Thursday, 13 June 2013

Going to Seoraksan, 설악산

 My best image scan of the map

Seoraksan has been one of the destinations i have been eyeing for for a long time! I didn't have a chance to go there previously since it was winter when i was staying in Seoul, hence, i am really glad to set time aside this time.

Research on the internet will tell you that it'll be good to stay 2D1N so you can hike and see sunset/sunrise etc. and i guess that's true... But time was not on my side and i did read a few blogs on how you could possible visit this place in 1 day (you can get to the peak via cable car within a matter of minutes, no need to hike!), so i decided to try the day-trip route.

1. Take a subway train and alight at Express Bus Terminal Station, Subway Line 3, Exit 5

2. Walk to Bus Terminal Building, you should be able to easily spot the huge Bus Terminal

3. Buy a ticket (18,000 won per pax) to Sokcho (the town where Seoraksan is located), this ride will take you 2 to 2.5hours, so be prepared for your butt to ache!

4.Upon getting off at Sokcho Bus Terminal (remember to buy your return ticket first! That way you are guaranteed a seat back), exit the Terminal and on your left you should spot a Tourist helpdesk where you can get the map to Seoraksan, and to the nearby beach.

5. Option to either grab a cab directly to Seoraksan National Park, OR take a bus from the bus stop located on the opposite side of the road, No. 7 or 7-1 (I took a cab which cost 16,000 won per cab)

6. There you go, you have reached your destination - Entrance Fee is 3,500 won

*You may wish to check the bus schedule from Seoul to Sokcho so you won't arrive at the bus terminal only to have to wait an hour for the next bus. Go to and key in your departure date and time.


The plan is to set-off early in the morning, reach Sokcho by late morning, walk to the beach, have seafood by the beach, then head to Seoraksan National Park, take the cable car to the peak (20 mins to ride it to & fro), take alot of photos and then go back to Seoul.

But, as Murphy's Law states, "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong..." So, the day was actually not as perfect as i had planned it to be. Despite so, it was still a good experience (Hey! Always look for the bright side right?)

We were suppose to set-off as early as 7am (since we were on the Hongdae Line, the subway train itself can easily take up to 40 mins) but sad to say, we overslept, took our own sweet time and only left at 8am, so the day started slightly late.

Exit at Exit 5 

 You should be able to find this Express Bus Terminal Building

One of the best part of this trip was actually the bus ride. 
The scenery was really serene and peaceful.

Sometimes, sitting in the bus and looking out of the window is very relaxing thing to do. 
You realise how big the world is, and how small your problem is.

This is the bus schedule from Sokcho back to Seoul, so once you arrive, 
just buy your return tickets first to avoid any out-of-seat situations.

Upon exit from the bus terminal at Sokcho, go to the Tourist Helpdesk and get the maps 
as they will come in handy!

I haven't done much research on Seoraksan prior to coming and i wasn't ambitious. All i wanted was to get to the cablecar station, arrive at the peak, snap some photos and i would be happy.


Things don't always turn out the way you plan for them to turn out right...

Via the helpdesk, i found out that the cable car ride was CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE!

My mood just fell flat unto the ground, seriously. (Like i came all the way here for nothing?)
Nevertheless, i picked my heart up and decided that it was not time to sulk. I will find out as much as i can and write a super long entry here, so the next time i come back to Seorak, i will be fully equipped!

Though the cable car ride was closed, we were told to go there anyway, cos you can plainly enjoy nature and visit the temple and the giant buddha located nearby. The rest of the routes to Seorak will need a few hours to complete - so that was the only thing we could do.


This is the destination in the zoomed-in version of the map
The route from the Bus Terminal to the entrance of the National Park seems pretty far from the map (, we decided to cab there instead. (16,000 won per cab per way)

This was the closest we could get to the cable car ride. 

I wish i could see through this mountain... The scenery at the peak must be DARN GOOD!


 A few minutes walk down the park will lead to a place of calmness and serenity.

A tradition that encourages people to write their hopes and wishes on the tile - like a prayer for it to come through.

 One thing i realised, regradless of a temple or a palace, they are always situated in front of a mountain.

 I really can't say much about the temple, (except that it looks pretty) cos i am not a buddhist. But I am sure my buddhist friends will have a good time there.


We left the National Park after about 45 mins of "hanging around" and headed to the beach for a walk and some Seafood.

You will be able to tell from this zoom-in shot that the beach is within walking distance to the terminal, so do visit the beach if you are in Sokcho.

I don't even know the name to this dish. I just told the Ahjumma i wanted seafood and soup and she brought this. Cool ya...

There was nothing that extraordinary about the beach - BUT there are NO BEACHES in Seoul, hence, this is a rather good getaway for beach lovers - to enjoy the seabreeze and stare at the sea.


After this 1 experience, the next time i go to Seoraksan, i will be sure to do a 2D1N or 3D2N stay so that i can trek and try a few other things here.
A few personal wish list for myself:

1. Go trekking  - for real, climb to one of the peaks (you can choose your level of difficulty), at least to Ulsanbawi Rock & Biryong Waterfall.

2. Go to Waterpia - looks like some fun water theme park from the map

3. Enjoy sunset & sunrise

This was a super darn long entry to remember my adventure to Seoraksan. I'd be back!

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