Cheju Island, Where Fall Passes in a Sea of WhiteIt is the end of October on Cheju Island. Around sea level the bright maple trees are still in their glory, but on the mountain ridge, the eulalias are turning brown. Another fall is drawing to a close.
The island's predominant of autumn is white, not red, yellow or brown. The hills around Halla Mountain are carpeted with white eulalias.
Eulalias – also known as Chinese silvergrass and zebra grass – can be found all over Cheju Island. Their long stems and silver fringes are distinctive and easy to spot.
The volcanic crater of Sangumburi, more than 400 meters deep, becomes a giant and magnificent field of eulalias every fall.
Namjo Road is the route to take if you want to see these flowers from the comfort of your car. The road stretches from Chochun Town in North Cheju County to Namwon Town in South Cheju County, passing the Sangumburi crater. Eulalias dance silently and spectaculary in the breeze.
Those wishing to luxuriate in the romance of the season should follow the road that passes to the right of Halla Mountain and leads to the Sogwipo Sea.
If you need some soul-soothing, head to the Korea Racing Association's stud farm before dusk. The eulalias can be seen against a beautiful sunset with horses grazing peacefully.
If you want to be photographed amid the cosmos flowers, head down the road from Songup to Songsan. But be prepared to pay 1,000 won for the privilege.
Eulalias have a high germination and growth rate. If not controlled, they take over a whole field within a year. The eulalias on Cheju Island grow at 200 to 600 meters above sea level. They are in full blossom from late September to early November. When the time is ripe for germination, the flowers turn white. They are most beautiful when they start turning red.
Daejangjung Travel Agency (02-3481-4242) offers three-day packages to view the eulalias. The package includes a rental car, two days' self-catering accommodation, free fuel and discount coupons for horseriding and other recreational activities. The cost is 150,000 won ($134) a person. Additional information is available at Daejangjung's web page (www.djj.co.kr) but only in Korean.
by Kim Sae-joon
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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