We then decided to be able to hike up Seongsan Ilchuldong Peak 성산일출봉 early the next morning, to stay at a Motel in Seongsan 성산 where we paid ₩30 000 ($30) for a room for the night. Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak 성산일출봉 also called ‘Sunrise Peak’, is an archetypal tuff cone formed by hydro volcanic eruptions upon a shallow seabed about 5 thousand years ago and also a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. We decided to walk from the Motel to the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak 성산일출봉 and found a public Reflexology area, which was fun and very painful at the same time. Hiking the Peak was just breath taking, the scenery offers spectacular views from every point on the hiking path. It’s an easy hike up the Peak and so rewarding when you reach the top. At the bottom of Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, we had a stroll around Dong Am Sa Temple, where we saw a Buddha statue with babies pinching his nipples
Next stop was the Oryukdo Islands. We thought Taejongdae Park was gorgeous, but we were totally blown away here. The bus drives along the coast (gorgeous views again! <3) and stopped in front of a huge condominium (ocean views - must be a very expensive place to stay in!). This condominium looked different from the conglomerate branded apartments we saw earlier. It looked more expensive and was like a gated community.The Oryukdo Islands are off this coast, and consists of a collection of 5 to 6 islets. During high tide you can only see 5 of them and during low tide there are 6. There is also a coastal hiking trail leading from this part of the coast to Gwangalli Beach, but it was a 7km hike, and it was almost sundown, so my husband and I decided against going on it. Such a pity though, it would have been nice to end the day off at Gwangalli Beach! If I lived here, I would hike every day.
This place was huge! I was just glad that I was in my sports shoes! From afar, it does look like a chinese temple. The signs on the boards are written in chinese characters because hangul actually derived from chinese characters. We wanted to explore the whole palace but it was really too big! I wonder if any of the King’s subjects got lost in the palace. Apparently, this palace has lasted hundreds of years and was once destroyed. To preserve the history and tradition, it was rebuild and now its a tourist attraction. We were scheduled to tour the ‘Secret Garden’ at 2 pm. This garden was sacred and only the king and selected people were allowed to enter it. Even visitors are not allowed to randomly walk around in the Secret Garden by themselves. We were informed that the Secret Garden tour would take up about 1.5 hours and 3 km walk! Since we were already there, I thought we might as well go all the way. I so loved the calmness of the Secret Garden. It was as if the Secret Garden was created to allow the king to rest and enjoy some private time.
Hallasan Mountain 한라산- Hallasan Mountain, is South Korea’s highest mountain reaching 1,950m and is also considered a representation of Jeju Island. Hallasan Mountain한라산 is also one of the new 7 Natural Wonders of the World. There are 5 trails but only 3 reach the summit – Seongpanak Trail 9.6km, Eorimok Trail 6.8km, Eoseungsaengak Trail 1.3km, Yeongsil Trail 5.8km and Gwaneumsa Trail 8.7km. We took the no.100 bus to the Jeju Bus Terminal and then took the bus no.780 to the entrance of the Seongpanak Trail. Entrance was free. The hike up Seongpanak Trail has 3 stages, Grade A (Difficult), Grade B (Normal) and Grade C (Easy). What’s great about this Trail, is the fact that all difficulty levels are available, if you are a rookie hiker, like us, at the start of the Grade B Trail, you have the opportunity to seek left to Hallasan’s Crater, with an observation point, which totals to a 13km hike. We do suggest that you go with proper hiking shoes, as the route has a lot of rocks that form the path, and the path runs through beautiful scenery.