What: Seongsan Ilchubong (성 산) is nicknamed Sunrise Peak because it on the eastern corner of Jeju-do Island and it’s unique volcanic-dome structure creates some visually appealing spectacles as the sun comes up in the early AM. It was formed via volcanic activity many years ago and what’s left is a huge crater on top this little 182m mountain-peninsula in Jeju. Every year it draws many tourists during the sunrise hours, and for good reason. This is a spectacle from far away, let alone hiking to the top to see the dome and the views from atop.
Where: Seongsan, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Get There: After walking Olle Trail #7 and #8 we took a bus from Seogwipo’s bus terminal to Seongsan, and got off at the Seongsan Ilchubong bus stop. We had a different hotel reservation lined up, but interestingly we were greeted by who I imagine to be a condo-owner who was looking to fill her empty condo for the evening. Immediately upon stepping off at the bus stop at 8:00pm, she pointed at Elicia and I, made the cherades signal for “sleeping” and proceeded to show us an amazing ‘hotel/condo’ for one night, $40! It had kitchen, refrigerator, queen bed, etc. Best of all, it was a 5 min walk to Sunrise Peak early in the AM… after hiking more than 45Km the last two days, this felt like paradise!
Not a highlight was hearing the alarm at 4:00am… It was difficult to get up, but we really wanted to see the sunrise. After all, this location is a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, a status shared by only 173 places in the world! We felt as though we were at some place special, but since our arrival we hadn’t seen daylight, so we were anxious to get moving. We packed a small backpack and left by 4:45am, planning on a 30 minute hike up Seongsan for the anticipated 5:20am sunrise. Unfortunately it was way too overcast to see the sunrise, but by 5:45am it was light enough everywhere to see some really cool things!
I am so glad we visited Seongsan Ilchubong! It was definitely worth the 1.5 hour bus ride from Seogwipo. Although we didn’t get the sunrise we had hoped for, as the sky lit up it was amazing to see this formation and the outlying areas. The hike itself was very easy. If you plan on going early like we did, bring a headlight for sure!