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Sanbangsan Mountain: Visiting Jeju’s most dramatic natural attraction

Dramatic volcanic structure on Jeju’s southwest corner.

Nature | Recommended | Southwest

Sanbangsan Mountain

Sanbangsan Mountain is a 395-meter-high tuff lava cone situated on the coast in the south west of Jeju.

It’s a sight to behold due to the way it rises dramatically out of the surrounding area, a feature that is accentuated due to the relative flatness of this part of Jeju Island.

The peak dominates the skyline of the local area, and you can see the distinctive cliff face for miles around. Watch out for the unique cloud formations that form around its summit due to the mountain’s height in relation to the rest of the area.

I’ve been to Sanbangsan Mountain plenty of times during my time in Jeju. The following images and information come from my most recent trip in December last year.

Address: Jeju-do, Jeju-si, Andeok-myeon, Sagye-ri San 16

Facilities: Car park, bathroom

Jeju travel tip 🌼

In March and April, the fields around Sanbangsan Mountain turn yellow with Canola Flowers. It’s a beautiful time of year to take a colorful photo of the mountain.

What to do at Sanbangsan Mountain

Climb up to Sanbanggulsa Grotto

View from sanbangsan grotto
Photo: The view from Sanbanggulsa Grotto. You can see Songaksan Peak in the distance.

Sanbanggulsa Grotto is a cave around 150 meters up the south-facing side of the mountain. The cave is home to a small temple, and you also get views out of the surrounding area. The journey is steep, but there are stairs all the way up to the top. This means that while tiring, it is manageable for most.

Visit the giant Buddah

Buddah statue Sanbangsan
Photo: Giant Buddah statue on the slopes of Sanbangsan Mountain

On the way up to the grotto, you pass Bomunsa and Sanbangsa Temple. These are colorful places of worship with distinctive temple-style architecture. The area is also home to a giant Buddah statue and a bell you can ring for good luck. There are good views out over the ocean here, if you don’t want to climb all the way to Sanbanggul Grotto.

Explore Yongmeori Coast

Yeongmoeri Coast is a layered cliff formation situated at the seafront in front of Sanbangsan Mountain. It’s a short walk and a beautiful spot to take photos with the cliff formation in the background. Time your visit right, as the area closes when the tide comes in above the rocks.

Walk along the seafront

Olle Trail number 10 passes along the coast in front of Sanbangsan Mountain. This section is well-maintained and is worth exploring if you aren’t in a rush. You’ll get views of Hwanguchi Beach, Yeongmeori Coast, and you’ll pass Sanbang Yeondae Smoke Signal Station, a volcanic rock structure that was used for communicating around the island in times past.

Visit Songaksan Mountain

Songaksan Mountain is a 104 meter high peak on the far south west corner of Jeju. It offers beautful views of Sanbangsan Mountain and even Hallasan Mountain on clear days. It’s a short drive from Sanbangsan and there is a large parking lot, although it can get busy.

Sanbangsan Mountain Food and Drink

All venues were open at the time of publishing. We do our best to keep the list updated, but restaurants, especially independent ones, often shut down. Please confirm the place is open before visiting.

One and Only Cafe

One and Only Cafe is located on Hwanguchi Beach, in the shadow of Sanbangsan Mountain. It’s notable for its large outdoor seating area, the views of the mountain, and its tasty selection of cake, food, and coffee.

Address: Jeju-do Seogwipo-si Andeok-myeon Sanbang-ro 141

Website: https://www.instagram.com/jejuoneandonly/

Coffee Sketch

Cafe situated on the seafront next to Yeongmori Coast. Buy coffee and dessert and enjoy the views out over the ocean.

Address: Jeju-do Seogwipo-si Andeok-myeon Sagyenam-ro216beon-gil 24-32

Website: https://www.instagram.com/coffeesketch_jeju/

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Photo of author

Duncan Elder

Duncan first came to Jeju in 2011. The plan was to stay for six months. 11 years later, he's still here and enjoys sharing his knowledge of the island on Inside Jeju.