Here’s a personal question for you: How much peace and quiet do you have in your life?
One well-known homegrown Jeju remedy for stress is to head into the forest and take a walk. And in particular, the 15-kilometer Saryeoni Forest Path, just southeast of Jeju City has just what the doctor ordered.
Did you know? Saryeoni is a natural habitat for species of maple, dogwood, hornbeam and snowbell. The planted cedars were part of a reforestation effort which included Hallasan Mountain and many volcanic cones around the region. Jeju Island’s oldest cedar tree grows in the Saryeoni Forest.
The route runs south from the 1112 Road and ends in the east at the 1118 Road. There, you’ll find first-rate nutmeg, cedar and cypress groves (some natural species, some planted), Cheonmicheon Stream, as well as a number of volcanic cones, or oreum, which you can opt to climb if they’re open to the public.
(One, called Mulchat Oreum, is closed through June 30, 2018, to help preserve its delicate ecosystem.)
Did you know? The 150-meter-tall Mulchat volcanic cone is circular in nature and has a small lake called Hwaguho in its crater. Its unique landscape and ecology is a noted wetland preservation zone.
To give you different take on this beautiful forest path, I opted to start at the opposite end and proceed as far as Mulchat Oreum, some 5 kilometers in from the 1118 Road entrance.
With a fair amount of parking along the highway (though no dedicated parking lot per se), I noticed there were washroom facilities and benches placed at well thought out points along the route. It was also well tended and signage in multiple languages was very helpful.
The best part? Far fewer fellow hikers than you’d find at the other end of the route.
In fact as I walked quietly along the empty path, I encountered one fully grown roe deer walking warily some 30 meters away. We spied each other, I tried to grab a photo, and then we went on our way — I happier to have seen some wildlife.
Did you know? As you walk along the forest path, you’ll notice that there isn’t a great deal of soil, but rather a rocky surface made up of volcanic gravel, called Songi. It ranges between 2 and 64 millimeters in size and has a red color due to its iron content which was mixed up during eruptions of basalt magma.
Overall, the far-end of the forest path is quite flat and well maintained. It was muddy in places, so it’s not particularly stroller or wheelchair friendly. But generally it’s a very easy walk for all ages.
Another quick side destination is the Bulgeun Oreum Natural Recreation Forest and Visitor Center, a quick drive north of the Saryeoni Forest Path Entrance. There’s plenty of parking and it’s a great meeting point for friends and family if you’re looking to make a day of it in the great outdoors. Admission and parking fees are very reasonable (in the 1,000 to 3,000 won range).
All-in-all, the Saryeoni Forest Path is a first-rate outdoor experience. Get in touch with your inner outdoor enthusiast and peace out!
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