Jeju-do Part 2


Well, our first full day in Jeju we decided to climb Hallasan (Mt. Halla) which is the largest volcano on Jeju and is a Unesco World Heritage Natural Site.

While eating breakfast, we asked the owners of the restaurant which was the best hiking trail to take.  They told us to take the Gwaneumsa trail because it had the best views.  What they DIDN'T tell us was that it was also the most difficult trail.  We actually learned that from another hiker about an hour and a half into the four hour hike up the mountain.

It started up as a nice gentle walk  on a path under a canopy of trees:

Soon, however, the trail became a rough path of lava rock...

There were times when the terrain was so rough that there were wooden stairs or bridges (thankfully!)

And while the pictures make it look really nice... it was 8.4 kilometers of an uphill climb.

Needless to say, after about 3 hours of climbing (out of the 4 hours uphill), we felt like this:

Once we got near the top, however, there were indeed some beautiful views.

At the top of Hallasan is Baegnokdam, a small lake that is considered by the people of Korea as a "holy site"

The 4 hour hike down was a bit better and, since we decided to take a different trail down (this one was 9.6 kilometers), it offered different scenery.

Although, the path was just as rough most of the time:

There was a Unesco shelter on the way down that had some very basic refreshments for sale.  Basically, chocolate bars, Pocari Sweat (the Korean equivalent of Gatorade), and ramen noodles.  I must say, a bowl of ramen noodles has NEVER tasted so good before.

All in all, I'm glad I made the hike, although I have to admit that I would never do it again.  Once is DEFINITELY enough.


John from Daejeon May 1, 2010 at 11:13 AM  

Actually, the "sweat" drink is Japanese.

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Rick is an English teacher currently living and working in Seoul, South Korea. If you have any questions about life in Korea, feel free to email:

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