags and take a lot of photos and video, this is longer than many would take to walk these routes.

Read through our account day by day, or jump to a particular section by clicking on the links below

OLLE TRAIL DAY 14: ROUTE 7
~
SEOGWIPO – WOLPYEONG

DISTANCE

19 km

Watch The Relive

TIME

9 hours (total)

6 hours 40 minutes (walking)

CAMP SPOT

Park at Wolpyeong


Whenever Route 7 is talked about it tends to be with open affection. It’s generally regarded as one of the best Olle Trail routes, and that’s not something we’d want to argue with. Route 7 is beautiful, full of variety and offers a wonderful insight into life on this part of the island.

We set off around half past ten, a little later than planned. Starting a new video always takes time, plus, we also bumped into a fellow Olle walker, a woman from Singapore. We’d been in touch online before – she’d been inspired to walk the Olle Trail by our very first video, and it was great to meet and have a quick chat. 

The start of the route winds through the pleasant Chilsimni Poetry Park (glimpse a view of the impressive Cheonjiyeon Waterfall here) before heading out of town and climbing Sammae-bong. This oreum tops out at around 150 metres and the shaded, mostly paved path makes it an easy climb. You can see the surrounding islands on a clear day, and there’s an attractive forest path back down to the road. We’d missed out Sammae-bong first time round – we’d been too keen to just get into Seogwipo after six days camping on the trail. This time round though we were determined to miss nothing.

A view of Cheonjiyeon Waterfall through the lush green trees from Jeju Olle Trail Route 7

A sneak peak of Cheonjiyeon Waterfall near the beginning of Jeju Olle Route 7



A view of Cheonjiyeon Waterfall through the lush green trees from Jeju Olle Trail Route 7

A sneak peak of Cheonjiyeon Waterfall
near the beginning of Jeju Olle Route 7



Crossing the road, the trail leads you down through a forested park and follows the dramatic rocky coastline along a wooden boardwalk. At the point where you reach the cliffs, a staircase to the heads down to some of the most beautiful swimming holes on Jeju. Known as Hwanguji, natural rock formations at the base of the cliffs form sparkling pools of ultramarine blue. We swam here on a quiet morning in 2017, but by all accounts, the place has gotten pretty busy in recent years. If you plan on swimming here, as with all outdoor swimming in Korea, avoid July and August. Going early helps too. If you’re camping on the Olle Trail, there are some ideal spots among the trees which would have you in prime position for a quiet early morning dip.

Looking down from a cliff on the Hwanguji swimming holes on the rocky coast near Seogwipo on Jeju Island

Looking back down on the Hwanguji rock pools from the trail on Olle Route 7



Looking down from a cliff on the Hwanguji swimming holes on the rocky coast near Seogwipo on Jeju Island

Looking back down on the Hwanguji
rock pools from the trail on Olle Route 7



Continuing on the boardwalk path takes you towards Oedolgae. This is another of those occasions when things suddenly get busier on the Olle Trail. Oedolgae (pronounced way-dole-gay) is a popular tourist attraction, made even more so by its appearance on TV in a Korean drama series. Rising more than 20 metres, the sea stack is part of a larger coastal area which forms one of the most attractive parts of Route 7.

The sea stack called Oedolgae, rising 25 metrs from the sea with a tuft of foliage on top

Oedolgae rising into the air, the focal point of this dramatic coastline near Seogwipo



The sea stack called Oedolgae, rising 25 metrs from the sea with a tuft of foliage on top while a small fishing boat putters by behind

Oedolgae rising into the air, the focal point
of this dramatic coastline near Seogwipo



After a while the trail leaves the coast and heads up to the road, skirting round various resorts, houses and a local school. We were hungry, so stopped at a little kimbap restaurant/cafe before following the route markers back to the sea. There’s a seafood shack close to the shore and someone gifted us a few welcome tangerines as we passed.

From this point the trail continues along the coast, sometimes on rocky paths, other times through tight, occasionally steep forested sections. This part had been slippery last time, the path muddy after rain and the tree branches slick with humid air, but it was dry and not a problem now. 

A few grassy sections followed and soon we arrived at the port of Beophwan, around the 8.5 km mark. Beophwan is a productive place, harvesting the most conch, abalone and sea cucumber in Jeju. It’s well known for its haenyeo traditions and was designated as a ‘haenyeo village’ in 2004. As we passed through, Kim’s eagle eyes spotted dolphins out to sea. Unfortunately they were too far away to capture, but we were kept entertained instead by the sights and sounds of village life. There are quite a few restaurants, convenience stores and coffee shops here, so depending on your time frame, this is a good place to stop for lunch, snacks or refreshments.

Local men preparing fish around a small man made outdoor pool at Beophwan Port on Jeju Island

Local men preparing fish in Beophwan



A close up head shot of a haenyeo statue at Beophwan Port on Jeju Island

A haenyeo statue at the waterfront



Local men preparing fish around a small man made outdoor pool at Beophwan Port on Jeju Island

Local men preparing fish in Beophwan


A close up head shot of a haenyeo statue at Beophwan Port on Jeju Island

A haenyeo statue at the waterfront



Past Beophwan, Route 7 continues on one of the most spectacular coastal sections of the entire Olle Trail. It is a little challenging, especially with big bags, but well worth it. The trail skirts the sea edge: along, over and between jagged black rocks. Once too dangerous to cross, in 2009 a trail was built by placing small rounded stones between the sharp rocks, creating a layer that people could safely walk on.  

From the black rock trail, the path leads round to the mid stamp spot, newly positioned since our last trip. There’s a little cafe here and great views of the surrounding islands, particularly the nearby Seogeon-do which you can walk to at low tide.

Resting on colourful chairs with a sea view at the mid stamp spot on Olle Trail Route 7

Resting near the mid stamp spot on Olle Trail Route 7, looking out to Seogeon-do at low tide



Resting on colourful chairs with a sea view at the mid stamp spot on Olle Trail Route 7

Resting near the mid stamp spot on Olle Trail
Route 7, looking out to Seogeon-do at low tide



The trail soon heads inland for a couple hundred metres to cross the bridge over Akgeun-cheon (cheon means ‘stream’), a small river running down to the sea. After crossing the bridge at the road, the path runs through the grounds of the Kensington Hotel – the previous location of the mid stamp. It had been busy when we’d passed through before, but the hotel was now eerily quiet, making us wonder if the place had closed down.

On the far side of the hotel the trail runs alongside Gangjeon-cheon, said to be the clearest stream in Jeju. Before continuing on, it’s possible to go down to the flat, slab-like rocks that border the stream. This is a great place for a quick dip, and when we passed, it was busy with families playing in the water. In the height of summer, various shacks pop up alongside the river selling food and drink. Unmissable on the opposite side of Gangjeon-cheon is the new Jeju Naval Base. The construction of this base was a controversial issue on the island and was fiercely opposed by locals and many others, but while it’s impossible to ignore, this is still a beautiful place to stop and rest.

