After breakfast, we transfer to the breathtaking Mount Seorak National Park, ascent to the summit by cable car. Walk up the impressive Kwon Kum Seong Fortress which commands an excellent panoramic view of the Outer Seorak region.
MOUNT SEORAK NATIONAL PARK 雪嶽山國立公園
Seoraksan is located on the east and center of the Korean peninsula, the reserve covers Injegun, Yanyanggun, and Sokchosi. It is one of the most popular attractions for tourists and nature enthusiasts in Korea.
The nature reserve cover an area of 163.6 square km and contains many notable high peaks measuring over 1,200 meters above sea level including the highest peak of Soraksan, Daecheongbong, which has an altitude of 1,708 meters.
The Soraksan Nature reserve is valuable for its stunning natural beauty and rare flora and fauna. There are more than 1,400 rare plant species, such as Edelweiss and over 2,000 animal species including the Korea bear, Mouse deer and etc.
It’s contains mountain ranges of dissected granite and is characterized by spectacular rocky hills and ridges. The magnificent natural beauty of Soraksan and the mountain ridges is due to these geographical features.
The mountain is named Seorak because snow wouldn’t melt for long time, keeping the rocks in a permanent state of white.
The main season for Seoraksan national park is autumn. The autumn colors in Seorak are considered amongst the most beautiful scenery in Korea. The red and yellow forest is interrupted by white rocks and small mountain streams flows through it.
Once we reached the cable car station at the “top” of the mountain, it was then a short walk up towards Gwongeumseong. The path along the route is well laid out with a sort of rubber matting, making the walk easy for those not suited to mountain climbing.
When get closer to the top, it scary because there’s nothing to hold on to. If fall, it’s a long way down. It makes you a bit dizzy to climb a sheer cliff like this.
GIANT BUDDHA OF SEORAKSAN
The Great Unification Buddha, a 14.6 meter, 108 ton gilt-bronze Giant Buddha statue sits atop a 4.3-meter high lotus pedestal, called “Tongil Daebul”.
Next stop is the fascinating Shinhungsa Temple, a historical monument constructed during the Shilla era. Located in Seoraksan National Park, about 10 min walk from the Sogongwon’s entrance. Many tourists hiking Seoraksan up to Ulsanbawi (peak) pass by the temple.
At the Temple entrance there are four guardian Cheonwang (king) statues (Jiguk Cheonwang with a sword, Damun Cheonwang with a lute, Gwangmok Cheonwang with a tower, and Jeungjang Cheonwang with a dragon), placed on either side.
YONG PYONG DRAGON VALLEY 龙平龙谷
Yongpyong is Asia’s Mecca for winter sports. Synonymous with the history of Korean skiing, and is recognized worldwide as a ski resort that is completely equipped with the latest hardware and software for skiing.
Yongpyong having successfully hosted the World Cup Ski Competition in 1998 and 2000, as well as the Winter Asian Games in 1999.
In cooperation with Gangwon-do Province, it is in the world’s spotlight again as the main site for the Winter Olympics in 2010.
YONGPYONG DRAGON PEAK 龙平龙峰
The reach the summit, take the YongPyong cable car from Dragon Plaza and 17 minutes of appreciating nature later, you will arrive at a 2-story Swiss style building at the peak of Mt. Balwang (1,459m).
This is the same peak that could be seen on the popular KBS TV series ‘Winter Sonata 冬季恋歌’, a Korean drama made famous by Bae Yong Joon 裴勇俊 and Choi Ji Woo 崔智友.
The best experience of Dragon Peak can be had while breathing the fresh mountain air and relaxing with a warm cup of coffee.
DELICIOUS KOREAN KIMCHI DINNER
WINTER SONATA 冬季恋歌 SHOOTING LOCATION
This is one of the shooting location of the Korean drama “Winter Sonata“. The cafe Cheo-um filming site is situated inside the building, opposite the hotel where we stayed. It has been retained as a tourist attractions.
Link: Korea Trip Day 5
Link Korea Trip Day 6
- Hiking in Korea: Seoraksan (arewethereyeti.wordpress.com)
- Autumn Foliage in Korea 2011 (seoulawesome.wordpress.com)
- You: S. Korean president arrives in Beijing (menafn.com)
- North Korea announces prisoner amnesty for Kim Jong-il’s birthday (telegraph.co.uk)
- North Korea to issue special pardons for prisoners (guardian.co.uk)
- Volunteering (allisonslater.wordpress.com)