Few capitals can boast having a national park within the city limits. Bukhansan National Park, home to Mt. Bukhan (Bukhansan), can be reached in half an hour’s journey from Seoul. At a manageable height of 2,742 feet (836 meters), the peak attracts fit hikers with its scenic walking trails and bird-watching opportunities.
Particularly popular with hikers and mountaineers, Mt. Bukhan is easily accessible from Seoul on either a half- or full-day tour. Travelers can combine climbing the mountain with a visit to a traditional Korean spa, which gives you the chance to soak aching muscles in a variety of thermal pools. If you want a tour that’s tailored to your hiking ability, consider a private tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Mt. Bukhan is a must-visit for nature lovers and outdoors enthusiasts.
- Conveniently located only 30 minutes from Seoul, the national park is a very popular escape from the city.
- Food stalls at the foot of the mountain sell traditional Korean snacks such as boiled eggs and kimchi (fermented cabbage).
How to Get There
To get to Bukhansan National Park, take subway line 4 to Gireum Station, then take bus 110B or 143 to the last stop. Be aware that the trails are quite steep and the longest can take three hours to complete. Getting around Mt. Bukhan can be a bit difficult, as most signs are in Korean. Most hikers opt to visit as part of a guided tour.
When to Get There
Depending on which route you plan to take, it’s a good idea to arrive at the mountain as early as possible, particularly in summer when midday temperatures are high. The popular Baegundae Trail takes 1.5 hours to hike, while the trail to Bukhansanseong Fortress takes roughly three hours to complete. In fall, the national park comes to life in a riot of autumn color.
Landmarks in Bukhansan National Park
Amid the limestone cliffs and verdant flora of Bukhansan National Park, there are also several cultural highlights. Bukhansanseong Fortress, a fortification built along the mountain’s ridges to stop foreign invasions, is a must-see for history buffs, while Seungasa Temple on Bibong Peak, with its Buddhas carved in rock, makes for excellent photographs.