A couple are fishing on the rocks at Gangjeon-cheon, where the river meets the sea

A spot of fishing and a picnic in the sun on the rocks at Gangjeon-cheon



A couple are fishing on the rocks at Gangjeon-cheon, where the river meets the sea

A spot of fishing and a picnic in the
sun on the rocks at Gangjeon-cheon



We crossed the bridge at the road, passed the many protest signs on the base’s perimeter fence, and made a quick pit-stop at the CU. From this point the trail heads inland, leaving Gangjeon and the naval base behind. Following the lanes through greenhouses and orange groves, here too we were struck by the difference in our experience. At the start of October, this area had been bustling, crates stacked full with bright orange fruit. In June, there was hardly a soul in sight. It was still a lovely walk though, and we enjoyed the late afternoon glow reflecting on the imposing greenhouses. When we rejoined the coast, things got truly spectacular.

The contrast of light and shadow was striking; the air was filled with a shimmering, almost magical luminosity. We followed the path round to Wolpyeong Port past countless fishermen perched on rocks, and watched as free divers prepared to descend. Our camera shutters snapped open and shut what seemed a thousand times, and it was genuinely hard to pull ourselves away from such a wondrous scene.

A row of fishermen line the shore, fishing on the rocks near Wolpyeong Port at sunset

Fishermen lining the rocky shore near Wolpyeong Port at sunset



A lone fisherman stands on the rocky shore, fishing at sunset near Wolpyeong Port

A fisherman on the rocky shore
near Wolpyeong Port at sunset



But leave we did, the path climbing up and continuing high along the cliffs. The unfolding views somehow managed to become even more dramatic, and as the sun went down, the display of pastel orange hues was quite simply gorgeous.

 Finally we wandered into Wolpyeong itself, reaching the end stamp spot around half past seven. The only open restaurant in the village wanted 57,000₩ for the cheapest BBQ meal, so we walked back to the nearest CU, just a few streets away, and ate microwave rice and noodles washed down with beer and makgeolli. That done, we headed back to the small park next to the stamp spot, making camp in the dark, well, dark that is if you don’t count the streetlights. Possibly the least attractive of all our camp spots on the Olle Trail, it was at least serviceable, had a toilet close by and got the job done.

ROUTE 7 RECOMMENDATIONS

FOOD

Kimbap cafe next to 7 Eleven near
Seogwipo Girl’s High School (33.2442, 126.5331)

Various restaurants at Beophwan

CAMP SPOT

Forest area near Oedolgae
(
33.238834, 126.547578)
Park at end stamp
(
33.243528, 126.45927)

ACCOMMODATION

 Best to bus back to Seogwipo or around Kensington Resort,
carry on to Daepo on Route 8 or do a
temple stay at Yakcheonsa

Seogwipo
Gudeok Guesthouse
(Dorms Available)

Hotel Gaon J Stay
(Dorms Available)

Hotel Winstory
 Heyy Seogwipo Hotel

Around Kensington Resort
Kensington Resort
Olleyo Resort
Etier Resort

Daepo
 Jisakke Poongyeong Pension
Port Avenue
Familia Hotel


FIND OLLE ROUTE 7 ACCOMMODATION

Booking.com

OLLE TRAIL DAY 15: ROUTE 8
~
WOLPYEONG – DAEPYEONG

DISTANCE

21.1 km

Watch The Relive

TIME

10 hours 15 minutes (total)

7 hours 20 minutes (walking)

CAMP SPOT

Small grassy area next to old pagoda
at Daepyeong, just past the end stamp


Like Route 7 before it, Route 8 has a lot going for it, and we’ve often discussed whether or not it qualifies as one of the best Olle trails. It has some big sights and plenty of attractive coastline, but there’s one thing that lets it down. Some years ago a stretch of the coastal path fell into the sea and was never repaired. The resulting 6 km detour takes you through the hotels, shops and weird museums of the Jungmun Tourist Complex, before leading you along the main road. The effect of this part is quite jarring – it made us feel disconnected from the real Olle Trail as we see it. What’s more, it makes Route 8 a pretty lengthy one. But let’s not be too negative – like we said, it has a lot going for it.

Packed up and on the trail by eight, that was a first for us on Day 15 of our Olle Trail thru-hike. Our camp spot at the park in Wolpyeong had no views to keep us, and we knew there was a long day ahead. A kilometre from the start, we stopped briefly at Yakcheon-sa, one of Asia’s largest temples. We’d stayed a long time on our previous visit, when the sunset colours and temple lights had created a magical effect. This time we pushed on, knowing there was a long day ahead.

A frontal shot of Yakcheon-sa, one of Asia's biggest temples, near the beginning of Jeju Olle Trail Route 8

The impressive Yakcheon-sa, one of Asia’s largest temples and a popular place for a temple stay



A frontal shot of Yakcheon-sa, one of Asia's biggest temples, near the beginning of Jeju Olle Trail Route 8

The impressive Yakcheon-sa, one of Asia’s largest
temples and a popular place to do a temple stay



Leaving the temple behind we descended through the avenue of palms to the coast, skirted the rocky trail round a headland and arrived in Daepo Port. Daepo is a picturesque little port with a number of seafood restaurants and a big GS25 up on the main road. It’s another 6 km to the next convenience store on the trail, so this is a good place to stock up if you need supplies.

From here Route 8 leads through a coastal park on a tree-lined paved path, bringing you out into at Jusang Jeolli, a series of hexagonal basalt columns stepping down from the cliffs to the sea. These columnar joints started out as basaltic lava flow, solidifying into hexagons by the special way in which they cool. This is the same kind of rock formation found at famous worldwide sites like the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. There’s a small fee of 2,000₩ to get in and see this particular rock feature, but you can also see examples of it before reaching this area, and also further along the coast on the rest of Route 8.

The Jusang Jeolli hexagonal basalt columns on the south coast of Jeju Island



The Jusang Jeolli hexagonal basalt
columns on the south coast of Jeju Island



The mid stamp spot is just beyond Jusang Jeolli, next to a handy toilet block. With our passport stamped we carried on, up through the park, away from the coast and past a series of large resorts and hotels.

If you’ve read Part 1, you’ll know that we previously struggled to find Global ATMs. Well, we foolishly failed to take out enough money in Seogwipo and were struggling to find one that would accept our card. After trying at machines in various of these big hotels, we eventually managed to get cash from a convenience store ATM later that day. But we didn’t find a bank ATM that would give us money until reaching Daejeong at the end of Route 10. Many shops and restaurants accept card payments but many do not. The sensible option is to get enough cash in either Jeju City or Seogwipo.


The day was getting hot as we followed the trail markers up the wooden stairs to loop around Berinnae Oreum – another section we’d skipped previously due to time constraints. It was a pleasant enough walk on forested boardwalk paths and there was a decent view from the top. We stopped for a rest at the picturesque Gwangmyeong-sa before following the loop back round to the road.

At the road, the trail leads down steps to the river below. After crossing an arched wooden bridge, you find yourself among a lush green park area, with flat grassy areas and quite a few pagodas and benches. It’s the perfect place to camp but the timings didn’t work for us.

