Songnisan National Park and Beopjusa Temple
We arrived at the Songrisan National Park around 10ish. By the time, we had all used the vile drop toilets, and took photos of the pretty waterfall by the entrance and walked to the proper start of the trail, it was about 11 am. There was a pretty stream at the start of the trail and we took some photos of that.
The hike was a lot tougher than I had imagined. It started off okay, but as we started to rise the trail got muddy and as we climbed even higher it was snowy. We hiked for about an hour to an hour and half and we caught up with the others, who were all taking a break, in a kind of clearing, where you could look down on the valley and scenes below. The area is really pretty. We took a break and ate our snacks that we had brought with us. Then we hiked for about another twenty minutes to reach the peak. That part of the trek was really tough. It was snowy, but the snow was starting to melt, so it was pretty slippery. I was dreading heading back.
We got to Cheonwangbong Peak, there were quite a few people there. We had our photo taken at the peak marker, of course, and consulted the map. We weren’t heading to the other big peak, as we didn’t have time or the gear to do it properly. I wish that I had been told to bring my crampons and hiking poles, it would of made the hike so much easier and enjoyable. It took me ages to make it back down to the place, where we had rested earlier. I fell over once and landed in a puddle, my arse was soaking! I was not a happy camper! Also I hate the way Korean people are always up your arse on the trails and rushing to get past you. It’s a hike, chill out, take your time, enjoy it. It’s not a race that you have to rush to finish first.
Then next part of the trail was slightly better, even though it was snowy and slippery, there were some steps and lots of trees and plants to grab a hold of. I did injure myself though. I almost did the splits and pulled something deep in my groin area. Ouch! There were a couple of park rangers on the trail. They were lovely and offered us the use of their crampons. I refused because I was in a stubborn mood, and didn’t want to accept any help from anyone. Mel was much more sensible and accepted a crampon. After a while descending, the snow and sludge disappeared and the hiking became enjoyable again 😊
Songrisan National Park was nice, I’d like to come back in better weather and do the hike to the proper peak. One day… We got to the bottom of the mountain and we still had a canny walk ahead of us. We walked for about another forty minutes to reach the temple. At least we were walking on the flat road. It was so nice!
We arrived at the temple. It was pretty busy and there were quite a few people around. Beopjusa temple is famous for having the largest Buddha statue in Korea. It was founded in 553 by Uisin, a Silla monk. The temple complex isn’t too big, so it didn’t take too long to look around. We headed to the giant Buddha first. It totally reminded me of being in Southeast Asia, standing under this giant gold Buddha, if only the weather was warmer, then I could of been back there. We headed into the section under the Buddha, we had to take our shoes off and don some slippers. It was freezing in there. I was glad to get out and put my soggy feet back into my hiking boots. We then spent some time looking around the other building. We had spied what must be the temple stay accommodation. It looked brand-new! We filed it away in our memories as a potential place to do another temple stay.
We were starving by the time we left the temple, so we headed to the main street and found a restaurant. We ordered up a feast, mushroom rice, seafood pancake, and a meaty soup, that’s names escapes me. The food was nice, we’d never had the mushroom rice before it was good, but a bit bland. We washed it down with some makgeolli, that made me feel even sleepier. Then it was onto the bus to nap away the two hour journey home.