Weekends in South Korea: Taebaeksan and Chuam Beach

This past weekend we went away to explore Mount Taebaeksan. Being not too far from the sea we also took the opportunity to drive to the east coast driving along route 7 (a very scenic route) and stopping by Chuam to admire the “stone candles” rising up from the sea. We spent one night on the coast, woke up early to watch a stunning sunrise in Chuam beach before heading to Mount Taebaek to hike up to the summit. This is a do-able itinerary for a weekend driving from Seoul.

The hike up mount Taebaksan was really hard. 30-40% slope up (and down) almost for the entire duration of the hike was proving but the views from up there were stunning. If you want to hike up mount Taebaeksan in winter it is really recommended to invest in a pair of crampons.

We were not alone: I am not sure if the crowds were drawn there by the snow art left from the recent snow festival but the summit was like an ant nest. An experience in itself. Despite the number of people at the top of Taebaeksan it was still well worth it (if you start the hike from Baekdansa Temple Entrance then the path is almost empty for half of the way, then it become busier as other paths converge.

Our trail: Baekdansa Temple Entrance (백단사 입구) → Banjae (반재) → Manggyeongsa Temple (망경사) → Cheonjedan (천제단) (4km, 2 hours).

Overall it was a great weekend spent outdoors, lots of exercise and stunning scenery; a recommended break from Seoul city in winter. Here are some highlights form this weekend trip:

 

The Food

The food is always the highlight of our trips. Different regions in Korea have their own specialities. Taebaeksan is famous for its beef so we had a BBQ at a local butcher’s restaurant where you buy the meat from the counter and then you take it into the restaurant.

Eating by the coast is always one of my favourite things to do: the fish is so fresh and tasty. We ordered sashimi and they brought us an endless supply of other complimentary food. It was like a royal banquet!

On the mountains we ate the ever so versatile kimbap: a rice wrap that can be filled with various things. It is the best and most convenient picnic food.

 Route 7

We arrived to the coast late in the day. Sunset was on its way but we still managed to see a small section of route 7. This is a beautiful coastal road that I would like to go back to soon.

 Cheonam

We stopped at Cheonam on route 7 to find this stunning seascape at sunset. We went back at sunrise as this is a famous spot: it was amazing to watch the sun appear on the horizon!

Mt Taebaeksan and Snow Festival

The walk up Mt Taebaksan was very hard but the scenery was very beautiful with the snow. There were lots of people on the summit, it felt a bit like being in Seoul for a moment but it was quite amusing.

The art from the previous week’s snow festival was nice even though it was already a bit melted. As with all festivals in Korea it was a little busy.

 

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