The Jeju Olle Foundation opened its newest sister trails in Mongolia on June 18 and 19 after an agreement was reached earlier in the year between the Jeju Tourism Organization, the Ulaanbaatar tourism board, and the Mongolian capital’s tourism agency association.
The two trails - both in the vicinity of Ulaanbaatar - are 14.5 and 11 kilometers respectively.
The longer 14.5 km trail takes walkers through a traditional yurt tent village near the city before returning through a forest path to give walkers a taste of both Mongolian culture and nature.
The shorter 11 km trail includes an overnight stay in a yurt tent in Terelj National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors will be able to see firsthand Mongolian herding culture with yaks and horses. The best season you can enjoy Mongol Olle is the month between June-September.
The new routes are the first in a landlocked country, although it was not the first time an Olle has opened outside of Jeju. In 2012, Jejul Olle Foundation opened the Kyushu Olle in Japan, comprising four sister routes in Takeo, Okubungo, Iwo Jima and Ibuski.
Currently, there are three sister trails and six friendship trails in Canada, Australia, England, Switzerland, Mongolia, and Lebanon.
The Jeju Olle Foundation is helping to develop the trail routes, and produce manuals and trail facilities. The Jeju Tourism Organization is also helping to promote and fund the project.
An "olle" was originally a Jeju word for the narrow path leading from a house to the street. Since 2006, it has taken on another meaning altogether. There are now 21 trails covering 422 kilometers on the island.
Olle trails are a series of extensive walking and hiking paths that cover Jeju. Founder and Jeju native Suh Myoung-suk was inspired to develop these trails after walking the “Camino de Santiago”, or Way of St. James, in Spain.
There are plans to add two more trails to the Mongol network by 2019. Trail organizers hope that the partnership helps to boost travel and cultural exchange between Mongolia and Jeju.
The Jeju Olle Foundation has teamed up with travel agency Pongnang to organize four-night, five-day treks in the land of Genghis Khan in order to coincide with the opening of the Mongolian trails in June.
The country of Mongolia and the island of Jeju have a long history. Around the time of the 12th century, Mongolian troops occupied this island. From the remains of the Hangpaduri Anti-Mongolian Fortress to the Mongolian Horse Show, there is much evidence of Mongolia’s influence here on Jeju Island. During this time, a majority of Jeju women participated in the labor force and even learned to ride horses according to Mongolian custom.
All photos courtesy Jeju Olle Foundation , Photos by Kim Jin-seok
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