i thought i would get started with my travel posts to Korea. it’s been about 3 weeks since i have been back. and right now i am down with some kinda flu virus. im not feeling the best so hopefully reminiscing about my trip would make me feel a little better.
on one of the weekends, one of my friend suggested that we head to Bukhansan National Park to climb Bukhansan. i agreed because i also love nature apart form shopping. it was also going to be a good form of exercise. haha. however, it was a little different from our expectations. read on! (:
before we headed there, we met for a late breakfast and visited one of the palaces. that included a lot of walking under the hot sun. by the time it was mid-afternoon, i couldnt deny that i was already rather tired as i had slept pretty late the night before. but i couldnt give it up since it was already planned. so we headed there. the thing about Bukhansan is that it is very popular with the old folks. the few times i mentioned that i went to bukhansan to a few young koreans, they said that that place is boring. HAHA. But the older generations seem to love it. i think it’s because it’s a good activity to do in the summer time with friends. i guess this is also why the old people in korea are generally pretty healthy because they walk A LOT. when we were there, we barely saw any young people. it was mostly groups older than 40. some were MUCH older. and even looked old enough to be my grandfather. haha hats off to them. bukhansan is also HUGE to say the least. coming from a city like singapore, i hardly have a chance to see mountains so i am usually very amazed by the size of them. and it being so huge, there are many routes to go to the peak. after being a bit lost in translation with the locals, we made our way from the subway station (Gupabal) and took a bus to the foot of the mountain. there is an information desk that have staff who speak decent english to advise you on your route up. which we did. thankfully so because we are unfamiliar with the routes and difficulty levels so it’s a MUST to seek advice on how to go there. i dont think the information online is reliable as a we realized. so be prepared to go earlier if you want to make it to the top. on average it takes about 5 hours-8 hours to and fro. depending on your stamina and experience and of course your choice of route. you should also factor in breaks along the way.
one of our few stops earlier on our route. we picked a short route to a small peak that was about 1.6km from the base of the mountain since we didnt have much time and i didnt want to take the risk in case we got lost and the sun set 0.0 that would be horrible. so off we went. still smiling here. geared in our shorts and running shoes. no bagpack. on my guy friend had a small bagpack with him. he was wearing sneakers mind you. HAHA.
my friend joanna (: the steps are mostly cut in the mountain. some of them may be pretty high.
some selfies along the way. LOL.
likei mentioned earlier on, our route was supposed to be 1.6km long. it doesnt sound that far. neither did it to us. but we totally forgot that it was all on a steep incline. and i coudnt take it (weak!) haha. it was tough climbing those stairs with no added gear like hiking sticks. our progress was rather slow. the higher we went, the steeper it was. then the stairs disappeared and it became small slopes. sometimes we had to get on our knees to make it up safety. it was a little scary at times.ut was hard on our stamina (at least for me) and my legs were going a bit weak from all the climbing.
also, we walked past several locals who were kind enough to make conversation with us. some advised us to be careful as it was ‘very dangerous’ up top. so we told ourselves not to push too far and make our return trip when the time was up. (we gave ourselves a time limit to head back) i noticed that everyone was dressed in hiking gear! hiking boots, sticks, bagpack etc. they all looked so experience. all i had was a off shoulder bag-.-
and so we decided to stop at this landing. nevermind that we didnt make it 1.6km. i think we only made about 1km. haha. but the view was so beautiful. I can only imagine the view at the peak. we had a mini picnic and photoshoot there. HAHA. i was also half scared that we would fall off the cliff. lol. but to me, it was an accomplishment nonetheless. i wouldnt have wanted to trek on any further because as much as the ascend was tough, i knew the descend would be just a tough, if not tougher. i needed the strength in my legs me bring me down safetly, thankfully, my friends obliged as well. i think they were much better climbers than me. haha. so we made our way down. like i said, some of the steps were really high so u needed to go down the steps sideways incase u fell forward and on your face. zzz. that would be a pretty sight.
pretty stream at the foot of the mountain. some people were playing in the water. i believe it must be quite refreshing in the summertime. there was alot a waterfall at the entrance. but we didnt go past there when we were heading back.
in the evening.
overall, it was a great experience. not many of my other friends made the trip there. but i was so glad i did. of course i am so blessed to make it back safely because a slight loss of footing may have caused us a horrible injury. i am not an experienced climber and footing is very important along with adequate gear. so i am thankful to have had a rather pleasant experience. we were also blessed with good weather. if it rains, they dont not allow you to go up because it is too dangerous. so thank God indeed.
here are some things to bring/take note of if you plan to head to Bukhansan and if you are first timer like my friends and i
- be mentally prepared and plan ahead. i had another bunch of friends who did not plan ahead and seek advice from the locals and attempted to go all the way up with no gear as well and my friend told me she cried twice while going up because it was just all ropes and if she had let go she would have fallen down the mountain. definitely not something you want to happen to you.
- bring sufficient water and food. do not underestimate the importance of them. you WILL need them. bring more than enough depending on your route
- gear up. enough said.
- go in groups and do not leave your members behind
- know how to speak a little korean and read basic korean. this is very helpful as the locals cant really speak english and the signages are in korean. because there are many different routes and turns, you may get lost and knowing to read the signs is important.
- bring a camera
- bring sunglasses, sunblock and a hat. because it’s going to be hot!
- give yourself ample time to head back. incase of any emergencies or accidents, you would want to descend the mountain in the dark. tragic!
- do not litter
- enjoy scenery and nature!
that’s all for now. feel free to leave a comment and i’ll try to answer them (: