Week 6 – Dobongsan

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This week I decided to go on a hike since Seoul is surrounded and built around so many mountains. A popular hobby of Koreans are climbing mountains and you will have no trouble finding a hiker. Dobongsan is one of the many mountains in Seoul. It is perhaps one of the more difficult routes as well. This is a 6.28 km, out and back trail near Dobong-gu, Seoul. This is quite a popular area for hiking, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round. Even though most businesses are closed on Sundays, these beautiful mountains are open to everyone. This is a fun activity to do when you are bored on a Sunday!

Dobongsan Mountain is located in the northeastern side of Bukhansan National Park. This mountain is known for the amazing rock formations of the main peak, Jaunbong Peak, as well as Manjangbong, Seoninbong, Jubong, Obong Peaks and Uiam Rock. There are making hiking trails and routes that you can take, but the main one that I did for this hike was Jaunbong Peak. You will find that it is easy to follow the route, but if you get lost, you can follow one of the many hikers on the trail. I highly recommend going early to beat most of the hikers since this is a popular hike. In order to access the entrance, you should take the subway called Dobongsan on Line 1 and Line 7 both take you directly to the station. You will be greeted by the smiling woman selling sweet, hot, glutinous Korean corn that is delicious to snack on during the hike. Follow the crowd of people flooding the entrance of the hike.

Besides the amazing views of the peak, the mountain is also home to Cheonchuksa Temple, the oldest temple in the region, and several others such as Mangwolsa and Hoeryongsa Temples. There are also valleys such as Dobonggyegok, Songchugyegok, Obonggyegok and Yeongeocheongyegok Valleys. Since this mountain is easy to access due to the direct subway lines, it is a popular hike.

You should definitely visit the temple which is a great place to rest because you have about a long hike up rocky stairs to climb to Juanbong Peak. The peak is worth the hike and there are amazing shots of the morning view. You can people-watch the rock climbers on nearby rocks and see panoramic views of Seoul when you reach the top. Make sure to bring lunch and makgeolli with you during the hike to refuel. It is particularly traditional if you bring a bottle of makgeolli because Koreans bring this alcoholic beverage and drink it during and after the hike to celebrate and enjoy the moment. I came across many Koreans who carried makgeolli up the mountain and toasted at the top. During my next hike, I made sure to bring my own bottle, some cups, and shared the moments with friends and fellow hikers alike! I can solidly confirm that this is a real tradition and I was so happy to share it with my new friends after a long and arduous hike.