THINKING ABOUT CAMPING ON THE OLLE TRAIL?

We carried on and soon came to the bars and restaurants above Jungmun Beach. We ate lunch at the picnic tables outside the GS25 – a good option for a quick and relatively cheap lunch. Across from us, a new bar restaurant with a huge outdoor seating area was pumping out dance music, making the place seem even more touristy than before. A woman wearing high heels and a wetsuit walked by, completing the picture.

From here the trail heads down and across the golden expanse of the beach. Jungmun is undoubtedly one of Jeju’s best beaches, although it can be a little busy. It feels strange humphing your backpack over the sand past sunbathers and trainee surfers, but the closer you get to the western end, the quieter it gets – this is the best place to jump in for a refreshing dip. The markers lead you up steep wooden steps to the Grand Hyatt, where you get a cracking view back down over the beach.

A view of Jungmun Beach from the east, with people relaxing on the sand and surfers in the water

Jungmun Beach from the east: not so busy on the day we passed by



A view of Jungmun Beach from the east, with people relaxing on the sand and surfers in the water

Jungmun Beach from the east: not
so busy on the day we passed by



So begins the aforementioned section through the hotels of the Jungmun Tourist Complex. As we said, the effect is jarring. Out of all the tourist hotspots on Jeju, this huge purpose-built area feels particularly like it could be anywhere in the world; it’s an interruption to the Olle Trail and the more genuine aspects of life on the island. 

Such thoughts aside, it’s not a wholly unpleasant walk, but with a steady climb on paved footpaths for 2.5 km, it feels a bit of a slog. When you get to the Tourist Information Centre (a good place to use the toilet and fill up bottles from the water purifier), it’s still another kilometre on the main road before the turn-off to Yerae Eco Park. It is what it is, but this whole section is rather uninspiring, and does take it out of you on a hot day.

The walk through the park however, is quite nice. The path slopes gently downhill, following the stream through pleasantly green areas. By the time 3 km are done though, the coast is the most welcome sight. I believe Kim even did a little dance when she caught sight of the sea.

We soon arrived at the outdoor swimming pool at Nonjinmul. A couple of families had mats laid out on the steps and kids were playing in the pool. It was an idyllic scene. Kim was tired and her feet were aching, so she went for a dip in the women’s open air baths behind the pool. Hidden behind stone walls, the baths are filled with cold water from the stream. The quick dip had the desired effect, helping her power on through to the end.

A man swims alone in Nonjinmul outdoor swimming pool on Jeju, the coast dwindling away and the faint outline of Hallasan seen against the sky

After the kids left the pool, this guy had the whole place to himself



A man swims alone in Nonjinmul outdoor swimming pool on Jeju, the coast dwindling away and the faint outline of Hallasan seen against the sky

After the kids left the pool, this guy
had the whole place to himself



We continued along the coast, although our dreams of a cold Magpie Porter on the deckchairs at Cafe Palgil were shattered when we found the cafe closed for the day. 

This section along the coast to Daepyeong had been one of our favourites first time round. The scenery was just as beautiful as we remembered it, the water still and gleaming in the magic hour glow, lapping against the volcanic black rock coast. Arriving on the outskirts of the village, we took our time to stop and admire the stunning sunset views. The cliffs of Baksugijeong rose before us, but they would have to wait till the next day.

  • Sunset over the cliffs above Daepyeong on Jeju
  • Sunset over the cliffs above Daepyeong on Jeju

The cliffs above Daepyeong form a dramatic
welcome near the end of Olle Trail Route 8



We got our end stamp by the port and returned to our previous camp spot. The small grassy area was a little more overgrown and the pagoda a little more ramshackle, but given the season, we didn’t have to clear out a ton of spiders – much to Kim’s relief.

Daepyeong had made an impression on us before. Not so long ago it was a quiet, nondescript little village. But in recent years it’s become a hub for artists, giving the place an altogether different feel. It’s visible in the street art, the increasing number of quirky cafes and restaurants, and the makeup of its residents – Koreans flock here from all over the country.

With our camp set up we headed into the village for dinner around eight, eating at an atmospheric little place with the friendliest owners. While they kindly plugged in all our devices to charge, we got tucked into grilled mackerel/go-deung-uh gui (고등어구이) and sea urchin bibimbap (성게비빔밥) with all the sides. All that was left to do was visit Doldam for a glass of red, before ambling contentedly back to the tent and sloping off to bed.

ROUTE 8 RECOMMENDATIONS

FOOD

Daepo
Seafood restaurants
Jungmun beach (before)
Cafes, restaurants or convenience stores
Jungmun Tourist Complex
Cafes, restaurants or convenience stores
Daepyeong
Restaurants for dinner
(we can recommend both 해조 네 Haejo’s
and 심야 식당 Shim-ya Shikdang)

CAMP SPOT

Park after oreum/before Jungmun
(33.2462, 126.4183)
Yerae Eco Park
(33.247891, 126.397014)
Small grassy area at Daepyeong just past end stamp
(33.237058, 126.360335)

ACCOMMODATION

Daepyeong
Doldam Guesthouse
(dorms available, lovely place & owners)
Lareem Boutique
Jeju Soo Pension


FIND OLLE ROUTE 8 ACCOMMODATION

Booking.com

OLLE TRAIL DAY 16: ROUTE 9 & PART OF ROUTE 10
~
DAEPYEONG – SAGYE

DISTANCE

15.3 km

Watch The Relive

TIME

9 hours 25 minutes (total)

5 hours 45 minutes (walking)

CAMP SPOT

Sagye Beach


Olle Trail Route 9 is considered by many to be the toughest of them all. It’s short at just 7.6 km, but involves a fair bit of steep climbing and can be tricky if conditions aren’t right. It is however, in our opinion, one of the best. Much of the Olle Trail is easy walking; this is proper hiking. Route 10 is considered by many to be one of the best, and we’re absolutely on board with that. It has variety, cool cafes, and some truly stunning scenery. On Day 16 of our journey, we thoroughly enjoyed reacquainting ourselves with this notable part of the Olle.

We left our camp just after nine, powering up the Moljil ‘horse path’ to the top of the cliffs above Daepyeong. It was a hot and sunny start to the day, and looking back down, we had a clear view of the village.

 At this point it’s worth mentioning that our experience on Route 9 was a much easier one than last time round. When we hiked it in 2017 there had been a big storm just a few days before, making the steep paths muddy, the stones slick underfoot, and the trail quite treacherous in parts. We met a fellow walker from Russia who’d done it the day after the storm – she’d slid and fell on many occasions and generally had a torrid time. Like we said, it’s a great hike, but the conditions play a big part.


Up on the cliffs the route follows a gently undulating path surrounded by lush vegetation. It’s like a miniature plateau up there, and the land is fertile and ideal for farming. The trail runs high above the coast for about a kilometre: to the right, green fields; to the left, sea views stretching out towards Gapa-do and Mara-do.

