Seoraksan is popular for a ONE DAY TRIP from seoul as the bus runs quite frequent (30 mins) and the travel time is around 2.5hrs. But personally I think it’s better to spend a night at Sokcho, which is the nearest city to Seoraksan.
The bus from Seoul to Sokcho cost 17,300krw each way and you can purchase the ticket at any of the ticket booth at Dong Seoul Bus Terminal.
DIRECTION from SEOUL to Seoraksan (Sokcho)
From Seoul Express Bus Terminal or Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, take a bus to Sokcho (Travel time: approx. 2hr 30min).
There are small tourist information booths (in English 1330; 9am to 6pm, closed January) outside the express and intercity bus terminals and the ferry pier (9am to 4pm). English-speaking staff alternate between them on different days.
Sokcho is more of a fishing town than a tourist town as most tourists stayed here are planning to visit Seoraksan. Sokcho is one of the filming location for the K-Drama Autumn in My Heart too! The filming location is called Abai Village, it’s a really small village which connect to Sokcho Beach.
The word ‘Abai’ comes from the Hamgyeong-do dialect meaning ‘an aged person.’ Many elderly people fled to Cheongho-dong from North Korea during the Korean War; the large number of older residents resulted in the town’s current nickname.
If you watched the K-Drama, you probably would have notice a boat that the lead actress often took in the drama. It’s also one of the traditional way to get to Abai Village.
Holding up to 35 people, this ‘Gaetbae’ boat operates on manpower (people pulling on ropes moving the boat across a waterway) and can be taken from downtown Sokcho to Cheongho-dong. To make it an experience, you can helps in pulling the rope too!
When looking for a bite to eat, Abai sundae and hamheung naengmyeon are two of the most popular dishes. There are several restaurants around Abai Village.The Abai Sundae is definitely something you need to try on!
What makes the Abai Sundae different from the traditional sundae is that the Abai Sundae is stuffed in a squid.
It’s good to spend a lil time in Sokcho, visiting the fish markets & abai village if you have the time to spend there.
DIRECTION from Sokcho to Seoraksan
From Sokcho Express / Intercity Bus Terminal, take Bus No. 7 or 7-1. Get off at Sogongwon Bus Stop, you won’t missed this as the bus stop right at the entrance of Mt. Seorak (Travel time: approx. 45 min).
You wouldn’t missed this giant entrance gate to Seoraksan after alight from the local bus. Buy your ticket at the ticket booth and then you’ll be entering the park right away.
We are having a really tough time trekking the mountain as the place snowed the day before and everywhere were covered by snow! But then again the mountain looks really pretty in snowy white!
If you think you can explore the mountain in ONE DAY then you will be really disappointed! Get a map from the tourist booth and you will know how big is this place. It took us almost 2hours to get to one of the sight which is the Ulsanbawi Rock. But the time spent might be shorter if there wasn’t any snow slowing us down.
The best way to see Seoraksan Mountain if you only have a limited time and you can’t trek or hike, is by taking the Seorak Cable Car. However, it is so popular that you sometimes have to wait in line for approximately 2 to 3 hours during the peak seasons (summer vacation and fall foliage seasons) and during the weekends, but during off-seasons, the cable car can be boarded without having to wait in line.
Riding up and down the cable car, visitors can view the fascinating rock formations of the Gwongeumseong region as well as the Sogongwon area, Jeohangnyeong, and Ulsanbawi Rock to the north. To the northeast, downtown Sokcho and the East Sea comes into view.
From the cable car station, you can continue further up to the peak from the staircases behind the station.
Cable Car Fees:
Round trip: Adults 10,000 won / Children 6,000 won
* Note: in order to use the cable car, visitors must pay admission to Seoraksan National Park as the property is located inside the park.
Admission Fees to Seoraksan:
-Adults 3,500 won
-Middle to high school students (ages 14-19) 1,000 won
-Elementary school students (ages 8-13) 500 won
* Inquiries: Sinheungsa Temple Ticket Office +82-33-636-8755
N/A (Open all year round)
Mountain Not Access Period:
Seasonal Forest Fire Watches by Park
March 2 – May 15, 2016
※ TBD by park directors based on fire weather advisories, snow/precipitation levels, and other local conditions.
Areas Open to the Public:
Seorak-dong – Ulsanbawi Rock
Osaek Mineral Spring – Yongso Falls
Sogongwon – Biryong Falls – Towangpok Observatory
Gamasot Entrance – Jasaeng Botanical Garden Entrance
Sogongwon – Biseondae
* Peak season: April-May, July-August & October-November
Info from Imagine Your Korea site.