10 Great Jeju Sightseeing Ideas for November: Sounds of the island in autumn

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In November, when the autumn leaves up on Hallasan Mountain turn and fields of light brown pampas grass become visible across the entire island, Jeju’s auditory landscape begins to change as well. The wind carries a dry rustling sound as it moves through the pampas grass, brittle crunching sounds come from treading on the fallen leaves, and the ever-present sound of the ocean waves roar with chilly gusts of ocean air. Let’s pause for a moment to appreciate these November Jeju sounds.

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    10 Great Jeju Sightseeing Ideas for NovemberSounds of Jeju Island in autumn

    In November, when the autumn leaves up on Hallasan Mountain turn and fields of light brown pampas grass become visible across the entire island, Jeju’s auditory landscape begins to change as well. The wind carries a dry rustling sound as it moves through the pampas grass, brittle crunching sounds come from treading on the fallen leaves, and the ever-present sound of the ocean waves roar with chilly gusts of ocean air. Let’s pause for a moment to appreciate these November Jeju sounds.

    Sumbisori: Jeju diving women emerging from the wavesHado-ri, Beophwan Port, Ojo-ri

    In order to survive, the diving women of Jeju Island paradoxically must stop breathing. Working meters under the surface of the ocean for minutes at a time and on a single lungful of air, the haenyeo emerge from beneath the waves with their catch. The sharp sound of their breathe echoes over the sea and is easily heard from shore. All around the island they toil using traditional diving techniques rather than modern gear. They are careful to maintain only a sustainable, environmentally friendly quota of marine products. They are truly stewards of the ocean, especially at Hado-ri, Beophwan Port, Hallim and Ojo-ri, among other fishing villages and ports around Jeju. 

    The haenyeo are now celebrating their first anniversary as a designated UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. To learn more about Jeju women divers, visit the Jeju Haenyeo Museum in Sehwa village.

    The path taken by the windSaengyigijeong

    Wherever you go on Jeju Island, the wind is ever-present. In autumn the breeze rushes through the pampas grass like a startled bird that has just taken flight. In the Jeju language, Saengyigijeong has an interesting origin to its name, where “saengyi” means bird and “gijeong” means cliff. This volcanic coastline is where you can hear birdsong, the sound of the ocean waves crashing onshore, and the rustle of the pampas grass, depending on the strength and direction of the wind. 

    In the background, the beauty of Chagwido and Wando Islands combine with the beauty of these sounds. This is one of the best places to watch the sunset on the island, and Jeju Olle walking trail No. 12 runs for 1.5 kilometers along Saengyigijeong from Dangsanbong, a prominent volcanic feature of geological importance in the area, to Yongsuri Port. At the port is an interesting memorial commemorating the spot where Korea’s first ordained Catholic priest, Kim Dae-geon, came ashore after leaving China in 1845.

    Listen as the pebbles pacify the ocean wavesNaedo Aljakji, Gaetkkak Jusangjeolli

    Depending on the age of the volcanic activity and the prevailing ocean currents and winds, Jeju’s coastline can be shaped in a number of different ways. At Jeju’s Mongdol Beach, the wave action has smoothed the area’s rocks into pebbles of various sizes. As a result of their shape, when the ocean waves come crashing onto the shore the pebbles break their angry energy and return them calmly to the sea. 

    Oedo is not far from Jeju International Airport, so it’s very easy for travellers to get here to hear this unique sound for themselves. Further south is Gaetkkak Jusangjeolli, a cliff cathedral of stone pillars that run for 1.75 kilometers at Sangye-dong, Seogwipo. This area’s beauty shouldn’t be missed, but please exercise caution as the terrain and ocean waves can be dangerous.

    Enjoy the wind in your hairBike Rentals and Sharing

    If you’re planning on taking a bicycle tour along the island’s coastal roads, you’ll find that the wind is a constant companion who sings to you as you go. This time of year is especially good for bicycle riding on Jeju. The ocean scenery, the aquatic birdlife, and the weather all make for a pleasant coastal journey in the great outdoors. If you’re traveling to Jeju, there’s no need to drag along your own bike, though. Renting is a convenient and easy option. There are many bike shops in Jeju City which offer rentals, as well as new services for bike sharing.

