This time around in Jeju 제주, I wanted to wander and explore without an agenda. Yes, there are some really cool things I have yet to see on Jeju, like; the Arts Village, Green Tea Museum, and countless beaches, but this time I just wanted to take things slower, spend less time on the bus, and relax.
After being tired from my three days of diving, I decided to spend some time wandering the Olle trail 제주 올레길. This curated trail takes you 425 km around the island through forests, towns, and farms. You can through-hike this trail or do it in sections and even half-sections like me if you need to slow down.
Although the Olle trail 올레길 has become a tourist attraction where you can earn a meddle for finishing it, it surprisingly does not feel touristy. Although the course feels busy in some sections along the coast or through larger towns, there are large, more remote sections where you only pass a few people on it. This balance between urban and remote makes the trail a great way to see the real Jeju, everyday life without interrupting the locals’ daily lives.
I decided to do trail #14, which took me from an artist village to the sea. It’s invigorating walking down farm roads and forest paths, being alone with your thoughts. Yes, it was hot, sweaty, and long but meeting locals on the street, stealing clear of some attack dogs, and resting at a village covered in cactus on the sea. That’s what traveling is about. The slow-paced wandering seeing hidden gems while quietly contemplating the world around you.
I did roughly 11km of trail #14; it was truly spectacular.
At the start of my second hike on the Olle trail 올레길 (course 7), I was pretty worn out, so I chose to take the route that began at the front door of my hotel, a more popular path along the sea.
A couple blocks up the road, the path wound through a lovely local park (서귀포 칠십리 시공원). That’s where I found the Budget hack to seeing the Cheonjiyeon Waterfalls 천지연 before I stopped and a very picture sequence breakfast, a scrumptious cheese omelet served with onion gravy and vanilla latte with a green tea Latte for desert.
From there, I wandered along the shore and found a hidden beach of sorts. Hwanguji 환구지 are pools known for their skin diving (snorkeling) protected by volcanic rock formations. This beach is stunningly beautiful, so I stopped and soaked up the sun while letting my sore muscles relax in the cool ocean water.
After I was revived by the ocean water, I wandered further along the path. It continued through a park on the oceanfront leading me past Oedolgae Rock, through several resorts as it wound me towards Jungmun beach, 중문해수욕장. a quarter of the way to the beach, I decided it was time to rest for the day as my big hike to Hallasan was the day after.
I knew that hike would challenge me, so I bussed backed to a cafe and relaxed before heading to the market yet again for dinner and a good night’s rest for my long and strenuous hike in the morning.
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