Looking out to sea from the cliffs on Jeju olle Trail Route 9

Looking out to sea from the cliffs on Olle Trail Route 9



Looking down on a fishing boat from on top of the cliffs on Jeju Olle Trail Route 9

There’s always a fishing boat or two



Looking out to sea from the cliffs on Jeju olle Trail Route 9

Looking out from the cliffs on Olle Trail Route 9


Looking down on a fishing boat from on top of the cliffs on Jeju Olle Trail Route 9

There’s always a fishing boat or two



As the path leaves the coast, it enters the forest, dips, climbs sharply, levels off and climbs sharply again – up and around Weolla-bong. There’s a bit of effort involved, especially with big bags, but in all honesty we didn’t find it too strenuous. Having to focus on the trail and work a little made it all the more enjoyable. Actually the most difficult part was probably negotiating our way through the narrow, barbed wire covered animal gates, made trickier by the big bags.

Working our way up and round Weolla-bong, we stopped to take in the views towards Hwasun-ri and Sanbangsan beyond. Sanbangsan is one of the most noticeable oreums on Jeju. Its distinctive bell shape can be seen for miles – well, depending on your perspective that is. It was our first sight of it going in this direction (clockwise round the island); in contrast, when we’d hiked in the opposite direction in 2017, we’d been seeing it for days, watching it grow and grow as we drew closer. Not to worry: we would be turning around many times in the days to come to look back and admire Sanbangsan’s unique rugged beauty.

Looking out from Weolla-bong tpwards Hwasun-ri and Sanbangsan on Jeju Olle Route 9

The unmistakeable form of Sanbangsan rising behind Hwasun-ri



Looking out from a rocky platform on Weolla-bong on Jeju Olle Route 9

A great rocky platform for both a rest and a view on Olle Trail Route 9



Looking out from Weolla-bong tpwards Hwasun-ri and Sanbangsan on Jeju Olle Route 9

The unmistakeable form of Sanbangsan,
rising among the clouds behind Hwasun-ri


Looking out from a rocky platform on Weolla-bong on Jeju Olle Route 9

The perfect rocky platform for both a
rest and a view on Olle Trail Route 9



Continuing round the oreum, just below the peak, the trail passes a number of man made caves, built by the Japanese towards the end of the Second World War. Interesting to take note of but unsafe to get too close. When the descent begins it’s a little steep in places, with loose dirt and stones meaning care is needed when placing your feet. The path leaves the trees, bypasses a few fields and cows, re-enters the trees and crosses a couple of streams, before finally emerging into the open for good, where the powder blue power station comes into view. Back on tarmacked road, the trail follows Hwanggae-cheon down to the mid stamp spot, before turning west for the last 1.2km of Route 9, into Hwasun-ri. This has got to be the shortest distance between any mid and end stamp spot on the entire Olle Trail.


A hiker is walking down the rocky forest path on Jeju Olle Route 9

Continuing round the oreum, just below the peak, the trail passes a number of man made caves, built by the Japanese towards the end of the Second World War. Interesting to take note of but unsafe to get too close. When the descent begins it’s a little steep in places, with loose dirt and stones meaning care is needed when placing your feet. The path leaves the trees, bypasses a few fields and cows, re-enters the trees and crosses a couple of streams, before finally emerging into the open for good, where the powder blue power station comes into view. Back on tarmacked road, the trail follows Hwanggae-cheon down to the mid stamp spot, before turning west for the last 1.2km of Route 9, into Hwasun-ri. This has got to be the shortest distance between any mid and end stamp spot on the entire Olle Trail.

A hiker is walking down the rocky forest path on Jeju Olle Route 9

Heading down the forest path on Olle Route 9



Hwasun ‘Golden Sands’ Beach has a reputation as being a Jeju tourist hotspot, a real family favourite. But both times we’ve passed through, the place has been distinctly underwhelming. The beach is surrounded by unattractive stone breakwaters and heavy machinery, and the power plant is ever present. The beachfront area of the town feels like it’s stuck in a time warp, looking rundown and faded. After eating an average dolsot bibimbap at an empty local restaurant, we stamped our Olle Passport outside the information hut and wasted no time in getting back on the trail.

In October 2019, the start of Route 10 was changed to follow the restored coastal path from Hwasun to Sagye, rather than going inland around Sanbangsan. This route has the benefit of running above a couple of ‘hidden’ beaches which can be reached by scrambling down narrow trails. These beaches have potential if you’re looking for somewhere quiet to camp. The change has also reduced Route 10 from a 17.5 km walk to a 15.6 km walk.

The so called 'Hidden Beaches' in front of Sanbangsan on Jeju Olle Trail Route 10

The beaches below the restored Olle Trail Route 10 coastal path



The so called 'Hidden Beaches' in front of Sanbangsan on Jeju Olle Trail Route 10

The beaches below the restored Olle Trail
Route 10 coastal path in front of Sanbangsan



As these changes had not yet taken effect, we followed the route as it was – up the hill from Hwasun, across the main road and around the imposing bulk of Sanbangsan. Along forest paths and orange grove lined lanes, we powered round in no time and dropped down into the town of Sagye.

Our plan was to camp at the beach but we still had a few hours to kill – a luxury for us. We made a beeline for Salon de Soja 38, whiling away the time on comfy chairs with harbour views.

Late afternoon peaceful harbour view at Sagye Port Jeju Olle Trail Route 10

Beautiful afternoon light made for a peaceful harbour scene at Sagye Port



Late afternoon peaceful harbour view at Sagye Port Jeju Olle Trail Route 10

Beautiful afternoon light made for a
peaceful harbour scene at Sagye Port



After coffee, smoothies, beers and tasty paninis, we picked up supplies at the 7-Eleven and walked the last kilometre or so to the beach.

Finding a perfect spot on the grass behind the beach, we got the tent up and watched a group of surfers come ashore in the gathering dusk. Relaxing with our usual bottle of makgeolli as the stars came out, we talked over what had been a pretty satisfying day.

ROUTE 9 & 10 RECOMMENDATIONS

FOOD

 Route 9
 There’s nowhere to eat on the trail so take snacks

Route 10

Restaurants & local convenience store at Hwasun
(end Route 9/start Route 10)
Salon de Soja 38 at Sagye Port
Hey Brother Cafe at Sagye Beach

CAMP SPOT

Official campsite at Hwasun Beach at Route 9 end
(33.2397, 126.3352)
Grassy area with pagoda near mid-stamp Route 9
(33.2382, 126.3446)
The restored Route 10 trail now goes by the ‘hidden beaches’
of Hwasun, with numerous possibilities for camping
(33.2402, 126.3256)
Sagye Beach
(33.2236, 126.2978)


FIND OLLE ROUTE 9 & 10 ACCOMMODATION

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Jeju Olle Trail Part Three

OLLE TRAIL DAY 17: ROUTE 10 (from Sagye) & ROUTE 10-1
~
SAGYE BEACH – HAMO BEACH

DISTANCE

15 km

Watch The Relive

TIME

9 hours 15 minutes (total)

5 hours 15 minutes (walking)

CAMP SPOT

Hamo Beach


On this day we retraced our steps and broke new ground, revisiting some highlights of Route 10 and getting our first taste of Route 10-1 on Gapa-do. It was a day of both intensity and relaxation, rushing to make the ferry and taking time on the island to soak it all up. When it was all done, Route 10 was confirmed for us as one of the best, and our experience on Gapa-do left us with a still lingering desire to return.  

