Climbing Seongsan Ilchulbong: Sunrise Hike on Jeju Island

us hiking Seongsan Ilchulbong

A Memorable Sunrise Hike

There’s a special kind of magic in watching the sunrise over the vast ocean—its golden hues gradually piercing the darkness and painting the sky with vibrant colors. This was exactly what we were after when we set out on the exciting journey to hike Seongsan Ilchulbong. Situated on the far eastern side of Jeju Island, it’s also known as Sunrise Peak because many people hike it just before sunrise. But to be honest, waking up at 3 a.m., tackling countless stairs, and navigating dark roads can be quite challenging, even for someone like me. Do you want to know more?

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Preparing to Hike Seongsan Ilchulbong

It all began in the wee hours of the morning. The stars were still twinkling overhead as we begrudgingly pulled ourselves out of bed at 3 a.m. Armed with excitement and a touch of sleepiness, we embarked on a mission to conquer Seongsan Ilchulbong before daybreak.

Props to my husband, who really doesn’t like to hike on vacation. But he did it anyway. The adventure truly began when we hit the road. Steven is a great driver, driving through the dark winding roads was nothing short of nerve-wracking. And as if the darkness wasn’t enough, the ever-helpful yet slightly annoying Kakao navigation voice chimed in at every twist, turn, and road hazard while reminding us to drive safely.

Fuel for the Journey: Missing That First Cup of Coffee

As avid coffee enthusiasts, the absence of that cherished first cup of morning brew was felt deeply. The winding roads demanded our full attention, and caffeine deprivation was a tough pill. But, in the spirit of adventure, we pressed on, knowing that the reward awaiting us at the summit would be worth every coffee-less moment.

Teamwork and Good Spirits

Embarking on such a journey is a testament to the strength of camaraderie. While this early morning escapade might be “my thing,” I must give credit to my companion, Steven, who embraced the adventure with minimal complaints. For someone who might normally cringe at the idea of rising before the sun to hike, Steven embraced the challenge and made the experience all the more enjoyable.

Sunrise Peak: Worth Every Effort

As we arrived at Seongsan Ilchulbong, the anticipation grew. The climb itself was no easy feat – a sea of stairs awaited us, challenging our leg muscles and lung capacity. But as the sky began to transition from pitch black to shades of deep blue, we felt the thrill of the moment. The ascent felt like a race against both the rising sun and our own physical limitations.

A Natural Wonder: Seongsan Ilchulbong

Seongsan Ilchulbong, or Sunrise Peak, is a tuff cone that emerged from the sea in a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago. Its distinct shape and historical significance make it a must-see attraction on Jeju Island. Rising to a height of 182 meters, the peak boasts a captivating bowl-like crater and intricate inner structures resulting from the passage of time and sea erosion.

Sunrise-over-Seongsan-Ilchulbong-in-Jeju-South-Korea-519x234 Climbing Seongsan Ilchulbong: Sunrise Hike on Jeju Island

The Sunrise Spectacle

The pinnacle of our journey was, of course, the sunrise itself. As the first rays of sunlight pierced the horizon, the sky was set ablaze with orange, pink, and gold hues. Witnessing this breathtaking spectacle from the vantage point of Seongsan Ilchulbong’s crater was a humbling experience, a reminder of the beauty and grandeur of nature.

us-hiking-Seongsan-Ilchulbong-sunrise-519x389 Climbing Seongsan Ilchulbong: Sunrise Hike on Jeju Island

Practical Information

For those considering embarking on this pre-dawn adventure, here are a few key details to keep in mind:


284-12, Ilchul-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do.

Need to Know

There are a lot of stairs and the drive in the dark was scary even with ”The Master Driver’ behind the wheel and that very annoying Kakao woman announcing every curve, speed change and numerous road hazards yet imploring us to drive safely. If I had it to do again, I would plan to stay overnight in the Seogwipo area or Seongsan-ri for the early morning climb. Starting your hike before sunrise ensures you’re at the peak to witness the magnificent sunrise over the ocean.


While the climb involves numerous stairs, the ascent takes about 30 minutes, making it manageable for most fitness levels.

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Seongsan-Ilchulbong-hike-together-519x692 Climbing Seongsan Ilchulbong: Sunrise Hike on Jeju Island

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, climbing Seongsan Ilchulbong before sunrise is an adventure that demands an early start, determination, and a sense of wonder. And that my friends, is the only qualifiers. It’s not a difficult hike at all. Moreover, the breathtaking beauty of the sunrise outweighs the challenges. There’smuch to gain– the sense of accomplishment and the memories created along the way are just a few. With a predominantly Korean crowd, the experience doesn’t feel overly touristy, allowing you to connect with the local culture and nature on a deeper level. If you find yourself on the enchanting island of Jeju, don’t miss the opportunity to witness the world waking up from the heights of Sunrise Peak.


[KakaoMap] Seongsan Ichulbong
78, Seongsan-ri Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do


    1. Stacey A. Peters

      Not sure wgere you read tgat. The trail is open before that, its called the sunrise trail so you can watch the sunrise from the summit. The path is lit, so you can do it in the dark.

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