Situated in northeast Korea in the Gangwon-do Province is the incredible and gorgeous Seoraksan National Park. Seoraksan translates to Seorak Mountain, and it’s the most popular mountain in the Taebaek Mountain range and one of the most popular of South Korea’s national parks.
Not only does this park offer hikes for any level of expertise, but if offers some of the most beautiful sceneries of Korea. After living in South Korea for over two and a half years, Seoraksan National Park is still one of our favorite destinations in the country.
This is a place that you can definitely find your fill of outdoor activities to make it worthwhile for a worthwhile day trip to Seroaksan National Park or an extended stay.
How to Get To Seoraksan National Park
Whether you’re coming for a day trip to Seoraksan National Park or a few days trip, getting here could be tricky if you’re not familiar with how Korean transportation works. The most popular entrance to Seoraksan National Park is through Sokcho.
How to Get to Seoraksan National Park from Seoul
The easiest way to get there from anywhere in Seoul is to go to the Seoul Express Bus Terminal. From there you can take a bus to Sokcho. The easiest way to do this is see a teller to see when the next bus is, they usually run daily every 30 minutes so you should be good. If it is a holiday week or weekend you will want to purchase your tickets in advance by either going to the bus terminal or buying them online.
The bus ride is around 2.5 hours which could be longer if you get stuck in Seoul traffic.
From Sokcho’s bus terminal you will go outside and take Bus 7 or 7-1 to Seorak-dong. This will drop you off to the Outer Seorak entrance to the park near the Seoraksan cable car and all the best things to do in Seoraksan National Park.
If you have any trouble, they do have an English-speaking information area to help you. Seoraksan is one of the most popular hikes for Koreans and tourists, so they’re used to many visitors!
Of course, if you book a tour from Seoul, you don’t have to worry about any of this as they’ll take care of transportation and you can just enjoy the trip.
The entrance to the park has gift shops, small restaurants, and places where you can buy some corn makgeolli and dong dong ju for your hike! Be sure to hike like a local and grab a makgeolli to go, makgeolli has tons of health benefits!
See how we recommend visiting during a day trip to Seoraksan National Park or things you have to do in Seoraksan National Park even if you’re staying longer!
Seoraksan Cable Car
Want to experience the easiest way to enjoy a view from the majestic summits of Seoraksan National Park in South Korea? Be sure to head straight to the Seoraksan cable car for an easy and scenic ride to the summit up nearly 2300 feet where you can enjoy the incredible views from the craggy mountain range.
This is great for the soft adventure types as you don’t have to do too much physical activity to enjoy the Seoraksan cable car.
The Seoraksan cable car is just about a 3 minute walk from the entrance of the park. If you’re planning on enjoying the Seoraksan cable car it is essential that you go buy your tickets for the cable car first. These tickets sell out quickly or you might only be able to snag tickets in the earliest time slot which might be way later in the day.
The Seoraksan cable car runs from 9 am to 6 pm daily and costs 10,000 won for adults and 6,000 won for children.
If you don’t want to haul all your goodies up to the top you can store your belongings at a locker at the Seoraksan cable car lower platform. These are 500 KRW.
The Seoraksan cable cars leave every 5 minutes and can fit up to 50 people per ride. The ride itself is six minutes long and displays heavenly views of Seoraksan National Park and the nearby mountains. We were visiting in mid-May and loved the lush green foliage against the blue skies.
Once you get to the top of the rocky mountain there is about a 5-10 minute hike up to the peak which is known as Gwongeumseong Fortress, the former site of a castle.
The views are absolutely incredible and this hike is very easy. People of all ages were here. Even ladies looking cute wearing high heels.
There are no other hikes up here, just a place to enjoy a view.
If you don’t manage to snag a ticket for the Seoraksan cable car early in the day you can always fill up your day trip to Seoraksan National Park with these other activities until its your time. Also, if you don’t get a ticket, all is not lost as there are so many more incredible things to do in Seoraksan National Park.
One of the next easiest things to see in Seoraksan National Park is the unmissable giant bronze Buddha known as Tongil Daebul tower at 62 feet high at the Sinheungsa Temple. This is located only about a 10 minutes walk from the entrance of Seoraksan National Park. This is easily one of the most famous sites inside of Seoraksan National Park.
This is a zen temple where Korean Buddhists worship. This temple is said to be the oldest Zen Temple in the world dating back to the year 653. Within the first 50 years of its erection, the temple burnt to the ground and was rebuilt about a decade after where you see the current building today.
There is a bridge that leads to the main buildings of the temple and is totally worth exploring.
Easily one of our favorite things to do in Seoraksan National Park and a must on any day trip to Seoraksan National Park is hike to the Biseondae Rocks. This is a great hike for beginners and all hiking levels including children.
The hike is flat and starts to the left after Sinheungsa Temple near the entrance and is around a 2km walk and will take around 30-40 minutes depending on your speed.
You’ll pass three different rest places to eat a meal or enjoy a drink. At the third restaurant, you will know you have reached Biseondae Rocks.
You can always continue hiking, you can hike up to 8 km of Biseondae, but if you’re doing just a day trip to Seoraksan National Park you might run into some timing issues if you try to go too much further. We found this to be a great spot to bring our packed lunch and drink our makgeolli or dine at the third restaurant that you just passed to get here which serves up great Korean pancakes.
This Seoraksan hike is really gorgeous and relaxing. Not only do you see the picturesque mountains but there is a rocky stream that lines the entire path.
