One major highlight of Jeju that see hordes of tourists milling the UNESCO World Heritage site everyday, is the 182-metre high Seongsan Ilchulbong, popularly known as ‘Sunrise Peak’.  For me, however, the eastern part of Jeju is much more than that.

It took me more than an hour on a local bus that spouts many many little bus-stops in Korean, English, sometimes Chinese, before I arrived at Seongsan, or rather an obscure stop on a lonesome highway that I almost missed and then luckily got 'rescued' by the hotel owner who came to pick me up.

That was the start of my falling in love with this hospitable part of Jeju, which also marks the Jeju Olle Trail No. 1, the first of some 21 hiking routes encircling the island.  And the most classic one.  Unlike the other Olle Trails which feature the fantastical coastline of Jeju with almighty waves a-pounding, this route starts serenely inland with a little oreum (mountain in Jeju dialect) climb to a breathtaking view of the mountains, large fields and ocean.  I love the walk through the forest, the beautiful trees and flora, even a bright green little snake that slithered across my path at one point.  And the comradeship with fellow hikers at a delightful, and delicious, noodle shop just when I emerged from the hills, before going past bountiful farms with all kinds of vegetables and delectable produce, and arriving at the familiar coast once more.  This trail had it all.  Never mind the dramatic finish at Sunrise Peak.  I just enjoyed the quiet, the peace, the simplicity, the smells, the sounds, and the innate beauty of the countryside.  And that is what this simple painting is about. 

Title: Seongsan 城山 (O96)
Description: Tree overlooking Seongsan's farmland with Sunrise Peak in the distance, a simple painting epitomising the simple joys of hill walking and enjoyment of countryside landscape, inspired by a hike on the Jeju Olle Trail No. 1. Jeju Notes 2014.
Medium: Oil on Ready-to-Hang Canvas.
Dimensions: 76 x 76cm.

Purchase at: yen.artfire.com


  1. Thank you for sharing your artwork and experience with us. The painting is just wonderful. It is always great to see pieces about our little corner of the world here on Jeju Island in South Korea. Glad you seemed to have a great time walking in the Seongsan countryside too. Do you have any more stories about Jeju Olle Trail?

    1. Yes I had a great time in Jeju and the Olle Trails are a great part of it. I visited last Sept and had a collection of photo notes on it, albeit in Chinese: http://yenmusings.blogspot.sg/2013/09/notes-from-jeju-island.html

      After returning to Singapore, I started painting Jeju from my photos and much of the subject matter came from my encounters on the Jeju Olle Trail hikes:

      There are another 2 completed paintings that I haven't uploaded, one on a little cafe on the Olle Trail on Udo, and another on a shack to watch the sea on Olle Trail No. 7. I am still painting Jeju so keep tuned :)

  2. Anonymous17.3.14

    Thanks Jim & Yen for sharing this. I love Olle #1 and reading Yen's blog makes me want to go back there soon! The picture is beautiful...such vibrant colors!!!
    Kim Cummings (a Canadian living on Jeju-do)

  3. Thanks, Kim. You really must go back !! :)