If there’s one mountain you must know in Korea, it is Seoraksan. Situated in northeast Korea and approximately 3.5 hours away from Seoul by car, Seorak Mountain offers some of the most beautiful sceneries of Korea. Although it’s quite a distance from Seoul, it’s absolutely a must to do a day trip. And if you want to spend more time with nature, you can definitely find lots of outdoor activities to make it worthwhile for an extended stay. Here are our Seoraksan National Park hiking tips.
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Lazy to read? Check out the vlog I made to discover the full beauty!
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Seoraksan National Park Hiking Tips: Where is it?
The nearest city to Seoraksan national park is Sokcho. Sokcho is a seaside city and you can see stunning views of mountains and the sea from the mountain peaks. Many people choose here as a base to explore the gorgeous national park for a few days. But if you are short of time like us, or simply want to get a taste of the national park, you can opt for MT.SEORAK + NAKSANSA TEMPLE SHUTTLE BUS PACKAGE organised by Funko Funtastic Korea and head back to Seoul the same day.
Seoraksan National Park Hiking Tips: What’s the tour like?
We set off early in the morning at 7am to the meeting place. Tours in Korea rarely offer hotel pick-up. Instead, participants are asked to gather at the designated pick-up subway station (Myeongdong, Hongik University or Dongdaemum station) in the morning . At the end of the day, the tour bus will drop you off at the above train stations of your choice.
Personally I find it a super great idea, as it allows me to explore other popular districts of Seoul after the tour. The tour also saves us tons of time and troubles getting to Seoraksan. If you’re taking public transportation, it’ll definitely take you more than 5 hours ONE WAY, leaving very little time for exploration if you are doing a day-trip. That’s why I strongly suggest to opt for the tour. 🙂
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Seoraksan National Park Hiking Tips: What course to take?
1. Easy-goers: Cable car course
Admission to the park is 3,500 KRW ($3 USD) and it’s included in the tour package. There are several trek course you can take when you get there. The easiest and the most popular one is no doubt the cable car route. Located just 3 minutes away from the entrance, you can take the cable car to one of the peak in the national park. It’s the perfect option if you don’t feel like getting sweaty and tired, while being able to enjoy the beautiful view.
2. Temple-lovers: Buddha statue & temple course
Another short course you can take is to visit a beautiful buddha statue and temple nearby. Located only about 25 minutes away from the entrance, you will find one of the most noteworthy temples inside of Seorksan National Park.
Not far away from it, sits a large bronze Buddha statue knows as Jwabul. During autumn days, the scenery looks even more gorgeous.
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3. Adventure seekers: Ulsanbawi trekking course
Up for more challenging hike? Then Ulsanbawi (울산바위) is your cup of tea. Although it’s not the highest peak, its rugged landscape and dramatic formation of rocks are oftenregarded as the face of Seoraksan. That’s why despite of its difficulty, the course never fails to draw hiking lovers and photographers.
To get there, contineu from the temple path (yes, you can kill two birds with one stone ;p). For the first 2.2km, the gradient is rather gentle. It took us less than an hour to complete. Along the way, you can take some beautiful pictures beside the clear stream under the autumn leaves.
After the initial 2.2km stroll, you come to a temple called Gyejoam Temple (게조암), tucked in the shadows of the Ulsanbawi ridge line. Needless to say, it was a good opportunity for some pictures and rest.
After Gyejoam and Heundeulbawi, that’s when the REAL challenge begins. The remaining 1.1km trail seems to be an endless up, up, up with tons of winding stairs.
Usually the course will take you 2.5 hours from bottom to top, and then 1.5 hours back down. But because we were at a short of time as the tour would need to bring us to another destination, we only had 3 hours to complete the whole course. Trust me, finishing the course in 3 hours is no joke! We barely had time to rest in between and it was really exhausting.
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At one point, I really wanted to give up and couldn’t help thinking how stupid I was to opt for this course to torture myself. However, I pushed through to the summit and the view totally blew me away.
All the hardwork you put for this trekking course is so worth it. I’ll just let the pictures do the speaking.
And we managed to see some very beautiful colour of the maple trees from the peak. With the strong wind and the stunning view, I felt like I was embracing freedom…
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After visiting Seoraksan National Park, Funko tour brought us to another beautiful destination – Naksansa Temple. Located around an hour way by car, the temple boasts a 1,300-year history. There is an admission fee KRW 3,000 and our day trip is already included.
This temple is famous for its beautiful sea view as well as the 15-meter tall Haesu Gwaneumsang (Seafareres’ Avalokitesvara Statue). The gorgeous statue stands so tall and overlooks the sea. However, one will never know the view from her perspective unless they have a drone. Luckily, we brought our DJI Mavic along and captured the amazing bird eye view.
The sea view, the serenity of the temple and the calming atmosphere totally blew my mind away…
Next time when you visit Korea, remember to pay Seoraksan National Park and Naksansa Temple a visit. Unless you have your own vehicle, it’ll be impossible to cover 2 destinations in one day. That’s why I highly recommend you to join MT.SEORAK + NAKSANSA TEMPLE SHUTTLE BUS PACKAGE organised by Funko Funtastic Korea. And trust me, you are going to have so much fun!
Apart from visiting the national park, you can also become a Korean princess for a day. Check out my guide on Hanbok Experience Gyeongbokgung NOW!