By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik, Feature Editor Kim Hyung-dae, Reporter Jang Ji-sun
The 46-seat cable car runs to the top of Mt. Baegam-san at 1,178 meters above sea level in the Hwacheon County area.
The Hwacheon Baegam-san Cable Car, at the the northernmost and highest city in Korea, offers a panoramic view of South Korea and also North Korea. This impressive cable car service began operation in earnest with the opening ceremony held on Oct. 21, 2022.
On October 21, the Hwacheon County hosted an opening ceremony for the Baegam-san Cable Car in Pungsan-ni, Hwacheon-eup, with the attendance of County Mayor Choi Moon-soon, Provincial Economic Affairs Vice Governor Jeong Gwang-yeol, the Republic of Korea Army 7th Infantry Division Commander Son Gwang-je, Country Assembly Chairman Noh Yi-eop, and leaders of many other public organizations and associations-as well as civic representatives of the County.
The Baegam-san Cable Car, which was unveiled for the first time in eight years since the construction began in March 2014, is the only cable car in Korea that goes north and south of the civilian control line south of the Demilitarized Zone in the Hwacheon County, the forefront of the Central-Eastern region of the Republic of Korea.
The Baegam-san Mountain is the last battle site of the Korean War and the scene of the Battle of Geumseong, which was fiercely fought over the highest front area in Korea.
The Baegam-san Cable Car, which runs 2.12 kilometers one-way along a steep ridge at a speed of 5 meters per second, is operated in a pontoon type, in which two 46-seater vehicles move in both directions, rather than a gondola type where cabins circulate.
A part of the inner floor of the cable car is covered with glass, so that the tourists can observe the natural scenery and vegetable below Mt. Baegam during the boarding time of about 15 minutes.
When the riders climb to the top, a wide view opens in front of them, where they can see both North Korea's Mt. Geumgang Dam and South Korean side's Peace Dam.
For military base operational reasons, the Baegam-san Cable Car is operated only by reservation through the website, and the number of people allowed to enter per day is limited to 500.
The round-trip fare is 19,000 won for adults (individual) and 18,000 Won for groups (more than 20 people).
Local residents, persons with disabilities, people of national merit, senior citizens over 65 years of age, and residents of local governments near the border between Gangwon-do and Gyeonggi-do, receive a 6,000 won per adult and 4,000 won for youth under the age of 13.
The cable car is planned to be operated in connection with the Pyeonghwa Nuri cruise ship on Paro-ho Lake. The Hwacheon County will build the 40-ton Pyeonghwa Nuri and operate it with a cable car to develop new tourism products.
This cruise ship with a maximum speed of 26 knots and a capacity of 42 passengers makes round trips in the 23-kilometer section between the Paroho Guman-ni pier and the Peace Dam.
With a cool interior with wide glass windows and a comfortable rest area, the Pyeonghwa Nuri has the ability to reach the Peace Dam in about 40 minutes, which is shorter than before.
After arriving at the Peace Dam by using a cruise ship, tourists visit security spots such as Bell Park and Bimok Park of World Peace before moving and riding a cable car to climb Baegam-san Mountain.
Inside and outside the region, it is expected that new tourism contents in Hwacheon-gun, such as the Baegam-san Cable Car and the Paroho Lake PyeonghwaNuri, will be a milestone that will change the paradigm of security tourism, which has been mainly operated by the Peace Dam and the forefront observatory.
This is because, if security tourism is combined with Hwacheon County’s proud Sancheoneo Fish Ice Festival, park golf, and Sansan-gil, it will add more entertainment elements for tourists to enjoy and experience.
Hwacheon-gun Trekking Spot ‘Bukhan River Sanso 100 Ri-gil’ is waiting for tourists. In November of last year, ‘Salang Bridge,’ a bridge connecting Guman-ri, Gandong-myeon, and Sanso-gil, Daei-ri, Hwacheon-eup, was opened. Transparent tempered glass is installed on the bottom of the bridge, and colorful lights create a splendid atmosphere at night.
In particular, it is expected to be of great help to the local economy as the number of staying-type tourists who stay in the region for more than one day and continue consumption activities.
Mayor Choi Moon-soon of the Hwacheon County said: “The Baegam-san Cable Car and the Paroho Lake PyeonghwaNuri will become the center of security tourism to experience the pain of the divided South and the North. I will focus on it.”
Mayor Choi Moon-soon introduces his county, Hwacheon-gun, as follows:
Our county has many high mountains such as Daeseong-San mountain, Hwaak-San mountain, Baegam-San mountain, and Jeokgeun-San mountain. All of them have such beautiful valleys which are filled with the cleanest and coldest stream in the Republic of Korea. The valley water meanders into the scenic Paroho Lake and the Hwacheon Lake all the year around.
In addition to that, our county holds ‘Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival’ in winter that is held in every January when our county is surrounded in the beautiful snowy scenery. In summer, ‘Hwacheon Jjokbae Water Festival’ is held in every July when the summer romance in clear water and on green fields is wide-spread in visitors’ heart. And we open ‘Hwacheon Hwaak-san Tomato Festival’ which is very famous for its best–themed family tour in the nation.
The Hwacheon County also boasts the cleanest environment in the nation where the nature and town people co-exist in harmony.