Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bukhansan (북한산)

In preparation for a hike up Hallasan on our upcoming trip to Jejudo this Chuseok break we've decided to go hiking every weekend until that time. I mentioned our first hike on a mountain near Halmoni's house from last week here, but this week, since we weren't in that area we wanted something a little closer. I suggested Bukhansan, a mountain on the northern side of Seoul. It's pretty famous, but I've never been.

We woke up a bit late on Sunday morning, and then after a phone call to my mom and an unexpected phone call from a friend we didn't leave the house until after 3pm. From there we had to walk to Dongdaemun and take a 1/2 hour bus ride to the mountain. Even from the bus stop we had to walk a bit more to get to the actual start of the mountain path, therefore, we didn't even start climbing until after 4pm.

I was a bit worried, but from the looks of the trail map, there were plenty of options for coming up and down the mountain. Bukhansan has many peaks, so one could hike for 2 hours or 10 hours depending on what you felt like doing.

The hike up to the ridge of the mountain took about 45 minutes, but from there it was a piece of cake. You can walk along the ridge and climb up and down various peaks. We started from Bibong peak and made our way west for some time.

The views from up there are quite spectacular. On one side you can see all of Seoul, and the other are the sheer rock faces of Bukhansan that go on and on.

View of Seoul from the top.

Comming down proved to be a bit more of a problem though. As I mentioned, Bukhansan has a lot of steep rock faces. Going up you don't notice how steep they are, but going down is quite treacherous. At one point we were told by a passing ajossi that the trail ahead wasn't worth taking and he suggested we follow him. It started out looking like a path, but before I knew it I was bouldering my way down the side of the mountain following this ajossi that looked like he knew what he was doing.

This was the actual path, just to give you some idea what I was trying to go down.

Finally, we met up with the actual trail again and started to make our way out of the woods. It was getting dark and I was getting worried a bit. But, there were still hikers about so it was a bit comforting to think that if I were stranded in the woods after dark, I wouldn't be the only hiker stranded in the woods. Finally we got out just as the street lights were popping on... another 10 minutes and we would have been hiking in the dark...

Anyway, we decided we'd like to go back and hike here for the day. It's so beautiful up here, and it's so close to the city it makes for an easy day trip. I definitely recommend hiking for a while up here, whether you have just a few hours or all day, it will be worth your time!


  1. This is very impressive, very scary, and very something I will never do. Until they have helicopter rides.

    And maybe not even then. Still, your pictures are great!

  2. haha, it's really not scary at all! Just stay on the path and dont follow ajossis like I did!