Seoraksan & Naksansa – The Most Beautiful Day-trip from Seoul?

Naksansa Pavilion

If you are spending more than a few days in Korea, make sure that you don’t just explore Seoul. Seoul is a wonderful city, and I love it. However, there is so much more to Korea that is also worth exploring!

The best upside of Korea being such a small country is that you can easily travel. The longest trip you can take in Korea is Seoul to Busan, which takes 5-6 hours by bus. Even compared to a small country like New Zealand, that’s quite short!

From Seoul, you can find stunning beaches just a few hours away. You can also find breathtaking mountains that show the fall beauty of Korea!

There are a lot of fantastic day trips from Seoul and I highly recommend checking them out. If you are looking to escape from Seoul for a day or two, check out Ktourstory, Klook and Trazy. They all offer some fantastic day trips.

The tour that I am discussing today is the day trip to Seoraksan & Naksansa by Ktourstory. My trip was sponsored by them, however, all opinions expressed in this post are my own.


This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my affiliate disclaimer.


Day Trip to Seoraksan & Naksansa

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The tail-end of fall on Seoraksan.

The tour starts the same as most tours from Seoul – from your choice of Hongdae, Myeongdong, or Dongdaemun History and Culture Park. Pickups usually start at Hongdae at around 7:20 am and then proceed to Myeongdong at 8 and Dongdaemun at 8:10.

These three stops mean that the trip is convenient for most tourists to Korea as they cover the most popular accommodation areas.

At around 11 am the bus will reach Seoraksan. There are a few restaurants located around the stop which will allow you to refuel if needed! The tour will stay at Seoraksan for a few hours until 2 pm. This gives you some time to explore the mountain and to visit some of the vistas on the mountain.

At 2pm, the bus will depart for Naksansa. Naksansa is a Buddhist temple located on the coast very near Seoraksan. It’s a mere 15-minute drive from the mountain. The bus will arrive around 2:50 and will stay at Naksansa until 4:20 when it will depart for Seoul.

You can expect to be home around 7-8 pm depending on which stop you decided to go from. Drop-offs will begin at Dongdaemun before proceeding towards Myeongdong, and finally, Hongdae.

Seoraksan

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The stream on the way to Biseondae.

Seoraksan is the first stop on the journey and probably the reason that most people are on this tour!

Seoraksan is South Korea’s third tallest mountain and is the tallest mountain in the north of the country (the north of South Korea that is!). The peak is just over 1,700 metres tall and as such, it is considered one of South Korea’s most famous mountains.

The mountain is a national park and takes up a large area in South Korea’s north-east. There are a lot of different peaks and walks that can be done, and there are also many different difficulties of hikes on the mountain.

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The Kakao Friends icons represent the most popular areas reachable within the time limit.

Since the tour stops there for around 3 hours, you will have a few different choices of path. I chose to visit Biseondae rocks, a famous rock formation on the mountain that is about 45 minutes to one hour each way.

If you would prefer not to hike, then you are in luck. There is also a cable car station that provides rides to another of Seoraksan’s peaks. This cable car goes from the parking lot (where the bus will stop). However, the cable car price is not included in the tour cost, so remember to keep that in mind.

The walk to Biseondae is very beautiful and one of the nicest paths I have had the pleasure of walking in Korea. After the first 15 minutes of the walk, the path follows a river up towards the Biseondae rocks.

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The stream-side path is quite stunning.

The river provides some pretty views as well as providing the calming sound of water while you walk. I visited on a Saturday and the paths were not crowded at all – it was a very pleasant walk.

The Biseondae rocks themselves are quite a sight to behold! A bridge crosses the stream and there are rocky peaks on either side of the path. It is a very unique view and something that can only be found on Seoraksan.

Not only the view at the top is beautiful, however. The path also has a lot of scenic points where you can view the river flowing next to the track. The whole path to the top is a very scenic walk and I was quite happy with my choice of path.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to explore other paths while I was there. However, from the images that I have seen, they all have their own splendour and beauty.

Overall, Seoraksan is a stunning place. I wish I had got to visit a few weeks earlier when the fall foliage was in full swing, however, it was still a trip that I am very happy to have been a part of.

Naksansa

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The coastal temple makes for quite the view!

Just a short drive from Seoraksan lies one of Korea’s most beautiful temples. Naksansa is located on the east coast of Korea and looks out over the East Sea. This temple is truly a stunning place!

Naksansa is over 1300 years old and it has a lot of history to explore. The temple is most famous for its coastal location. However, it is also famous for its Guan Yin statue with stands at 15 metres tall. This statue is the tallest of its kind in the Orient.

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Map of Naksansa. It’s all easily explorable in the time provided!

With about an hour and a half provided to explore the temple, it’s easy to explore the whole area and to be able to spend some time taking in the views. The temple can be fully explored in 30 minutes or so, and this allows for some time to revisit your favourite places or to relax.

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The coast below the temple.

The temple has a few pavilions located along the cliff face, and this makes it a truly unique temple in Korea.

A lot of Koreans come to the temple to pray to the Guan Yin statue which sits on the top of the cliffs. This statue stands looking southeast and it is definitely a sight to behold, no matter what your beliefs.

Another fantastic way to experience Naksansa is to do a temple stay. Check out the Naksansa Temple Stay here.

My Experiences

When I was initially offered the tour I was most excited for Naksansa. Simply Googling the temple showed some stunning images – I was really amazed at how beautiful this temple was.

I went into the trip with expectations that Naksansa would be the biggest attraction for me. After all, the photos of it had been stunning and they were what tempted me to go on the trip.

However, Seoraksan wasn’t to be outclassed and it pleasantly surprised me with its natural beauty. Coming from a country like New Zealand, I am rather accustomed to nature and I often think that I don’t need to see it again.

I was definitely wrong. Nature in oriental countries is not only very unique and different but, it is in a breathtaking way. Seoraksan surprised me with its views and sights and I am glad that I got the opportunity to explore at least a little part of the mountain.

No matter where you come from, nature in Korea is not only beautiful but also unique. There are a lot of mountains in Korea to explore and there is no mountain that I can recommend over the others. Each one stands out in its own way.

Tour Review

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Biseondae at Seoraksan

As my second tour with Ktourstory I went in expecting a quality tour that would show me some of the sights of Korea. I wasn’t disappointed.

The tour guide was not only fluent in English, Korean and Chinese, but also very knowledgeable on the areas and friendly. The bus ride was decent and I enjoyed the freedom that the tour provided at the locations.

If you are looking for a good tour operator within Korea than I would recommend Ktourstory. The customer service is efficient and fast and the tour guides are friendly and knowledgeable.

If you are looking for a fantastic way to get out of Seoul (or just to explore the Korean countryside) then make sure to check out this day trip to Seoraksan and Naksansa. You can purchase tour tickets here.

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