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Jeju Island is a fascinating place to explore especially because it is a home to many iconic natural attractions of South Korea. Among all, Seongsan Ilchulbong is arguably the most popular one. You might have seen its picture from numerous South Korean postcards, but seeing the iconic cone with its emerald green crater with your own eyes is a whole new experience. If you're going to visit Jeju Island during your holiday in South Korea, we highly recommend you to visit Seongsan Ilchulbong.
Things to Appreciate in Seongsan Ilchulbong
Fun fact: Seongsan Ilchulbong is crowned as one of UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique archetypal tuff cone. It was formed by a hydrovolcanic eruptions that happened about five thousand years ago. The volcanic eruptions was very powerful that it brought the underwater volcano arise to the surface from the shallow seabed. The tuff have 182-meters high with a perfect perserved-bowl like crater with a diameter about 600 meter and 90 meter high. While there are other hydromagmatic volcano activities like the Seongsan Ilchulbong, nothing can beat the perfection Seongsan Ilchulbong beholds. Seongsan Ilchulbong' s crater is surrounded with 99 sharp cliffs that creating its' royal crown' shape, while the northwest part of the crater is a verdant grassy hill that is also connected to the nearby Seongsan Village.
Seongsan Ilchulbong is a place where botanists will rejoice. It is a home to about 6 rare plants species, consists of fern species, Crypsinus hastasus, Orchids, Neofinetia falcata, two herb species Arisaema heterophyllum and Glehnia littoralis, and even two parasitic plants such as Aeginetia indica and Orobanche coerulescens. Not to mention Seongsan Ilchulbong is one of few places in Jeju Island where you can find over 300 species of marine algae and other marine plants species.
Hiking is the main attraction you can do in Seongsan Ilchulbong. Actually, it is the only way if you want to see the spectacular view of the ocean from its summit. Seongsan Ilchulbong's hiking routes are divided into two routes. The first route is everyone's favorite as it is less steeper than the second route. But whichever route you're taking, you should be wearing a pair of comfortable hiking or at least sport shoes. Some parts of the path are bumpy and rocky, even the first route! Along the way, you'll be entertained with a verdant green grass and the deeper you go through the hill, you'll be welcomed with tall pine trees that provide a perfect shade from the sun.
Basically the main reason why most people will come flocking to Seongsan Ilchulbong, is because they want to enjoy the spectacular sunrise. To do that you'll have to wake up extra early (and have a breakfast! The path is quite steep and you'll need plenty energy for it). When you reach the observation deck, you'll get to watch the breathtaking moment as the sun starts to rise. Now even if you're not early enough, you'll still be mesmerized by picturesque view of the entire Jeju Island from atop the crater. The verdant view of grassfield sitting on the crater is also something else to watch.
The ridges along the Seongsan Ilchulbong is very suitable for horse riding. You can see numerous horses with its trainer offering their service to the visitors. While it won't take you to the peak, it is still a great experience to ride along the designated path while enjoying spectacular view of the pristine sea.
On your way down from Seongsan Ilchulbong peak, take the stairways to the right where you'll get a chance to catch performances of renowned Jeju female divers (Haenyeo). The most interesting about the diving performance is that some haenyeos are in their 80s and they are all diving without using modern diving equipments. They harvest sea urchins and shellfishes, in which they will sell later in nearby markets or restaurants. It certainly gives you an interesting and unforgettable experience while you're recollecting your energy from all the hiking activities.
How to Get Tickets?
To enter Seongsan Ilchulbong area, you'll have to pay admission fee about 2,000 Won ($1.79) for adults and 1,000 won ($89) for teenagers and children. If you're coming in a group, the admission fee will be much cheaper. It will only costs 1,000 won /each person (adults), and 800 won ($72) for each teenager and child.
How To Get Around?
You can ride a horse if you're not in the mood to walk, but you do have to hike the steep path yourself. Don't you worry though, there are numerous rest points with benches that you can sit on when you can't feel your feet anymore.
What Should I Wear?
Best Time to Visit
The best time to hike on Seongsan Ilchulbong is obviously early in the morning few hours before the sun rise. That way you'll be able to see the gorgeous sunrise view that Seongsan Ilchulbong is greatly known of. But if you can't afford waking up early, you can also try in the afternoon when the weather is much cooler and more pleasant.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, all informations you need about Jeju Island and Seongsan Ilchulbong can be found easily in this website.
How To Get There?
Seongsan Ilchulbong can be easily reached from Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal or Seongwipo Intercity Bus Terminal. From the bus terminal, take a direct bus (Dongilju bus to Seongsan) and alight at Seongsallipgu Bus Stop.Seongsan Ilchulbong is just a stone's throw away from there, you can even see its iconic tuff cone from Seongsallipgu Bus Stop.
As much as you'd love to have a picnic at Seongsan Ilchulbong's peak, it is apparently not possible. All the visitors are not allowed to bring food (though you are allowed to bring your own bottled water), possibly to eliminate littering. Too bad! But there are numerous spots nearby the area that is suitable to have an exciting outdoor lunch with your family.