In April, Ora-dong is covered with pink. The rosy cherry blossoms of the trees along the Garosugil of Yeonsam-ro and that surround the stadium are too bright and flamboyant for the eyes. On the other hand, the various azaleas in Bangseonmun Valley, which form a landscape known as Sight 3 of the Ten Sights of Yeongju, capture the heart of hermits, just as its other name, “Yeongguchunhwa” (hill with spring flowers that hermits visit) indicates. As you walk on the path under the warm sun, the word “romance” comes to mind. However, the beautiful scenery also arouses complicated feelings. This is because this bright and gentle path shares the heartbreaking stories the Jeju April Third Incident. As a symbol of reconciliation and cooperation, 4·3 Trail was opened last year in Yeonmi Village in Ora-dong. The trail has two routes, which are a total of 12 kilometers long and take you to historic sites and places where tragic events such as the Arson Attack at Ora-ri took place during the April Third Incident. In this blooming season, walk along the path of memories and ruminate on the sad history behind spring's beauty. The falling pink petals are shadowed by the painful memories of the Jeju April Third Incident.
- Route 1: 4·3 Trail Center - Joseoldae Terrace - Eouneul Village Site - Minoreum Volcanic Cone -Woljeongsa Temple - Jeongsil Bonhyangdang Shrine - Haesani Village Site - Molbangae Mill Site (6.5 km)
- Route 2: 4·3 Trail Center – Dolmen - Historic Site of Ora 1(il)-gu Town Hall – Gojire Village Site – Seondalbaengdui Village Site – Historic Site of Sapyeong Village’s Police Box (5.5 km)
‣ Yeonmi Village, Ora-dong: Ora 2(i)-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
2. Flower viewing in April
Jeju is a flower garden in April. The colorful flowers light up the world with their glamor and comfort weary hearts with their fragrance. The gentle breeze, the golden sea of canola flowers, and the tulips with their vivid beauty steal people’s hearts. The fields filled with green barely waving in the breeze are just another spectacle. Spring ripples even at the slightest movement. A vast land of roughly 10 hectares presents a fantasy of canola flowers. The Jeju Canola Flower Festival, held from April 4 to 7, is the best among various feasts of spring flowers. The festival offers a route on the Canola Flower Path on Nokssan-ro and many other experience activities with canola flowers. Do not miss Hallim Park, which hosts a tulip festival, and Sanghyowon Botanical Garden, the first place in Korea where tulips fully bloom. Go and take a look at the graceful and gorgeous tulips shaped like a crown. Gapado Island has already been celebrating its Green Barley Festival since March 30. If you want to see the first spring news coming from the southernmost part of the country, don’t hesitate to get on a ship. Spring is busy enough spreading the news to the north.
3. Gwenmul Volcanic Cone
To enjoy a clear spring atmosphere, climb a volcanic cone. Volcanic cones present different charms each season, and in spring they abound with vivid liveliness. Among the nearly 360 volcanic cones in Jeju, Gwenmul Volcanic Cone has recently emerged as a popular spot. This volcanic cone is suitable for light exercise. It is only 57 meters high and has a dense forest of cedars and other trees. Once you reach the top, let the wind cool off the sweat while you enjoy the surrounding vista. The Nokkome Volcanic Cone and Jogeun-nokkome Volcanic Cone will serve as a stunning background. If you want a rather unique view, take a byway. Gwenmul Volcanic Cone is a popular filming location for the Korean TV program “Hyori's Homestay,” and is best known for its wide hillside fields. Take a photo on this green carpet lying before you, and you will get your best shot. The scenery will do the job for that excellent photo, but still, pose. Your heyday may be renewed.
4. Strawberry picking experience
Strawberries are the queen of spring fruit. Nothing is more perfect than a strawberry picking experience program to attract children in this season. It will also be difficult for parents to reject the sweet scent and charming red color of this small, appetizing fruit. Strawberries are a good natural restorative with their rich content of vitamin C and antioxidants, including anthocyanin. First, learn the proper way to pick strawberries either dangling under leaves or resting on the soil and collect them. As the strawberries pile up in your basket, you may feel your happiness growing. Take a bite of a ripe strawberry on the spot. The taste of spring will captivate you in an instant. Jeju offers different strawberry picking experience programs until late April. All you need to do is simply visit the nearest experience. However, keep in mind that some places only accept group reservations made in advance. Check before you visit, and enjoy the taste of spring with your family.
Winter was long and boring. If your days in the city were the same and you really need a break, take a look at the different eco parties in Jeju. They wait for you with unique healing programs that combine Jeju’s nature, culture, and people. The first eco party in April is “Hey Tree, Let’s Play” in Yusuam-ri Village on April 20. The “Dream Village with the Woods and Peach Blossoms” eco party in Mureung 2(i)-ri is on April 27, while another eco party, “Mara Tour with the Spring Breeze,” will be held on Korea’s southernmost Marado Island on April 28. Moreover, from April 29 to May 3, the Meochewat Forest Trail Farming Association plans to hold the eco party “Meochewat Eco Party Full of the Scent of Canola Flowers” twice a day (at 10:00 and 14:00). Eco parties refuse to be ordinary parties. They are unique, offering village tours guided by the villagers and other exclusive experience programs. If you want to feel the essence of Jeju, an eco party is an excellent choice!
