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An Island of nature permitting _First Story of Chujado Island

 

Pippi first purchased a Jeju Olle passport in 2009 to record my trip of a lifetime along the Jeju Olle Trail. I was looking forward to marking the last page at Chujado Island to show I had completed the journey.
Visiting Chujado Island requires a little luck. Why? Well, it takes approximately an hour from Jeju Island by ferry and an hour from Wando Island, the southernmost point from mainland Korea. The weather gets pretty unpredictable here, so whether or not you can make the trip depends on the weather; hence Chujado Island is known as ‘the island of nature permitting.’

In comparison with Jeju Island, Chuja-do Island is very small, consisting of 42 islands - 38 uninhabited islands and 4 inhabited (Sangchujado and Hachujado are the only two where travelers usually visit). Being home to only 2,200 Chujadoans, there is only one bus every hour. If you stay on the bus, it will take only an hour to tour around a whole island. Even if you disembark in between, a day should be sufficient.
However, if you want to explore every inch of an island, you will have to consider spending a couple more days here.
There are two possible routes; a slow bus tour and an adventurous walking tour along the Jeju Olle Trail.
Regardless the type of tour you choose, if you want to truly experience the beauty of the Chujado Island, Pippi highly recommends a 1 night 2 day route.


If you hop on the ferry departing from Jeju Cruise Passenger Terminal in Jejudo Island, you get off at Sangchujado Harbour. There is a bus station in front of the harbor departing every hour (First departing at 7:20, last departing at 20:30. Two free transfers if T-Money card is used.) There is a total of 12 stops from the point of departure to the destination of Hachujado, taking 25-30 minutes one-way. There will be a 5 minute break at the destination (Yecho-ri stop) before taking the same route back to the harbor. If you plan to hop on the bus immediately, be at the station by 10:30am. If you would like to stroll along the harbor, take the bus at 11:00am. Sangchujado has relatively more hustle and bustle with more accommodation options. If you want to stay overnight, choose one of the accommodations nearby the harbor. There is a number of trails taking in the panoramic view of blue stretching to the horizon in all directions.

 


  Bus Tour Day 1- A whistle stop tour of Sangchujado and Hachujado

 

If you take the ferry from Jeju Cruise Passenger Terminal, you will arrive at the Ferry Terminal in Sangchujado at 10:30am. If you are not a light traveler, leave your belongings at the lodge first. Otherwise, start off your Chujado journey by having a quick look around the terminal. There is a plenty of time to hop on the bus so it is worth  seeing something of Chujado before moving on.

 



1. Nearby the harbor- downtown in Chujado? Fun to look around 

 

As soon as you get off the ferry, you will be led to the downtown of Chujado. If you follow the specified trail along the harbor, you will encounter lego-like small shops. Known as an ‘Anglers' heaven’ due to its rich fish reserves, you will notice the vacuum-packed dried corvinas, gutted mackerels, hairtails on the stands.

 

 


2. Youngheung-ri Mural Alley – harmony of traditional stone wall and mural on tile 

 

If you stroll down the coastal road, you will reach Youngheung-ri village. Female divers (haenyeo) and dolphins swim here, splashing in the water; sunflowers and butterflies welcome you to another kind of paradise. Beautiful scenery unfolds before your eyes. It is a short path, yet the harmony of traditional Jeju stone walls (doldam) and western-style tiles will leave a profound impression. Take another look at the smaller narrow lane. You will be surprised to find a maze within the lanes. If you walk along the mural alley, you will encounter a shrine built during the Joseon Dynasty (Chujacheosagak) providing spectacular views of the sea.  

 

 


3. What’s for Today’s Lunch? Try the Local Specialty at restaurants nearby Chuja Township Office

 

A Tourist Information Center was recently opened last September, nearby the Chuja township office. You can find all you need to know here, not to mention, plenty of lunch options favored by the township officers. The township office is open 365 days a year, so if you are in the mood for a food crawl any time, just show up. (Don’t forget, the local recommendation supersedes any guides.) Many restaurants offer various solo traveler-friendly course meals with grilled Spanish mackerel and dried corvina. The best season to try these delicacies is autumn! 

 

  


Have a full belly? Then let’s Hit the Road taking the bus in front of Township Office.


4. Entrance of Muk-ri- Hachujado’s first village with late sunrise, Muk-ri village

 

Hop on the bus in front of the Chuja Township Office, crossing the bridge liaising Sangchujado and Hachujado, and you will reach at ‘Muk-ri Entrance’. There is a slight incline but as the narrow lane widens, you will notice the mountain encompassing the village on the left, an inspiring example of the natural beauty here. Both the front and rear of Muk-ri is surrounded by mountains, resulting in a late sunrise. Named as ‘wind resting serene village’, walking uphill to Muk-ri will create a surreal feeling of humble isolation.
Panoramic views at the top of the Muk-ri Hill reward the climb. In spite of its distance (1 hour by ferry), you can see as far as Mt. Hallasan on a clear autumn day.

 

 

5. Mojini Beach – mongdol beaten by wave

 

From Muk-ri bus stop, it only takes 5 more stops to Mojini Beach. It’s only 2.7km in distance, so if you are more of a walker, feel free to walk along the sea shore. Walk one more station and turn right at the Chuja Coast Guard. You will find Seokducheongsan, evergreen pine trees at Cheongdo of Seokjimeori. It is known as one of the 10 notable sceneries of Chujado. If you would like to take in the sunset of Seokducheongsan, Pippi recommends staying at a Hanok (Korean traditional housing), situated at Hachujado.
The petite-pebbled Mojini Beach is 100 metres in distance from here. In fact, quaint beaches and untouched coastlines can be found throughout the island giving you access to raw nature. Listen carefully to what the sea over pebbles is whispering you. Perhaps record its voice and play it at bedtime.

