|Stu and I at the top of Baegundae Peak|
|A view of Bukhansan National Park|
Hiking Bukhansan Mountain is one of the best ways to experience the beauty that Seoul has to offer. Leaving the pollution and crowded streets behind makes this national park seem like an oasis inside of a concrete jungle. The mountain is just North of Seoul about 45 minutes by bus or subway. A steep 836.5 meters or 2,744 feet above sea level will give you a completely different view of Seoul and its surrounding areas. On a clear day you can see outstanding views as far as Incheon airport and the mountains of North Korea.
The coolest part about the hike is that there are numerous temples and historical sites along the trails. The Bukhansan seong Fortress can be seen up close from many parts of the mountain and the Sasngungsa temple lies about twenty minutes into the hike. There are several peaks on the mountain, but the most popular is the top of Baegundae where you can see all of Seoul and the famous Insubong peak. Take a close look at Insubong peak and you will see tiny bodies climbing up the face of the massive granite rock.
The hike takes anywhere between two and six hours depending on your speed, weather conditions, and
traffic with other hikers. For average hikers it takes a total of four hours round trip. The trails are very rocky and steep, so be prepared to do a lot of physical activity especially towards the top of the mountain. Avoid going to Bukhansan during a holiday because Koreans are avid hikers and the trails will be flooded with locals. Trust me, I learned this the hard way when I went the day after Chuseok.
However, the other hikers can be well worth the annoyance if the weather is outstanding. If its crowded at least you can make fun of the standard hiking equipment used by most Koreans such as poles, space blankets, neon hiking outfits, special hiking shoes, and anything with a North Face label. You will be completely under dressed (by Korean standards) in your running shoes and yoga pants and might get some unusual stares!
The gear is a little much for a day hike, but the one thing the locals definitely do right, is packing an amazing lunch. My friend Milly in the picture below made sure to bring along extra snacks for our group. I also learned that most hikers bring along gimbap (Korean style sushi) and a few bottles of makgeoli (Korean rice wine) to celebrate reaching the top of the mountain! There are plenty of restaurants towards the bottom on the mountain to stock up on snacks for a meal during the hike.
To see live video footage of the mountain click on the videos below. Someone got hurt during my hiking trip and I took footage of the rescue helicopter as it flew in to drop off 3 paramedics. For directions on how to get to Bukhansan Mountain from Seoul or surrounding areas visit The Official Site of Korea Tourism or click on the following link Bukhansan Mountain.
|A Korean Flag on top of the mountain.|
|I thought this rock was awesome, it looks like a persons head!|
|One of the many streams that flows through the mountain.|