All of the cafes, amazing Korean restaurants, delicious snacks and desserts are so tempting once you get acquainted with the food culture in South Korea. However, you might want to experience something good for your body, your soul, and pleasing to your eyes, hungry for some beautiful landscapes that nature can offer. Well, look no further, because hiking in Korea is all you need to fulfill your healthy trip dreams!
The stress from work or school, daily routine and a fast pace can be tiring, so why not unwind and treat yourself to something special? Some people choose to relax in a Korean bathhouse (jjimjilbang/찜질방) and some like to spend their time being a little more active. If you’re not a fan of going to the gym, hiking is one of the best ways to keep yourself in shape. Are you planning to try it out? Let’s see what you need for your trip!
Be Prepared: Packing
Water. I know, it should be obvious, but it is the most important thing you have to carry inside your backpack. You are going to trek for a while, so a sturdy flask or a reusable water bottle is your best option (you might find spring water).
Another important thing is to wear comfortable clothes, especially good hiking shoes and, depending on the weather, a warm jacket or a hat to cover your head from the harsh sun.
Of course, always bring food. Not sure what to bring? Usually people hiking in Korea pack kimbap, makgeolli (rice wine) to drink, and some other snacks to munch on during their trip. To keep it light, pack some nuts and fresh fruits. If you’re taking makgeolli, make sure to also bring a tin can. Wet wipes are a must, and packing band-aids might be useful if you are not used to hiking.
Oh, and bring sunscreen! Your skin will thank you later.
Places to Explore
Not sure where to start your hiking experience? Have no fear, there are many trails to pick, here are some of the best ones you can try!
For beginners, try out the ones that are not too high up to avoid some unwanted discomfort. Remember, this is a health trip! Don’t push yourself too hard.
Some good and quite popular trails are in the Bukhansan (Bukhan Mountain), a mountain in the north of Seoul, its highest peak being 836.5 meters.
A bit more to the south, in the middle of South Korea lies Songnisan, a picturesque mountain with the Beopjusa Buddhist temple. The highest peak of the mountain reaches 1058.4 meters.
In Taejongdae Park, the south of Busan, there is a scenic view of a rocky cliff following the blue shade of the sea, a moderate hike to the Yeongdo Lighthouse.
The best place to be during autumn. Seoraksan National Park has many trails that offer such beautiful views, you will most likely forget your labored breathing as you make your way to the top.
If you do decide to visit Seoraksan National Park, don’t miss out on a wonderful Biryong Falls Trail, which is considerably easy and has many clear streams, waterfalls, stone steps and a variety of bird species perfect for bird-watching.
Going even higher...
Hallasan, a shield volcano in Jeju Island, reaches 1,950 meters as the highest mountain in South Korea, and the trails go up to 10 kilometers in distance. Sounds intimidating? Well, with the right equipment and preparation, as well as good motivation you can challenge yourself and take beautiful pictures at the same time.
Do you think you are ready to venture out to your hiking journey in South Korea? Take a friend with you, it is always more fun to share this precious experience with someone special. You can chat, eat your snacks and admire beautiful nature together. Healthy for your body, mind and soul, hiking in Korea is truly an unforgettable experience!
Written by Ruta Balzekaite