Saturday, June 15, 2019

Jeju Olle: Udo Island

Jeju Olle is a series of trails that goes around Jeju Island plus trails around some surrounding islands—a total of 26 trails. If you hiked all 26 trails, then you would have traveled on foot 425 kilometers! Since I did not have the time (and, surely, not the energy) to do all 26 trails, I just picked two. And these two are trails that are not on Jeju Island but trails that go around two of its nearby islands: Udo Island and Gapado Island.

Udo Island was recommended by Annie, a Chinese girl (I don't know her Chinese name; she just called herself Annie) I met during my first visit to Jeju Island in the spring of 2018. I wasn't really keen on visiting Udo Island, but when I found that there was an Olle trail that goes around Udo, it went straight to my Spring 2019 itinerary.

Spring 2019 came and I was excited to finally be able to hike a Jeju Olle trail. But first we (I was traveling with a friend) had to get to Udo Island.

Approaching Udo Island

Getting to Udo Island. We took Bus 211 from Jeju City to Seongsan Port (1.5 hours, 1150 krw). At Seongsan Port, we bought roundtrip ferry tickets (8500 krw, roundtrip, per person) to Cheonjin Port in Udo Island. The ferry runs every half hour from 730am to 6pm (last trip schedule depends on the month; the last trip could be as early as 5pm in winter) and the journey takes only 15 minutes. (What surprised me about the ferry is that there are no seats. Everyone took off their shoes and found a spot on the floor to sit on. Of course, we followed suit.)

No chairs in the ferry

Getting around Udo Island. Outside Cheonjin Port in Udo Island were rental shops for bicycles, tandem bicycles, three-wheeled scooters, and motorcycles—options to get around the island, aside from walking or taking the shuttle bus.

My friend wanted to rent the cute three-wheeled scooters, but a passport and international motorcycle driver's license were required to rent a scooter or motorcycle. I was actually glad we couldn't rent (neither of us had an international motorcycle driver's license) because my main purpose in visiting Udo Island was to hike!

Cute three-wheeled scooters

You can also rent a bike or a tandem bike to get around Udo

Hiking around Udo. Jeju Olle Route 1-1 is a trail that circumnavigates Udo Island. The trail is 11.3 kilometers long and takes 4 to 5 hours to complete. Difficulty level is classified as medium. The trails are marked by blue and red ribbons, arrows (blue or orange; follow orange arrows if you are going in the reverse direction), and Ganse (horse-shaped trail markers; the head points in the direction of the route).

Blue and red ribbons as trail markers

We followed the trail in the counterclockwise direction. Just a few minutes of walking (and a bit of uphill walking) brought us to Udo-bong (Udo Peak) and Udo Lighthouse. From Udo Peak we could see Seongsan Ilchulbong, a tuff cone (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site), in the distance. In the other direction, the vast sea. I wonder if, on a clear day, we could see Japan?

The wind up at the peak (which wasn't high at all, just 132.5 masl) and the wide open views were refreshing.

On our way to Udo Peak, we saw a horse and this cute little building

Seongsan Ilchulbong (far left in the background) can be seen from Udo-bong (Udo Peak)

Udo Lighthouse



When we descended the peak we passed houses, and so many fields of canola, of rye, and of barley. Most of the time, it was just us hiking. (We only saw a group of three hikers at the beginning of the trail. The rest of the trail, it was just me and my friend.) At one point, we followed overgrown paths between low stone walls that made us doubt if we were on the right path. There was also a time when we crossed fields with nary a soul in sight and we hoped and prayed no one would pop out and shoot us for trespassing.

Canola field

It was a beautiful day for a hike

Is this the right path?

Halfway along the trail, we reached Hagosudong Beach, where we found a bunch of restaurants just across. Just in time for lunch! 

Hagosudong Beach

We ate lunch at 로뎀가든 Rothem Garden. The menu was in Korean, so we just ordered their recommendation: 흑돼지주물럭 Black Pork Stew (30000 krw for 2 persons). It looked like everyone else was having it, so it must be good. And, yes, it was deliciously spicy! After eating, we spied one table having rice with egg and cheese (a little research told me it was 우도한라산볶음밥 Hallasan Fried Rice). It looked pretty good too, but we were too full to try that one.

Black Pork Stew at Rothem Garden, a restaurant facing Hagosudong Beach

After lunch, we jumped right back to hiking. We followed the rest of the trail, passing by more houses and fields. Sometimes the trail was on dirt paths, other times it just followed an asphalt road—rarely a major one since we scarcely saw cars.

We reached Cheonjin Port, the start and end point of the trail, after 4.5 hours of leisurely walk with many stops in between. Since we had time to spare before going back to Jeju Island, we rewarded ourselves with peanut ice cream (5000 krw) at Cafe 콩리.

Peanut ice cream

Would I recommend hiking Udo Island (Olle Route 1-1)? If you have time to spare and enjoy taking long, easy walks on mostly flat land (the only uphill section was going to Udo Peak/Udo Lighthouse), then, yes, go for it! But only on the cooler months. Hiking in summer might not be a good idea since there is no tree cover all throughout the route. (If you insist on hiking in summer, I have a strong feeling you will be able to eat a gallon of peanut ice cream after the hike.)


Jeju and Busan, April 2019
Jeju Accommodation: Jeju R Hotel & Guesthouse
Traveling Around Jeju by Bus Plus KakaoMap (2019)
Eats from Jeju City Restaurants I Can't Read the Names Of
Jeju City Lights: Iho Tewoo Beach and Jeju Light Art Festa
Geomun Oreum and Manjanggul Lava Tube
What to See in Seogwipo City (soon)
Jeju Olle: Udo Island (you're here!)
Jeju Olle: Gapado Island (soon)

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