One of the best parts of living in South Korea is the easy access to a plethora of outdoor activities. When the monotony of the daily grind overwhelms us, we are only a few hours from hiking, fishing, and natural splendor. Seoraksan National Park is no exception.
Seorak Mountain is the third highest mountain in South Korea, and loved by locals and tourists alike. It has something for everyone looking for a reprieve from city living including a variety of wildlife, waterfalls, hot springs, gorgeous views, and hiking for all skill levels and time constraints.
At the entrance to the mountain choose your course based on ability and what you would like to see – waterfalls, caves, one of the two temples on the mountain, or views from the peak. This mountain offers 16 different trails, so avid hikers may want to stay in the nearby town of Sokcho for a night to see it all.
Not much of a hiker? No problem! The front entrance to the park has gift shops and restaurants you can explore. A short walk from the entrance to the park is a gorgeous temple complete with a large, bronze, seated Buddha statue. If you want the view without the work the Seoraksan Cable Car has you covered. It takes about 6 minutes to get to the top and allows you to see the mountain at a different angle.
When you exit the car, you are a 10-minute, gentle hike to the peak. After you’ve taken in the gorgeous views, you can ride the cable car back down. Be sure to sign up for this as soon as you arrive though, seats fill up quick!
The natural beauty of this park keeps visitors coming at all times of the year and is a great way to relax after the holiday season. For more information on the next ITT trip to Seoraksan, visit pages 13-14.
Hwacheon Ice Festival
For a truly Korean experience in a winter wonderland, make your way to a remote area of Korea that transforms into a frozen tundra just in time for the Hwacheon Ice Festival. This exciting festival has been named as one of CNN’s Seven Winter Wonders of the World.
This festival has something for every interest. You can spend the morning trying to catch your lunch either through ice fishing or hand fishing. Once you’ve caught a delicious trout, take it to the nearest chef to grill or cut into sashimi for you. They even have night fishing available.
If fishing doesn’t interest you – no worries- there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. Popular activities include snow sledding, bobsledding, figure skating, and barreling down a large ice slide! You can also visit the ice sculptures contest or take a zip-line over all the winter activities.
Following his busy December schedule, Santa Claus enjoys visiting this festival and will be meeting this year with the young and young at heart. If you miss Santa, you can still send him a postcard and he will reply.
When you’re ready for a break, the city of Hwacheon offers great tourist attractions nearby.
The Peace Dam, which contains 2.6 billion tons of water, is also home to the Peace Bell. This symbolic monument is made of actual weapons used in the Korean War and also provides an interesting history and perspective on the war.
If you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up, stop into the Sancheoneo Coffee Museum where you get the opportunity to learn more about coffee and sample local varieties.
ITT will be going to the Hwacheon Ice Festival on Monday, 15 & Saturday, 20 January. Read more about it on pages 13-14 or call 784-4254 to book your trip.
Visit ITT for more info on scheduled trips or call at 784-4254