Seongsan Ilchul-bong

Top choice volcano in Seongsan-ri & Sinyang-ri

Image by ChristopherPhoto Getty Images

This majestic 182m-high, extinct tuff volcano, shaped like a giant punchbowl, is one of Jeju-do's most impressive sights and a Unesco World Heritage site. The forested crater is ringed by jagged rocks, though there’s no lake because the rock is porous. From the entrance, climbing the steep stairs to the crater rim only takes 20 minutes. Doing it in time to catch the sunrise is a life-affirming journey for many Koreans – expect plenty of company.

To do the sunrise expedition, you’ll have to spend the night in Seongsan-ri, a sleepy village filled with motels and restaurants catering to the hiking crowd. The steps up the volcano are easy and clear, but if you’re concerned, bring a torch. Not an early riser? It’s also a popular daytime hike. The Seongsan Sunrise Festival, an all-night New Year’s Eve party, is held here every 31 December.


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