Where: Jeju Island. To get to the Seongpanak Trail, take the 781 or 781-1 bus from Jeju Express Bus Terminal for 40 minutes and get off at Seongpanak Bus Stop.
Duration: Some trails go from 3-9 hours up and back down. Depending on the trail, you’ll want to be ready early in the morning because you can only climb to the top while there’s daylight.
A Brief History: Hallasan is at the center of Jeju and is the highest mountain in South Korea. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Point of Interest: The Seongpanak Trail is very long, but it goes all the way to the top of the mountain. And at the top, it is truly a place of wonder. At this point, you’d be above the clouds looking down on Jeju Island. Another thing to look out for is all the middle-aged Korean men and women who take on hiking like they are going to get lost in the mountains for weeks on end, with huge packs on their backs and walking sticks for good measure.
Recommendation: 4/5. Every step up the way up this mountain, I asked myself what I was doing with my tennis shoes, my bag of Doritos to keep me nourished, and my Powerade for energy. At one point, I stopped to look at the sign telling me I was less than 2 kilometers away, wanting to turn back. An old Korean man stopped next to me. We looked at the sign. We looked at each other. We briefly nodded. With this encouragement, we then continued on our way up the mountain to what was one of the most amazing sights: being above the clouds, looking down on all of Jeju Island.
*Note: This is a real hike. I did not know that when I partook on it. You’ll want hiking boots because for most of the trail, you are literally stepping on rocks and your feet will ache in tennis shoes. Also, a bag of Doritos is not proper nourishment when hiking.