 

 



 Bus Tour Day 2 - Mt. Bonggeulle Sunset Trail and Navarone Cliff in Sangchuja-do

 

If you stayed overnight at the harbor in Sangchuja, be an early bird and look for the Chuja Primary School with rainbow colours. Take a right path from Chuja Primary School and follow it uphill. You will encounter a shrine commemorating centuries-old historical figures of Chuja-do, including General Choe Young. Walk past the shrine and take a path to the left. This is the Mt. Bonggeulle Sunset Trail.

 


1. General Choe Yeong Shrine- Chujodoan’s Appreciation of the general Choe

 

General Choe Yeong is a commander and loyal subject of the late Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). The General was on a boat headed to Jeju Island where a rebellion had erupted, but a sea storm forced him to seek shelter on Chujado Island, where he stayed for 4 days and taught the Chujadoans to make and use fishing nets. Life of the Chujadoans changed dramatically afterwards. Legend says that the villagers built the shrine in his honor after he left, and rituals have been observed every year to pray for a good harvest and a big catch. You can get an idea of Korean traditional architectural style at the shrine.

 

 


2. Mt. Bonggeulle Sunset Trail- Wind whispering, birds chirping, a place of scenic beauty

 

When you pass the General Choe Yeong Shrine, you will trek on a Mt. Bonggeulle Sunset Trail. Stroll down the black pine footpath and if you cast your eyes to the right, you will be mesmerized by the panoramic view of the picturesque Chujado Islands. It can be a refreshing, light walk, however at the height of summer, you might still work up a sweat. The trail is 3km in distance overlapping with Olle 18-1 Course.

 



3. Navarone Hanuelgil Road- Getting close to the sky

 

If Mt. Bonggeulle Sunset Trail is considered a light path, you may want to brace yourself for the Navarone Cliff. Chujado’s pride of the Navarone Cliff is known to locals as the ‘Hanuelgil Road’, meaning a path in the sky, due to its steepness. Getting to walk on the cliff with my own two feet made my heart beat with excitement! This is a must-visit place in Chujado island. It is a 2km in distance but there is a number of vertiginous drops to the alley below. No worries! The trail is highly safeguarded. As long as you don’t get sidetracked, you will safely reach the ‘stairway to heaven’.

 


 


 Tip 1

What to Eat in Chujado Island?

 

Sashimi is definitely ‘Must Eat Number One’ in Chujado Island. Chujado’s fish species are slightly different from Jeju Island and only freshly caught fish will be on your dinner plate, so try the sashimi even if you are not a big lover of it. Mackerel sashimi, sliced raw sea bream and hagfish soup are popular in spring. Chujado’s anchovies are a summer delicacy. The Dried Corvine Festival is held in the autumn but Spanish Japanese mackerel, yellow tail, mackerel and spipefish are also at their best. Fish in the winter is similar to the autumn but the Chujado locals give two thumbs up on the rice with raw spipefish and veggies.


 Tip 2

What to Buy in Chujado Island?

 

It is not as easy as Jeju Island to find small, charming souvenirs in Chujado Island. Local Koreans usually buy Chujado’s specialties- the vacuum-packed dried corvinas, croakers or mackerels. However, Pippi would like to suggest the salted anchovy. Yes, this anchovy is for dipping in the small bowl on the grill rack when you order the Jeju special black pork. You can also try a tea spoon of ‘salted anchovy’ in place of soy sauce. You might fall in love with the racy flavor.



 Tip 3

What to Do in Chujado Island?

 

Of course you can snorkel, scuba-dive, or catch bomal (top shells) and barnacles, but if you are not an adventurer, try fishing from the rocks on the seashore. If you have children, throw a fishnet and know firsthand why this place is called ‘Paradise of Fishers’.





 


· How to get to Chudado Island from Jeju Island / as of February 2019

 

 Jeju Cruise Passenger Terminal ▶ Sangchuja

 Sangchuja ▶ Jeju Cruise Passenger Terminal

 

 Jeju Cruise Passenger Terminal ▶ Hachuja (Sinyang Harbor)

 Hachuja ▶ Jeju Cruise Passenger Terminal

 Boarding

 Time

 09:30

 16:30

 

 13:45

 10:30

 Time

 1 hour

 1 hour

 

 1.5 hour

 1.5 hour

 Fare

 13,400 KRW

 (Includes use of Jeju Cruise Passenger Terminal)

 11,900 KRW

 

 Staterroom 51,200 KRW

 Second cabin 11,950 KRW
 Third cabin  10,150 KRW
 (Includes use of Jeju Cruise Passenger Terminal)

 Staterroom 49,700 KRW

 Second cabin 10,450 KRW
 Third cabin 8,650 KRW

 Name of

 Ferry

 Queen Star 2 (Tel: 1577-3567)

 * Closed on: 2nd & 4th Wednesday of every month

 

 Hanil Redpearl (Tel: 1688-2100)

 Harbor

 Jeju Cruise Passenger

 Terminal  6

 Sangchuja Harbor

 

 Jeju Cruise Passenger Terminal  6

 Hachuja Harbor

* Note: Have your ID card with you.
* Due to the bad weather, ferries can be temporarily canceled. Please check the ferry schedule in advance.


  → To be continued to the Second Story of Chujado Island             


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