Friday, 15 June 2012

Daedun Mountain in North Jeolla

So last Sunday we were invited to join Jennifer for a hike up Daedun Mountain. Now I don't know about you but a hike to me suggests a good long walk, perhaps a slight incline from time to time, like a hike in the lakes for example. Here in Korea it seems a hike means full on mountain climb!

We took the one hour bus ride north to Daedunsan from Jeonju, pretty straight forward with a direct bus that dropped us off at the foot of the Mountain. As we walk up the steep hill past the restaurants and shops the first moment of doubt hits about the level of difficulty this hike will be.

I feel I should also mention the fact that the Euro 2012 games are at 1am and 3:45am here I was going off 1 hours sleep.

There were some interesting sights on the short hill past the shops, this being my favourite.
A pissing fountain 
Now if I can just bring your attention to the white bottles around the base of the fountains piss bowl, they are bottles of Mokoli. A rice wine that we were introduced to by Casanova in Hanok. It seems they like it here...a lot! We're told that the Koreans, before a good hike like to partake in a little Mokoli drinking and there are stations all up the mountain that serve Mokoli. Now I don't now about you but getting pissed while climbing a mountain sounds like a bad idea to me! We decided to pass on the Mokoli this time.

As we progress to the mountain we start with an amazing staircase through the trees, never really sure where to look because there's so much to take in. Although I did find it funny that there was some work out equipment here, it seems that's another thing they like here, to work out while on a hike!

Stairs at the foot of the mountain 
It's not long before the stair case loosens and the rocks become more uneven and scattered making this hike a little more of a challenge, not to mention the steep incline that the path is on makes it feel more of a climb than a hike.

I pretty good tree, as far as trees go

Out of focus but you get the picture

looking back 
Soon enough the trees begin to break and due to the steep incline the views begin to emerge. It was a beautiful day with only a few clouds in the sky which proved for some great views.

Not even half way up yet
Daedun Mountain is know for it's suspension bridge, which I think is one of if not the biggest suspension bridge that connects two peaks of the mountain with an 80M drop. This is where I start to get excited with ideas of Indiana Jones re-enactments and photo opportunities and Sophie becomes a little nervous. By the time we reach the bridge the 80M drop turns my stomach a little and a moment of worry before thinking just how brave Indi must have been to cut that rope!

Just arrived at the suspension bridge
Made it across
Looking from above

A borrowed photo just to illustrate the hight and distance of this bridge 
A slightly dodgy panoramic from the centre, but you get the idea
We progress up the mountain with yet more amazing views until we got to the suspension staircase, yep, not only do they have a bridge but they have a staircase which is round about 60 degrees steep with waist high hand rails. This was a little easier than the bridge but as you got higher you could feel a slight sway and when you turned around, well, the view and feeling was amazing. It felt as though you were right on the edge with nothing disrupting your view.
Suspension Staircase

View from the foot of the staircase

The other way

Couldn't help but think ' what if it breaks' I kept my thoughts to myself though 

View from half way up the staircase

Half way up, the previous photos were taken from that green platform 

Looking down the staircase, also in the background you can see the bridge we crossed
Ok so hard part over, to think people climb this in winter when it's all snow and ice! It's not far now to the top of the mountain, round about 20 minute climb up yet more steep rocks and another stop point serving food and Mokoli - seriously these guys are crazy - we reach the top.

Woop woop we made it
If you notice the guy to the left of the picture, you will see he has a large rucksack. We started chatting with him and he had bought up everything he needed to make Bibimbap - a Korean vegetarian dish - he the put his bag down, pulled out a container full of chunks of watermelon and handed out fork's to me and Jennifer, he didn't have a third so Sophie got the ladle. Being given watermelon at the top of the mountain was the last thing I would have expected when I woke up Sunday morning but it was just what was needed.

MMM Tasty
If you notice in the background the guy on the cliff edge outside the railings - now look over his shoulder in the distance you'll see another guy on the cliff edge! I've no idea how they get there but it was the same throughout the hike, there seems to be no set path, only a guide to the safest path as the Koreans would be all over the mountain standing on some edge just waving as though it was normal.

Pics from the Peak just under 900M

Can you spot the crazy guys?

Sophie at the Peak

Now for the be continued :)


  1. I stumbled upon your blog from a google search of places in visit in Korea. My husband and I live in Seoul and I want out of the busy city for a weekend. Your blog convinced us to make the trip for this wonderful hike and to explore the area.

    1. Excellent, I'm sure you will enjoy hike. It's been my favourite hike of Korea and it was my first. It'll be lovely this time of year. I would advise eating before the hike and avoiding the restaurants at the foot of the mountain. They are expensive and not that great. We only ate at the last one in the run, closest to the mountain, but we've been told by others not to bother with any of them.

      If you will be staying in or visiting Jeonju it's self please don't hesitate to ask for places to go, I'd be happy to suggest a few options.

  2. Do you think the climb will be hard on someone's who's terrified of heights? How was the climb down? Was it equally nerve wrecking? Is there a cable car option available?

    Apologies for the multiple queries - stumbled on your blog when I was trying to find out more about this hike. Love the pics! ^_^

    1. I think the hike is fine for someone who is terrified of heights for the most part, the challenge comes when you have to cross the bridge. Sophie has a fear of edges more so than heights and she found this really tough.

      I don't think she'll mind me saying but she froze half way across the bridge and a few tears may have been shed, I had to pretty much push her the rest of the way.

      There isn't a cable car unfortunately and it's also one way, once you cross the bridge you have to keep on going and head up the suspension ladder. Sophie actually found this one easy as it's closer to the rock and less of a drop. She still couldn't look around though.

      Once you pass these two obstacles however it's all easy going from there, the edges are fenced off so you can't get too close to the edge and the views really are fantastic. It's still probably my favourite hike I've done in Korea and it was in my first week.

      Also, as I said before it's a one way system with the bridges, so you walk a different way down. Which means you'll only have to brave the bridges the once. Although it looks long in pictures, you can get across it in 30 seconds, quicker if you run :)

      It's actually a pretty short hike as well, a half day at most. It's rather steep though so it's no walk in the park. Also for one final bit of advise, don't eat at the restaurants at the foot of the mountain, they're over priced and not good at all.

      I hope this helps and feel free to ask any more questions you might have.