Seoraksan Cable Car & Gwongeumseong Fortress

5 Nov 2013

I went to the cable car building (Sogongwon), it was not far from the park entrance and there were signs in Hangul and Roman alphabets. When I arrived there, it was already packed. There were lots of school children and senior citizens. I went to the ticketing booth and got a ticket for 9.20 AM – 9000 won round-trip. The cable car starts operating from 8.30 AM with 5 minutes interval.

There was a running text and digital clock above the queuing area, showing which schedule group should queuing there – in the picture bellow, it showed that the queuing was for group that was scheduled to depart at 08:55 AM.

20131105_085433After buying the cable car ticket, I bought kimbab – 3000 won at the cable car station cafeteria located on the same floor with the ticketing booth. I told the ajumma at the cafeteria that I wanted to take it away and then she wrapped it in plastic bag with a pair of chopstick.

There was about 15 minutes before my scheduled ride, so I sat at a corner and then I ate chicken BBQ that I bought at e-mart the evening before. I ate while watching a lot of ajumma (aunties), ajussi (uncles), hailmoni (grandmas), haraboji (grandpas) wearing colorful climbing pants and jacket. They looked very stylish and happy to spend the time with group of friends.

I got on the cable car with a group of ajumma and ajussi…kekeke..I was the only foreigner there.

IMG_7586It only took 5 minutes in cable car to reach one of the peaks. Everybody was busy taking pictures during the ride. There was an officer inside the cable car explaining things during the 5 minutes ride….in Korean….so I didn’t have any clues what he was saying….T_T….but I recognize these rocks formation as the most famous peak at Seoraksan: the Ulsanbawi:

IMG_7588Colorful valley seen from the cable car:

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IMG_7591At the arrival landing area – it was a two-stories building – there were cafeteria, a big terrace, a viewing deck and of course, a souvenir shops.

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IMG_7600 IMG_7601 IMG_7602After taking pictures around the cable car building, I went looking for the route to the Gwongeumseong fortress, but didn’t see a sign for it. So I followed the ajumma to climb stairs and arrived at a photo shot spot at the mountain top. kekeke

IMG_7604One of the reasons that I wanted to hike the Seoraksan or any mountain in Korea was because the hiking trails were very well maintained. No matter how old or young, how experienced or green you are, there is always a trail that will suit your capability.

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IMG_7610 IMG_7611I wasn’t sure that it was the Gwongeumseong Fortress, so I went down again to the cable car station and looking for another trail but only found the trail to a temple. No one was using the trail and it was downhill. The map showed that the fortress is located higher than cable car station. So, I decided to go back to cable car station, but first, I recorded the sound of priests praying. It was so peaceful to look at the beautiful scenery while listening to the prayers.

 

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I took a rest for a while and then went up again to the photo shot spot. I walked behind a family with a 2 years old girl climbing up on her hand and foot…kekeke.

At the photo shot spot, the climb to the top was scary, even though there were 2 ajussi guarding the rail and maintaining the traffic. I was not sure there were any trails beyond the peak. So I stayed around the photo shot area and taking more pictures.

IMG_7616 IMG_7617 IMG_7618 IMG_7619After reading this sign, I realized that the photo shot area was the fortress…..well….I expected to see some building ruins but hem….perhaps the rocks was the fortress….aish….I’m still confused….kekekeke….

IMG_7620I went down again to the cable car station and I was walking with Javanese speaking tourists that I saw at the park entrance. There was a lady from that group who went hiking wearing expensive coat and high heels. WOW.

IMG_7621What the locals wore to hike the mountain:

IMG_7622What a foreigner wore to hike the mountain ^_^:

IMG_7623It was around 11 AM and the waiting line for cable car to descent was rather long. Once you went up the cable car, you are allowed to stay as long as you want. Most people only stays around 30 minutes. They arrived by the cable car, went up to the fortress, took some pictures and went down again. That morning, I stayed almost 2 hours, walking up and down the path to the fortress twice….kekekeke…..it’s a good exercise for me who rarely do so.

While waiting for the queuing line, I was busy watching the people eating ice cream – even though it was sunny, the temperature was still a bit cold so I was amazed to see so many people there eating the ice cream – a snack that I usually eat only when the day was hot. The cable car station sold ice cream, coffee and other snacks.

IMG_7624 IMG_7625 IMG_7627 IMG_7628At 11.20 AM, I was back at the cable car station near the park entrance. 

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