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    Mt.Chilbo - the mountain of seven hidden treasures


    Chilbo (Chilbosan in Korean) is a mountain area in North Hamgyong province, one of the 5 celebrated mountains of Korea. There are a million stories about the area and the rock formations, which guides are happy to share with tourists. Many of these stories have special charm so that some tourists have nominated Mt.Chilbo to be "the sexiest mountain of Korea".

    In 2000 Mt.Chilbo was included into UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List. The Mt. Chilbo Mountains embrace 700m to 1103m mountains forming a middle-altitudinal landscape. Mount Chilbo holds enormous cultural heritage, notably through the Kaesim Temple with its thousand year old history (built in 826), and ten other State Natural Monuments.

    The name "Chilbo" translates as seven treasures, stemming from the legend that Chilbo has seven treasures buried in it. It is scattered with beautifully-shaped rocks, resembling images that earns names such as the General rock, Marriage rock, and the Rabbit and Tortoise rock. The mountain, covering 250 square kilometers of area, is divided into Inner Chilbo, Outer Chilbo and Sea Chilbo boasting of waterfalls, fantastic rocks, thick forests and sea sceneries. Chilbo is particularly noted for its views when covered in snow.

    The Mt.Chilbo is called the "Mt.Kumgang of North Hamgyong Province". Amongst the main attractions apart from the views is the Kaesim Temple, dating from the 9th century.

    In July 2014 Mt. Chilbo was registered as an international biosphere reserve at the 26th meeting of the UNESCO International Coordinating Council of the Man and Biosphere Program, the fourth of its kind after the registration of Mts. Paektu, Myohyang and Kuwol. This biosphere reserve covers an area of 50,340 hectares with its highest elevation above sea level being 1,103m and lowest at 13m.

    How to Get There

    Mt. Chilbo located 565 km from Pyongyang. There are three major ways to get here:

    • from Pyongyang: take flight from Pyongyang to Orang (regular flight once a week but it may be not available in winter time, or charter flight) and then drive for about 2h to Mt. Chilbo
    • from Rason: drive from Free Economic Zone Rason to Mt.Chilbo, it is 5h drive
    • from Chinese-Korean border Tumen/Namyang: take a train or bus from Yanji to Tumen, on foot cross the border over Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge and get to Namyang and drive to Mt.Chilbo (about 5 h drive)



    This area stretches to the inland region of the Mt.Chilbo. The towering peaks are covered with pine trees viewed like green carpets and multi-farious rocks. Inner Chilbo is subdivided in districts of Kaesim Temple, Sangmae Peak, Naewon and Isonam.

    Sungson Pavilion
    430m southeast of Kaesim Temple is a pergola commanding a fine view. Literally known as "ascending to heaven", the pavilion is referred to a legend that fairies who visited the Mt.Chilbo and bathed in the Kuryong Pool, danced and ascended to heaven. All interesting sights of Inner Chilbo can be viewed from this pavilion either directly or via available free telescope.

    Kaesim Temple
    The Kaesim Temple is situated in the Mt.Pothak, central part of Inner Chilbo. First built in 826 in Palhae dynasty, it was rebuilt in 1377 in Koryo dynasty and repaired several times in Li dynasty. It consists of Taeung Hall, Manse Pavilion, Simgom Hall, Unghyang Pavilion, Kwanum Hall and Sansin Pavilion. Even though the DPR Korea is an atheist country all ancient buddhist temples are preserved and kept for future generations.

    Taeung Hall has five Buddhist images, seven pictures of Arahata, wooden bells with clappers. The lion-shaped wooden motar attracts the viewers. In Manse Pavilion there is a bronze bell which was built in 1764. Beside the temple there is a 600-year old tasty chestnut tree.

    Main Attractions and Map of Mt.Chilbo Area

    1. Home Stay
    2. Kaesim Temple

    3. Piano Rock
    4. Couple Rock

    Mt.Chilbo and surroundings touristic map


    Outer Chilbo extends to the route between Inner Chilbo and Sea Chilbo. The outer Chilbo is higher than Inner Chilbo. It offers skyscraping peaks, precipitous rocks, sheer cliffs, cascades, pools and fords. It is subdivided in districts of Jangsu Peak, Manmulsang, Rojok Peak, Tok Valley and Kangson Gate.

    Joyak Pavilion
    The Pavilion is located 400m above sea level and offers a panoramic view of Manmulsang and and Joyak Rock in the center of Outer Chilbo. There is a telescope in the Pavilion.


