Residents of Seoul are lucky to have a national park within the borders of the city proper, and outdoor recreation has become a popular weekend activity for Koreans of all ages. Since Bukhansan National Park is located so conveniently to Seoul, it’s a great place to breathe in some fresh air and get a little exercise during your travels in South Korea. Here are a few ideas for things to do in Bukhansan National Park.
Take a Hike
It’s pretty much all about hiking in Bukhansan National Park, and you’ll find nine different courses, varying in distance from 1.2 to 4 miles (1.9 to 6.5 kilometers). They may not sound very long, but due to the vertical change, most hikes will take you between one and four hours to complete. If you want to be rewarded for your efforts with the best views of Seoul, take the rather strenuous Baegundae Peak trail to the top.
Birders or wildlife enthusiasts can hit the trails at Bukhansan National Park to try and spot some of the diverse species who call the mountainous forest home. Keep your eyes peeled for the Great Spotted Woodpecker and Forsythia saxatilis, a yellow forsythia flower indigenous to South Korea.
Tour a Temple
The entire national park is dotted with old temples and monk cells. Among the most popular with visitors are Sangunsa Temple on east Bibong Peak and Munsusa Temple, located halfway up Musubong Peak. When you’re planning your hikes in the park, leave some extra time for exploring these historic landmarks.
Visit an Ancient Fortress
Bukhansan National Park’s Bukhansanseong Fortress has a history dating back to its first construction in 132 and has existed in its current form since 1711. The sprawling fortress was built as a place where the rulers of the nation could flee during emergencies, and today, you can still see a 5-mile (8-kilometer) length of wall running along the rocky terrain of the park.
Check out some other outdoor activities in and around Seoul.