Anyone who thinks Jeju is too mainstream and cosmopolitan may find Chuja-do to be just what they’re looking for. This small island (rather, four inhabited islands and lots of uninhabited islands and rocks) lies half way between Jeju and the mainland. There are just a few villages dotted around the coast and the population has a high proportion of elderly folk. It’s served by one boat which makes the round trip from Jeju to the mainland and back, stopping on Chuja-do each way.
You can walk around the island in one day – that’s what Olle 18-1 does. The guide book describes the trail as hard and I can vouch for that; it’s no longer than the trails on Jeju but there are a lot of hills to climb.
We met the island’s only English teacher near the top of Mt Dondae-san yesterday evening. Come and visit my school, she said, and this morning we did. We arrived as she was teaching English to eight middle-school students. In Chuja-do’s only middle school, there are only 18 students altogether and around 10 teachers. Anyone wanting to go to high school must go to the mainland.