Seongsan Ilchulbong 성산일출봉: How I didn’t See the Sunrise at Sunrise Peak



Merriam-Webster Definition
                sunrise: the time when the sun appears above the horizon in the morning: dawn or daybreak.

My Definition
                sunrise: a magical moment when time ceases, darkness turns to light, and the sky explodes in a myriad of colors. 


            Seongsan Ilchulbong is a gorgeous rock formation on the eastern coast of Jeju. In the initial stages of planning for Jeju, I didn’t know anything about this unique place, but I figured that anything with the name of “Sunrise Peak” was more than worth a visit. 

            Sunrise Peak was a hydromagmatic volcano, and because of its singular seaside cliff location and unique geological qualities it has been designated a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. 


Our intention was to awaken before the sun, make our way to the coast, by bus, and watch the glorious sunrise from the pinnacle of this once upon a time volcano. However, the earliest eastern bound bus only departs at 6am and the ride is about an hour and a half long. Needless to say we missed out on seeing the sunrise from Sunrise Peak. 

Despite the change in plans, and the arduous climb, the view was well worth it! This breathtaking formation was created from a hydrovolcanic eruption where earth and water came together to form a crater that crowns the seaside.

The name Seongsan (성산) is quite fitting. The word  means “fortress“, while the word “” means “mountain“. As the rocky cliffs rise from the ocean creating a natural fortress, a lookout over the sea, 성산일출봉 is a perfect example of the beautiful relationship between nature and language. 

In this instance, the two are in harmony. 
I love converting people over to Korean fashion
(love the ajumma hat)! 

For a non-morning person, I was actually surprisingly awake. I think the trek up the peak might have helped.
We might have missed the actual sunrise, but the sun playing hide and seek in the clouds was a sight to behold nonetheless. 
Sisters on the descent.
I can’t imagine living in Seongsan Village, and waking up to such a view every morning.

While we were unable to view the sunrise from atop the crater, I am grateful for our extremely early start to the day, and early arrival. We climbed the peak with only a few other early birds and were able to gaze out over the water in relative peace.

Upon our descent, I happened to look at the once empty parking lot, and watched in horror as tour bus after tour bus pulled in. In only a few short minutes the path to the crater swarmed with people, everyone scurrying to the top (parasols in tow). 

I am thankful to have experienced sunrise peak during the brief early morning period of peacefulness.

I would definitely recommend arriving early enough to avoid this!

For basic travel information (fees, directions, etc..) check out Visit Korea, or visit Jeju’s Special Self Governing Province website.

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