Our five o’clock alarm woke us in time for a spectacular sunrise at Sagye Beach. The sun rose above Sanbangsan, lighting up the sea, land and sky with deliciously rich colours. The morning was calm and everything was suffused with a soft light as the day grew brighter. It was going to be a hot one, but as yet, the air was pleasantly warm.

  • Sagye Beach sunrise Jeju Olle Trail Route 10
  • Sunrise over Sanbangsan and Sagye Beach, one of the best beaches on Jeju to watch sunrise.

Stunning sunrise light and colours
at Sagye Beach on Olle Route 10



Much as we wanted to stay longer, the time pressure was on. Packed up and away by eight, we knew that we had to be at the Gapa-do ferry terminal by eleven thirty. That gave us three and a half hours to complete 10 km – not so easy with big bags to carry and amazing scenery to distract us. Energy was needed however, so after following the road along the coast from Sagye Beach, we stopped for some quick snacks and drinks at the CU before rejoining the trail and heading round Songaksan. 

Songaksan is a low, pine tree covered mountain that juts out into the sea. It’s without doubt one of the most beautiful sections of the Olle Trail. Looking inland, you see lush grass and palms below the forest line, as well as many horses grazing. Looking outward, you see dramatic coastal views along the plunging sandy coloured cliffs. 

We’d spent a good few hours on this part of Route 10 back in 2017. It had been Chuseok, the big Korean harvest festival, and this whole area had been packed with families out for a walk, helping to create a special atmosphere. We could easily have spent the same time here again, but with the ferry to catch, we made sure to keep the pace up.

  • Walking round the coastal path at Songaksan on jeju Olle Trail Route 10
  • Walking round the coastal path at Songaksan on jeju Olle Trail Route 10

Setting the pace on the coastal path
round Songaksan on Olle Trail Route 10



The morning grew hotter as we charged around the boardwalk dripping with sweat, climbing up and dashing down the many wooden steps. We stopped occasionally – a photo here, a video clip there – and couldn’t help but pause to laugh at a horse scratching its butt on the fence.

Watching the horse scratch its butt on a fence rope on Jeju Olle Trail Route 10

You just can’t beat the sight of  a horse having a good old scratch



Watching the horse scratch its butt on a fence rope on Jeju Olle Trail Route 10

You just can’t beat the sight of  a
horse having a good old scratch



We sped through the fields at the old Japanese airfield, wishing we could stay longer. We’d previously learnt about the history of the 1948 Jeju Uprising and the sad story of the Korean massacre that took place here. It’s a fascinating area with lots to explore – well worth factoring in enough time to fully appreciate it. After stopping quickly to get our mid stamp, we marched on, the fields around us full of workers harvesting potatoes and packing them in cardboard boxes. Our progress was halted for five minutes as we came upon a film crew shooting a scene; the actors were wearing period army uniforms, carrying vintage rifles and walking under an old watchtower right on the trail.

Giant straw statue of a person with a bird in their hands on Jeju Olle Trail Route 10

A giant statue near the mid stamp on Route 10



Workers gathering potatoes in the fields on Jeju Olle Trail Route 10

Workers gathering potatoes under the hot sun



Workers gathering potatoes in the fields on Jeju Olle Trail Route 10

Workers gathering potatoes under the hot sun


Giant straw statue of a person with a bird in their hands on Jeju Olle Trail Route 10

A giant statue at the mid stamp spot on Route 10



We were further delayed by a brief conversation with a couple from Manchester, talk turning to Brexit of all things. Making our excuses we raced the final stretch to port, screaming past Hamo Beach and making it to the ticket office at 11:28 – two minutes before cut-off time. Downing cup after cup from the water cooler in a state of shocked relief, we cooled down, boarded the ferry, and were on our way to Gapa-do at noon.

Landing on the island, we were struck by how stylish the ferry terminal was: a low, minimalist stone building with big windows and equally minimalist signage.

  • Gapa-do ferry terminal wall with signage in Hangeul and English
  • Gapa-do ferry terminal wall with signage in Hangeul and English

Inside there was a cafe that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a trendy city district, and various artfully displayed design products for sale. Leaving our bags inside and knowing our time was limited, we stamped our passport outside and set off on the short 4.2 km Route 10-1.

Well, lunch was in order first. We had a healthy feed of jeonbok juk (전복죽/abalone savoury porridge) and haemul pajeon (해물파전/savoury seafood pancake), washed down with a bottle of local barley makgeolli, which was a little bitter for our tastes. Bellies full, we followed the blue arrows up through the colourfully roofed houses of the village before rejoining the coast a little further on. From the coastal path we had views out to Mara-do and the open sea beyond. It was the kind of place we instantly fell for.

Turning inland on the trail we got our first glimpse of the famous barley fields that cover much of the island. Although we’d missed seeing it at its best – the harvest had started a month before – the views were spectacular nonetheless. We followed the lane through open fields, and Gapa-do being small, it wasn’t long before we reached the western side. Looking back across the water, the different and distant perspective of Songaksan clearly indicated its volcanic past, and the bell shape of Sanbangsan was visible as usual. At that moment we had a slight feeling of disconnect – strange to think we’d only been there that morning.

Walking through the recently harvested Gapa-do barley fields, with hazy views of Jeju Island across the channel

Walking through the recently harvested barley fields on Gapa-do, Songaksan and Sanbangsan visible across the water



Walking through the recently harvested Gapa-do barley fields, with hazy views of Jeju Island across the channel

Walking through the recently harvested barley
fields on Gapa-do, with Songaksan, Sanbangsan
and the Jeju coast visible across the water



When we’d bought our ferry tickets, the return time had been set for us at 3:20 pm – no choice in the matter. Running short on time once again, we rushed round to the northern port, stopping briefly enroute to note the strikingly modernist Artist In Residence building. Tired and feeling the heat of the mid-afternoon sun, we stamped our passport near the harbour and made our way up through the village, admiring the low white buildings, some of which were art shops, cafes, restaurants or guesthouses. With fifteen minutes to get back to the ferry terminal, we charged through the centre of the island on the road, such as it is.

A person returns to the coast through the low traditional houses and lanes on Gapa-do

Sleepy village vibes: wandering the narrow lanes of Gapa-do past traditional houses



A person returns to the coast through the low traditional houses and lanes on Gapa-do

Sleepy village vibes: wandering the narrow
lanes of Gapa-do past traditional houses



But our time on the island wasn’t over quite yet. When we asked to change our ticket to the last ferry at 4:20 pm, the guy nodded and said no problem. That gave us time to grab an ice cream and a beer at the Snack Bar, another of the new design buildings. We sat on the terrace, Magpie Porter in hand, admiring the views over the rocky coast back towards Jeju. The women running the place was a bit of a character, getting one of the English speaking AiRs on the phone to help us with something we didn’t need help with. Her enthusiasm was infectious and it had us laughing pretty hard.

