Seoraksan National Park

Korea is known for its incredible mountains that offer pristine hiking and camping opportunities. As a hiking enthusiast, I have been slowly making my way around some of the most famous hiking areas including Jirisan, Taebaeksan (in my own town), and Seoraksan National Park. Sokcho is a fantastic city nestled between Seoraksan and the East Sea. I traveled to there a few weeks ago, but couldn’t get enough of Seoraksan’s breathtaking views or the beach. So I headed back again to see it as the leaves settled into their Autumn colours.

The first time we went to Seoraksan, we visited we checked out Sinhuengsa Temple, which greets visitors with a massive buddha statue. To get to the temple, you can choose one of two beautiful bridges over a quiet trickle of water. Here you’ll find a colossal bronze statue called Bronze Jwabul Statue, that towers at almost 19 meters high. The temple itself is a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Though the exact year is contested, the temple was built sometime in the mid 600s, and was rebuilt in both 710 and 1648 after being burned to the ground twice. Sadly, this destruction and rebuilding of temples and other architectural landmarks is a common theme in Korea, particularly as a result of the Japanese colonization and the Korean War.

Beyond Sinhuengsa temple, is the Ulsan Boulder, where there was another temple built right into the rock. The boulder was truly incredible. It was rather small, modern-looking, and served a welcome refuge from the downpour that caught us just before getting to the boulder. There were only three other people there, providing us a quiet space to absorb and reflect on the beautiful landscape around us.

Amazing formations in the boulder!

Inside the temple built right into the rock.

You can see the rock sloping on the ceiling!

On our first trip to Seoraksan, we were unfortunately unable to purchase tickets to the cable car (the best part) so this time we got there a lot earlier and it was definitely worth it! The cable car took us up to the Seoraksan Peak, which is the highest in Korea. From there, we hiked just a few minutes to see one of the most amazing views of nature I have witnessed in my life.

If you’re interested in taking the cable car, I would recommend you get to the park before noon. We arrived around 1pm, but couldn’t get tickets until 4pm. Of course, there was plenty of scenery to take in during the wait. The cable car costs 10,000 won and is worth every bit of it! When you get to the top, you are greeted with incredible views of Seoraksan Mountain. From there, you can take a 10-15 minute hike up to the peak where I witnessed perhaps the best views I’ve seen in Korea.

Right off the cable car.

All smiles up here!

School Pictures.


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