Don’t miss these May marvels: ’10 colors of Jeju felt with all 5 senses’
Cobalt, emerald, pink, yellow, white, and other vibrant colors. If you’ve experienced Jeju in May, you’ll know how beautiful its natural colors can be. So if you are on Jeju now, you’ll find that these vibrant, mosaic-like natural colors can soothe both your vision and your mind.
A secret field of fluttering pink
1. Hallasan Yeongsil Course Seonjakjiwat, Bangseonmun Festival spruce trees
In preparation for spring, Hallasan Mountain takes a breathe. When the foliage turns a darker shade of green, the birds chirp more loudly and the pink azalea flowers burst forth. In a field near Baengnokdam, the mountain’s peak, this pink carpet unravels to welcome people to its celebration of spring.
Everyone is invited to this beautiful celebration, but it does take a bit of effort to get to the upper elevations of Hallasan Mountain and its azalea fields. To reach Witse Oreum by way of the Yeongsil trail takes two to two and a half hours.
It is said that the pinkish rhododendron has been designated as Jeju province’s official flower because it symbolizes how Jeju Islanders can thrive in a harsh environment. You can find it along the Saryeoni Forest Path and Hallasan’s Dullegil Trail. On May 13 and 14 is the Bangseonmun Festival, where this flower figures prominently.
Ocean colors: Emerald, sky blue, cobalt
2. Gimnyeong Beach, Hyeopjae Beach and Biyangdo, Hamdeok Seoubong Beach and Yongcheonsu
The black rock of this volcanic island combines nicely with the blue sea and its white sand beaches. Just a stone’s throw from the sea, there are a myriad of beautiful places spread along the coast that all have their own colors and individual characteristics.
Hamdeok Beach, for example, is a jade treasure bathed by pristine, transparent waves and framed by a lattice of Jeju stone walls. The view is exotic and eye-catching, especially from up on Seoubong Peak to the east.
Contrast this with the emerald ocean of Hyeopjae Beach and the black rock of the nearby offshore island of Biyangdo. Depending on the time of year and season, and of course the weather, the sea always boasts a new shade of color. In particular, the month of May is when Hyeopjae has what can be called “classic Jeju” ocean hues.
The fragrance of citrus wafting through the moonlight
3. Tangerine blossoms
For about a week in early May, the tangerine blossoms are full, much like a short, sweet romance. This is why the aroma of these citrus blossoms strikes both a feeling of sentimentality and affection in our hearts. In the evening moonlight, walking among the white bouquets of tangerine blossoms, and taking in their aroma, is a cherished memory.
Spending a night in a village rich with tangerine blossoms and taking moonlit strolls. This is a romantic Jeju outing that can only be experienced in May. There are a number of accommodations which offer a themed stay based on this tangerine experience, including Soesokkak Seomdoriwat Pension, Yechon Minbak and Han-La and Tam, among others. Another choice is to find a bed and breakfast near a tangerine orchard… a classic Jeju option.
A reddish-brown topography caught in time
4. Seolkum Badang
The traces of some 800,000 years are clearly evident here. The volcanic geology and topography of the Yongmeori Coast through to Sagye Port are marked in time as a tangled, rugged area of boulders. This is known locally as Seolkum Badang. Seolkum means a hole in snow that is shaped by the wind. Batang is a beach which is a mixture of brown and black sand. Together, they make for a charming combination of a pebbly, rocky stretch of Jeju coastline.
Past Sagye Port is the Hamo-ri coastal area and its relatively recent volcanic eruption. Some 3,500 years ago this formed Songaksan Mountain, one of Jeju Island’s more memorable coastal landscapes, with a special feeling and indeed unique color scheme.
An oceanscape bathed in a reddish glow
5. Iho Tewoo Beach Horse Lighthouses, Gosan’s Dang Oreum
Perhaps we are attracted to the red glow of the setting sun because in it we sense the fleeting nature of life. The beauty of that rich orange glow is something that deep down in your heart you hope will last — just like life.
The red horse-shaped lighthouse at Iho Tewoo Beach touches the blue sea and is all the more beautiful and richly red in the glow of the sunset. Even the cobalt blue sea seems red when seen from Dang Oreum at Gosan-ri in Hangyeong-myeon. From Chagwido Island to Jagunae Port and Dang Oreum, this sunset view is something to be sure to experience in your life.
Like the light of May, the yellow Saewooran orchid
6. Jeolmul Natural Recreation Forest
The tiny, delicate flowers of Jeju’s native orchid species are protected by its large leaves. Its deep, yellow color bathes the mountainside and forest undergrowth of southern South Korea and Jejudo Island. They’re especially easy to find at Jeolmul Natural Recreation Forest.
This forest is famous for its dense growth of cedars which offer visitors a cool, clean place to walk in the summer season. It is also a site for visitors to engage in a bit of “forest therapy”. Many old hands recommend bringing a pillow with you to Jeolmul because it’s a great place to lie down on the soft, flat earth and take in the majesty of nature.
Jeju’s rich, natural colors
7. Natural dyeing
The idea that nature is always right rings all the more true when it comes to its colors. The color of a naturally dyed Jeju garment — the Galot — is a dark reddish brown which is produced from the juice of the persimmon fruit. The hue has a beauty all its own, as well as a “pure Jeju” look and feel.
On Jejudo Island there are a number of experience programs where you can try natural dyeing for yourself — starting with a relatively easy project like dyeing a handkerchief or scarf in your own style. Ilchul Land’s Art Center, the Jeju Natural Dyeing Cooperative Association, Muldeurine, and others have just such a program on offer.
A space of pure greenery
8. Songdang Village Cedar Road
Long, straight stretches of forest and small, narrow, cozy trails are full of surprises. They’re especially mysterious for people from the city who are exploring such wooded areas for the first time. The cedar forest at Songdang Village is a perfect example of this: it’s a popular place for forest therapy healing and a much sought after spot for prospective couples looking for that perfect wedding snapshot. It’s said that the bride’s white wedding dress shines all more brightly and beautifully amidst the rich greenery of nature. The forest path takes you past Batdol Oreum and Andol Oreum.
Enjoy the colorful sights and sounds of Jeju
9. Jeju Food & Wine Festival, Samda Park Healing Night Concert & Monddak Market
The Jeju Food & Wine Festival, where chefs from all over the world gather to create colorful dishes with fresh Jeju ingredients, is an event to tantalize your tastebuds. This year the “Grand Kitchen with Masters” program will be from May 18th to 20th, while “Jeju Gourmet Week” will be held for 10 days from May 11th to the 20th.
Meanwhile, every Friday night at Samda Park at the rotary in Sinjeju, an evening of music and flea market shopping is on offer. The famous Monddak Night Market runs from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Musical performances begin at 8. For more information, click on http://www.jejufoodandwinefestival.com and http://www.facebook.com/monddakmarket.
The charm of Jeju spring seafood
If you can sit down to enjoy a bowl of cold raw damselfish soup — the special Jeju dish of jarimulhoe — then you can call yourself a true Jeju Islander. The broth is made up of miso, veggies and bokeh leaf powder, though these days restaurants are substituting miso for red pepper paste to cater to more mainstream tastes. The damselfish caught in the spring (and particularly in May) has a texture to its flesh that is especially soft and delicious. So this is the time to try it!
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