The Most Beautiful Temple in South Korea

October 7th, 2018

A national holiday in Korea means its time to hit the trails!

Today, we gathered at Paldang Station off of the G-J line, only a 45 minute train ride from downtown Seoul. We were eager to begin the hike, as none of us have ever heard of these mountains before.

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The trail head was located only a ten minute walk from the station. The trail conditions varied with some sections covered in random sized protruding rocks and other sections consisting solely of wooden steps.

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We took plenty of breaks to keep the group together and to take in the beauty of the nature around us

After an hour of hiking, with only trees and the dirt for our view, we came to a very steep climb up a long, winding staircase with a beautiful view at the top.

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View of the Han River and Seoul from half way up Yeabongsan (예봉산). The tall building in the distance is Lotte Tower.
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View of the Han River splitting into two parts from half way up Yeabongsan (예봉산).

We felt a great sense of accomplishment making it this far!

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But there was a second half of the trail waiting for us. We continued upwards, meeting construction workers building additional stairs for future hikers. The closer to the top we became the more we noticed that some trees had begun to change their leaves to a light yellow color. Fall has begun!

We reached the peak and were stunned by another beautiful view, this time complete with colorful paragliders and leaves colored red and orange.

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View of Seoul from the top of Yeabongsan (예봉산) at the beginning of fall.
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The peak of Yeabongsan with a view of the Han river splitting

After out lunch stop at the peak we set off again. Half the group opted to go down the mountain and meet at the temple and the other half continued on hiking all the way to Sojongsa Temple. The remaining hike consisted of 10 kilometers of going up and down hills and smaller mountains, summiting at Ungilsan (운길산) and discovering the origin of the previously seen paragliders.

We arrived at Sojongsa Temple and were happy to discover that the most beautiful temple in South Korea lives up to its name!

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View of the Han River splitting at Sojongsa Temple

After taking in the view, we gathered at the bottom building to enjoy tea in a traditional ceremony.

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With tired legs, we were happy to gather to experience a traditional tea tasting ceremony

Afterward, we walked for 30-minutes along a steep road and through a farming town to reach the Ungilsan Station. Having made a bond from the long hours hiking, much of the group then ventured into the energetic neighborhood located next to Wangsimni Station for congratulatory drinks and great food.

 

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