Mudeungsan is the one mountain in Gwangju that has countless hiking trails, and to my surprise you can even visit a peak without the tiring hike! With a ski-lift and a monorail, you can touch the sky and see the millions of apartment buildings of Gwangju in the distance. This article includes a lunch recommendation followed by the Jisan Recreation Park at Mudeungsan where you can touch the sky and ride the Mono-rail.
How to get there
Take city bus 81 and get off at : Jisan Recreation Area Entrance. It is then a 5 minute walk to the recreation area. Or a 3-minute walk to the restaurant.
The Jisan Recreation park is hardly a full-day event, hence you can take your time and visit at the warmest part of the day, after lunch. We got a great lunch recommendation, that is ideally located at 5 minutes walking from the Jisan Recreation park. From arriving to the restaurant to walking back to the bus home, it took less than 4 hours. This might be longer if the crowds are bigger and the queues at the rides are longer.
Restaurant: Yangmanhwi Seafood Raw Clam Noodle Soup
The restaurant is famous for Kalguksu – 칼국수 – hand-cut noodles in seafood broth. It has a separate parking lot, and banners you can spot from far. The setting is floor-seating, so you have to remove your shoes when you go in.
We ordered 왕 만두 and 해물칼국사 for 4 persons – which arrives in one huge bowl that you can share like one happy family?.
The poster on the wall describes how to best eat the 보리밥 barley-rice you receive as a side-dish. It should be most delicious when mixed with a bit of chili paste and some soup water.
Once you have eaten enough, it is time to get on the rides.
Buy your tickets at the Emart24 convenience store.
The mono-rail is a go-and-come 2-part trip, but you cannot opt one-way. You will thus buy a round trip mono-rail ticket. The ski-lift will take you to the starting point of the monorail. You can choose to take the ski-life in 1 direction, and hike the other way, but we were told it was a 1,5-2 hour hike. So the best experience to see the autumn foliage is if you take the ski-lift round trip as well as the mono-rail round trip. This is the package ticket, of 17,000 per person. Keep your ticket in your pocket, as you have to show it when entering the skilift and monorail, and it gets punctured. For the last skilift trip, you hand over your ticket.
Note Buy a drink and visit the bathroom at the Emart24 because that is the only chance you will get!
The ski-lift and mono-rail are seated by 2 people at a time. As it is slow in motion, it is safe and not scary. There is a net hanging below the ski lift, where you can find an occasional slipper! The speakers blair an outdated tune, but due to the traveling of the skilift the echo sounds like the doppler effect. If you have a selfie-stick you can take great pictures of yourself in the ski-lift with the surroundings that clarify how high up you are!
Once you arrive at the top, a platform is made, with a building that used to be a café but sadly is no longer in operation. The place looks a bit deserted. Perhaps this has not yet been reflourished after corona.
A short walk will take you to the entrance of the mono-rail, where you queue and groups of 20 people are allowed on the monorail at a time. There are only 2 cars on the rail, so the wait is about 15 minutes.
The mono-rail is electric, and gets plugged in to charge at every stop. It is slow, so do not worry about catching a cold or getting nauseous. It gives magnificent views of the green hills of Mudeungsan mountain and the ocean of apartment buildings that are in Gwangju.
The short monorail ride will get you to a new platform, where you have to climb quite a few stairs. There you will find an old pagoda that would look so much better with a new coat of paint. Standing between the pagoda and the edge gives you a great photo spot! Again, there are no cafes, bathrooms, or vending machines, so prepare ahead, and don’t wait too long.
The trip back shows you the same track in the opposite direction, and another ride down the ski-lift. As it is slow and quiet, it is more of an enjoyable moment for all ages, rather than a thrilling ride. Going in autumn would be the best value for money of your ticket. As you can see, we went a little too soon, as the mountain’s trees were still too green to capture the autumn colors.
For more information, you can read the gwangju website’s post about it
When returning home, you can walk out of the hotel parking lot and downhill towards bus 81 again. There are quite a few quaint cafes along the way, as it is close to the Court of Law (법원), also an area with cute cafes. All in all this is a great spot for a pleasant autumn date.