    This area stretches for 40km from the Musu Plain in the south to the Orang Plain in the north. Sea Chilbo is a continuation of sheer cliffs, queer-shaped rocks washed and worn by the sea and sand beaches. It offers mysterious islets and rocks on the sea, green pine trees emitting the smell of resin and white-crested waves. One of the best views of the Mt. Chilbo can be enjoyed from a boat.

    Sea Chilbo is subdivided in districts of Sol Islet, Chaehwa Peak and Takgochi.

    Home Stay

    One of the main attractions of Mt.Chilbo is a Home Stay with regular Korean family living in a private cottage in a village of about 20 houses. The two-storey homestay accommodations have running water (cold water only), an electricity supply and televisions in every living room.

    The Home Stay village is our base camp in Mt. Chilbo, it is located at the shore of Sea Chilbo. It is a unique opportunity to mix with North Koreans who are not guides and wander freely around the homestay village. It is the only place in the DPRK where foreign tourists (except for Americans, who are allowed to visit during the day but cannot stay for the night. They can spend the night in a hotel in Outer Chilbo) can experience Home Stay. It is advised to present local hosts with a small gift such as snacks, cigarettes and soju, a potent local liquor traditionally made of rice, wheat or barley.

    Kim Jong-il’s visit the opening of the Mt Chilbo Homestay in 2006 when he stayed 2 nights in the guest room of one of the cottages. You still can see and stay in the same room (in house 16), which hasn't been redecorated since his stay.

    Activities in Sea Chilbo

    While in Home Stay there are many things you can enjoy:

    • go swimming at delightful beach in Sea Chilbo near Home Stay village or just relax and enjoy white sand and clean blue ocean
    • have open-air picnic at the sea shore or near falls - cook clams with the locals and enjoy Korean food at fresh air
    • try your strength with local masters in traditional Korean game Sirim (something like Japanese Summo but with much smaller opponent): two men bow and reach forward, taking hold of each other’s belts. Then they try to flipp each other onto the sand
    • take a boat trip with local fishermen to enjoy the best views of the area from the sea
    • play volleyball with local team  – a favourite game among Koreans, and they are really good in it. Hope you will be lucky and your foreign team will not be put to shame by the Koreans who play a fast and tight game
    • enjoy a session of local folk songs around a campfire with beer and baked in open fire potato and maize

    Orang town, and the way to Mt.Chilbo

    Orang is a small town which hosts Orang airport (chilbo airport) - a gateway to Mt.Chilbo (2 h drive to South) and Free Economic Zone Rason (3 h drive to North) via Chilbo city. Usually tourists get to Mt.Chilbo via Orang either driving from Rason or flying in from Pyongyang.

    Restaurants/ Cuisine

    The Mt.Chilbo offers many specialities. Among them pine mushroom is the first recommended. There are tens of species of muchrooms growing in Korea, but the pine mushroom of the Mt.Chilbo is the "king" of mushrooms. The tasty and nutritious pine mushroom contains lots of protein, fat, mineral matters and vitamins.


    In Chilbo area there are several accommodation options:

    • Tokpho Hotel - second class rooms (1), third class rooms (6)
    • Waechilbo Hotel - situated in outer Chilbo, it is the village of five houses. 25 rooms (50 beds)
    • Outer Chilbo Hotel - special place where Americans tourist can stay instead of Home Stay

    Our Tours including Mt.Chilbo

    We have group and individual tours visiting Mt.Chilbo. Drop us a message to check what options are available for you: postmaster@koreakonsult.com

    Around Mt.Chilbo

    • Rason - the Rason Special Economic Zone, is about 5h drive from Mt. Chilbo, it is collaboration field for DPRK, Russia and China
    • chilbo - the DPRK's third largest city, the second-largest industrial city featuring an array of factories, mills, towering chimneys and spindly black cranes. Chilbo has been nicknamed "The City of Iron" for its six million tonne-capacity Kim Chaek No 1 Iron and Steel Complex

    Other Korean Mountains

    There are five celebrated mountains in Korea, and you can check out other four:

    • Mt.Kumgang - on the east coast near South Korean border
    • Mt.Paektu - on the Chinese border in the north
    • Mt.Myohyang - from Pyongyang 160km to the north
    • Mt.Kuwol - on the west coast near Pyongyang