Meaning Diamond Mountain, Kumgangsan is located on the east coast of North Korea. Consisting of protruding rock formations, steep cliffs, waterfalls, valleys and natural pools, this area is ideal for natural landscape lovers and hiking enthusiasts.
The region's highest peaks reach no less than over 1600 metres above
sea level and form breath-taking sceneries.
The whole region spreads 40 km from east to west and 60 km form
north to south. South Korean tourists were actually allowed to visit
Mt. Kumgang for some years until 2008. South Koreans could also
visit the old town of Kaesong until the same year.
Located in Outer Kumgang, in the Kuryongyon District, these are one of the most renowned waterfalls in the DPRK and is one of the highlights of Kumgangsan. We usually arrange a hike around this beautiful area which offers us the chance of visiting a variety of other waterfalls and pools.
Also spelled Sangphal, according to Korean tales, fairies from heaven flew down to play in this area of Korea. After a hike around here there is nothing like lunch by the natural pools formed by the waterfalls surrounded by mountains.
This is considered one of the most beautiful scenic spots in the east part of the DPRK. Reaching depths of up to 13 metres, it is the deepest lagoon in Korea and was formed as a result of rock formations blocking a bay of the East Sea of Korea (referred to by Japan as the Sea of Japan; a term not used on the Korean Peninsula) where the River Nam approaches. You can see a picture of Lagoon Samil on the top of this page. The whole circumference of the lagoon is just under 6 km long.
This area offers a combination of natural beauty with historical sites and temples. This area of the Diamond Mountains spreads across the southwestern part of the Kumgang area. You can see a description of some of the main sites here in our hiking programs below.
We can arrange day long hikes in this region. The sample itineraries we use for both Outer and Inner Kumgang are as shown below. Please note that these are long specific hiking tours and that Kumgangsan can be visited without having to hike in the area if you would rather not do so.
-Sambul Hermitage -Pyonhun Temple - originally built in the year 670 and having had up to 20 buildings at one time, this temple was rebuilt in the late 1770s and consists of 6 halls and pavilions. It is surrounded by lush mountains in a tranquil location.
-Jongyang Temple - built in the year 600, it still conserves relics of the Silla, Koryo and Choson Dynasties. -Manpokdong
-Myogil Statue - a 15 metre high and over 9 metre wide buddhist statue carved on a mountain in the Koryo Dynasty.
-Podok Hermitage - literally suspending off a 20 metre cliff in the Manphok Valley in Inner Kumgangsan, this one room hermitage was initially built in the Koguryo Dynasty and then re-built under the Choson Dynasty the 17th Century.
Outer Mt. Kumgang Hiking RouteAM - Singye Temple site - Hoesang Pavilion - Okryo Pool - Sangpal Pool - Kuryong Waterfalls