An essential activity to do if you visit Ulleungdo is the Seonginbong hike. This takes you up to the highest peak on the island and treats you to an amazing forest walk and a breathtaking view (if it isn’t cloudy!).
Hiking up Seonginbong
It was too cold to go for a swim this last Sunday, so we decided we’d attempt the peak. With a bag full of snacks and relatively good humour we set out. The hike was not grumble free but we had a lot of fun in the end and I’m glad we had the chance to do the climb before the summer sets in properly on Ulleungdo.
There are 4 different ways you can go to Seonginbong, from Dodong, the KBS station, Bongnae waterfall (All three of these go essentially the same route but start in different places) and from Nari Basin, which is up the opposite side of the mountaint. Going from the KBS station is apparently the easiest route but don’t let that fool you, it is still a tough hike! You can take the Cheonbu bus to a road a little below the KBS station called Chunhon Tap (충혼탑). It is still a steep walk just to the start but it beats walking all the way up from town! You can also take a taxi right to the start, but that’s cheating!
What to expect on Seonginbong
Steep is probably the best adjective for this walk. Ulleungdo is an extinct volcano so the island is built up around its slopes. There are periods of flat which are bliss but the majority of the hike is a climb up or down. This does mean that 1km can take well over an hour and leave you gasping for breath. No special equipment is needed but I’d suggest bringing something warm along as, even when it is sunny, it can get pretty cold at the top! The hike takes about 4-6hours depending how often you want to stop for photos and it is roughly 9km round trip from the KBS station. There are no water spots or toilets on the hike, so bring what you need!
Too judge the difficulty of the hike; I very nearly became single on the way up. There were death also numerous threats. On the way back down though there was much laughter and chatter and I survived to be married another day! I’d give the hike a 10/10 difficulty wise as it is the toughest hike on the island. If you are super fit for hiking you will breeze through it but anybody else is going to be quite sore when they get home!
Other Seonginbong adventures
If you’ve kept up with some of our other posts you may be aware that I love taking my bagpipes up to high places and playing them. Living on Ulleungdo and having Seonginbong at my doorstep was no different!
Unfortunately the weather was not on my side when I had a day off, it was cloudy and there was a light drizzle but I didn’t know when I’d get another chance. So lugging my bagpipes up the mountain I set out to tick another peak off my piping bucket list.
The cool weather kept the hike a little more pleasant but my bagpipe case is not made for hiking so it was still tough even though this was my third time up! There was no view when I reached the peak, just thick clouds but I serenaded Ulleungdo from the highest point and made some new friends along the way. Here’s the video:
Jeju island and Hallasan
Another piping adventure of mine was up Hallasan on Jeju island. That hike to twice as long and I very nearly died on the way back down! You can read all about my Hallasan adventure here.
Happy travels and blue skies!
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