Deputy Minister promotes historic Hakka trail in South Korea


Leading a delegation to visit South Korea’s Jeju City, Hakka Affairs Council (HAC) Deputy Minister Yiong Cong-ziin (楊長鎮) attended a friendship ceremony on Oct. 29 between Taiwan’s Raknus Selu Trail (樟之細路) and the Korean Jeju Olle Trail.



To promote the state-level Raknus Selu Trail on the international stage, the Taiwan Thousand Miles Trail Association (TMI Trail,
台灣千里步道協會), which began working with HAC in 2018, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Jeju Olle Foundation and chose Ming Feng Trail (鳴鳳古道), one of paths on Raknus Selu Trail, and Jeju Olle Trail No. 15 as friendship trails ahead of the annual Jeju Olle Walking Festival on Oct. 31.



To represent the close bond between the two historic trails, a blue horse-shaped stick figure that is used as a direction marker for hikers on Jeju Olle Trail will be set up on Taiwan’s Ming Feng Trail. Raknus Selu Trail’s camphor-leaf sign will also appear in Jeju in the near future.



An ecological attraction touted as “a national greenway” on Taiwan Romantic Route 3, Raknus Selu Trail connects ancient paths from Taoyuan’s Longtan to Taichung’s Dongshi, spanning 407 kilometers.

Its reconstruction, repair, and maintenance were made possible by the collaboration between public and private sectors, including HAC, the Forestry Bureau, the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau, local governments, and community associations. Travelers at home and abroad can now experience the century-old landscape of culture and nature through this unique 220-kilometer footpath.

 

The Jeju Olle Trail project was launched 13 years ago by Suh Myung Sook, founder of the Jeju Olle Foundation. “Olle” means “a narrow pathway which links the street to the front gate of a house” in the Jeju dialect. At present, 26 routes have been developed to create the Olle Trail network. Visitors are able to view Jeju’s volcanic terrain and coastal scenery on the round-the-island route.

HAC delegates were impressed by the specially designed signposts and markers that complement the captivating Jeju Olle Trail. For instance, blue and orange ribbons, wooden arrows, and signs featuring the signature blue pony were all used as trail markers. Moreover, small booklets are provided for visitors to collect stamps along the way.

Deputy Minister Yiong hopes that HAC can learn from the experience of Jeju Olle Trail and apply it to Raknus Selu Trail. He stated that despite the totally different natural settings of the two trails — a coastal route in South Korea and an inner mountain track in Taiwan — visitors from the two countries will embark on a journey of cultural exchange by walking on the footpaths.