Friday, January 25, 2013

Asian Eyes' Korea - Seongsan Ilchulbong

Seongsan Ilchulbong in
springtime.

 
          Day 3, Nov/19/2012, 4.30 pm: Next stop is Seongsan Ilchulbong, also called ‘Sunrise Peak’. Seongsan is formed by volcanic eruptions upon a shallow seabed about 5,000 years ago. It is situated on the eastern seaboard of Jeju Island, and said to resemble a gigantic ancient castle. The summit is 182 meters high, has a bowl-like crater and displays diverse inner structures resulting from the sea cliff. These features are considered worthy from geological view point, providing information on eruption and deposit processes of past volcano activity of Seongsan Ilchulbong.
          Our bus is parked at a special bus parking destination area and we ascended to the entrance of this famed UNESCO world heritage site. After Kent paid for the entrance fee we started our ascend up Seongsan on uneven tar and cement road. The view up the mountain had been portrayed in many Korean movies. On the right there is an entrepreneur who setup a ride-a-horse for tourist but the horses just go round and round an open field at the foot of the mountain, rather than go up the mountain. As I go higher and look back, the view of Seongsan-ri village at the foot of Seongsan became more spectacular. I was told that sunset view at Seonsan Ilchulbong is worth the 20 minutes climb to the summit, so we hurried along.
         At midpoint to the summit, we stopped at a viewing area. Here the view of Seongsan-ri village is at its best. The breeze from the sea added the chill to the cool weather. After resting for 5 minutes we continued up to the summit. Jagged rocks with forest ring with are found along the way and they were given names by the imaginative kind to add aura of excitement and a jolly good time clicking away. The sides of the mountain plunge vertically into the surf makes it one of Jeju-do most impressive sights. Flora along the way was also identified and labelled by the authority. As we round a final fleet of steep stairs, the ancient crater of Seongsan Ilchulbong come into view at last. A platform had been built, similar like a football stadium platform, for tourists to rest and to view the crater, open sea and sunset. The summit crater is covered with grass, undulating and shaped like a punch bowl, though there’s no crater lake here because the volcanic rock is so porous. We spend some 15 minutes at the summit and before descending down to our bus. On the way down we managed to catch the sight of the sun going down.
         Here are some pictures I took while at Seongsan Ilculbong:
Location: 284-12, Ilchul-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea. 
Tel:  +82-64-710-7923, +82-64-783-0959
Website: http://english.jeju.go.kr/
A plaque at the foot of Seongsan Iichulbong declaring it as an UNESCO world heritage site. 
Another signboard welcoming us to Seongsan. Behind the signboard is a 7-11 convenient store, one of many that dotted whole of Korea.
Entrance fee to Seongsan is 2,000 won per person. Quite cheap considering it is an ENESCO heritage site.
A map about Seongsan to guide tourists from getting lost while at the mountain. 
The ascend road cut through a grassland before  it gave ways to thickets and forest as we go up higher. Here the grass was not green as the season had changed to winter.
Signnboard explaining Seongsan and its surrounding area on the way down. Just a short walk away is Hannyeo activity that cater for tourists.


Going up the mountain using a jagged tar road. It is more suitable for horse than human. However I love  the the cool weather which was just right for the hike.
I took a pause while ascending to snap a photo of Seongsan. It looks high from here.
A nice view of Seongsan-ri Village from the mountain.
A jagged rock with human-like face along the way up the mountain.
 I counted nearly 12 of the jagged rocks along the way. They all in resemblance of something and hence had been given names that are stated on the signboard such as this.
Signboard being put up on identified flora found along the way up Seongsan. 
Seongsan-ri village view at its best from the midpoint up Seongsan. It used to be a fisherman village  but now is also doubled up as a tourist town, thanks to Seongsan as an UNESCO heritage site.

The punch bowl like of Seongsan summit crater, undulating and full of grass with no lake or water as I hope to see. There is not even a wisp of smoke  to remind us it may still alive. It is as dead as a rock.
A platform had been built at the summit for visitors  to relax while taking in the view and to prevent them from trampling onto the crater itself.
Ascending down. The thick vegetation starting to give way to grassland as we neared the mountain foot.
Many tourists were still strutting up along the paved walkway to Seongsan's summit as we walked down. They were hoping the catch the 
sunset view at the summit.
East China Sea as viewed from Seongsan. Here is where the Hannyeo, the famed women diver from Jeju, dived to catch their seafood. It was already late when we arrived at Seongsan, so no Hannyeo at work.
Little M playing with a solar clock dial at the foot of Seongsan, not knowing its significance of the sundial yet.
Finally I had a glimpse of Seongsan Iichulbong's famous sunset view as we neared the end of our journey. Majestic.

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