A trip to discover hidden wonders is always exciting. If that wonderful site is a forest filled with soothing green energy, the joy is even greater. In Harye-ri, Namwon-eup, there is a hidden forest trail. This beautiful trail that runs along a stream is called Gosalli Forest Trail. It offers an opportunity to enjoy the natural environment of Jeju, including plants listed as endangered species, diverse vegetation, Jeju’s wild forest, called gotjawal, a stream, and the island’s stone walls, called jatseong. Thanks to the area’s well-preserved environment and ecology, the village next to the trail was designated as an Excellent Eco-Village by the Ministry of Environment in 2013. Gosalli Forest Trail, created by stones and wind, is a romantic trail where you can listen to the sounds of water and birds. It is a trail of life that will refresh a sensibility worn out from daily life. The route is 2.1 kilometers long and it takes roughly one hour to complete it one way. The entrance to this attractive forest path is by Namseogyo Bridge (across from Seondeoksa Temple) on Local Road No. 1131, also known as the May Sixteenth Road, so make sure you don’t miss it.
Seongsan Ilchulbong Tuff Cone is a famous symbol of Jejudo. It is a World Natural Heritage as well as one of the best tourist attractions on the island, and yet few people know that the peak has a special masterpiece of nature. It is a hidden place that only visitors who know about it or who are lucky can find. This place is Sumapo Beach. The beach stretches out from the southwestern foot of Seongsan Ilchulbong Tuff Cone. If you visit the beach at low tide, which is a moment that requires luck, there will be a fantastic view in front of you. The shoreline stratum reveals its layers made by wind and waves over time. The layers show the passage of time. Suwolbong Peak, registered as a Global Geopark, has pyroclastic deposits formed by volcanic activity. This sedimentary rock that emerges from the sea when the tide goes out is a stunning spectacle. Nature's wonder is the best gift you can have.
‣Sumapo Beach, Seongsan: Seongsan-ri, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
8. Samda Park Night Concert
The city’s park wakes up from its long winter sleep. To light up Jeju’s Friday nights, the downtown festival Samda Park Night Concert starts on April 26 and is held from 18:00 to 22:00 until August 23. It offers a variety of performances based on the concept “Every Friday, Healing Day.” Samda Park in Yeon-dong, Jeju-si will heat up every Friday evening with cultural performances covering a variety of genres that include folk, rock, teuroteu (a type of Korean pop music), and hip hop. The festival also offers delicious food and other enjoyable programs such as the night flea market “Yamonttakteoljang,” so this park is a wonderful place for those free spirits who want to spend an interesting Friday night. This year’s concert program, in particular, is enriched with public campaigns and public art projects. Do not miss the Samda Park Night Concert, which will offer a healing experience to everyone.
‣Samda Park: 301-15, Yeon-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
9. Eco Land Theme Park, Forest Safari Tour
The warm sunlight and the gentle breeze tickle the body and heart. If you are planning a spring outing to escape from the daily routine and relax, you should consider Eco Land Theme Park. Listed as one of 100 must-visit tourist spots of Korea for two consecutive years in 2017 and 2018, Eco Land is the perfect place for a spring picnic. It offers an exciting train tour with its exclusive Lincoln Locomotive through a forest created by the harmonious work of rocks and the wind. In addition to the train ride, you can stroll in the mysterious woods and see various tourist attractions such as a floating café and an eco windmill. Forest Safari, which opened last year, is another good picnic spot, and exhibits animal replicas. Since these plastic animals can actually move, children cannot keep their eyes off of them. Forest Safari also offers various experience programs including Animal Rider, Dinosaur Fossil and Sand, and Animal Painting, pleasing you with a zoo-like experience. Let’s go right away for a happy spring day with the whole family.
10. Picnic lunches
A spring without a picnic is like a sandwich without bread. A healthy picnic lunch packed with spring ingredients is a magic recipe that will strengthen the love among families, friends, and lovers. If you want your own picnic food but find it difficult to prepare, just purchase a lunch box. The restaurant Heukdwaeji Box near Seopjikoji Cape, Seongsan-eup serves one of the best solid lunches. Either the black pork box or the shrimp box on the menu is a great choice! The restaurant Vivari Kim on Lee Jung Seop Street offers lunch boxes filled with the natural flavors and scents of Jeju, while the restaurant Jeju Hankki offers filling lunch boxes. Donggoryang, whose name refers to a traditional lunch box of Jeju, serves excellent picnic lunches that help reinforce the love among members at the picnic. Moreover, if you want to taste a hearty meal made by the villagers of Hogeun-dong, you should visit Charong Chiyu Bapsang in the Seogwipo Forest of Healing. The restaurant’s charong lunch box will warm your heart and make you feel relaxed. To fully enjoy a spring picnic, don’t forget a picnic lunch box that pleases the eye as well as the palate. As people say, “it’s zero calories if you enjoy the meal!”
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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