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Tour South Korea (4) | Tips for Sokcho and Seoraksan National Park

around the country South Korea to get to know it, it is best to make a large tour. This is part 4 of my South Korea tour. I started with the island Jeju-Do and after this I flew to the city of millions Busan to travel further by public transport to Gyeongju en Daegu. I went north from there to the most famous national park from South Korea, Seoraksan National Park, and the nearby town Sokcho. You can read all about it in this article.

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Sokcho

Almost all tourists come to Sokcho (Location here ) for one reason only, namely to visit Seoraksan National Park. This harbor town has much more to offer than a good base for Seoraksan National Park. You can find this town in the north-east of the country.

Board on the beach with distances to other capitals | Tips for Sokcho
Board on the beach with distances to other capitals | Tips for Sokcho

How do you get there?

There are several options to get to Sokcho. Sokcho can be reached in about 2 hours by car Seoul. It is 20 kilometers away Yangyang International Airport where planes from different parts of the country fly to, but also international flights from Japan and other countries leave here.

From Seoul you can be in Sokcho | in 2,5 hours Tips for Sokcho
From Seoul you can be in Sokcho | in 2,5 hours Tips for Sokcho

In Sokcho there is a large bus terminal where buses come from many parts of the country. From Seoul, luxury buses take you to Sokcho in 2,5 hours. Day trips to Seoraksan National Park are also possible from Seoul. Do you want to take it a bit easier and visit Sokcho? Then you need at least one overnight stay in Sokcho.

Sokcho Beach

The beach (location here ) is one of Korea's most famous beaches where many tourists and Koreans go every year. It is within walking distance of the bus terminal, with many restaurants and shops along the beach. You can also find various sculptures all along the beach.

The Beach | Tips for Sokcho
The Beach | Tips for Sokcho

Abai village

Abai Village is located on an island (location here ) and is home to North Korean refugees during the Korean War. Over time, most of the North Korean influences have disappeared, but the typical North Korean food, black pudding soup, can still be found. This village is also known to many as the background of several K dramas that are included here.

Younggeumjeong Temple and lighthouse

It's on the beach Younggeumjeong Pavilion (Location here ) overlooking the sea with a large lighthouse next to it that offers a beautiful view of the city of Sokcho and nearby towns. Provided the weather is good, you can also see the mountains of Seoraksan National Park.

Temple built partly on the sea | Tips for Sokcho
Temple built partly on the sea | Tips for Sokcho

Tourist and fish market

This large partly covered market (location here ) is known for its high quality fish and fried chicken. Walk across the market and be amazed by all the different dishes and snacks that are available here. This is a must, especially on rainy days!

Lake of Cheongchoho

The whole center of Sokcho is built around it Cheongchoho Lake (Location here ). A bike path with lighting has been installed around the lake, so you can walk and cycle around the lake. At various places on the lake you have a good view over the different parts of the city and the surrounding mountains. Especially the Expo Tower (Location here ) with its observation platform, provides a good view.

Olympic Stadium (Gangneung)

The 2018 Winter Olympics were a special game for the relationship between North and South Korea. The women's ice hockey team participated as team Korea instead of divided teams between North and South.

Mascots of the 2018 Olympic Games | Tips for Sokcho
Mascots of the 2018 Olympic Games | Tips for Sokcho

To date, you can see the Olympic stadium (venue here ) still visit and the mascots of the winter games are still clearly visible in both Gangneung and Sokcho.

Visit DMZ Zone with North Korea

About an hour's drive north is the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) with the North Korean border. This is less well known than the DMZ which is easily accessible from Seoul.

There is an observation platform where you walk over North Korea can look out. From Sokcho there are different tours possibly who will bring you here, but you can also drive there yourself by car or with one of the buses that go several times a day.

Seoraksan National Park

The most famous national park of South Korea with the second highest mountains of Korea (The highest mountain is at Jeju Island). It is a dream for hiking enthusiasts and there is also more than enough to do for non-walking enthusiasts. This national park is known for a great diversity of flora and fauna and is on the list of UNESCO world heritage list.

The mountains from the valley | Tips for Seoraksan National Park
The mountains from the valley | Tips for Seoraksan National Park

How do you get there?

From Sokcho there are buses (line 7 and 7-1 are the only ones that go there) and it takes about 30 minutes to get to the entrance of the national park. The buses would run regularly, but in practice this is not the case. You will regularly have to wait a little longer before a bus comes. Do you have a car rented in South Korea? You can also get there by car and park it directly in front of the entrance.

Hiking trails

There are several hiking trails in the park. The best known is the Ulsanbawi Hike and this one is about 8 kilometers. Here you go up along the river and through the forest, after which the last part is only steps up. At the top you have three different platforms where you have a great view and even see Sokcho. The whole walk takes about four hours in total and you will encounter many beautiful views along the way.

The summit at the Ulsanbawi Hike on one of the platforms | Tips for Seoraksan National Park
The summit at the Ulsanbawi Hike on one of the platforms | Tips for Seoraksan National Park

The easiest and shortest walk is 4,5 kilometers long, which takes you about 1,5 hours to reach the Biryong Waterfalls (Location here ). Along the way there are several waterfalls to see and a suspension bridge with beautiful nature and views. You can make the route longer by going up another 400 meters of stairs and walking to the viewpoint.

Climbing is for those who like a challenge Daecheongbong Peak (Location here ) is a good option. The route is about 16 kilometers long. Here you can spend the night en route so that you can continue walking on time the next day.

Seorak ropeway

View from the cable car | Tips for Seoraksan National Park
View from the cable car | Tips for Seoraksan National Park

For non-hikers there is a cable car that goes up to Gewongeumseong Fortress (Location here ), a well-known ruin on the Seorak mountain. From the cable car you have a breathtaking view over the valley of Seoraksan national park and a good overview of how high you actually are.

Temples in the National Park

There are two Buddhist temples in the national park Baekdamsa Temple (location here ) On Seoraksan Sinheungsa Temple (Location here ), and are fun to stroll through when you get there. There is also a large Buddha at the beginning of the park. This one is clearly not to be missed.

Big Buddha | Tips for Seoraksan National Park
Big Buddha | Tips for Seoraksan National Park

Geumganggul Cave

At about 600 meters is this beautiful cave (location here ) which provides a special and beautiful view over the national park. The hike here is about 3,6 kilometers and very steep with many bridges and stairs. It takes about 2 hours to get there, but it's worth it for the view!

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Elaine Sieben

From March 2021 to December 2021 I lived in Windhoek in Namibia for my studies. I would like to tell you more about this beautiful country that is still unknown to many!

Planning 2023: Still to be completed. From September -> Rwanda

In my life I travel a lot, so in 2022 I was on the road in Austria, Germany, Belgium, South Korea, South Africa and Namibia! In the meantime I have already seen 28 countries in this beautiful world that lies at our feet.

Check out my instagram @travel_with_eline for more beautiful photos and stories about my travels.

Quote: "Great times never come from comfort zones!"

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