I decided to do this trip alone as all my hiking friends were busy or weren’t really up for waking up at 5am on a saturday morning.
I arrived at Woraksan early Friday night. After a very comfortable and inexpensive (W13,000) 3 hour bus ride I arrived at my destination at 8.30pm. I had not booked any accommodation as there are almost always a minbak (B&B), pension or motel nearby. After negotiating accommodation for W30,000 I put down my bags and headed to the restaurant for some doenjang jjigae (spicy soy bean paste vegetable stew) with plenty of sides. The bus driver happened to be staying at the same place as me so we ate dinner together chatting whilst watching the South Korean football game on the TV. My Korean isn’t great but it is good enough to have basic conversation. The bus driver’s English wasn’t great either so we mainly conversed in Korean. After dinner and a few beers and a bottle of soju later, I decided to hit the sack as it was an early start tomorrow.
The first 1 hour of the hike was pretty tiring as the ascent was very steep but I persevered and finally after a seemingly endless trail of steps I took a waterbreak and admired the view.
I had reached the summit by 8am and was the only person at the peak. It felt like I had the entire mountain to myself.
The views were truly stunning.
After a spot of breakfast at the summit, I started my descent .and enjoyed more of the magnificent scenery.
On the way towards Deokjusa you will come across a very old stone Buddha carving. The exact date is unknown. Some historians suspect it is from the Goryeo dynasty which ruled Korea from 935-1392AD while others believe the carving was constructed during the Shilla dynasty that ruled before 935AD. It is nevertheless extremely old and an impressive sight to behold. A great place to take a rest stop while you gather your energy to complete the hike.