Continuing in the theme of me climbing on really big rocks, this post takes us back two weekends, to when I climbed Bukhansan, one of Seoul’s most challenging mountains. I met a hiking group on Meetup.com, which is seems to be a more effective means of finding people with similar hobbies here compared to Couchsurfing!
For those planning their own summit experience:
In order to get to Bukhansan, take the orange (#3) subway line to Gupabal station, exit 3. Catch a 704 or 34 bus towards Bukhansanseong Fortress (북한산성). There are alternate transportation routes, but I’ve never taken them. Basically, follow the crowds of Koreans dressed in their specialty hiking gear- the trails are hugely popular, and Bukhansan National Park holds the Guinness World Record for the park with the largest number of visitors per square metre.
As one would imagine, Baegundae trail, our hike of choice, was indeed quite busy- this ended up being a bit of a saving grace. Instead of being focused on my own exhaustion as I neared the peak, I was annoyed with the hordes in my way! This probably made it easier for me to keep climbing. 😛
Bukhansan is certainly a challenging climb. I wouldn’t recommend it for new hikers, the overly out-of-shape or the faint of heart. If one is unsure, I’d recommend starting with a mellower hike like Inwangsan or Namsan.
That said, 5 million foreigners and Koreans alike visit Bukhansan National Park each year and the vast majority of them climb at least partway up. If you’re interested, give it your best shot! The feelings of accomplishment when you reach the top will stick with you, and your day’s exertions will more than justify indulging in some beer, soju and delicious Korean food later on!
The skies finally started to clear up as we were making our descent- what a tease!
Afterwards, only three of our group remained, and we headed to Banpo to try to catch the Rainbow Bridge light show. ‘Tried’, as for some reason, it wasn’t lit up that particular night! However, the ‘floating islands’ nearby were worth a visit. \