Mount Chilbo

Rugged beaches along the coast of Chilbo, North Korea by Eric Lafforgue, www.ericlafforgue.comThe rugged Chilbo coastline is spectacular for its rocky islands and outcrops © Eric Lafforgue

This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is a remote and rarely visited area of dramatic coastline, jagged peaks and steep valleys.

Mount Chilbo (or Chilbosan), literally the ‘mountain of seven treasures’, is a remote and undeveloped area of dramatic coastline, jagged peaks and steep valleys, part of the volcanic Paektu chain that stretches all the way from Mount Paektu to Ulleung Island in South Korea. Millennia of weathering on the basalt, trachyte and other igneous rock has wrought the landscape, the provincial propagandists will tell you, ‘into fantastic forms and sheer cliffs, which present beautiful and original scenery in good harmony with the East Sea of Korea’. A bit of a mouthful, but a spot-on description. Like Mount Kumgang, this area is also divided into three parts: Inner Chilbo, Outer Chilbo and Sea Chilbo.

The area, which became a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2014, is best visited from early May to mid-October, but there is something to be said for visiting at the bookends of this window, which allows you to see the very best of the spring or autumn colours. Regardless, as long as it’s not shrouded in mist, the scenery in this national park will be memorable: 503km² of craggy mountains that rise to 1,103m above sea level, blanketed in dense forest, save for when the gravity-defying rocks jut skywards.

Back to the top

North Korea articles

View all

UFO towers, marzipan churches and giant pineapples: the world’s strangest buildings

From a pyramid that rivals Doctor Who's Tardis to a library that has been classed as one of the ugliest in the world, here's our pick of the world's most unusual buildings. 


The most impressive lakes in the world

From boiling lakes to vast alpine bodies of water, these are our favourite lakes from around the world. 


Nature in North Korea

North Korea is a country of great natural beauty. 


Related books

View all