When I tell friends and family that I’ve climbed an oreum (volcanic cone) on the weekend or for work, they tend to think that my day was thus particularly strenuous.
On occasion, they are correct. But in the case of Geum Oreum (Geomeun Oreum) in Geumak-ri, Hallim-eup, Jeju City, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you look at it in terms of exertion vs. reward, then Geum Oreum has a not-so-well-kept secret. It’s easy to get to (via the 1135 Road), it’s an easy climb (178m), and the view is amazing!
When I arrived after lunch on a November weekday, the ample parking lot was pretty much empty. I expected as much, but then noticed that a gate with a road heading in the direction of the oreum was open. A few cars moved through. I was wondering if they were farmers or locals passing through.
Nope. It turns out that there’s a single-lane roadway that makes its way essentially to the summit of Geum Oreum. It’s used primarily by parasailing enthusiasts, who haul their gear up to the crater ridge to launch into the predominantly windy conditions found in the area.
Now I’d still recommend that people make the hike. It’s an easy 20-minutes, picturesque, and the sense of achievement once you get to the top is worth it. There is a large communication tower at the top which does distract somewhat from the overall experience. The rest of the panorama, though, makes it easy to ignore this one downside to Geum Oreum.
Note: There’s more than one Geum Oreum, so please consult the map below.
How to get there: It is possible to get to Geum Oreum by public transportation (namely, bus 755 or 782 from the Intercity Bus Terminal in Jeju City) but you’ll have to transfer to local 961. The total one-way travel time is about 90 minutes.
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