Seongsan Ilchulbong is a beautiful and unique feature of nature on Jeju Island. Also dubbed as the 'Sunrise Peak,' Seongsan Ilchulbong is a stereotypical tuff cone formed by hydrovolcanic eruptions upon a shallow seabed thousands of years ago.
The first-timers would wonder if this geological structure is really a product of nature's activity or not. It looks 'unnatural' and but genuine.
That was my feeling as I reacted upon seeing it physically during our visit. It is so famous that almost all visitors to the island would not miss seeing at least. But most curious travelers will not only see it in the distance but also wish to see the first light of the sun from its top.
Yes, I remember vividly, one morning, that my friend and I got up early and hike the steps up to the top and waited for the sun to shine--feeling so excited!
Most visitors get what they want. Unfortunately, that morning it was cloudy, and we didn't see the sun till it was already high above the horizon!
Seongsan Ilchulbong Tuff Cone was formed by Surtseyan-type hydrovolcanic activity by a shallow seabed about 5,000 years earlier when the sea level was like today.
These volcanic cones or oreums (Jeju dialect for volcanic cones) were formed by piles of scoria cones like those in Hawaii.
But Seongsan Ilchulbong Tuff Cone and a few other oreums on Jeju Island were hydromagmatic volcanoes. Such geological structures were formed when the hot ascending lava and seawater interact during an eruption.
Seongsan Ilchulbong is about 180 meters high. The crater on top is around 600 meters in diameter.
The tuff cone of Ilchulbong has almost a bowl-like crater, which is not filled with lava compared to most volcanic mountains. Except for the northwestern park, the Seongsan Ilchulbong forms a cliff because of the resultant wave following its eruptions.
Seongsan Ilchulbong shows an entire cross-section from the intracrater levels to the marginal strata. Its varied geological structures are considered to have great geological importance.
Its geological relevance can be useful in understanding the past eruptions of this volcano. Likewise, it can help volcanologists to study the processes of eruptions of volcanoes in other parts of the Earth.
Due to its beauty, relevance, and representative of human heritage, the UNESCO World Natural Heritage designated it as a natural heritage of humankind.
According to the source, Seongsan Ilchulbong's tuff cone has over 200 flora. Various plant species, including ferns, orchids, parasitic plants, herbaceous plants, and other plants, are not commonly seen in a more natural environment.
The biologist has found over 300 species of marine algae on its cone's ecosystem. And they are discovering more species as they continue to explore deeper into the funnel.
Getting to the Top
If you are healthy enough to climb your house's staircase (if you have one), then it would not be difficult for you to come up and watch the beautiful sunrise of the Sunrise Peak.
There are steps from the foot of Ilchulbong up to its bowl-like top part. The entrance is free of charge.
It is open from 7:10 AM to 7 PM during Summer and from 7:30 AM to 6 PM during Winter. You can leave your baggage in a storage room if you need to before climbing up.
The surrounding areas and the flatlands around Ilchulding are blanketed with yellow canola flowers during early summer. It is a spectacle.
Of course, you will be mostly seeing the expansive bluish sea everywhere, as if they're lifting Ilchulbong from the bottom of the ocean.
The views around are very relaxing, associated with the refreshing breeze from the sea.
Although not so close to Seongsan Ilchulbong, you can explore more attractions nearby.
Udo Sanho Beach or Seobinbaeksa
It is a famous beach on an island named Udo (or Cow's Head island). Udo Beach is also called Seobinbaekda Beach due to its red algal. The sea is attractively various in colors depending on the depths of the water--emerald, sapphire, aquamarine, etc.
Hanhwa Aqua Planet Jeju
Aqua Planet is the largest aquarium entertainment facility in East Asia. The aquarium houses over 45 thousand sea life forms, including those from local and international sources, which can entertain curious and excited visitors, including children.
Seokjikoji is a seaside flatland that offers a beautiful view of the area. It is most surprising when the canola plant is in full bloom with yellow flowers. Selfies, group photography, and scenery photography is perfect at this site.
It is a beautiful beach in Seokjikoji where you can find the canola plants that give beautiful yellow flowers in summer. The beach has fine sand and pristine. Feel the relaxing atmosphere and vast space and serene environment.
Jeju Olle Trail (Udo Island)
On this island, you can hike along the shore paths, green fields, the black lava stone walls, and finally reach the imposing structure of its famous Udo Lighthouse. Coming up to the lighthouse area would be an accomplishment and invigorating experience as you can explore with your eyes the beautiful sea with islands and the views of Jeju Island itself.
Below, you can see contact details if you want to learn more about Seongsan Ilchulbong and its related travel information.
Address: 284-12, Ilchul-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
제주특별자치도 서귀포시 성산읍 일출로 284-12
Phone: 1330 Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330
(Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Second phone: +82-64-783-0959
Website: www.visitjeju.net (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Malay)
You can take public transportation to Ilchulbong, including buses and taxis. Of course, you can also rent a car, motorbike, or bicycle, mostly available in Jeju City, Sogwipo, and other main towns on the island.
If you arrive from Jeju International Airport, take a bus to Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal. From there, take a Direct Bus (Dongilju bus bound for Seongsan).
Listen to the announcement on the bus, and get off when it announces the Seongsaljipgu Bus Stop. Or, ask the driver to drop you off at the closest bus stop of Seongsan Ilchulbong.
In the distance, you will not miss seeing the beautiful Ilchulbong, which requires you to walk for around one kilometer from the bus stop.
During our visit, we were riding our bicycle around the island and slept over at a 'minbak' (overnight stay at a private house) and got up early to climb and watch the sunset.
Thanks for reading this page. I hope you can visit this beautiful heritage site.