National Park Beauty

Seoraksan National Park Travel Blog

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Scenery on the road from my hotel to Seoraksan National Park

People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Hyun Sung Kim (South Korea)

After a 4 hour bus journey from Seoul, i ended up in the city of Sokcho a little past 19.00. I had hoped to be dropped at the bus terminal in the north of the city, where there was some budget accomodation, but found myself in the very south and thus decided that i may as well just head into the park and try and find somewhere to stay there instead. A very nice shop owner pointed out the local bus stop, where i met an English girl who was heading the same way. She had already spent the day in the park and was staying where i wanted to go, which made the ordeal a damn sight easier! I checked into a rather nice room ($30), which was the cheapest thing going and settled in for the night.

Scenery on the road from my hotel to Seoraksan National Park

The following morning i wasn't too sure how far the park entry was, so decided to walk up there and get the blood pumping. Even though it was walking along the roadside, the views were still fantastic and i did the 3km walk in around 45 minutes. Passing through the park entrance i encountered a large bear statue and also a giant bronze Buddha. The cherry blossom added some colour and the mountains looked magnificent. I wasn't too sure where i was going to head once in the park, but decided upon the rock formation of Ulsan Bawi.

I passed over small bridges and a rather dried out rocky stream, which were all very picturesque and soon came upon Shinheungsa Temple, which was constructed in 1770.

Scenery on the road from my hotel to Seoraksan National Park
The vibrant temple had a wonderfully picturesque backdrop and even though i don't have much energy for temples these days, i decided that it was worth looking around for 10 minutes, and im glad that i did. Korean hikers seemed to also make this a stop of pilgrimage on their way up and down the mountain, making it a centre of activity.

Another 30 minutes climbing steadily up the mountain path and the next point of interest was Kae - Jo Cave Temple, otherwise known as Kyejoam Hermitage. The temple had been constructed in 652AD, although most of the area was undergoing renovations and the cave itself was basically off limits - although i did sneek a little peek through some building works! There were also regular intervals where you could stop for food and drinks and i purchased some kind of peanut snack, which i wasn't overly impressed with and spent the next 20 minutes trying to pick it from my teeth!

The path after here became progressively steeper, until it resulted in 805 steel steps that led to Ulsan Bawi's summit.

Scenery on the road from my hotel to Seoraksan National Park
Along this route i met a really friendly Korean guy called Hyun Sung Kim, who had travelled up from a southern island for the day with his family. We got chatting and his English gradually improved as we did so. It turned out that i was the first native speaker that he had ever spoken to, so that probably explained it! We shared similar interests in sports and scuba diving and both had girlfriends who are teachers, we are both the same age and also have an older brother the same age. We reached the top of the mountain together, where his Mum, Aunty and Uncle had already summited before us, but his Dad had remained at the bottom of the stairs to take a rest.

The views at the top were fantastic, as the ridge ran for 2km's and it felt like we were a lot higher than the 873m that we supposedly were.

Pagoda on the road from my hotel to Seoraksan National Park
I decided to remain there for 5 minutes at the top on my own, as the 4 Koreans began their descent and just enjoyed the views and solitude. I caught them back up at the bottom of the stairs and was immediately invited to join them for some snacks and Dongdongju, which is fermented rice wine. Although none of his family spoke any English, they were always smiling at me and offering me more of everything. I think i love Korea's beauty and sights, but the people give the country a real winning edge.

The day was drawing to a close, so i said my goodbyes and began to walk back to the hostel. I had the temptation to just catch the bus, but i'm delighted that i didn't, as i got to witness a very pretty sunset along the way. I was feeling a bit tired and in no mood to go and dine out alone, so i bought some noodles and snacks from the local convenience store and plonked myself in front of the TV and watched the football that was on.

Scenery on the road from my hotel to Seoraksan National Park

I headed back into the park the next day, but this time decided to take the bus there. I was surprised at how deserted it felt, now all the weekenders had packed up their belongings and headed back to their homes. My first decision was to take the 1.1km cable car ride up Gwon-Geunseong, from where i hiked another 10 minutes to the top of the mountain. The climb up to the very pinnacle was a little hair raising, with ropes there to help you, but the views at the top were sublime. Standing on the very highest point and seeing the mountain face just drop away from below you was an exhilarating experience and one that i thoroughly enjoyed.

