You probably think that Mount Kumgang is another regular mountain where you can trek or hike or climb. Well, this Kumgansang or Diamond Mountain has some of the best and most interesting tourist destinations. You can actually enjoy the waterfalls, steep peaks, and ancient (Buddhist) temples if you are going there.
About the Mountain
Mount Kumgang is situated in North Korea; to be exact, on the eastern coast of Korea – on the southern side of Wonsan. It’s not too far from the demarcation line with South Korea. In fact, it is only 31 miles away from Sokcho, a South Korean city in Gangwon-do. The mountain has 12,000 peaks and lies 1,6300 meters high. Before 2010, this mountain was closed for visitors and tourists. But now, tourists can enjoy the beauties offered by the place.
The excitement of exploring Kumgang Mountain is the hilly areas where you can find hidden hermitages and ancient temples. You can hike up to the peaks – either Sejon Peak or Sujong Peak. Besides enjoying the view, you can also relax at the spa – Kumgangsan Spa – after a long and tiring hiking day. Mount Kumgang alone is divided into 3 major parts: Sea, Outer, and Inner Kumgang.
Oekumgang or Outer Kumgang
This area is situated between the Sea and Inner Kumgang. It is the main destination with Kuryong Falls, an iconic waterfall in Korea. In this place, you can also find Oknyu Pool and also Falls, Rabbit Rock, Shanghai Pools (which is the place where 8 fairies played when they came down from the heaven), Kumgang Gate, Hoesang Pavilion, Pibong and Mubong Falls, and also Ryonju Pool and also Falls.
If you come to this area, you will learn about many interesting facts, histories, and legends. For instance, Rabbit Rock name was taken from a legendary story of a heavenly rabbit that came down to earth to play. After he was permitted to go to Mount Kumgang, he forgot the time because he was mesmerized by the beauty. He was then punished and changed to a turtle. Afterwards, he was still changed to rock. There are still many other interesting stories and historical facts about this area. If you are joining a tour, your guide can fill you in with info.
Naekumgang or Inner Kumgang
In this mountainous area, you can find hermitages, falls, and temples. Kwanum Temple, for instance, is a temple where 10 monks are living together. If you want to, you can join in the service and give a small donation. Podok Hermitage was built in 1675 so it was quite old. It is situated in Manphok Valley that is beautiful and delightful.
Haekumgang or Sea Kumgang
This area is more popular for the stone pillars and lagoons. Samil Lagoon, for instance, is a place where you can relax and wind up for a while. It has its own boat rental service so you can explore the lake. You can also find Tanpung Restaurant to enjoy a tasty meal after exploring the lake on a boat.
In this area, you can also find beaches, Revolutionary Kumgangsan Museum, and also hot springs. Hotels and restaurants are also available with nice service and convenient atmosphere.
Reaching the Mountain
From Wonsan, you will need to drive around 3 hours to reach the place. It is around 108 kilometres away. From Pyongyang, it takes 6 hours to 7 hours drive. If you travel from Wonsan, the road is somewhat parallel with the area’s coast but the road is either wire or fence. However, the area close to Sijung Lake is open so visitors can swim.
Read also: The Unique Attraction of Mount Paektu
In the event that you are interested in coming to North Korea and visit Mount Kumgang, make sure to plan ahead and reserve everything. You can go to Airpaz and reserve a flight with Air Busan. Do it now and you may get interesting offers.