The area was also teeming with hardcore Korean hikers – predictably cracking open their picnics and eating
lunch in near gale force winds as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I even saw one with a portable
rice cooker! This was such a contrast to the journey up there, which was serenely quiet, with few meetings
occurring with other walkers.
I would definitely recommend this hike if you are in the area and fancy a workout with a lovely payoff at
the end. You can even take things a stage further than we did, by continuing on another 3km past the rocky
cairn to Cheonjedan (천체단) altar – which we are told is gorgeous.
Getting to this part of Taebaeksan is easy. We took a taxi from downtown Taebaek and simply asked for
Taebaeksan Danggol (태백산당골) – which is the name of the main ticket area. Beware though – our taxi driver
suddenly upped the meter as we entered the road to the area – this sometimes happens when you’re being driven
to a tourist resort or attraction – especially if the drive is halfway up a mountain! The taxi ended up
costing us around 13,000 won. You can also take the number 7 bus from Taebaek Bus Terminal if you want to
save some pennies!
Once at Taebaeksan Danggol, you will see the little ticket office. It costs 2,000 won to enter the park.
My top tip here is to bring some empty water bottles with you and fill them up at the little fresh water
fountain to the right of the ticket office before you begin hiking. Trust me – you’ll need it!
Walk up the hill in front of the ticket booth, and you’ll come to a large square. Immediately on your left is
the entrance to the Taebaek Coal Museum, and just ahead, also sloping to the left, you’ll see the entrance to the
hike, which is signposted in Hangeul. Keep heading straight up there, even when you see a left turn a couple of
minutes later. From there onwards, the route is pretty obvious, and there are signposts in both English and Hangeul
with the different route names on them.
When you’re finished and you’ve headed back down to the ticket plaza again, there are pretty regular buses back
down to Taebaek downtown and the bus terminal, costing just over 1,000 won. The small bus shelter is just behind
the ticket office, and has a timetable on the wall – although it is all in Korean and is a little confusing. If
you’re not sure when the next bus is due, just ask the staff at the ticket desk – they will be able to help you
if you ask them clearly. If you don’t want to wait for a bus, there are usually one or two taxis waiting by the