Contributor Steve Oberhauser has meticulously planned (and now will execute) an ambitious project to hike and write about all the main Jeju mountain trails, every oreum (volcanic cone) open to the public (about 150 of them), and assess every Olle trail, all in the span of about 50 days. Look for Steve’s reports over the coming weeks, and as always you can send your feedback to Steve and The Weekly on our Facebook page (Facebook.com/JejuWeekly). —Ed.
The Journey These are the top nine sites in sequential order for Day 4: Sehwa Main Street - Sehwa Beach / Five-Day Traditional Market - Haenyeo Museum - Byeolbangjin entrance - Hado Beach / migratory bird area crossing - Jongdal Beach (front of Jimibong) - Jimibong peak - Jimibong entrance / exit - Udo, Sanhosa (or Coral) Beach, north
Spent PC room -- 7,000 Sehwa sauna -- 4,000 market -- 4,900 Pocari Sweat -- 2,000 Pocari Sweat -- 2,500 Family Mart -- 6,300 ferry ticket (Seongsan to Udo) -- 3,500 Total -- 30,200
Consumed A lot of fried hard tack, 1.5 liters lemon Gatorade, 2 liters Pocari Sweat, 2 peaches, 1 Vitamin C tablet, endless amounts of water
Thoughts from Day 4 Rolling the darkness away in a Sehwa PC room and sauna. Writing. What are all the other people doing on the computers? A lot of game noises and many young Korean men in their 20s, a few women as well. I had to be led by the hand there off of Main Street. I had no idea what alley this was down after working in Sehwa for the past three years. Maybe the first and last foreigner to enter. Finished and on the streets at 4:30 a.m. Barren. Quiet. Made it back to the sauna to sleep, the same one I had been at before the PC room. Slept hard and flat for three hours, the window open in a vacant room, and in my view, the single barber pole spinning outside, relentlessly.
The best stretch of coastal road on Jeju? My vote is for the area between Sehwa and Hado. Go east past the Haenyeo Museum and Yongmunsa Temple. Proceed slowly. Possibly the only space where there is enough open coastal sea room to feel a bit of freedom. Most other stretches seem a bit cramped, end too soon with so many insignificant tourist stops.
Byeolbangjin, a huge fortress. Built during the Joseon Dynasty, according to the sign, to defend against Japanese ships. Four meters in height and 1,008 meters in circumference, there are three gates. In 1510, the fortress was moved from Gimnyeong to a more eastern location, closer to Udo, since Japan had a harbor there. The sign states: “During the construction, famine was so severe that soldiers who were mobilized for the construction ate human excrement.”
(Lackluster) Hado Beach. Why have you forsaken me? If clean, you are a top five beach on the island. (Plus, you’re right across from the migratory bird crossing area and to the east is Tokki-seom, or rabbit island.) When dirty, you are nothing. When going by, I thought a frat party swept through the night before. Having to use the public loo, I believe, there were two government workers, both women in their 40s, inspecting the disgusting conditions. One was outside, sitting and talking on a cell phone. She said in Korean, roughly, “A foreigner is in there.” They soon both walked in the men’s part while I was occupying, talked in Korean for a few minutes and left.
Perfect Jimibong. It towers. There’s one way up and one way down on this oreum just east of Jongdal. A well placed and descriptive, translated sign at the entrance. No people. A 360-degree view at the 185-meter summit, according to the GPS. Close to the coast. Correctly apportioned benches and breaks along the ascent and descent. High marks it will receive.
Dippin’ at the right time. With the oppressive heat of Jimibong’s encounter during the high sun, Jongdal Beach provided relief and, soon after, an immediate nap under their wooden structure up on the sandy, grassy area. Really, it does not matter. Whenever I am tired, I stop, lay down and close my eyes.
Seaweed overload. The volume and surface area of the green stuff washed up on the shores is unquantifiable. I heard a while ago, some people were trying to make paper with this as a raw material. Any luck? Is it possible to use for any type of fertilizer? Any way you look at it, Jeju would be best to get it off its coastline and put to good use. It smells and looks bad. Maybe there is profit in seaweed, or at least a break-even chance for the government.
Connections are everything on Jeju. I’ve heard so many things the past few years about how important it is for the locals to be (forcefully) bound (with chains) to their families, hometowns, high schools, descendants, and so on. I just try to do what I can. I made a connection at a Family Mart north of Seongsan. The male clerk there was at the Sehwa PC room the previous night and recognized me. He said my next place to write will be in Goseong (west of Sunrise Peak). Good man. The peaches, by the way, were a bit overripe.
Ferry to Udo. I was warned when buying my ticket, I could be stuck there for a few days because of Typhoon Kulap’s activity. The terminal is clean with Internet information access and plenty of comfortable chairs. The cost (one-way) is 3,500 won and 2,000 coming back. At least that’s what I paid. Once on the ship, it’s standard Korean style. On this one, vehicles are allowed on the main floor, the second floor has ground seating, and the third floor has an open view of the sea with benches and a snack bar. Also, clean and professionally run.
▲ Udo, which means "cow island," is to the east of Jeju and features Olle trail 1-1. Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ The view from Jimjibong Peak to Seongsan Sunrise Peak. Photo by Steve Oberhauser
Udo’s Coral Beach. What a night’s sleep you provided me with! A pension or minbak should start filling their mattresses with that goodness and promptly advertise. Keep your profits, just remember it was my idea. The best night’s sleep, so far of the five, until the rain came. Komap suda.
Date Sept. 9, 2011
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