Seoraksan is a Korean National Park situated on the North East coast of the country. The area is famous for its towering mountains of unique beauty.
To get to Seoraksan you can take a bus from Daegu's Bukbu terminal to the nearby city of Sokcho. If you are the lucky holder of an international or Korean license you can hire a car from kumhorent.com and drive there.
The city is small but has grown in recent years. There are many fine hotels now on its outskirts including Hanwha Golf Resort and Del Pino Golf and Resort. There are also plenty of cheaper options including motels, pensions and hostels. The city is small enough to navigate on foot and there are regular buses from the city centre out to Seoraksan National Park.
The bus will drop you at the park entrance where you pay the small entrance fee. On the left after the entrance you will find the Ranger Centre where you should stop in and pick up a language specific map. The map shows the variety of walks from this entrance.
If you are a hiker and wish to spend the night in the park you must organize this with the rangers there. There are a variety of walks to do in the park that range from quite easy to challenging. The simplest place to start is the cable car.
A short walk from the park entrance on your left side you will find the cable car building. It will cost you 8500 for a return trip and the cable car runs every 5 minutes in the high season. Not for the faint of heart the cable car is filled with 20 people and rises 1,200m in five minutes.
After a short walk you will find yourself on a rocky mountain top where you can really appreciate the rugged beauty of Seoraksan. For those with a daring heart you can continue your climb up the rock to your right with the help of some ropes (you will need sturdy shoes). Be warned, this is a narrow one way street used in both directions without traffic lights so expect some precarious balancing and nifty footwork. From the top you see a 360° view right up to the highest peak and down to the sea. You also feel quite a sense of accomplishment for not very much work!
Once back at the bottom of the valley you can explore one of the long walks or enjoy the Biryong waterfall by heading to the right of the Ranger Station before the Cable Car. This easy two hour hike goes up the side of the waterfall, and is stunning in autumn when the leaves are changing.
Seoraksan is open all year, although the cable car is closed when there are high winds. Expect queues to the park entrance in the summer and when the trees start changing. There are three entrances to the park; however Sokcho is the easiest to access by public transportation. Once in the park there are a couple of Korean restaurants but if you are hiking for the day take your lunch with you.
If you have had enough of the park, or are visiting in the summer and in need of cooling down, head over to the WaterPia, a water park on the North side of the park. This is a fairly new development and already very popular with visitors.
Also nearby WaterPia is the Teddy Bear Museum, a fun diversion for an hour or so. This museum (one of 5 in Korea) has a teddy bear building factory for kids to get involved and a huge array of handmade teddy bears to see. There are even some teddy bears for specific countries, like the American Indian Teddy Bear. The bears are displayed in a variety of ways, including sunbathing and snowboarding.
Another spot worth a visit is the marina in Sokcho. Traditionally this is a squid fishing city so the boats you will see there are decked out with lamps to attract the squid at night. Check out Squid Street if you are a fan of the Korean dried squid snack and you can find yourself a bargain.
Call 1330 the Korea Tourist Information line for more information about buses, local events and accommodation.