Trek Through History
a ZenKimchi Tour
An experience in Korea isn't complete without a visit to its mountains.
Much of Korea's history, folklore, and culture grew out of its highlands. Join us on a Small-group Seoul hike through the mountain heritage that forms much of the country's personality, followed by a mountainside meal and well-deserved drinks.
Amble through pine forests, across passes, and through valleys to take in some of Seoul's most spectacular natural views. Visit Buddhist temples and hear histories and legends of famed monks. Muse at tales of ghosts and goblins said to populate the peaks and valleys. Learn of shamanic traditions that worship guardian mountain spirits. And relax post-hike with food and drink integral to modern Korean hiking culture.
After-hike food and drink is integral to modern Korean hiking culture. The word for post-hike meals is hasanju, literally "descent alcohol".
The meals are a selection of fresh chicken stew boiled with roots picked from the mountain and vegetables from a local garden.
A vegetarian option is bibimbap, mixed rice and vegetables from the local garden.
Meals come with a variety of side dishes, a selection of kimchi and fresh vegetables.
The preferred after-hike drink is makgeolli, a traditional milky, slightly sweet alcohol made from rice. Beer, soju, cola, and other drinks are also available.
Breakdown of The Seoul Hike
- Meet your guide at 10:00am at Gupabal subway station (line 3/orange line), gate 1
- Take a short bus ride to the trailhead
- Stretch with your guide and walk to the trailhead
- The hike will go up an afforested valley before crossing a pass with spectacular views
- Upon descending you'll visit Buddhist temples nestled in rugged nooks of the mountains
- During the hike you'll be treated to history, legends, and folklore related to Korea's age-old mountain heritage
- You'll finish up the hike at a local restaurant and enjoy traditional food and drink
When: Saturdays at 10 a.m.
Difficulty: Seoul Hike is approximately a six hour tour of medium grade. There is one long, steep ascent near the beginning. Special equipment, such as ropes and harnesses, are not necessary.
Suggested items: Make sure to wear comfortable footwear; hiking boots or cross trainers/sneakers are ideal. Tennis shoes, casual shoes, and other footwear that may be slippery on rock or not offer good foot support are not recommended. Comfortable clothing (weather specific) is recommended. It's best to bring layers of clothing instead of one heavy layer because layers can be removed to suit comfort. Water is essential! There will be an opportunity to refill water about halfway through the hike. Food isn't necessary, but you may wish to bring light snacks, like peanuts, trail mix, energy bars, etc.
Start location: You'll meet your guide outside Gupabal subway station (line 3), gate 1.
Seoul Hike: The Sunset Trail (Limited Time)
EXCLUSIVE LIMITED TIME TOUR
Hike with one of Seoul's top English-language folklorists for a rare treat. Wind through shamanic sites, hearing tales of the mountains and how they shape Korean culture.
Witness a stunning sunset from the summit.
This is one of those life-changer moments. Don't miss out.
- Small group tour (6 max.)
- Bus from and to Gupabal station is included in price
- No food (most restaurants in the area close between 20:00 and 21:00 - even the CU Mart closes at 21:00 - and the last bus out of the area is 22:00
- Food and drink could be pointed out to participants on return to Gupabal, but would not be part of tour)
- Total time on tour will be roughly five hours, approximately 4.5 hours on the mountain
- Meet at Gupabal station; bus to Bukhansanseong Gate at 14:30
- Walk to village trailhead and up through village to Wonhyo-bong trailhead
- Go up afforested valley through shamanic sites
- Get on main trail and hike up to Bukhansanseong Seoam-mun
- Turn up Wonhyo-bong trail
- Ascent to Wonhyo-am
- Continue ascent to and traverse Wonhyo-bawi
- Continue to and stop at Wonhyo-bong summit by 18:30 (watch sunset)
- Start descent before 19:30; go to Bukmun and then all the way down Wonhyo-bong north trail
- Descend to Bukhan-dong and turn down trail to Deokam-sa
- Pass Deokam-sa and cross Lower Wonhyo-bong Face trail
- Complete Wonhyo-bong circuit at Seoam-mun
- Descend to Duellegil through forest
- Move south down Duellegil passing 16th graveyard
- Finish at Bukhansanseong gate by 21:00
You can pay securely in USD online through PayPal or pay in Korean Won by bank transfer or in cash.
Never be at a loss for party conversation again. Brag to your friends at home the things you ate, the tales you learned, and the people you met.
Shawn is a heritage interpreter with 17 years experience living in, writing about, and studying Korean heritage and culture, plus years of mountain experience all over Korea, other parts of Asia, including the Himalaya, and North America, including the Rockies.