This is what we liked the most because of the cascading blue pools of water known as the fairy pools. We took full advantage of the larger rocks as a place to rest and sit in the sun.
This has to be the highlight of our day trip to Seoraksan National Park because we took a chance to really relax and enjoy the gorgeous surrounding. Even on a busy day in the park, you can find a quiet alone spot here.
Geumganggul Cave is about another 45-minute hike past Biseondae Rocks depending on your fitness level and is another one of the most incredible sights to fit in your day trip to Seoraksan National Park. This hike is not long, but if you are walking up a lot of stone steps and steep stairs pretty much the entire time.
We are going to warn you, this is a leg burner! Situated 600 meters (1,969 ft.) from the ground is a tiny cave with a small place to worship Buddha.
This cave could not fit more than 15 people and gets crowded even with six people visiting at once. There is a lady inside who manages the place and may offer you a slice of fruit after your journey up all the steps! If you notice alot of people going up to the cave just be aware that you might have to wait on the steep ladder until they leave to make room for you.
Caution: This is not a good hike if you are scared of heights. Photographed above is the view from Geumganggul Cave you can see how steep it is. You might have to wait on the ladder type steps waiting for your turn to enter. If you don’t feel comfortable with that you might want to skip this thing to do in Seoraksan National Park.
The view is absolutely breathtaking from here. You get a nice view of the Cheonuldong Valley where you can see the stream of rocks against the thick, green mountains. It’s easily one of the best views in Seoraksan National Park.
Allow for around 90 minutes of walking to get back to the Seoraksan cable car area and entrance if you’re planning on still going back for a later cable car ride.
Another popular hike for a day trip to Seoraksan National Park is Biryong Falls. We actually didn’t fit this in our visit because we just couldn’t fit everything. If you want to see this waterfall you might have to skip one other thing unless you’re doing more than a day trip to Seoraksan.
The hike takes anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours depending on your fitness level and is 5 km long. You won’t have viewpoint views of mountain peaks, but that’s what the other hikes and cable car are for!
The waterfall is pretty small to be honest and we only really recommend visiting if you do have ample time, otherwise, we think the other things to do in Seoraksan National Park are better.
Another one of the most popular hikes and things to do in Seoraksan National Park is hike Ulsanbawi. You will have to plan your timing right if you’re doing a day trip to Seoraksan National Park as this hike takes 3-4 hours to complete and is 8 km in distance.
This is a popular hike among day trippers because you get amazing views without having to do an overnight hike in the park. From the peak you can see views as far as Sokcho as well as more gorgeous mountains and the coastline.
This hike is pretty easy and flat until the very last bit which involves going up almost 900 stairs to reach the peak.
Tips on Visiting Seoraksan National Park
Is a day trip to Seoraksan National Park Enough?
While you can easily do a day trip to Seoraksan National Park from Seoul, we highly recommend staying longer if you can. There are a lot more hikes with waterfalls and peaks, specifically a two-day hike across the Dinosaur Ridge.
Even if you don’t want to do something quite that challenging, there are a lot of things to do in Sokcho itself that don’t involve exercise. That’s also where we recommend staying overnight since it’s closeby.
If you want to do more east coast Korea exploring we also recommend checking out Naksan Beach where you can swim, hike, and enjoy our favorite Korean beach.
Just further south along the coast is also Hajodae Beach, another gorgeous beach with turquoise water and a lesser-known gem to travelers in Korea!
Where to stay near Seoraksan National Park
When to Go to Seoraksan National Park
While we went for the first time in mid-May, a hugely popular time to go is in the fall. It’s one of our favorite seasons to visit Seoraksan as you can enjoy the changing of the leaves. You can see why visiting Seoraksan National Park in the autumn is always a good idea here.
Book a Tour to Seoraksan National Park
Don’t want to try and figure out your day trip to Seoraksan National Park all on your own? We don’t blame you. Figuring out travel in a new country can be confusing unless you’re familiar or maybe you are going solo and want to make some new friends on a group tour.
We highly recommend all three tours below, keep in mind some of these only run in the autumn.
Seoraksan in Autumn Tours
This day tour to Seoraksan National Park from Seoul is an amazing way to see all the best things to do in Seoraksan National Park including the Seoraksan cable car. No need to worry about the tickets, the tour company will take care of this for you. You will also get to hike up Daecheongbong Peak and enjoy more panoramic views of Gangwon-do as well as visit Biryong Falls.
This is a seasonal tour that’s only available for Seoraksan National park in autumn.
Another option for a day tour to Seoraksan National Park from Seoul in autumn is this great tour. This tour runs every day of the week except for Saturdays and is around 12 hours total from start to finish in Seoul. The group tour will be sure to take you to the most scenic spots for fall foliage and the best spots in the park.
Seoraksan Tours (All Season)
This last 12 hour day tour to Seoraksan National Park operates all seasons. This tour is a bit more unique and offers a visit to the Baeksam Valley where you will visit a Buddhist temple and explore the park. After you will also visit one of our favorite Buddhist temples right outside Seoraksan National Park in Naksan Beach. Naksansa Temple is over 1,300 years old and overlooks the sea in one direction and in the other you see the Seoraksan mountain range. Like the other tours, this one starts and ends in Seoul.
Have you been to Seoraksan National Park? Share your experience or tips below. Happy Hiking!
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Updated: April 2019
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