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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: Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays
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.
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.