Sometimes we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. We feel confused when we discover a new side of ourselves. This is the moment when we need time to take a walk, clear our heads, and face our inner selves. If you want to immerse yourself in contemplation with the help of the autumn mood, your best option would be Olle Route 6. It goes from Soesokkak Estuary to the Oedolgae Jeju Olle Tourist Center and takes about four or five hours. The route, covering the coastal areas of Seogwipo, starts as an even coastal walk near the blue sea, passes the slightly steep Jejigi Volcanic Cone and the refreshing Jeongbang Falls, and continues to Lee Joong-seop Street in downtown Seogwipo. Along the way, the smooth coastal wind will cool you off. This year’s Jeju Olle Walking Festival, which involves Routes 5, 6, and 7, is held from Nov. 1 to 3. It’s a nice opportunity to discover a new you.
2. Susan 2-ri Eco Village
Autumn returns every year. However, its two or three month stay is all too short. One of the places where you can savor Jeju’s deep aroma of autumn for a little bit longer is Susan 2-ri Eco Village. The village, appreciated for its well preserved, clean nature, is located at the end of Geumbaekjo-ro, where the blossoms of silver grass glow like the stars in the sky. At the village entrance stands a observation platform shaped like a ship that offers a gorgeous panoramic view of the golden fields, Gotjawal Forest, neighboring volcanic cones, and scattered windmills. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere at ‘Susan Hanmot Pond’ inside the village. If you climb to Nangkkioreum Observatory, you will see Seongsan Ilchulbong Tuff Cone in the distance. Why don’t you get out of your car for a second and listen to the sounds of nature breathing in Susan Village, all tinted in autumn’s splendor?
3. ‘The Secret Garden’ at Hangpaduri Hangmong (Anti-Mongolian) Historic Site
Jeju Island is only about 1.8 percent of the total area of the Republic of Korea, and yet the tears its people have cried are overwhelming. The island still holds the blood and tears that were shed from the people in the late 13th century when Goryeo’s military regime collapsed due to a Mongol invasion. At that time, Sambyeolcho, a resistance group, fought against the Mongolian troops on the island until their end, and the islanders suffered under Mongol rule for about a century. Hangpaduri Hangmong (Anti-Mongolian) Historic Site, where the main defense facility of Sambyeolcho was located, currently displays the fierce struggle of the time with its exhibition halls and excavation sites. The land inside the earthen fortifications of this historic place show seasonal changes, and in autumn, “The Secret Garden” opens its doors. The Spindle Tree Forest, whose leaves start to turn red at the end of October, reaches its peak by early December. The graceful yet mournful red leaves may remind you of the tears shed by Sambyeolcho and people of Jeju. This autumn, embrace the opportunity to take the patriotic spirit of our ancestors with you along with beautiful photos.
4. Deulleongmoru Hill
How would it feel to meet the shimmering sea, a cloud-filled sky, and a pristine forest together in one place? This breathtaking experience is possible on a small hill in the middle of a mountainous area in Seogwipo. Hidden in Seohong-dong, Deulleongmoru Hill (which means a hill with a hollow rock on the top) is a marvelous place with a splendid vista. If you pass through the green tunnel made by a rare bamboo forest in Jeju and walk up to the point where you see a dolmen-like stone, you have reached the top. Stand on the stone, and you will see the sky above you, a forest below your feet, and the coastal waters and downtown Seogwipo in front of you. On a fine day, you can see Gaksi Rock, Gogeunsan Mountain, and Beomseom Island on your right, and Jejigi Volcanic Cone, Seopseom Island, Munseom Island, and Sammaebong Peak on your left. A cool autumn day is the best time of the year to enjoy the beautiful trio of nature provided by this small trail.
5. Beopjeongsa Temple
Did you know that the people of Jeju, who lived separate lives across the sea, wanted as strongly as mainlanders to be free and protect the country from Japanese occupation? Though March First Independence Movement is commonly known as the beginning of the anti-Japanese movement, the Beopjeongsa Anti-Japanese Resistance Movement in October 1918 actually predates it. The monks of Beopjeongsa Temple organized an anti-Japanese movement with civilians, and after two days of protest, they were eventually suppressed by the Japanese authorities. To visit Beopjeongsa Temple, take the side road next to the Birthplace of the Beopjeongsa Anti-Japanese Resistance Movement signpost, which is on the way to the nearby Dongbaek-gil Information Center of Hallasan Mountain. Only traces of the temple remain, as the building was burned down by the Japanese. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Beopjeongsa Anti-Japanese Resistance Movement. Stroll along the trail painted with red autumn foliage and think about the noble spirit of these patriotic martyrs. To remember them forever is to thank those who sacrificed themselves for the country.
