A Walk Around Sangdang Mountain Fortress – Cheongju, South Korea

A Walk Around Sangdang Mountain Fortress
Cheongju, South Korea

Around a thirty-minute drive from Cheongju in Chungcheongbuk-go province lies South Korea’s historic site number 212. Sangdangsanseong, or Sangdang mountain fortress, dates back to the three kingdoms period of 57 BC to 668 AD. The fortress comprises of a stone wall built around a mountain ridge, like a small-scale version of the Great Wall of China, which by comparision is a modest 4.1km in circumference.

I took a day trip to Sangdangsanseong and was immediately impressed by the good condition of the fortress wall. The initial climb to the main pavilion gate, Gongnammun, is a little steep but not too taxing if you are in reasonably good health. From here you can begin walking on the wall itself, which takes you all the way around and back to the start.

Atop the wall, the scenery is breathtaking so don’t forget your camera! On the way I met a group of young children who were doing the hike themselves. They were locals and lived in a small traditional village that is situated at the end of the hike, just a ten minutes walk away from where the climb begins. One of the girls gave me a dragonfly as a gift, which started to move in my hand. The youngest, dressed in a Superman shirt, ironically began to get tired and needed help getting around the wall – and he also drank most of my water. Eventually, the pace that the children were setting was too much for me and they said goodbye and marched on.

Dusk on Sangdang mountain
Dusk on Sangdang mountain
By the time I was getting to the end of the hike, the sun was beginning to go down and I was weary and hunger was setting in. This trip is an enjoyable one and can be done in an afternoon. At the end, I relaxed in the atmosphere of the traditional village and enjoyed an organic and fresh meal of boiled chicken, rice, and myriad vegetable side dishes. I slept well that night.

About the Author
Jason J.R. Gaskell is an ESL teacher and freelance writer who has been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, and Ezines; and more recently has been working on a new title for Dorling Kindersley publishers. You can see more of his articles on his website at: www.Jason-Gaskell.info

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