Pujon Highlands and Stone River
Pujon Highlands is one of the ‘Eight Great Sights of Korea’ (high praise in a country blessed with a wealth of amazing scenery). It is one of the more remote and scenic parts of North Korea open to tourists. To get here, it's a gruelling journey with the reward of something both beautiful and quirky at the end of it.
Pujon Stone River is one of the natural marvels of Korea, and even just the journey through the winding mountain roads of South Hamgyong Province is worth making.
Deep in the spine of mountains that runs the length of Korea, in South Hamgyong Province. The Pujon Stone River sits on the slopes of Mt. Okryon.
Any visit to the Pujon Stone River will depart from Hamhung, the drove takes around 2-3 hours in each direction and includes many places to stop for scenic views and photos (locals travelling this route often make stops at mountaintop pavilions along the way too).
There being nowhere to stay overnight in the Pujon area this will be a day trip from Hamhung for almost all visitors, when you're sat on the sand at the Majon Beach Resort or in the bar at the Sinhungsan Hotel at the end of the day you will have quite a journey to reflect upon!
On arrival in Pujon County, the first stop will be the famed Pujon Stone River, this is a truly unusual and epic sight to behold.
Pujon Stone River is made up of a huge field of naturally-formed rocks, most of them very large indeed (up to 4m across), forming a ‘river’ several metres deep and stretching over 700m downslope.
At 120 m wide it is a huge field and the fact that there is an actual river running underneath the rocks makes the sight of this static flow of rocks mixed with the sound of water flowing beneath a haunting and bizarre quality.
It is possible to climb down from the wooden bridge that runs over the Pujon Stone River, but care should be taken as gaps between the rocks can be quite large, and the ‘River’ is up to 5 metres deep (and that’s before you get to the actual river beneath it!)
For any visitors who like a touch of Revolutionary Activity with their natural wonders, there are also a couple of Slogan Trees on hand to show that the area was used by the Guerilla Army during the anti-Japanese resistance period (the 1920s-40s).
After the wonders of the Pujon Stone River it is time to get a more conventional view of some landscape, the peak of Mt. Okryong offers an amazing view of the surrounding valleys and mountains and can be reached either by a long hike or a short drive.
At the top there is a lovely stone cabin built under a massive rock.
This is the Okryong Revolutionary Site, used by partisans and guerillas back in the day, the local guide will explain the revolutionary history of this area of course, and the combination of important 20th-century Korean history with the lovely landscape little-seen by foreign eyes makes the long and bumpy drive here and back very much worthwhile!