6. Ojo Port
There are certain things that can only be truly appreciated when you take a step back and look around. On this autumn trip to Jeju, experience the joy of looking at the distant scenery. The small port of Ojo Village, which adjoins Seongsan Village, is the perfect place to take in a full view of Seongsan Ilchulbong Tuff Cone, designated as a World Natural Heritage Site. While you look at the peak shimmering in the autumn sunlight, boasting its magnificence beyond the sea, different feelings will arise from those you felt when you were standing on the peak. Once you have experienced the distant view, it’s time to look at the surroundings. The wooden deck that connects the port and adjacent Siksanbong Peak makes you feel as if you are walking across the sea. With its tranquil and relaxed atmosphere, Ojo Port offers a calm feeling. Why don’t you take a step back and think about your worries in a broader view at this place? The difficulties you are facing might just appear trivial in the big picture of your life.
7. Sangumburi Crater and Jeongmul Volcanic Cone
As the autumn chill grows, it is not the colorful leaves that touch our hearts but the silver grass whose fluffy blossoms bloom above their golden stalks in the fields and mountains. The reason may be that the simple grass, gathered together to withstand the strong wind, remind us of our lives. This place is always considered as one of the best spots to see silver grass on Jeju Island. In fact, since the reeds cover the whole volcanic cone, the place offers a fantastic view of the silver blossoms waving in the coastal wind. Among the many volcanic cones known for their silver grass, two recommended sites are Sangumburi Crater and Jeongmul Volcanic Cone. The former offers a comfortable walk with its well-constructed trail, as well as an opportunity to see taller grass. The latter provides you with a photogenic view of the sunset and silver grass. In November, open your heart and follow Jeju’s silver grass to the pinnacle of autumn.
8. Independent bookstores and souvenir stores
Are you looking for a way to take the romantic autumn scent of Jeju with you? If so, you should visit the small but well-stocked independent bookstores and select shops that sell Jeju-inspired handmade souvenirs and accessories. Independent booksellers Like It and Book Time welcome visitors with books that have been curated by their owners’ sentimental taste, and showing their affection for the island, both bookstores devote one section of their stores to books on Jeju. Arts and crafts stores The Islander and Jestory are full of various souvenirs, so you easily lose track of time in either of the stores. You can have fun finding something that matches the feelings you had in Jeju in these stores since they offer a wide range of household items, stationery, fashion accessories and souvenirs inspired by various elements of Jeju such as haenyeo (women divers), dolhareubang (rock statue), ponies, and camellias. We hope you enjoy a sense of bliss from a spoonful of Jeju’s scent.
Autumn shines brighter with its clear sky. Everyone has had dreams of flying, and that dream can come true on Jeju Island. The island, which has numerous volcanic cones and wide plains, is perfect for paragliding. Run down a slope at the top of a volcanic cone and the wind will then send you off into the wild blue yonder. Jeju Island, viewed from the air against gravity, appears to be an entirely new world. It is impossible to describe how you will feel in the sky, close to the clouds. It will be a good experience to keep in mind the island’s vistas from above. (Paragliding is available at the Geumak, Gunsan, Sororeum, Seoubong Gliding Sites, but weather conditions at each gliding site will be a determining factor.)
10. Top shells
There is a Jeju proverb that says, “Top shells are also meat.” As top shells, a type of marine snail, could easily be collected on the coast, they were an important source of protein for the inhabitants of Jeju Island. Lately, top shells have been in the spotlight. Their flesh is tender and has a slightly sweet, agreeable taste. Their shells are removed after being washed, and their flesh is used in cooking. It is said that people in Seogwipo often ate top shell soup with seaweed and broth made with the massaged flesh of boiled top shells. As it is widely known to be good for protecting the liver and stomach and relieving hangovers, top shell soup seems to be preferred as a restorative soup. Noodle soup with top shells, top shell rice porridge, and top shell pancakes are popular top shell dishes. The slightly bitter and sweet taste of top shells appeals to people of all ages. If a warm meal comes to mind in the chilly autumn wind, a perfect choice is one made with top shells.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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