*Updated December 2020*
Hallasan, a massive shield volcano, tops out at 1950m. It is the highest mountain in South Korea and just like any other country’s premier peak, it is one of the hottest items on the hiking menu.
“But wait …” I hear you say, “a volcano?”
Well, a volcano it is, and classed as an active one at that, but don’t worry – it hasn’t erupted for about 5,000 years and is basically dormant, it’s just that the boffins can’t agree on its true status.
Forming the bulk of Jeju, Hallasan is central to the island’s identity. It gave birth to Jeju, and to the locals, the two are often interchangeable, one and the same. No matter where you are, you can see its distinctive profile against the sky, and when it’s shrouded, thick and grey, you can still feel its huge bulk rising behind you.
It is a fantastic hike and one of our favourites in Korea. Jeju’s isolation from the mainland has made it a unique place and the journey up the mountain displays its great qualities, from the beautiful, low lying forests to the craggy beauty of its upper flanks. If you get lucky you’ll see out across the whole of Jeju as you climb, and the crater lake on the summit is a special place.
If you like hiking, nature and spectacular views – and let’s face it, what’s not to like – plan a trip to Jeju Island and put Hallasan first on your list. Watch the video and check out the rest of this guide to find out all you need to know about hiking South Korea’s highest peak.