Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive! In fact, you can find FREE things to do, especially if you’re traveling with other easy-going people. And if the easy-going traveler you’re with enjoys walking, then you definitely just saved yourself a lot of dough/scratch/shackles/moolah/oof.
After visiting Jeju island four different times with different groups of people, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of various “Must See” and “Must Do” locations and activities. Still, my favorite activity to do while visiting Jeju island is a free activity of Jeju Olle Trails.
Table of Contents
About Jeju Olle Trails
During our previous trip, my husband Garrett and I were able to complete our first Jeju Olle trail #14-1. You can read more about it here and why we agree it’s one of the top trails on the island!
Jeju Olle Etiquette
Take your trash home Don't pick or take agricultural products (such as tangerines) Don't take or disturb Jeju Olle signs Greet Jeju residents you encounter with a smile If you need to use the restroom, ask the owner politely Do not cause harm to domestic wild animals Fasten the doors/gates securely when entering/exiting privately owned farms
Before you begin, there are also some safety rules that you should be aware of:
The trail closes officially at 6 pm in the summer and 5 pm in the winter. Refrain from hiking after these hours. Refrain from walking in a storm, heavy rain, or snow, and from visiting steep valleys & cliffs off the trail. Carry emergency contacts with you at all times.(Jeju Olle Call Center @ 064-762-2190, Police @ 112) Go back to the spot where you saw the last signpost if you missed one. Regularly check announcements on the official website(www.jejuolle.org, jejuolletrailguide.net) of Jeju Olle Trail.
Essential Packing Supplies
For non-hikers such as ourselves:
comfortable walking shoes like sneakers
a large water bottle as well as something to eat/lots of snacks (on trail #16 there are some restaurants towards the beginning of the trail at Gonae and Gueom (before turning inland)
hat/sunglasses/sunblock (depending on the season)
it was quite windy during the first 5km of the trail, so a wind protecting top layer is a must.
fully charged phone (to navigate and take pictures)
Tripod to commemorate the trip with the two of you in it
Battery pack to recharge your phone(s)
Bus pass to get back to your accommodation
Camping on the Jeju Olle
If you happen to be on a tight budget, like sleeping on the ground (also known as closer to nature) or just want to camp while in Jeju, I recommend you follow in the footsteps of a Scottish couple who spent a whole month hiking and camping. This is their informative list on how to do it, where to do it (still talking about camping!) and what to pack.
Getting to the starting point of Jeju Olle #16
From Jeju City we took a public bus #202 to Gonae-ri Station, then walked about 600 meters (around 2,000 feet) towards Gonae port. We had lunch at an incredible Mexican restaurant with a stunning sea view, called Las Tortas 라스또르따스. The tacos there were the best tacos we’ve ever had in Korea!
Jeju Olle Signage
You should get familiar with various Jeju Olle signage that you’ll encounter along the way. While each trail has a designated ranger who maintains it, not all signs are created equal and may get confusing if you don’t know what to expect.
The most common are the ribbons (D), where blue is guiding you if you’re traveling in a clockwise direction and orange – in counter-clockwise. Blue “Ganse” horses (A) can be mostly found at the beginning, middle, and end of the trail, with stamp boxes hidden away inside Ganse’s head. Don’t confuse (C) sings for K letters, they are arrows that also help to guide your way along the Jeju Olle trails.
Our Jeju Olle #16 journey
After having a pretty filling lunch, we were very motivated to move, but it was hard to do so since the first 5 km of this trail are all along the coast. On a cold winter day, the sun was out and the water was the most gorgeous color. The waves were very photogenic and stopping for pictures every few feet was time-consuming but definitely worth it!
While you have to share the road with two lanes of cars, it was nice to have physical dividers for walkers and cyclists. While we saw a handful of other people walking the trail with us, I wouldn’t be surprised if this stretch of coastal road becomes very crowded during warmer seasons.
Jeju Island is full of black volcanic rocks along its coastlines, making rare sandy beaches a true specialty. Still, rocks help create striking images such as these.
While the recycling industry on an island appears to be strict and tidy inland, it was easy to spot trash that inadvertently makes it into the ocean.
It’s always entertaining to see the cultural differences when traveling. While Garrett and I were both wearing all of our winter layers, hats, scarves, gloves, double socks, etc, we could only surmise that these girls were locals and were a lot less affected by the chilly winter breeze near the ocean.
Watching these daredevils get blasted with the cold wave of “I knew it!” we giggled and walked on towards yet another fantastically photogenic area where cliffs meet the sea. Now, like those girls, I wanted to stand in the middle of the platform to get my picture taken. But, since it was winter, I figured – next time!
Did you know? Gueom-ri, Joong-um-ri, and Sineom-ri have long been known as the village of salt makers. Gueom Salt Flat evaporates salt water and makes salt on its 6,000 square yard area. Salt was produced here until 1950's and was very popular for its wider and thicker grains and better taste and color.
After about 5 km, our trail took us inland past the salt flat in Gueomum-pogu (port), then village and fields to a Susan-bong (peak). Wooden steps and railing help to guide you to the 398 feet tall peak, where people come to pray for rain at droughts. Here you will see Susan Reservoir, which is popular among fishermen. Nearby grows the Japanese black pine tree, measuring 33 feet in height and 13 feet in circumference. It’s said to be the guardian tree of the Susan Reservoir and Susan Village nearby.
Surrounded by stone walls the trail continues across the field and tangerine orchard. Here, our weary feet rested, as we sipped on some coffee and free tangerine snacks courtesy of one of the cafes.
Further up the trail, you’ll come across Hangpaduri Hangmong History Site, which is the last remaining castle in Jeju. Used as a history training facility, this 196 acres site is surrounded by hills and streams. Keep close attention to the ribbons and Jeju Olle markings as you walk through various forested sections until you get to Gwangyeong-ri. Walk past the Hyangrim-sa (temple) and towards Gwangyeong Elementary School. You’re almost at the end of the Jeju Trail #16, but one last notable sight awaits – 250-year-old tangerine tree! It is said to be the only one of its kind on Jeju island, standing at 20 feet tall, and bringing over 100 kg (220 pounds) of tangerines each year.
A few more images that almost didn’t make the cut
Other Jeju Olle Trails
Here is Jeju Olle main page of information in English. You can find a complete list of all 26 trails here.
Other things to do/see on Jeju Island
Where to stay/sleep/rest
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