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Photo above: Bus bound for Sokcho at the Dong Seoul Bus TerminalBy road from Seoul, the trip to the Sogongwon Main Entrance takes approximately 3 hours in total, which is via the quaint fishing village of Sokcho. This town is situated on the picturesque east coast of South Korea and provides a number of attractions in its own right.
The park is incredibly busy during peak season and on weekends, so it is advisable to plan your day trip for a weekday if at all possible.
Photo: Colorful hikers at Seoraksan National ParkOne of the most popular attractions inside the park is the Gwongeumseong Fortress Peak which is accessible via an exciting cable car ride. Whilst this ascends every 10 minutes or so – there are queues of people waiting, even during the shoulder season.
Photo: View depicting another cable car
Therefore, once you arrive at the park it is recommended to head directly to the cable station office to purchase a return ticket (this is not far from the park entrance and is signposted).
Tickets are time allocated and the cable car officials will organise each group waiting to ascend to the Gwongeumseong Fortress. There is also an electronic signpost for you to check departures.
If you have a short period to wait beforehand, have a snack inside the cable station or sit by the adjacent grassy area and enjoy a picnic or relax by the river.
Photo: Autumn Foliage October 2012There are also nearby restaurants if you have to wait for a longer period. Or you may visit the nearby attractions such as the giant bronze Buddha or the Sinheungsa Temple and then return to the cable car station.
The Biryong Falls Course is also nearby. This is a 4.8 km return walk.
Photo: Hikers descending the peak of the Gwongeumseong FortressOnce you ascend to the Gwongeumseong Fortress you can relax on the rocky outcrop or climb all the way to the steepest part of the peak. There is a guide up there to organise the crowds and because it’s a rather steep slope, a rope is available to pull yourself up or steady yourself on the way down.
Photo: Sokcho coast near the Overseas Passenjer terminalIf you are spending a day, it may still be possible to include a few sights in Sokcho before your bus returns to Seoul. Along the coastline of Sokcho are a number of look-outs, ports or beaches to view the attractive coastline and the Sea of Japan.
Photo: Drying cuttlefish in Sokcho
Getting there: From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (Ganbyeon Subway is directly across the road) a bus ticket can be purchased to Sokcho for around 12,000 won. Express non-stop buses depart every 20 minutes. The journey to Sokcho, which features one 15 minute rest-stop*, takes 2.5 hours. This bus arrives at the 속초시외버스터미널 / Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal– which locals call simply the 'Sokcho Bus Station'
* Make sure you request the 고속버스 (우등) / Express Bus (Deluxe)
A taxi ride to the entrance of the park from the Intercity Terminal in Sokcho costs 16,000 won and is payable in cash only.
Note: There is also another bus terminal in Sokcho (the Dongbu Express) .
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