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Visiting Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (Sunrise Peak)

The distinctive shape of Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak is one of Jeju’s most well-known sites.

Hiking | Nature | Recommended

Seongsan Ilchulbong featured image

Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (also known as Sunrise Peak) is arguably Jeju’s most well-known natural wonder.

Its steep cliffs rise out of the ocean on the far east side of Jeju, in stark contrast to the flat land that surrounds it. The location means it’s the first place to see the sunrise on Jeju (Ilchul means sunrise in Korean) while its height in comparison to its surroundings means its the best place to get views out over the side side of the island.

At first glance, the peak may look like an island, but it is actually connected to mainland Jeju by a thin strip of land that leads to the village of Seongsan.

The peak is a tuff cone formed by volcanic activity 5,000 years ago when lava rose from under the sea. Climb to the top of the peak, and you can clearly see the shape of the peak’s crater, clearly showing its volcanic origin.

Meanwhile, the exposed cliff faces around the peak provide further insight into its origins. These volcanic characteristics mean the peak is one of Jeju’s Unesco World Natural Heritage sites.

Climbing Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak

Photo: The distinctive shape of Seongsan Ilchulbong.

Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak is 182 meters high and you can climb to the summit. While steep, a staircase takes climbers to the top of the mountain, making it a tiring but relatively manageable climb. It takes around 30, depending on your fitness level. The path can get busy, but there are several wider areas with benches where you can take a rest and enjoy the view.

When you reach the summit, you get views of the peak’s 600-meter-wide crater. Unlike the exposed cliff faces, the inner crater is covered in grass with jagged rocks around the edges. Turn around at the top, or at various viewpoints on the way up, and you get views out over the east of Jeju.

On a clear day you can easily see the silhouetted shape of Hallasan Mountain in the center of the island. You can also see Udo Island, which is the largest of the islands off the coast of Jeju, and a good next spot for your Jeju travels.

The peak is open from 7.30 a.m. until 7 p.m. from October until February and from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. from March to September. The entrance fee is 5,000 KRW for adults and 2,500 KRW for children and the park is closed on the first Monday of the month.

Getting to Seongsan Ilchulbong

Due to its location on the far east of Jeju, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak is about as far away from both Jeju City and Seogwipo City as you could possible get. But, the journey is relatively easy from both destinations.

Buses leave Jeju Bus Terminal every 20 minutes or so, heading to the attraction. The fastest bus is the 111 express bus, which takes one hour and 14 minutes and leaves terminal every 70 minutes. The 211 and 212 takes 1 hour and 24 minutes and 1 hour 25 minutes, respectively and depart every 20 to 30 minutes. You can also get the 112 express bus from Jeju International Airport.

From Seogwipo Bus Terminal, you can take the 201 bus, which takes 1 hour 35 minutes. Download the Naver or Kakao Maps app for your smartphone for up-to-date bus times.

If you want to drive or take a taxi, the journey from both Jeju City and Seogwipo City takes around an hour.

Visiting Seongsan Ilchulbong from one of Jeju’s cities?

Then I recommend making the trip to the peak in one go, exploring the surrounding area (see the recommendations below), and then using the journey back as an opportunity to explore the east side of Jeju.

For example, the last time I went to Sunrise Peak I stopped off at Weoljeong Beach and Manjanggul Cave on the way back to the city.

What to do near Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak?

The area around Seongsan lchulbong is filled with fun things to do. Here are some of the key recommendations.

Explore Udo Island

Udo Island is a beautiful island just off Jeju’s east coast. It’s got beaches, an oreum to hike, and a walking trail that circumnavigates the island. You can also rent bikes to explore the area. Ferries depart from Seongsan Port, which is a short bus journey or 1.5 km walk from Seongsan Ilchulbong.

Walk around Seopjikoji

Seopjikoji is a cape around 5 k.m. south of Seongsan Ilchulbong. There’s a path around the cape’s rocky coast, the highlight of which is the lighthouse. In spring, the area fills with yellow canola flowers.

Visit Aquaplanet Jeju

Aquaplanet Jeju is a huge aquarium at the entrance to Seopjikoji. It’s home to 48,000 animals from 500 species. The main tank has a huge viewing window that covers an entire wall, giving a great view of the sealife inside.

Hike an oreum

If the hike up Seongsan Ilchulbong left you wanting more, there are several other volcanic hills in the area that are worth climbing. Daesusan Bong is the closest, it’s a 137 meter high peak covered in thick forest with a viewing platform at the top. It also forms part of Olle Trail 2. Jimi Bong is around 8 k.m. further along the coast, and is 164 meters. It’s a steep walk but the views are worth it.

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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.