Seongsan Peak, also known as Seongsan Ilchulbong or Sunrise Peak, is a stunning volcanic crater located on Jeju Island, South Korea. This natural wonder is an iconic symbol of the island and a UNESCO World Heritage site, drawing visitors from all over the world to witness its breathtaking beauty.
Formation and Geological Significance
Seongsan Peak was formed approximately 5,000 years ago during a volcanic eruption, making it one of Jeju Island's youngest volcanic formations. The result of volcanic activity, the peak rises 180 meters (590 feet) above sea level and features a distinct horseshoe-shaped crater at its summit.
Its unique geological structure and its contribution to the understanding of volcanic formations have led to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Hiking Seongsan Peak
Hiking to the summit of Seongsan Peak is a popular activity among tourists and locals alike. The trek is relatively short but can be steep in some sections, making it accessible to most fitness levels.
The well-maintained hiking trails offer various viewpoints along the way, allowing hikers to appreciate the stunning surrounding landscapes.
The best time to ascend Seongsan Peak is early morning to witness the breathtaking sunrise. The sight of the sun rising from behind the horizon, casting a golden glow over the crater and the surrounding sea, is a mesmerizing experience.
Sunrise at Seongsan Peak
Seongsan Peak's reputation as a sunrise spot has earned it the nickname "Sunrise Peak." On clear mornings, visitors gather at the peak to witness the sun rising over the horizon, creating a breathtaking panorama of colours. This natural spectacle attracts photographers, nature enthusiasts, and couples seeking a romantic setting.
Seongsan Peak is also closely linked to the unique cultural tradition of the haenyeo, or "sea women." The haenyeo are female divers known for their remarkable ability to free-dive into the sea to harvest abalone, seaweed, and other marine delicacies. Their tradition has been passed down through generations, and visitors to Seongsan Peak can learn about their history and cultural significance through exhibits and performances.
Dotted throughout the island, including around Seongsan Peak, are the iconic statues known as dol hareubang or "stone grandfather." These ancient stone figures are believed to offer protection and fertility, making them significant cultural symbols on Jeju Island.
Jeju Haenyeo Museum
Adjacent to Seongsan Peak is the Jeju Haenyeo Museum, which provides an immersive experience into the lives and traditions of the haenyeo. Through exhibitions, artifacts, and interactive displays, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of this remarkable aspect of Jeju's culture and heritage.
In recognition of its ecological value and importance for sustainable tourism, Seongsan Peak and its surrounding area have been designated as a Special Tourist Zone.
Efforts are made to preserve the natural environment while providing visitors with educational and enjoyable experiences.
Seongsan Peak is an awe-inspiring natural wonder that showcases the volcanic beauty of Jeju Island. Whether hiking to the summit, witnessing the sunrise, or exploring the haenyeo culture, a visit to Seongsan Peak is a memorable and enriching experience. This UNESCO World Heritage site stands as a testament to the geological wonders of South Korea and the island's unique cultural heritage. For travelers seeking both natural beauty and cultural immersion, Seongsan Peak on Jeju Island is an unmissable destination.