Back down to ground level and i wasn't too sure of where to go next. I didn't have my Lousy Planet with me, but remembered that the trail to the right led to Ulsan Bawi and i thought the trail to the left led to 2 waterfalls, so went on the left path.

Bear statue at the entrance to Seoraksan National Park
This path never actually came to any waterfalls and i never even saw a sign for a waterfall! I did check my book again at the hostel and can't figure out where they were supposed to be, as i was sure i'd taken the only other available path... hmm could the Lousy P. have been wrong again... surely not ;)

As it turned out, the path i had chosen was very secluded and led through some nice wooded areas and over bridges and alongside a stream. It culminated at Biseondae Rock some 3kms and 45 minutes later. As i crossed a bridge to see the marker posts of how far the next attraction was, a Korean man came out and began making gestures and holding out a book to me. He then led me to a sign saying forest fires and kept thrusting the pen for me to sign the book. From what i could understand, he wanted me to sign up to go fight a forest fire, join the army, or alternatively sign the sheet saying if i died in a forest fire it wasn't his fault! Either way, i didn't want to sign the paper and performed a u-turn before i got myself into a situation i didn't want to be in!

I caught the bus back to the hostel, gathered my belongings and then caught the bus to the terminal in Sokcho.

The entrance to Seoraksan National Park
Once there i had to get onto a bus that went to Gangneung and from here changed once again onto the bus bound for Samcheok. It had been a very enjoyable few days in the park and a place that i would highly recommend anyone to visit.