Motioning for us to follow, she led us round to the archive room at the back of the building and opened it up. Here, the source of all the modern design we’d been seeing was revealed: The Gapado Project, initiated by Hyundai Card as part of their corporate social responsibility policy. Architects worked with the community and came up with designs that were in keeping with the island. These buildings are now used and run by residents, and the project is helping to halt population decline and create a future for the island. This future orientated outlook also has Gapa-do at the forefront of Jeju’s attempt to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Time to leave, we picked up our bags and boarded the ferry. The cooling breeze on deck was most welcome as we made the twenty minute journey back to Jeju.

  • A communications aerial rising from the sea like a giant needle in the channel between Gapa-do and Jeju-do
  • A communications aerial rising from the sea like a giant needle in the channel between Gapa-do and Jeju-do

A communications tower rising from
the sea like some bizarre needle spaceship



Getting back on dry land, the exhaustion set in. It had been a long, hot day with too much time in the sun. The bags feeling heavy, we trudged the short distance back to Hamo Beach and set up camp in the pine forest, happy to get the same spot as before. No lamb barbeque for us this time though. We had a cheap and quick dinner of microwave noodles at the nearby CU then crashed into bed.

ROUTE 10 & 10-1 RECOMMENDATIONS

FOOD

Route 10
Restaurants & convenience store before Songaksan
Many restaurants near end stamp in Hamo
Gla Gla Hawaii (Moseulpo harbour) for fish and chips

Route 10-1
Restaurants in both villages on Gapa-do
Snack Bar on Gapa-do for drinks

CAMP SPOT

Official campsite at Hamo Beach
(33.209837, 126.26344)

Pagoda camping on Gapa-do
(numerous options,
for example at 33.170713, 126.277354)

ACCOMMODATION

Near End Route 10
Guesthouse Spring Flower
(dorms available)
Seawater Spa Hotel Coza
Hotel52
 Jeju Moseulpo Hotel

GAPA-DO FERRY SCHEDULE

Unjin Port ~ Gapa-do
Every hour from 09:00 – 16:00 (except 13:00)

Gapa-doUnjin Port
Every hour from 09:20 – 16:20 (except 13:20)

 12,100₩ return

Ticket desk closes 10 mins before departure

*Note that the Green Barley Festival takes place on Gapado from Mid-April to Mid-May and it’s usually much busier, with increased ferries to meet demand

For more info see here


FIND OLLE ROUTES 10 & 10-1 ACCOMMODATION

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OLLE TRAIL DAY 18: ROUTE 11 (to Sinpyeong-ri)
~
HAMO BEACH – SINPYEONG

DISTANCE

11.1 km

Watch The Relive

TIME

4 hours 30 minutes (total)

3 hours 10 minutes (walking)

ACCOMMODATION

Acroview Hotel
Moseulpo
Daejeong-eup


For the third and final time on this Olle Trail journey, we made the decision to book accommodation because of the weather.  The forecast was for heavy rain to start that afternoon, followed by high winds. Having walked Route 11 before, we knew that there was a lack of good places to camp, and the thought of having more comfortable surroundings to spread out in, certainly appealed. The combination of those factors motivated us to book a hotel for two nights, and use the local buses to go back and forward from the trail.

Taking it easy after the previous day’s exertions, we left our camp at Hamo Beach around ten. There was still about 2 km of Route 10 to go, with our hotel in Moseulpo not far from the stamp spot at Hamo Sports Park. We stopped for a quick coffee fix at the CU before heading along the road to our hotel.

Grey morning view from Hamo Beach

A grey morning view from our camp spot at Hamo Beach



Grey morning view from Hamo Beach

Grey morning view from our camp at Hamo Beach



Check in wasn’t until three, but luckily the guy let us have our room straight away – a huge space the size of a studio apartment, with a little kitchenette and even a washing machine. We got it cheap and the place seemed empty. Apparently many such places had been built in expectation of a Chinese tourism boom, but difficult relations between the two countries had meant far fewer tourists than anticipated. Whatever the reason, it certainly worked in our favour.

We headed out the door with the same light load as on Route 7-1. First job was to get our passport stamped outside the Olle Information Centre – this one a little blue hut by the sports park. After taking advantage of the adjoining bug sprayer and finding our first Global ATM since Seogwipo*, we decided that we better eat lunch before continuing on the trail. Finding a nice little restaurant, we wolfed down a delicious pasta dish and got back underway at half past twelve. With the rain forecast for two, we wasted no more time.

*After trying two or three different places, we finally got lucky at the Jeju Bank.

A person sits outside the Jeju Olle Information Centre in Hamo

Having a seat outside the Jeju Olle Info Centre



A person displays the stamped pages of their Olle Trail passport outside the Jeju Olle Information Centre in Hamo

Been here before; our Olle Passport pages getting busy



A person displays the stamped pages of their Olle Trail passport outside the Jeju Olle Information Centre in Hamo

We’ve been here before; our Olle
Passport pages getting busy


A person sits outside the Jeju Olle Information Centre in Hamo

Having a seat outside the Jeju Olle Info Centre



The wind was already picking up as we set a good pace along the dramatic coastline out of town. Turning inland the route took us past wheat fields and through village lanes, before leading us across the main road and up towards Moseul-bong. After climbing the steep farm road, we made a sharp turn and headed towards the tree line. 

Here the trail passes many grave sites, mounds in the hillside, most with headstones inscribed with Korean or Chinese lettering. Some graves sit solitary, but mostly they’re grouped together in significant numbers and can be seen all over Moseul-bong. On our previous visit in Autumn, just before Chuseok when Koreans remember their ancestors, the hillsides were busy with people cutting grass and tending graves – a common sight throughout Korea. As we passed this time, all was quiet in early Summer, and the long grass grew thick and tall.

Grave stone in long green grass on Moseul-bong on Jeju Olle Trail Route 11

A solitary grave stone on Moseul-bong, hidden among the fast-growing long grass



Grave stone in long green grass on Moseul-bong on Jeju Olle Trail Route 11

A solitary grave stone on Moseul-bong,
hidden among the fast-growing long grass



As we climbed towards the top of the oreum, steadily through attractive forest trails, the sky grew darker and the air cooler. When we emerged from the trees just below the peak, a few drops were starting to fall. Looking back towards the coast, the misty view of Sanbangsan was very different from the one we remembered. By the time we reached the wooden ganse to get our stamp, the rain was on in earnest – two o’clock, right on cue. One smudged stamp later and we were diving for cover, headlong into the wooded section that comes next. We could tell the rain was on for good, so using the welcome shelter of the tightly packed old trees, we donned our waterproofs and put all camera gear away.