    For those who are interested in protecting the environment, you can participate in a free three-hour shoreline tidying bicycle tour along the coast of Gimnyeong, Woljeong, and Pyeongdae. This special program will run from Nov. 14 through Nov. 16, beginning at 2 p.m. For more information and to make a reservation, contact www.purunbike.com

    The song of the autumn pampas grassTtarabi Oreum

    The reason why this volcanic cone is known as “the queen of Jeju oreum” is that its graceful shape gives off an aura of royalty. In autumn, Ttarabi’s crown of swaying pampas grass turns a beautiful, golden brown. This grass waves in the wind like cheering, adoring subjects witnessing a royal procession. The beauty and abundance of nature at Ttarabi is dignified like royalty.

    Ttarabi has a horseshoe shape and is made up of three circular craters and six large and small connected peaks. It is thickly covered with grass and trees and if you walk the circumference you’ll need about an hour to do so.

    A soundscape for emptying one’s mindSeonrimsa Temple, Cheonwangsa Temple

    Although these temples are located not far from the secular world, perhaps their comforting soundscapes contribute the most to their peacefulness. With every gust of wind, nature’s comforting sounds rush forth to envelop you at Seonrimsa and Cheonwangsa temples in Jeju City.

    Located at the entrance to Halla Arboretum, Seonrimsa Temple is known for its tranquil scenery and flowering red lotus and barberry root plants. While at Cheonwangsa Temple, just south of Jeju City, there are beautiful cedar and cypress trees growing at the foot of Hallasan Mountain. It’s located in a stunning hidden valley and scenery near the mountain trail of Eoseungsaengak. The Dullegil Eco-trail at Hallasan Mountain, too, is a quiet, tranquil place to enjoy an autumn walk.

    The last place to greet autumnHallasan Mountain Gwaneumsa Course

    Hallasan Mountain is the last place in Korea to greet the season’s autumn colors. This is because the leaves start to change color as temperatures drop, and Jeju’s climate is milder than the mainland. This year's brightly colored yellow, red and brown maple leaves are expected to reach their peak on Oct. 26-29, but you can appreciate this autumn scenery until mid-November.

    If you’re interested in doing some hiking on Hallasan Mountain during this period of the turning of the leaves, a recommended course is the 8.7-kilometer-long Gwaneumsa Trail. Here you walk through the mosaic-like majestic beauty of Jeju’s nature. In the Tamna Valley, the Yongjingak Suspension Bridge takes you right into the heart of these autumnal colors. Note, however, that this trail is not for novices and takes about 9 hours to complete the roundtrip. As there are rapid changes in the weather and temperature, be sure to bring gloves, extra layers, and appropriate coats and boots. Check the Hallasan National Park Website for the latest conditions and hiking times (www.jeju.go.kr/hallasan/index.htm).

    A lively, seasonal fish festivalSouthernmost Moseulpo Yellowtail Festival

    In November, the port of Moseulpo is particularly lively. This is because it is the venue for the Yellowtail, or Bangeo Festival, one of the representative festivals of Korea. At this celebration there is plenty of fun and flavor, with experience programs like barehanded yellowtail catching contests, singing contests, plenty of fresh fish cuisine, and more. This year’s 17th Moseulpo Bangeo Festival will be held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 at Moseulpo Port in Seogwipo. bangeofestival.com/gb/

    The sound of early morning energyDawn fish markets

    As most of Jeju sleeps, there are some hearty individuals gathered at waterfront markets teeming with the sounds of life. This is an energetic scene with fishermen, vendors, auctioneers and buyers all boisterously expressing themselves.

    If you’d like to experience this for yourself, then you need only set your alarm early… very early, and proceed to the nearest dawn fish market by 6 a.m. These include the bustling fish markets of Jeju City, Hallim, Seongsan, and Seogwipo, where fresh seafood is delivered to customers at very competitive prices. Please note that if the weather is particularly rough, then the fishing boats will not have gone out that morning and the markets will be closed.

    Hey! Let’s go pick citrusTangerine experience programs & citrus tea

    November is a great month for tangerine picking as this is the season when the fruit finishes ripening. You can easily experience citrus picking for yourself as many orchards all over the island offer their own programs. For citrus-related activities like citrus tart and cake making, consult www.gyulbitsro.com. Group bookings are possible until Nov. 4, while individual bookings will be taken after that date.

    Another unique activity you might want to try is attending the annual Jeju Citrus Expo (www.citrus-expo.com), held at the Seogwipo Agricultural Technology Center from Nov. 8 to Nov. 12. There, too, you can experience all sorts of citrus fruit and industry-related events. If you don’t have time for that, though, how about just enjoying a cup of steaming citrus tea rich in vitamin C? Most privately-owned cafes in Jeju will have such local tea varieties on the menu. So this month let’s enjoy Jeju’s citrus fragrance together with a cup of tea!

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