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TravelJeju Travel
Jeju Village Walks – Autumn Edition: Ara-dong History and Culture Trail
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승인 2023.10.30  16:15:53
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On the 24th of September, Jeju Special Self-governing Province and Jeju Tourism Organization (Director Justine Eun-Sook Koh) introduced “Jeju Village Walks – Autumn Edition: Ara-dong History and Culture Exploration Route,” a hiking-oriented tourism content designed to discover the hidden appeal of Jeju tourism, on the official tourist information portal Visit Jeju (www.visitjeju.net). Article and photographs courtesy of Jeju Tourism Organization.

1. Encountering history and culture along the way: “Ara-dong History and Culture Trail”

▲ Photo:Jeju Tourism Organization

- A cool breeze in the morning and evening signals the arrival of fall. And what better season to enjoy a nice walk than fall? The History and Culture Trail is a hidden gem in Ara-dong that allows you to take a leisurely stroll and experience the various charms of Hallasan Mountain. The 6.3 km trail is divided into three courses. Courses 1 and 2 are trekking courses that allow you to experience history, culture, and nature in greater depth, while Course 3 is a more leisurely walk.

- The Ara-dong Historical and Cultural Trail has a total of four entrance points to choose from. Course 1 starts at Gwaneumsa Temple and passes by Sillyeong Rock, Noru Pond, Kaldari Waterfall, Gosari Plain, Samuiak Spring, and Yukgak Pavilion. Course 2 goes from Sancheondan Altar to Sosan Oreum and Pyeonbaeknamu Shelter. Some sections are off the beaten path and rocky, so it is recommended to wear trekking shoes.

2. Forest of healing and restoration: Sosan Oreum and Pyeonbaeknamu Shelter

▲ Photo:Jeju Tourism Organization

- Sosan Oreum is an easy hike located close to downtown Jeju-si. The entire hill is lush with sea pine, cypress, and cedar trees. After passing the entrance to the hill, you will find the “Pyeonbaeknamu (‘cypress tree’) Shelter” and its quiet, secluded serenity. As you walk through the densely-wooded forest, the sight of the open sky is replaced by the tree cover and the cleansing scent of the greenery fills the lungs, along with the smell of fresh earth and the sounds of nature that add to the relaxing experience.


- There is a recent growing trend of visitors who walk barefoot (“earthing”) through the cypress tree trail. Feeling the sensation of the earth under one’s feet, visitors are gradually led to feel at one with nature. Barefoot walking is said to help dissipate electromagnetic waves in the body, improve blood circulation, and relieve stress. Meanwhile, there are wooden platforms on which you can rest your tired feet. The sunlight and scenery peeking through the lush trees are certainly a bonus. All are welcome at the cypress forest to heal the body and mind from the fatigue of everyday life.


3. Traces of painful history amid wondrous nature: Kaldari Waterfall and Jinji Cave

▲ Photo:Jeju Tourism Organization

- Kaldari Waterfall gets its name from the way the rocks have been chiseled by the rain over the ages. Although only the seemingly knife-cut edge of the cliff can be seen during normal times, periods of heavy rain create a stunning waterfall that cascades down the cliffs. Even when the waterfall isn't flowing, the combination of the volcanic rock cliffs and the lush natural forest is awe-inspiring to say the least. Watching the waterfall while listening to the chirping birds and rushing water is an experience akin to encountering a work of art.


- Not far from Kaldari Waterfall is Jinji Cave. Jinji Cave was a military base built by Japanese soldiers toward the end of the Pacific War. Many Jeju residents were forcibly mobilized there at the time and the cave still bears traces of this painful history.


4. A secret forest filled with mystical wonder: Sillyeong Rock

▲ Photo:Jeju Tourism Organization

- There’s a secret forest in Jeju that has been beautifully preserved in its natural state. After passing through the mysterious forest path, you will come across Sillyeong Rock. The area around Sillyeong Rock is particularly known for its dense forest. The rock is a time-worn testament to the passing of the ages, while the trees that gracefully lay their roots atop it and the moss that grows between the roots create an ambience that the location truly is the sacred home of mountain spirits.


- Spirits of Hallasan Mountain are said to linger upon Sillyeong Rock and grant the wishes of those who put their hands together and make a wish in front of it. Perhaps this is why the site is dotted with pagodas of wishing stones placed there by previous visitors. Why not try placing a small stone on top of one and make a wish for yourself?


5. An elegant temple in Hallasan Mountain’s warm embrace: Gwaneumsa Temple

▲ Photo:Jeju Tourism Organization

- Jeju’s Gwaneumsa Temple is essentially the centerpiece of the around 30 temples located on the island. Situated at the foot of Hallasan Mountain, Gwaneumsa Temple stands tranquil and in harmony with nature. Cedar trees line the path from its first gate, Iljumun Gate, to Cheonwangmun Gate, while stone Buddha statues and lanterns perched on basalt stone walls add to its dignified ambience.


- The interior of the temple embodies a magnificent yet restrained elegance. Walking around the well-maintained walkway offers a calming experience. The awe-inspiring statues of the Maitreya Great Buddha and the ten thousand Buddhas that surround it are intended for prayers to bring peace and prosperity to the people of Jeju. Meanwhile, Jeju’s unique characteristics are also reflected in Grandmother Seolmundae’s Wishing Rock, which was created to transmit the island’s stone culture as an aspect of indigenous faith and to pray for the well-being of individual visitors.


6. An ascent in the company of nature: Samuiak Oreum

▲ Photo:Jeju Tourism Organization

- Samuiak Oreum is also known as Saemi Oreum because of the spring (“same” in Korean) that gushes from the top of the mountain. The trail is well-maintained, so you can take your time ascending the slope through the tall trees. Enjoy the fresh and subtle scent of the forest and its greenery as you bask in the rejuvenating air of fall.

For more stories from the fall edition of Jeju Village Walks, visit the Visit Jeju website (www.visitjeju.net), Jeju's official tourism information portal.

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