What can tourists do in South Korea if they do not want to wander in long metro tunnels and concrete city jungle? Visit national parks and do not forget to explore Jeju-do Island. The word “-do” means island, so it is not mandatory to use it. Jeju is a trendy and popular resort, an iconic destination for Koreans. Characters in Korean dramas often have a vacation on Jeju. Young people, elderly Koreans, families, and foreigners – all of them try to visit Jeju.
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Jeju is a Korean paradise island. In South Korea, it is similar to Hawaii in the United States. However, it is significantly easier and faster to reach it. It takes around one hour to reach the island from the capital airport (you will fly several hundred kilometers above the Korean peninsula and around 100 kilometers above the sea). Flights to Jeju are almost as frequent as trains in the Seoul metro – they depart every 10-15 minutes. The island has a truly beautiful nature and many hotels and resorts. Do not forget that Jeju is a popular and sought after destination, so it is better to book hotel rooms in advance.
Volcanic Jeju Island is a biosphere resort. It is the location of Hallasan National Park that got its name after the namesake volcano. The 1,950m tall volcano rises proudly in the middle of the island. All trails are present on the tourist map that is sold everywhere on the island starting from the airport. Several paths lead to Hallasan volcano. The longest is approximately 10 kilometers long. This distance is divided into several parts with camping sites where tourists can relax. The path has rope or wooden railings along the way. Some parts of the trail have dirt surface but the path mostly has a wooden surface with the constant change of flat observation areas and road segments. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
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Seongsan Volcano is adjacent to the east coast of Jeju. The top of this volcano is a petrified crater covered with trees. This crater of Seongsan is a popular image often present in tourist brochures. Excursions to Seongsan are also very popular. There are observation decks along the way, and the road has railings. Beach recreation is incredibly popular in Jeju. Local beaches are quite diverse – there are areas with the water of different colors and beaches with black and white sand. Some beaches have rocky cliffs that are perfect for photographers. The peak of Hallasan is visible from any point of the island. Koreans do not lie leisurely on Samyang Beach; they actively dig themselves in the black sand that is believed to have healing properties. Koreans traditionally believe that black sand in Samyang Beach cures rheumatism and similar diseases. Jeju is also a trendy honeymoon destination that is why there are so many newlyweds here.
Mount Seoraksan (1,708m) in the Taebaek mountain range is located to the east of Seoul. This is the third highest mountain in South Korea. The area is a national park that shares its name with the mountain. To get to the beautiful park, tourists need to arrive in Sokcho. It takes 2.5 hours to reach this city from Seoul by bus or car. There is a hotel, With U Hotel & Guesthouse, close to the bus terminal in Sokcho. Many tourists choose to stay at this hotel. The #7 bus stop that goes straight to the park is also located nearby.
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The entrance to Seoraksan Park is paid. There is a tourist infrastructure such as cafes and other public areas. A route to Biryong Falls is also very popular. Dinosaur Ridge is another well-known trail. By the way, tourists do not necessarily need to hike to Seoraksan Mountain. There is a cable car with a capacity of 50 people that goes to Gwongeumseong Station at an elevation of 699 meters. The cable car reaches the observation area in just 5 minutes. Visitors need to buy tickets to be able to use the cable car.
Jirisan National Park is the easiest to access for residents and guests of the capital. This park has many relatively flat areas, and so it is comfortable to hike here. The majority of hiking trails are more like a short mountain walk that is suitable for one day. Jirisan is well-known in South Korea as the largest park area. Almost everyone has been here at least once or has friends who visited this place. BaraeBong is the shortest trail, it has a length of only 6.1 kilometers. The route between two peaks – Cheonwangbong and Nogodan – is the longest. It takes around three days to complete it.
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There are 15 official mountain parks in South Korea. Tourists can also visit landscaped parks in cities. Fans of strolling and hiking can always find a suitable place to explore in this country. Koreans enjoy walking on mountain paths and prefer to visit mountains over the sea on weekends. That is why there are always many Korean tourists in local national parks. The infrastructure is well-developed and thought out to the last detail. It is hard to imagine a situation when a tourist cannot find a map, list of trails, bus schedules, café or toilet. It is also impossible to get lost because all trails have markings such as roads, signs, railings, etc.