We went to Korea to see fall, and we heard there is no better place in Korea to see fall foliage than Seoraksan National Park. It certainly was impressive! However, it can be a bit daunting to travel cross-country in a brand new country, especially when traveling with small children (we traveled with a 20 month old and a 5 month old). Rest assured, it was easy-breezy. South Korea really has the public transportation thing figured out. Even with virtually no knowledge of the language, we had no problem getting around. Here’s our step by step guide to getting from Seoul to Seoraksan.
1. Travel by train from Airport
If you are coming from Incheon Airport you will need to take the Airport Railroad into the city. There are express trains and “all stop” trains. The express train is faster but comes less frequently, so in some cases the “all stop” train may be faster. When you buy your ticket, you can buy it all the way to the “Express Bus Terminal Station.”
2. Subway from Seoul Station to the Express Bus Terminal Station
No matter which train you choose, you will need to get off at the Seoul Station and subway to the subway. The Express Bus Terminal Station is located on Metro line 3. If coming from Seoul Station, you will want to take Line 4 to Chungmoro (3 stops) and then switch to Line 3. Follow the signs as you exit the station to reach the bus terminal.
3. Bus to Sokcho
Computer displays in the station allow you to search the route and see when the next bus leaves for Sokcho. There is a bus almost every 30 minute leaving, so you should have no problem catching the bus. The ride takes about 3 hours and is much more comfortable than I expected. I am accustomed to taking the bus in Thailand. Comparatively, Korean buses are cleaner, roomier and much more comfortable. We contemplated getting a seat for Miss C because on Thai buses we are usually a bit cramped if we take her as a lap infant. However, on the Korean bus, the wide arm rest folded down into the seat and she sat in between us. There was plenty of room.
The ride to Sokcho was so beautiful. Joel and Miss C slept, but I couldn’t keep from staring out the window at the scenery. It was the start to a perfect Fall vacation. The bus makes one 15 minute stop for bathroom and/or food. There is no bathroom on board.
4. Getting Around Sokcho
Once you are in Sokcho you have a few options of how to get around. There is a public bus line that runs from Sokcho up to the gate of the National Park (bus 7 or 7-1). The last bus stop is at the National Park gate. There are also taxis that are available to take you anywhere you would like to go. We hired someone from our lodge to pick us up at the bus station which made it very easy.
5. Geting to Seoraksan
When you are ready to visit the national park, you have a few options depending on budget and time. The public bus is the most affordable but probably the slowest route to take. Public taxis are relatively easy to find and can take you up to the park as well. Many of the hotels in the area offer drivers to take you to the National Park (or anywhere else). This option is probably the easiest but also the most expensive.
Check out hotels in Sokcho to find a great deal on a hotel for your trip!