We took the hotel manager’s advice and head towards Biseondael Rock. Once there we figured let’s go to Geumganggul Cave and drink from the spring how hard can it be. Well turns out it’s one of the hardest paths in the area!! And here we are, no hiking gear, lugging our overnight bags the whole way and unprepared as ever. We have never hiked like that before. But we made it. And what a sight.
Geumganggul Cave was inhabited by a Buddhist monk who wanted seclusion. His shine is still there. It’s a holy place and it was so surreal being there, it was out of a kung-fu movie. You look out from the cave and all you can see are clouds. There is a mountain spring there and it’s said that if you drink from it you’ll have a long life. There was even a monk living there in this tiny shack no bigger than a car build on the opening of the cave. They had pile rocks to the opening of the cave and built this little shack on it.
Once back down you could look up at what you accomplished. There are 3 peaks: Mirukbong, Hyungiaebong and Sunnyobong. According to a legend, a nymph cam down from heaven and was facinated by its scenic beauty. She had a good time and went back to her home. We had a good time and went back home too.
Seoraksan National Park is located in the northeastern part of Korea. It’s close to Sokcho Gangwon-do which is just south of the 38th parallel. We started our trip at Seoul’s Express Bus Terminal right off line 3. We took a bus from there and it only cost 17,000 won per person one way. So it’s about 34,000 won round trip. It’s a 3 hour bus ride and you go up into the mountain because my ears were popping like crazy. They take one 15 minute rest stop along the way and we almost missed the bus! It was a scary moment but the bus stop as we were running towards it! Once in Sokcho we wandered around looking for a city bus stop that would take us in the direction of Seoraksan. We finally found it after some walking and it was just across the street from the bus terminal so I felt really dumb. It’s a 30 min bus ride (taking city bus no. 7 or 7-1) the last stop is Seoraksan National Park.
There is an ATM just outside the entrance and I recommend getting some cash before going in the park because most little vendors in the park don’t take card. We paid the around 3,000 won each to enter the park and started the search for our hotel. I booked us a room at the Seoraksan Tourist Hotel. The hotel is actually located in the park which was pretty cool. The hotel is easy to find once you walk into the park and it’s right next to the cable cars that take you up to Gwongeumseong Fortress. Every room has a great view from the balcony of the cable car and the top of the Buddha statue. Manager of the hotel was super nice and spoke great English. He gave us a map and a run down of the Sinheungsa Temple Area.