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Scenery on the road from my hotel …
Scenery on the road from my hotel…
Scenery on the road from my hotel …
Scenery on the road from my hotel…
Scenery on the road from my hotel …
Scenery on the road from my hotel…
Scenery on the road from my hotel …
Scenery on the road from my hotel…
Pagoda on the road from my hotel t…
Pagoda on the road from my hotel …
Scenery on the road from my hotel …
Scenery on the road from my hotel…
Bear statue at the entrance to Seo…
Bear statue at the entrance to Se…
The entrance to Seoraksan National…
The entrance to Seoraksan Nationa…
Gateway in Seoraksan National Park
Gateway in Seoraksan National Park
Buddha statue at Seoraksan Nationa…
Buddha statue at Seoraksan Nation…
Buddha statue at Seoraksan Nationa…
Buddha statue at Seoraksan Nation…
Bridge in Seoraksan National Park
Bridge in Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan Na…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan N…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan Na…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan N…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan Na…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan N…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan Na…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan N…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan Na…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan N…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan Na…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan N…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan Na…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan N…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan Na…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan N…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan Na…
Shinheungsa Temple at Seoraksan N…
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Stone symbols
Stone symbols
Bussha statue in Seoraksan Nationa…
Bussha statue in Seoraksan Nation…
Slates for the Temple
Slates for the Temple
The trail up to Ulsan Bawi
The trail up to Ulsan Bawi
Small squirrel
Small squirrel
Ulsan Bawi
Ulsan Bawi
Ginseng Roots
Ginseng Roots
Heundeul Bawi (Tottering Rock), a …
Heundeul Bawi (Tottering Rock), a…
The trail up Ulsan Bawi
The trail up Ulsan Bawi
A pretty tree on the trail up Ulsa…
A pretty tree on the trail up Uls…
Me on the trail up Ulsan Bawi
Me on the trail up Ulsan Bawi
Me on the trail up Ulsan Bawi
Me on the trail up Ulsan Bawi
A pretty tree on the trail up Ulsa…
A pretty tree on the trail up Uls…
The trail up Ulsan Bawi
The trail up Ulsan Bawi
The trail up Ulsan Bawi
The trail up Ulsan Bawi
The trail up Ulsan Bawi
The trail up Ulsan Bawi
The trail up Ulsan Bawi
The trail up Ulsan Bawi
Rock that looks like a shoe
Rock that looks like a shoe
The view from the top of Ulsan Bawi
The view from the top of Ulsan Bawi
Me at the summit of Ulsan Bawi
Me at the summit of Ulsan Bawi
The summit of Ulsan Bawi
The summit of Ulsan Bawi
The summit of Ulsan Bawi
The summit of Ulsan Bawi
The summit of Ulsan Bawi
The summit of Ulsan Bawi
The summit of Ulsan Bawi
The summit of Ulsan Bawi
Scenery on the way up Ulsan Bawi
Scenery on the way up Ulsan Bawi
Scenery on the trail up Ulsan Bawi
Scenery on the trail up Ulsan Bawi
Scenery on the trail up Ulsan Bawi
Scenery on the trail up Ulsan Bawi
Heundeul Bawi (Tottering Rock)
Heundeul Bawi (Tottering Rock)
Temple on Ulsan Bawi
Temple on Ulsan Bawi
Heundeul Bawi (Tottering Rock)
Heundeul Bawi (Tottering Rock)
Scenery in Seoraksan National Park
Scenery in Seoraksan National Park
Cherry Blossom in Seoraksan Nation…
Cherry Blossom in Seoraksan Natio…
Hyun Sung Kim and I in Seoraksan N…
Hyun Sung Kim and I in Seoraksan …
Sun sets over Seoraksan National P…
Sun sets over Seoraksan National …
Sun sets over Seoraksan National P…
Sun sets over Seoraksan National …
Sun sets over Seoraksan National P…
Sun sets over Seoraksan National …
Sun sets over Seoraksan National P…
Sun sets over Seoraksan National …
Scenery on the road from my hotel …
Scenery on the road from my hotel…
Sheep statue near my hotel
Sheep statue near my hotel
Sun sets over Seoraksan National P…
Sun sets over Seoraksan National …
Sun sets over Seoraksan National P…
Sun sets over Seoraksan National …
Sun sets over Seoraksan National P…
Sun sets over Seoraksan National …
Bear statue with a fish in its mou…
Bear statue with a fish in its mo…
Cherry Blossom in Seoraksan Nation…
Cherry Blossom in Seoraksan Natio…
A view of Seoraksan National Park …
A view of Seoraksan National Park…
A view of Seoraksan National Park …
A view of Seoraksan National Park…
A view of Seoraksan National Park …
A view of Seoraksan National Park…
A view of Seoraksan National Park …
A view of Seoraksan National Park…
Cliffs seen on the ride up Gwon-Ge…
Cliffs seen on the ride up Gwon-G…
Cliffs seen on the ride up Gwon-Ge…
Cliffs seen on the ride up Gwon-G…
Cliffs seen on the ride up Gwon-Ge…
Cliffs seen on the ride up Gwon-G…
At the summit of Gwon-Geunseong
At the summit of Gwon-Geunseong
At the summit of Gwon-Geunseong
At the summit of Gwon-Geunseong
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geun…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geu…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geun…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geu…
People climb the summit of Gwon-Ge…
People climb the summit of Gwon-G…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geun…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geu…
People climb the summit of Gwon-Ge…
People climb the summit of Gwon-G…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geun…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geu…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geun…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geu…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geun…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geu…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geun…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geu…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geun…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geu…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geun…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geu…
Korean flag flies at the summit of…
Korean flag flies at the summit o…
Me at the summit of Gwon-Geunseong
Me at the summit of Gwon-Geunseong
Me at the summit of Gwon-Geunseong
Me at the summit of Gwon-Geunseong
Korean flag flies at the summit of…
Korean flag flies at the summit o…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geun…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geu…
Views of Ulsan Bawi, seen from the…
Views of Ulsan Bawi, seen from th…
Climbing down Gwon-Geunseong
Climbing down Gwon-Geunseong
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geun…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geu…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geun…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geu…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geun…
Views from the summit of Gwon-Geu…
Piles of rocks on the summit of Gw…
Piles of rocks on the summit of G…
Me at the summit of Gwon-Geunseong
Me at the summit of Gwon-Geunseong
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Biseondae Rock
Biseondae Rock
Biseondae Rock
Biseondae Rock
Biseondae Rock
Biseondae Rock
Biseondae Rock
Biseondae Rock
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Buddha Statue in Seoraksan Nationa…
Buddha Statue in Seoraksan Nation…
Buddha Statue in Seoraksan Nationa…
Buddha Statue in Seoraksan Nation…
Entrance to Seoraksan National Park
Entrance to Seoraksan National Park
Entrance to Seoraksan National Park
Entrance to Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
photo by: Nzelvis