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Stop and smell the Jeju Olle

People hike the Jeju Olle Trail (Photo: The Visit Korea Committee).

Created by volcanic activity, Jeju Island has become the world’s first site to have obtained the UNESCO Triple Crown designation. The island, which received designations of Biosphere Reserve in 2002, World Natural Heritage in 2007, and World Geopark in 2010, is planning to hold an international walking festival from November 9 to 12. The four-day festival offers one different route each day, and participants can experience the unique beauty of each region. Under the theme ”Discover love on the trail,” the event is intended to let participants experience the natural beauty and culture of Jeju in a peaceful atmosphere and find a way to discover themselves while they walk.

The event is planned to begin on November 9 with an opening ceremony, and participants will take one course per day, hiking Jeju Olle courses 6, 7, 8, and 9. As the theme of the festival focuses on peace and happiness, participants are suggested to walk slowly and build up as many memories as they can. The Visit Korea Committee said the walk itself is considered valuable on the Jeju Olle Trail, rather than reaching the end point. The longest course is only 15 kilometers, meaning anyone can participate in the walk without much pressure.

People walk on the Jeju Olle Trail (Photo: The Visit Korea Committee).

All participants will begin the walk together from the starting point after completing Olle gymnastics, consisting of up-tempo music and easy-to-learn dances. For each course, some side events such as outdoor stages for various kinds of performances and Jeju’s local dishes will be prepared along the way for hikers to enjoy. Participants can expect to encounter the Jeju Wind Orchestra, cellist Ye Ji-yeong, tenor Kang Chang-oh, oboist Kim Sung-min, Furuta-Acheuko of the Japanese Mime Company, and others throughout the courses. In addition, an a cappella performance by elementary school students, as well as Jeju folk songs, and daegeum (large flute) music are planned as well.

A moonlight program is scheduled for the three nights. From 8 to 9 p.m. every night at the outdoor stages, a Kansedari party will be held in celebration of the theme of "Kanse" (laziness), which is the symbol of Jeju Olle. Kansedari, roughly translated, means a person who is always lazy. The recommended dress code invites partygoers to come wearing their Kanse hairbands. Keepsakes include badges for registered members and Kanse toys for all guests. A variety of performances, night markets, and flea markets will also be organized.

In addition, Tony and Maureen Wheeler, the founders of Lonely Planet, the world’s largest tourist guidebook, are also planning to participate in the walking event.

The Jeju Tourism Organization and the Jeju Welcome Center have trained English, Japanese, and Chinese interpreters to offer better translation. Foreign visitors will also have a chance to learn about the ecology and the cultural value of the Jeju Olle Trail during the festival.

For more information, visit www.ollewalking.co.kr (Korean, Chinese, Japanese and English)

By Lee Seung-ah
Korea.net staff writer

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