Bliss at Baegundae peak (hiking adventures in Bukhansan)

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!

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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. 😛

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There were lots of nice little streams all the way along. We were very tempted to plunge our tired feet into the water!

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The maps from time to time were certainly helpful. Just learn to pronounce the name of your particular trail, and you’ll be quite alright.

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The grey specks in the photograph are the swarms of insects hanging out, for whatever reason, at the very peak. We didn’t stick around longer than needed to appreciate the view and snap a few quick photos!

IMG_1980 IMG_1982 IMG_1988Gorgeous!

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Yup, we were there 🙂


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Yes, I look tired and red-faced from climbing a giant mountain. Much more importantly, I look and feel happy and accomplished!

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836 metres up- aka the home of five million flying insects.

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Yes, I had my lunch break on that particular boulder! I snapped these photos from the peak before heading down to escape the swarms of bugs.

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IMG_2008 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!

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And where better to enjoy a lunch break than 836 metres above a major urban metropolis?

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The descent was, at times, quite scary!! Those railings certainly came in handy.

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The skies finally started to clear up as we were making our descent- what a tease!

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Taken near the end of our descent- the other two boys in our group had long since tired of our slow downwards trek and had reached the base of the mountain.

Afterwards, most of our group headed to Hongdae for some fried chicken and beer- the perfect way to wrap up a long hike! Chicken is definitely something that Korea knows how to do well. Mmmm. IMG_2032 IMG_2033

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. IMG_2038\

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I’m glad we wandered over, because we enjoyed some red bean green tea bingsu! The bingsu itself wasn’t especially tasty, but the red bean jam and the green tea ice cream were wonderful.

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2 thoughts on “Bliss at Baegundae peak (hiking adventures in Bukhansan)

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