Hiking around Seoul
Famous mountains like Hallasan, Jirisan, and Seoraksan are crisscrossed with hiking trails, attracting visitors all year round. Of course, with over 70% of Korea’s land made up of mountains, there are plenty of hiking trails in the Seoul metropolitan area just as great. Courses range from easy walks to extensive climbs to the peak. Whatever course you choose, hike for 4-5 hours and then enjoy a post-hike meal for a Korean experience.
Pick a mountain There are many mountains in the Seoul area that are easily accessible via public transit. The main mountains to the north include Bukhansan, Dobongsan, Suraksan, and Buramsan. To the south lie Gwanaksan and Cheonggyesan. If you prefer to stay in the city, pick Inwangsan, Ansan, or Achasan. If you’re looking for a day-trip out of town, visit Surisan Mountain in Anyang, or Gwanggyosan Mountain in Yongin.
If you’re a skilled hiker, check out Bukhansan, Dobongsan, or Gwanaksan Mountains. If you’re a newbie, or just looking for a casual walk, head to Inwangsan, Ansan, or Achasan Mountains.
Prepare in advance No matter the course you choose, safety should always be forefront in your mind. Be sure to check the course in advance, making a plan for when you will start and finish. You should plan on leaving the mountain before the sun sets; this is especially key as the days begin to get shorter. Depending on which side of the mountain you are on, it can start getting darker earlier than surrounding areas, making it hard to follow the trail, or be aware of your footing.
Refuel after the hike
In Korea, a hike isn’t complete without stopping for a light meal at the foot of the mountain to recharge your depleted energy. Restaurants are usually clustered around the entrance to hiking trails, with the most popular dishes being dotorimuk (acorn jelly salad), pajeon (green onion pancake), bindaetteok (mung bean pancake), and makgeolli (rice wine). If you’re looking for something a little more filling, order haemul kalguksu (seafood noodle soup), makguksu (spicy buckwheat noodles), dak baeksuk (whole chicken soup), or ori baeksuk (whole duck soup with rice).
- Hiking manners
- Bringing flammable items such as lighters or gas burners is strictly prohibited, as is smoking in the mountain. If you are caught smoking or throwing cigarette butts to the ground, you will be faced with a fine of up to 300,000 won.
- Drinking while hiking is prohibited. Up to 10% of all hiking accidents are caused by hikers under the influence.
- It is polite to greet other hikers when meeting on the trail. If you are passing someone in a section where the trail is narrow, it is common manners for the person hiking up to wait while the person hiking down passes.