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Of all top attractions in Jeju Island, Mount Hallasan is arguably the most popular one. Also popularly known as Hallasan National Park, the mountain is one of three main mountains of South Korea aside from Mount Jirisan and Mount Seoraksan. To locals, Mount Hallasan hold a very significant meaning, that the majestic mountain is a representation of the island itself. You might be wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment, especially because you can see the mountain from all parts of the island. Even South Korea enlisted the mountain as one of Korea's Natural Monument.
6 Amazing Mount Hallasan Facts You Might Not Know
Do you know that Mount Hallasan is not the name this mountain possess? Thoroughout times, the locals give different name to the mountain. Each name holds different meaning, each strengthen the image that Mount Hallasan is highly sacred to the locals. The name Mount Hallasan itself derive from two words: Han which means the universe and 'la' that means 'pull'. When both words are combined, it forms a meaning that Mount Hallasan is a very high mountain that it can pull the entire universe. Previously, the name received its name as 'Jinan' which means 'a protector' simply because it protects the island and its residents from strong wind from Pacific Ocean. Centuries ago people of Jeju Island called the mountain as Mount Yeongjusan, in which they believed that strong immortal wizards of Korea resides in .The legend has it that those powerful wizards can obtain an eternal life thanks to a very rare species of plant that grows in the mountain.The legend even reached Qin Shi Huang's ears.Thus, the emperor of China sent his men to hunt for the plants to obtain the plant.
How old is Mount Hallasan? There are many theories about it, but one certain thing is that the mountain was a very ancient mountain formed in prehistoric time. To be more accurate, Mount Hallasan was formed due to a volcanic eruption that happened in the Cenozoic era. Along with the formation of the mountain, Jeju Island was also born.
After being isolated from the mainland of Korea for so long, Mount Hallasan become a habitat to many unique species of plants and animals. The statistics show that over 160 birds made their home in the mountain, particularly ravens. It is not a rare sight to spot this jet black birds perched on the tree during your hiking. Insect lovers will definitely be rejoiced as the mountain is also a habitat of 3,315 insects, including 254 spiders. Consider this unique, because Mount Hallasan is probably the only place on Earth where you can see both polar animals and tropical animals coexist. Same goes with the plant species living in this mountain. You will stumble upon subtropical trees and flowers on the other side of the mountain and alpine plants in another.
Baengnokdam is a scenic crater lake located on the summit of Mount Hallasan. The lake was formed by the collapse of the top ridge thanks to the movement of Mount Hallasan's magma. It is one of the perfect spot in Mount Hallasan where you can view the entire Jeju island. Baengnokdam is also known as the 'white deer lake', and it have a very interesting legend behind its name. There's a legend that have been circulating about the lake, that long time ago there's a very rare white deer who lived around there. The deer apparently pulled the attention of two strong wizards who was later descend from Heaven only to interact and play with it.
Another fact that not all hikers know is that Mount Hallasan is a home to Gwaneumsa Temple, one of the most beautiful and also the oldest Buddhist temple in the country. The temple was built during King Munjong of Goryeo Dynasty's reign, though sadly it was entirely destroyed in 1702. The temple was completely abandoned for 200 years before it was rediscovered and rebuilt in 1908. Right outside the temple is a memorial site dedicated for the victims of the Jeju uprising that occured between 1948 to 1950.
Mount Hallasan is a heaven to hikers around the world. There are five main hiking trails that are actively used by the hikers who wish to view the entire Jeju Island from its summit. The most common trail is Gwaneumsa Trail with the starting point on the northern side of Mount Hallasan, and Seongpanak Trail on the Eastern side. Both are highly popular since they have less rigorous route and relatively shorter compared to other two routes. Both Gwaneumsa and Seongpanak Trail will lead you to the summit where Baengnokdam Lake is located. While the Donnaeko, Eorimok, and Yeongsil trails will only lead you until the wisteria field (Witse Oreum). There are no trails leading to the peak as it have been closed from public since 1994 in order to protect the vegetations.
How to Get Tickets?
Being one of the most popular attraction in Jeju Island, it might sounds surprising that there's no admission fees needed to enter Mount Hallasan. More reason to list this beautiful mountain in your favorite attraction, doesn't it?
How To Get Around?
Getting around Mount Hallasan to other attractions located nearby can be done either by walking or by taking a public bus.
What Should I Wear?
Wearing a comfortable clothes and sturdy hiking shoes are mandatory. Also it is very important to bring a raincoat just in case there will be raining at the summit .
Best Time to Visit
If you are planning to enjoy the summit view as long as you can, it is very important to consider your departing time from the startpoint. Regardless the season, it is always better to start the hiking as early as possible. Also, always check the weather forecast first as the mountain weather can be quite unpredictable.
Will I Need a Guide?
Before your hiking, you do need some advices from the locals. However all general informations about Mount Hallasan can be found inside this website.
How To Get There?
Mount Hallasan can be easily reached by taking a bus (there's a bus stop nearby Seongpanak Trail) or by cars. You'll have to do the rest of the journey from the parking lot by walking though.
Always seek and follow locals' advice before you go on a hike. They live their entire life in the area, so most of them are very familiar with the mountain's changing weather. Especially in Winter when the public buses will terminate earlier and the sky will gets darker earlier.