Touring Udo Island
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Jeju Island has hundreds of smaller islands surrounding it and Udo is the largest of these satellite islands. Accessible by a 15 minute ferry ride from Sunrise Crater (성산일출봉, Seongsan Ilchulbong), it is the perfect size to circumnavigate in a few hours of leisurely biking or walking. Of course, you'll want to build in time to just sit on the beach and breathe in the turquoise blue waters!
Udo is Route 1-1 of the Olle Gil trail and most visitors simply follow the iconic trail signs. When you arrive at the port in Udo, you will need to decide your mode of transportation. You can simply walk the 11 kilometer trail (about 6.5 miles) or you can rent a bike, a scooter, or an all-terrain 4-wheeler. I rented a bike because the scooter and 4-wheeler options required an international driver's license. Honestly, biking proved to be the most nimble and fastest way to travel. Udo is very flat, so you needn't worry about hills.
The trail routes you through the very best that Udo has to offer: crystal-clear beaches, peanut and rye farms, lighthouses, and colorful tiny hamlets. Each beach has it's own feel and vibe. The day I visited, Sanho Beach (산호해변) was the busiest. There were lots of people with boogie boards and floaties enjoying the water and a busy market was in full swing. Hagosudong Beach (하고수동해변) was serene and relatively empty by contrast.
The trail undulates past Haenyo huts and volcano-rock walls. You'll see many people collecting the brown hijiki seaweed strewn along the rocky shore. When dried, this is called ttot (톳) and is really delicious in cold noodle soup (물쟁면 mul naeng myon). Near the end of my excursion, I stopped at a roadside cafe recommended by one of the local policeman (who stunned me by speaking almost perfect English!). I chose the abalone buckwheat noodle soup. The ttot added a chewy-ness that made the whole dish come alive! It was superb!!