On Oct. 28, Seogwipo City announced “The 100 Strengths of Seogwipo,” a list which ranged from natural scenery, art, history and sports, to personalities and attractions.
The candidates for inclusion were submitted online from July 26 to Aug. 26 by Seogwipo residents and anyone else with a familiarity with the region. The initial 499 candidates — based on submission counts — were passed on to Vision 21, the advisory organization of Seogwipo City, to be further assessed, evaluated and filtered through.
Finally, a group of judges comprised of three external experts, six Vision 21 members, and one civil servant carefully selected the final 100 based on criteria of validity, creativity, potential, and effectiveness.
The following are the human establishment, industrial and anthropological strengths of Seogwipo:
Human Establishment Strengths
1. Fantastic Road
▲ Fantastic Road. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall.
The Fantastic Road refers to a part of the Highway 5.16 that heads to Seogwipo from Seongpanak. It is in eccentric harmony with the Gotjawal forest that encapsulates the road, forming a natural tunnel. Around 7 a.m. amidst sunrise, the forest surrounding the Fantastic Road is sun-drenched, creating an enchanting view for its visitors.
2. Olle Trails
▲ Olle Trails. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall.
The Olle Trails have been the hottest trend on Jeju recently. A compilation of trekking courses throughout Seogwipo, the Olle Trails are inspired by the Camino de Santiago, a well-known pilgrimage in Spain. It is attributed with the an abundance of credit for the dramatic evolution of travel experiences in Jeju; that is, the transition from hectic sightseeing to finding tranquility of the spirit. The trails start with a Olle Course No. 1 in Seongsan that spreads out to the east and west toward Daejung, aggregating up to approximately 210 kilometers.
3. Buddhist All Souls’ Day
▲ Donnaeko Valley in the summertime. Photo by Stephanie Reid
Buddhist All Souls’ Day is a traditional holiday that is celebrated by eating chicken and bathing in fresh water, which has been believed to cure neuralgia. The two locales that have been popular in Seogwipo for the water-bathing ritual are Donnaeko Valley and Sojungbang Waterfalls. In the summertime Donnaeko Valley flows with ice-cold and crystal-clear water. The Sojungbang Waterfalls features 10 small streams that creates a friendly and cozy atmosphere.
4. The Original Olle
▲ The Original Olle. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall.
The word “Olle” is not merely a catchy name for the trails around Jeju. Rather, it is a Jeju dialect word for small paths that deviate from main roads. The Original Olle are the better preserved specimens of these traditional paths. They are spread out all over Seogwipo: five in Daejung, seven in Anduk, eight in Seogwipo, two in Namwon, 10 in Pyoseon and 13 in Seongsan. Distinguished from the modern organized Olle, the Original Olle have you immersed in a bygone Jeju. 5. Fantastic Scuba Diving
▲ Fantastic Scuba Diving. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall.
Some of the best places to scuba dive in Jeju are Seogwipo Sunrise Peak Moonsum (Mosquito Island), Supsum (Forest Island) and Bumsum (Tiger Island) [For more information, please refer to last issue’s article on the 100 Strengths of Seogwipo.] They have served as the proving grounds for every one of some 50,000 licensed scuba divers in Korea. Abound with golden coral colonies and tropical fish, which are a rarity in Korea, they are a go-to for exotic diving experience.
6. Beautiful Harbor
▲ Beautiful Harbor. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall.
With the newly-built Saeyeon Bridge spicing up the scenery, the Seogwipo Harbor is the epitome of everything that is lively and charming about Seogwipo.
7. Seogwipo Tangerines
▲ Seogwipo Tangerines. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall.
Easy on the hands, luscious in the mouth, Seogwipo tangerines are best of all tangerines. They are rich with essential nutrients like vitamins, protein, carbohydrates, and calcium. Whether served in the form of tea, honey-soaked, or just simply peeled, these premium tangerines are mouth-watering.
8. Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market
▲ Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall.
Boasting with 33 years of tradition, everyday the Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market bustles with people looking for some fun and cheap shopping. As the center of commerce in Seogwipo, the market was recently included as part of Course No. 6 of the Olle Trails. While it is your traditional haggle-friendly flee market, its sanitation, convenience and security is kept up-to-date with a new arcade facility, shopping carts, surveillance cameras, and more.
9. Jeju Traditional Pottery
▲ Jeju Traditional Pottery. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall.
The distinct Jeju Traditional Pottery originates from the towns of Goouk, Shinpyung and Youngrak, all in Daejung-eup, Seogwipo. In these villages are unique stone kilns like Gumeungul (dark cave), Noranggul (yellow cave) where Jeju’s best potters bake their earthenware. In addition, there is a pottery museum and pottery villages where visitors can make their own Jeju fare while learning the process of it firsthand.
▲ Sandam. Photo courtesy Seogwipo City Hall.
Sandam are stone walls that are used to individually square in the graves on Jeju. Given the number of horses and cows pastured in the green all over Jeju, the walls prevent animals from damaging the graves of ancestors. While on the road, the nonchalant view of horses and cows grazing amidst blossoming silver grass, mixed with peaceful graveyards dotted with Sandam comforts the mind.
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