A Guide to Hiking in Korea – Seoraksan National Park

When you think about South Korea you probably imagine Seoul and it’s city landscape but the majority of the Korean peninsula is actually covered by mountains making South Korea a great place for hiking.

Whilst researching places to hike I came across the beautiful Seoraksan National Park. With it’s green forest, streams and rock formations it was instantly added to our itinerary for 2 days of hiking. I guessed it would be a nice break after a few days in Seoul.

Seoraksan is very popular for hiking with trails ranging from a nice stroll to something more challenging. Our first day hiking was a Sunday and boy were we in for a shock. When I think of hiking I picture the quiet and stillness of bring in the great outdoors but when we arrived it was like we had turned up at a theme park and everyone was lining up for the rides. There were bus loads of Korean holiday makers, all suited up with the latest hiking gear eager to explore the park – the only problem is that you could hardly move on some of the trails because there were people everywhere!

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Being one with nature, uh-huh

On our first day we decided to go up on the cable car and do one of the easier trails, Bisondae. This is a nice flat trail that runs alongside a stream and hiking it later in the afternoon meant there weren’t as many people.

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A snack that was given to me by a hiker on his way down. I still have no idea what it was.

Day two and Monday was much, much quieter than Sunday and gave as more time and less crowds to climb to the top of Ulsanbawi. This was a little challenging for me as it was my first hike at heights. Once you reach Ulsanbawi itself there are flights of metal stairs to climb and I have to say these were the scariest part of the the whole hike because you can see the ground through the stairs. I made it up in fairly good time considering but didn’t enjoy it much as my fear overcame me. I didn’t dare to go over to the edge to get a better view, it looked great from where I was sitting!

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The Low Down

Location: 15 minute drive from Sokcho, South Korea
When: Autumn and Spring
How: Bus 7 or 7-1 from Sokcho goes to the park entrance
Fees: Adult 3500 won for entrance into the park. Cable car is 8000 won.

Tips

  • Avoid the weekends, it is near impossible to move as there are a LOT of people. It was much quieter on Monday.
  • If you want to go up the cable car on a weekend buy a ticket first as time slots quickly sell out. Your wait could be an hour!
  • Stay in Sokcho unless you don’t want to do anything after hiking. Food options are also very limited when staying close to the park.

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