Thursday, 24 October 2013

Early Autumn in Seoraksan National Park

This past weekend, Angela and I, along with our friends Anna and Ben, visited Seoraksan National Park. This popular hiking destination is famed for its dramatic granite peaks, some of which look straight out of an old watercolour painting, and its gorgeous autumn colours. We were hoping to catch some of those colours ourselves, and chose the weekend that was, according to the Korean Meteorological Association, the best time to do so. When we got there, it turned out the leaves hadn't changed quite as much as we were hoping, which was a little disappointing. Also, I happened to be sick with a fever that had been going on for about a week, so I wasn't in the best condition for heavy exercise. As a result, we didn't hike anywhere near as hard or as far as I would have liked. These small things aside, it was still a fun day, and we found plenty of stunning autumnal views during our brief visit.

A bear guards the entrance to the park.
Our first view of the park's stunning natural scenery.
There's also a giant buddha statue just near the entrance to the park.

Angela and Anna mimicking a bear sign.

Some pretty temple grounds.

We hiked up a path through the woods for some time.

We crossed paths with a family of bird-owners. This boy let Anna pet his tiny yellow friend.

It liked to nibble hair.
This boy also gave a bird to Angela.

Continuing deeper into the mountains, we passed some beautiful rivers and creeks.

We stopped at a restaurant in the valley to eat some pajeon (Korean pancake).

Some of the autumn colours became much more prominent as we climbed higher up the mountains.

You can see a cave embedded in the cliff above.
Some of the views up here were really stunning. Unfortunately, due to my sickness, Angela and I had to start making our way back down towards the entrance.

Back near the entrance.
A floating tap.
We spent the rest of the weekend in Sokcho, on Korea's east coast. By the beach, there was this seafood restaurant gilded in seashells.
Sokcho's beach.

Some quirkily-designed pensions.
On the bus ride home, the sun came out (typical!), and we passed some really beautiful scenery.

To end with, here's a pretty autumn montage that Angela made on instagram.
If you're spending time in Korea and you haven't visited Seoraksan yet, I really recommend visiting in the coming weeks, as I'm sure the autumn colours must be peaking right about now. You can easily get there by taking a taxi from Sokcho, which is accessible from Seoul via bus.

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