Handam Beach & Coastal Trail, Jeju Island

On my official first tour day in Jeju (I arrived late the previous day), I headed to the southwest of Jeju and to a popular village named Aewol, best known for its beaches and the stylish cafes dotting its coast. My first destination was Bomnal Cafe, a quirky and colorful cafe with adorable corgis.

Bomnal Cafe is located along the coast, and it takes a short walk from the bus stop. The entry road leads straight to a view of the ocean, with a little viewing platform with a few benches at the end of it. I stood on the platform for a moment, admiring the view. Facing the ocean, I looked to the right where many of Aewol’s most famous cafes—Bomnal and G-Dragon’s Monsant, among others—are located. And then, I looked to the left and found people walking on a trail along the ocean.

I love walking on nature trails, especially along the beach, so I decided to make Bomnal wait a little and veered off my original course. I was not even aware the place existed until I came here. It did not turn up (at least in the top results) when I was researching for places to go around the area. Handam Coastal Trail is such a beautiful secret, one of the many hidden gems of Jeju.

The trail connects Handam Beach to Gwakji Beach with only 1.2 km to traverse. I did not walk until Gwakji though. But I did catch a glimpse of it from the middle of the trail. For a history tidbit, the trail also commemorates a man named Jang Han Cheol, whose name (if you can read Korean) you will find on a stone marker at the start of the trail. According to Jeju Tourism, the man became famous for his strayed boat expedition during the Joseon era that led him to Okinawa, Japan instead of Seoul.

The view from the trail was stunning, and the autumn breeze was strong and cool. Thanks to the rocky landscape of the coast, the sound of the waves were melodramatically audible. It kind of tingles and soothes your being, which I think helped in flushing out all the fcks and shts I’ve accumulated that year.

Along the trail, there was a little hill of a rock that walkers could climb to get a more elevated view of the area. The color of the beach is amazing. A mesmerizing blend of blue hues, like when you lightly mix watercolor and a beautiful gradient appears.

You may sit on the rocks for a little contemplation or dip your feet in the water. Or, of course, go swimming!

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