Seoraksan – 3 Germans, a Finn and me

11 months ago I jumped on a bus for the first time and headed to Sokcho; Seoraksan was on my mind.  I was told Seoraksan National Park was the best place to go during Korean Autumn sporting a natural medley of colorful foliage.    This time I was invited to join some European friends and happily agreed to join in.

We stayed at Smile Guesthouse for ₩20,000 ($20) a night and I highly recommend it.  The staff spoke great English and helped us plan the trails, call taxis, recommend restaurants and more.  Definitely the best hospitality I’ve seen in Korea.  After arriving Friday evening we decided to wake up early and hit the trails right away!

First stop for anyone entering Seoraksan at the main entrance is the cable car line.  Tickets were ₩9,000 ($9) and the line seemed absurdly long but only took about 15 minutes.  We left at 9:00 AM with a 2:10 PM time slot giving us enough time to hike Ulsanbawi and stop for lunch beforehand.  Of course anyone who enters at the main gate makes their first “ooo’s” and “aaah’s” at one of the world’s largest Buddhas!

Enjoy this autumn photo walk of our trip up a dreadful amount of stairs to the top of Ulsanbawi, back down towards a cable car for a ride up Gwongeumseong Fortress culminating with a riverside stroll to the magnificent Biryeong and Yukdam waterfalls in Seoraksan National Park.

 

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Big Buddha

Big Buddha

Big Buddha

Big Buddha

Heading to Ulsanbawi

Heading to Ulsanbawi

Heading to Ulsanbawi

Heading to Ulsanbawi

Heading to Ulsanbawi

Heading to Ulsanbawi

Heading to Ulsanbawi

Heading to Ulsanbawi

Heading to Ulsanbawi

Heading to Ulsanbawi

Ulsanbawi!

Ulsanbawi!

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An Autumn day in Seoraksan National Park

We woke up at Seoraksan Morning inn in Sokcho looking forward to a 2 kilometer walk to Seoraksan National Park.  The cute Korean couple who run the inn helped us find a local restaurant where Blaine, Katya, Masha, Varya, Nina and I ate some bibimbap before starting our stroll.

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The road along our 30 minute hike was packed with cars and buses; we made a few friends with the waving children as their parents asked where we were from.  Canada, America & Russia always got a laugh regardless of the order we mentioned our home countries.  I guess Koreans don’t expect us all to mingle.

Leaves shrouded the roadway and as we hiked onward the mountain view we first noticed at our hotel crept closer.  We passed a rocky riverbed and got our first real glimpse of the landscape. There were reds, oranges and yellows laced between the evergreens but an unfortunate number of bare trees too.

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Another kilometer up the road we came to the entrance of Seoraksan Natoinal Park and an overwhelming number of Koreans. We stopped briefly for some gimbap to take as a picnic lunch before buying our park tickets for ₩2500. Just inside the gate Nina and I stopped at a ranger station to get trail maps and determine the best way to spend our short day here.

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I was disappointed we couldn’t find a shorter route to the main peak, Daecheongbong (it was 6 hours each way) so I guess I’ll just have to come back again! The ranger mentioned a 2 hour hike to Ulsanbawi, a massive rock with a spectacular view, a 1 hour hike to the Biryeong & Towanseong Falls and the 30 minute cable car before a brief hike to Gwongeumseong, a “mountain fortress.”

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