W6 | Seoraksan – Kumgangsan Zone of Exception (Midterm)

by Naomi Marcelle Bachtiar and Song Tingxuan

The  Baekdudaegan is a mountain system that runs across almost the entire length of the Korean Peninsula, spanning 1500km. Connecting its highest peak in Paektu san in the North, to Cheonwang Peak of  Mount Jiri in the South, Baekdudaegan appears as the topographical backbone of the Korean Peninsula.  It plays an important role in Korea’s culture and history. The people of Korea traditionally believe that the mountains carry great natural energy which then gets dispersed down the ridge and the water. Some buddhist temples could also be found along baekdudaegan range. With its religious importance, some Koreans conduct pilgrimage hikes which slowly introduce hiking as a leisure activity as well. Hiking the Baekdudaegan is pretty common in South Korea. With a trail from Chiri san all the way to Seoraksan. In North Korea,hiking activities are still very limited. It was recently made available for foreigners to hike.Majority of Baekdudaegan remains simply as a ridge. A sample trekking activity happens in Paektusan, which is where the highest peak is located. Meanwhile, in other parts of baekdudaegan, there are many small mountain villages. Out of this 1500km ridge, 34.1% of it lies within the Gangwon province. It enforces linearity within the province, in the way coastal cities then gets developed in a linear fashion.

Looking at the importance of the mountain to the Korean people, we are interested in looking into the question which Can we use hiking as a method to connect the two mountains and build common experience for North and South Korea?

The project scheme that we are proposing consists of trails and pitstops, with the main trail being 86km long. We draw reference from how tourism was conducted in the past such as grand tours, where tourism takes place in a much longer timeframe. With this, our proposal encourages tourists to take their time as they go through and be immersed in this journey. Points of interests that exist near the main trail are looked into.

Overall Scheme
POIs in South Korea
POIs in North Korea
Vision: Cultural expedition that allows tourists to experience the nature and existing settlements (learn their way of life)

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