Cloudy view of Sambangsan from Moseul-bong

Not the clear view of Sanbangsan we hoped for but impressive nonetheless



Cloudy view of Sambangsan from Moseul-bong

Not the clear view of Sanbangsan we
hoped for but impressive nonetheless



By the time we were out the trees and coming down the lane on the other side, the rain was pelting down. When the trail joined the road, thick drops were literally bouncing off it. Huge pools of water were forming, and torrents were rushing from the greenhouse guttering like they were water park flumes. Kim’s boots had seen better days and were now swimming pools, and some extra wet patches told me there were a few more holes in my waterproof trousers than I’d thought. The trail follows farm lanes at some points here but we stuck to the main road. With the Gotjawal (Jeju dialect for dense forest) coming up next, we decided to call it a day –  the rest of Route 11 would have to wait. Making it as far as the village of Sinpyeong-ri, we took shelter in the bus stop and waited for our ride back.

A half hour later and we were back in town, safely ensconced in our massive room with a couple of beers. It felt like a little slice of luxury and it was good to be in out of the elements. After a hot shower and a couple of hours attending to laundry and such like, we headed out for dinner, making our way round the blustery harbour for fish and chips at Gla Gla Hawaii. We’d had this Hawaiin themed restaurant in our sights, and lets just say, it didn’t disappoint.

ROUTE 11 RECOMMENDATIONS

FOOD

Limited food options at Sinpyeong Junction
(including convenience store)

Excellent food at Kang Chef’s Kitchen
Close to end of Route 11 after the Gotjawal
(33.2763, 126.2441, read more below)

CAMP SPOT

Pretty limited options along this route

Possible on pagoda near end of Gotjawal
(33.2834, 126.2518)

Or in grounds of former working holiday
program building just beyond end stamp
(33.2731, 126.2361)

ACCOMMODATION

Limited options at end stamp spot

Better to bus back to Moseulpo/Hamo

Guesthouse Spring Flower
(dorms available)
Seawater Spa Hotel Coza
Hotel52
 Jeju Moseulpo Hotel


FIND OLLE ROUTE 11 ACCOMMODATION

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EXPLORE MORE OF JEJU

A catamaran sails on the calm water at sunset off the south coast of Jeju Island
A female Olle Trail hiker standing by a Hallabong mosaic mural, looking out to sea on Jeju Island
The Best Beaches On Jeju Island
Diving Jeju Island South Korea
A Week On The Olle: Jeju Olle Video
Hiking Hallasan: South Korea's Highest Peak

OLLE TRAIL DAY 19: ROUTE 11 (from Sinpyeong) & ROUTE 12
~
SINPYEONG – YONGSU

DISTANCE

25.74 km

Watch The Relive

TIME

10 hours 20 minutes (total)

7 hours 40 minutes (walking)

ACCOMMODATION

Acroview Hotel
Moseulpo
Daejeong-eup


What a day! A day in which we finished the second half of Route 11, completed the whole of Route 12, and even managed the first few kilometres of Route 13. It was the furthest we’d walked in a single day on the Olle Trail, and once again, we were travelling with a lighter load. The previous day’s rain was gone, but high winds and overcast skies kept the conditions cool.

Despite our best intentions to start early, we had to wait half an hour in the biting morning wind for a bus to arrive. When we finally started, rejoining the trail at Sinpyeong-ri, it was already after ten.

Staying in one place for a few days and taking the bus back and forth has its advantages – not carrying all your gear and having a guaranteed place to sleep to name two. But it also has its drawbacks. Waiting around for and spending time on buses is one of them. We really prefer to have that feeling of a continuous journey.


Not far from Sinpyeong-ri, the trail enters the Gotjawal. We’d been fearful that the rocks and forest paths would be slippery after the rain, but the conditions underfoot were mostly fine. It was much different from our last trip, when moss covered stones had been slick with humidity, and giant yellow and black spiders had seemingly hung from every tree. The lack of eight-legged ones is definitely one of the advantages of hiking the Olle Trail before summer. 

As we walked through the Gotjawal, there was a quiet, peaceful atmosphere among the trees; the thick forest was full of ferns, vines and old stone walls. During these four or so kilometres, we never met another soul – it felt like a world apart.

A person stands looking up at the red and blue trail markers in the Gotjawal dense forest on Jeju Olle Route 11

The trusty red and blue marker flags



A person walks on an open path in a break in the Gotjawal dense forest on Jeju Olle Route 11

A break in the trees at Jeonggaewat, about half way round



A person walks on an open path in a break in the Gotjawal dense forest on Jeju Olle Route 11

A break in the trees at Jeonggaewat,
about half way round the Gotjawal


A person stands looking up at the red and blue trail markers in the Gotjawal dense forest on Jeju Olle Route 11

Trusty red and blue marker flags
showing the way round the Olle Trail



Out of the woods and nearing the end of Route 11, we stopped for lunch where the trail crosses the road. Knowing that the farmland area of Route 12 wasn’t overflowing with restaurants, we tried our luck at Kang Chef’s Kitchen. Well, it only turned out to be one of the best meals of the whole trip. Our two main dishes of jeonbok dolsot bibimbap (전복돌솟비빔밥/abalone hotpot with mixed rice) and godeung-uh gui (고등어구이/grilled mackerel) were accompanied by a plethora of delicious sides, as well as a wonderfully hearty chicken soup. It was an unexpected treat that played a vital role in powering us through the next 20 km.


A top down view of lunch at Kang Chef's, consisting of grilled mackerel, abalone bibimbap and lots of sides

The lunch of champions at Kang Chef’s



Out of the woods and nearing the end of Route 11, we stopped for lunch where the trail crosses the road. Knowing that the farmland area of Route 12 wasn’t overflowing with restaurants, we tried our luck at Kang Chef’s Kitchen. Well, it only turned out to be one of the best meals of the whole trip. Our two main dishes of jeonbok dolsot bibimbap (전복돌솟비빔밥/abalone hotpot with mixed rice) and godeung-uh gui (고등어구이/grilled mackerel) were accompanied by a plethora of delicious sides, as well as a wonderfully hearty chicken soup. It was an unexpected treat that played a vital role in powering us through the next 20 km.

A top down view of lunch at Kang Chef's, consisting of grilled mackerel, abalone bibimbap and lots of sides

The lunch of champions at Kang Chef’s Kitchen



A little further and we were done with Olle Route 11. We got our stamp outside the Murung Farm shop, then popped inside for a quick look. There were some interesting photos displayed, along with information about the farm cooperative. The young staff members inside were super friendly, spoke good English, and kindly gave us a sweet rice and tangerine snack to help us on our way.

Murung Farm Shop and Olle Trail Route 11 End Stamp

The start point of Olle Trail Route 12, outside the Murung Farm office and shop



Murung Farm Shop and Olle Trail Route 11 End Stamp

The start point of Olle Trail Route 12,
outside the Murung Farm office and shop



The first four or five kilometres of Route 12 lead through farmland, punctuated with some interesting buildings, colourfully painted water towers and the occasional collection of grave sites. Keen to eat up the distance, we stopped for the odd photo, but largely powered on under cool, grey skies.

Passing by the Sindo Eco Pond, a natural marsh where migratory birds spend winter, we noticed that the red metal containers were still stacked up outside the neighbouring farm. Kim had urged me to stop in 2017 to get our wedding anniversary photo (always in front of a red door or such like) but I’d argued that we didn’t have time to set up the tripod, etc. Having never heard the end of it, this time we made sure to stop for those missing photos (only 20 months late), with the help of a passing Olle walker (way too windy for the tripod).

