Hiking to Gwanaksan Mountain

Kamari Koonce

Sometimes living in a city such as Seoul is overwhelming because of how small it is compared to the number of people that actually live here. To put this into perspective, currently over 9 million people live in Seoul versus 8.5 million people in New York, but Seoul is actually 75 square miles smaller than New York. If you’ve never lived in a big city before you may also feel overwhelmed by having to walk everywhere or taking the public transportation system. So, if you’re ever looking for a way to escape the city into nature you should try hiking Gwanaksan Mountain.

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Gwanaksan Mountain is one of the tallest mountains in Seoul and is approximately 2,064 ft. tall. The mountain is very steep at some points, so if you’re a first-time hiker I would suggest going with some people that may be used to the course difficulty. Additionally, you may want to go hiking with some people that are patient because it will take between 3-4.5 hours altogether to climb up and downhill. I had never gone hiking before I chose to come here, so as a result, it was a little intimidating. Do keep in mind that if you want to get to the highest peak there is a small portion that will require hoisting yourself up in a mini-rock-climbing portion. Though it may seem tough, I definitely recommend you giving it a shot for the view at the top.

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Yeonjudae Hermitage

Once you’re at the top of the mountain you will be able to see all of Seoul. My favorite part was seeing the rolling hills and other mountains nearby. There is even a temple called Gwaneumsa and nearby is Yeonjudae Hermitage close to the top of the mountain. Here you can take beautiful pictures and relax for a bit before going back downhill. Many people even bring gimbap and other lunch food to snack on at the top of the mountain. If you’re interested in getting there take the subway to Seoul National University Station (line 2) and take Exit 3. Then transfer to any bus bound for Seoul National University Entrance bus stop (서울대입구). A pro tip is to go with someone that can also speak Korean just in case you need help with directions.

Overall this will be a fulfilling experience and a great getaway from the busy city life that you will encounter while studying in Seoul.

 

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