Kim and Del Hogg standing in front of red containers on Olle Trail Route 11 for their (late) third wedding anniversary photo

A photo to mark our third wedding anniversary, only two years late



Kim and Del Hogg standing in front of red containers on Olle Trail Route 11 for their (late) third wedding anniversary photo

A photo to mark our third wedding
anniversary, only two years late



Keeping the pace going, we were soon up and over the smallish oreum, Nongnam-bong. We admired the flowers around the crater and remarked again how much less slippery the path was this time round. 

Following the trail down through Sindo-ri, we picked up our mid stamp and looked on in admiration as we walked among the characterful stone houses of the village streets. Two more kilometres of fields and we were back at the coast, the wind now ferocious. We took shelter in a cafe, drinking hot coffee on the upstairs veranda as we watched the waves crash in. But it was late afternoon with still some way to go, so we didn’t stay long.

Olle trail markers snapping in the wind above a field of wheat

Olle Trail red and blue marker flags snapping furiously in the wind



Olle trail markers snapping in the wind above a field of wheat

Olle Trail red and blue marker flags
snapping furiously in the wind



Carrying on round the road to Sindo Port, we completely missed the right turn back into the fields, continuing along the coast instead. We’d made this same mistake last time, only coming the other way. But not to worry, we met the trail again soon after, right before the short climb up Suweol-bong.

Reaching the top, the light was soft and hazy, the afternoon sun diffused by the windborne sea spray. The strong breeze was invigorating, and the views down the coast reminded us how stunning this dramatic landscape was. A few people wandered around taking photos, but it was much quieter than our last experience when the place had been swarming with busloads of tourists. Tired, we contemplated calling it a day, thinking about making it to the nearest bus stop and heading back to our hotel. But we knew that would make the next day even longer, and tougher too, once again walking with full loads. Plus, we knew the best of Route 12 was still to come.

The hexagonal pavillion on Suweolbong, painted similarily to Korean temples

The hexagonal pavillion and viewpoint on Suweol-bong, a popular stop off on the Jeju tourist trail



The hexagonal pavillion on Suweolbong, painted similarily to Korean temples

The hexagonal pavillion and viewpoint on
Suweol-bong, a popular spot on the Jeju tourist trail



Down from the oreum, the trail winds along the coast to Jagunae Port. Rising to the right is a dark cliff, patterned with layers of volcanic strata. To the left more black rocks stretch out towards the open sea, and looking back, the shape of Suweol-bong is unmistakable. For us the wind continued to blow hard, but the misty and atmospheric magic hour glow kept us happy, making us glad we’d chosen to continue.

Looking back at Suweolbong in the sunshine while the waves crash in on Jeju Olle Trail Route 12

Hard to keep facing in the right direction when you turn around to views like this



Looking back at Suweolbong in the sunshine while the waves crash in on Jeju Olle Trail Route 12

Hard to keep facing in the right direction
when you turn around to views like this



At the port the trail switches back, following the road till it turns sharply again, before climbing steeply up the final hill of Route 12, Dangsan-bong. The path winds up through attractive trees on forest trail, covered with hessian in many places to aid walking and protect the ground from erosion. 

These final few kilometres offered up some amazing views, and we savoured them as much as we could in the growing gloom. 

High on the oreum, the view opens up at various points to reveal a small group of islands close to shore. The biggest of these is Chagwi-do, the largest uninhabited island in Jeju Province, although the closer Wa-do appears more prominent. Home to a huge variety of plants, these islands are a paradise for migratory birds, and the deep waters around them are rich with vast numbers of Far Eastern Arrow Squid.

  • View of Wado and Chagwido at dusk from Dansangbong on Jeju Olle Trail Route 12
  • View of Wado and Chagwido at dusk from Dansangbong on Jeju Olle Trail Route 12

Looking down on the dramatic form of Wa-do,
with Chagwi-do loitering in the background



As we skipped down from the tree line along the rocky trail, we were giddy with excitement, the kind that comes from having pushed past the point of tiredness. Along with the stunning views, that adrenaline boost the body requires to keep going sent our mood sky high. Buffeted by the wind, we looked on in delighted amazement as a band of orange lined the horizon beneath the now dark clouds. 

Arriving at Yongsu Port, we stamped our passport and shot the end of our third video just before the sun went down.

  • Sunset colours showing on the horizon beneath dark clouds as waves crash in past the breaker at Yongsu Port
  • Sunset colours showing on the horizon beneath dark clouds as waves crash in past the breaker at Yongsu Port

Stunning sunset colours to end the day



With all that done, we realised that we still had 1.3 km to go until we reached the nearest bus stop, but hey, it was all part of Route 13 so we knocked that off as well. With night falling we quick marched our way through the village streets and farm lanes, hearts pumping as we ran the final 200 metres with the bus approaching – the time was 8:10 pm. 

Forty minutes later we were off the bus and heading straight to Gla Gla Hawaii. It was time for fish and chips round number two, and we’d certainly earned it.

ROUTE 11 & 12 RECOMMENDATIONS

FOOD

Route 11
Excellent food at Kang Chef’s Kitchen
Close to end of route, after the Gotjawal
(33.2763, 126.2441)

Route 12
Limited restaurants near mid-stamp
Restaurants at Sindo port and Jagunae port
Convenience store and seafood restaurant at end stamp

CAMP SPOT

Route 11
Possible on pagoda near end of Gotjawal
(33.2834, 126.2518)

Or in grounds of former working holiday
program building just beyond end stamp
(33.2731, 126.2361)

Route 12
Large grassy park at Route 12/13 stamp spot
7-Eleven and toilets nearby
(33.323462, 126.166858)

ACCOMMODATION

Near Route 12 end stamp

Ian Guesthouse
(dorms available)


FIND OLLE ROUTE 12 ACCOMMODATION

Booking.com

JEJU OLLE TRAIL PART III

Routes 7 to 12

That’s it for Part Three. We hope you’ve enjoyed our account of Jeju Olle Trail Routes 7 to 12, and if you’re planning your own Olle adventure, will find the information and recommendations useful. And if you have a question about anything at all, don’t hesitate to get in touch by leaving a comment below.

ORGANISE YOUR TRIP TO JEJU

Booking.com


Booking.com

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – if you purchase a product or service via these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps offset the cost of running this blog and keeps us travelling so that we can continue to produce great content for you. We greatly appreciate your support!*

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The Jeju Olle Trail encircles the largest island in South Korea, covering 425km. This guide & video outlines Routes 7~12, some of the very best Olle trails. From Seogwipo, these routes explore stunning coastlines, swimming holes, temples & dense forests. Discover some of Jeju\'s best beaches, like Jungmun, Sagye & the hidden beaches of Hwasun. Carbon neutral Gapado is also covered, a tiny island famous for its barley. Incl. maps & food, camping & hotels #Korea #Jeju
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