Why You Should Visit Bukhansan National Park
Seoul is a unique city. Even though it is one of the largest cities in the world---the Seoul Capital Area has a population of 25.6 million people---it is fortunate to be have a slew of natural beauty easily accessible to a large portion of the city.
In fact, part of the northern boundary of Seoul borders Bukhansan National Park, which has been recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records because of its popularity.
So why is it so popular? Why should you visit Bukhansan National Park?
Let's take a look at the top eight reasons to visit this splendid park.
8 - The Peaks
Bukhansan National Park is named after a mountain. It goes to follow that one would find a few peaks inside this park. The crown jewel peak is Baegundae Peak, which stands at approximately 840 meters, making it the tallest mountain in the Seoul area. If you love scaling mountains and enjoying bird’s-eye views of things, then Baegundae Peak is a great place to visit. It should be noted that Baegundae is a very popular peak. If you decide to climb it, be prepared to do it along with quite a few other people. If you don't feel like fighting the crowds, head up one of the many other peaks in the park. You will still probably have to share the rock with other people, but there won't be as many people as you would see otherwise on The Big Baegundae.
7 - Bukhansanseong (Bukhansan Fortress)
Bukhansanseong (Bukhan Mountain Fortress) was first built in 132. That was a long time ago. That doesn’t mean that the current structure is that old. The fortress has seen a turbulent life, and the wall that currently stands was built/rebuilt in 1711. Restoration projects continually take place even today. Even though the current structure is relatively new, it is still a vivid reminder of Korea’s history. Bukhansan Fortress was used as a safety haven for the royal family when they had to vacate their palaces in Seoul during emergencies. While nobody wants to have to flee their home for safety, at least Bukhansanseong provided nice scenery for the kings of yore.
Interested in seeing the wall? Check out this informative site.
6 - Temples
There are over 100 Buddhist temples and monk’s cells located within the park’s boundaries. Some of the temples are quite prominent and easy to find. Some lie a bit more off the beaten track. Temple-stays can be experienced at a few of them. Whether you are a Buddhist, Christian, atheist, or none of the above, these temples can still be appreciated for their architecture and serene setting. Jinkwan-sa (sorry...the site is in Korean) is one of the temples in the park that offers a temple-stay program. Doseon-sa is another popular temple in the park. If not one of these two temples, make it a point of visiting at least one temple while in Bukhansan National Park.
5 - Wildlife
Bukhansan National Park contains over 1,300 species of flora and fauna. That’s an impressive number! One of the park’s prized residents is the Great Spotted Woodpecker. It is a rare bird that has the honor of being considered a Natural Monument in Korea.
If you aren't a big fan of "wildlife", especially large game wildlife, don't worry. While Bukhansan NP is a natural preserve, not too many large animals have been preserved in this park. You probably will not come across any species that are too threatening in size.
4 - Water
While it is true that this park is not especially known for its water features, that doesn’t mean that it is completely void of water. We’re not talking about a desert here, folks!
In actuality, Bukhansan NP is home to a number of very tranquil streams. Sometimes, it takes a little work finding that perfect spot, but if you put in the effort, don’t be surprised to find yourself enjoying the sound of a bubbling stream and rustling of wind-blown leaves so much that the thought of leaving your pristine spot and returning to the big city will be downright depressing. Bukhansan's small babbling brooks are incredible. The small size of the streams don't make them insignificant; their size is what makes them so great.
Although there are many great spots, we recommend following the stream that runs along the aformentioned Jinkwan-sa. This valley is awesome. There are several great spots for picnicking. Don't be scared of getting lost. Getting lost is part of the fun when exploring spots like this.
3 - Climbing
Bukhansan National Park is a park. It’s full of mountains. Of course, there are bound to be a few climbing routes. As such, climbing is quite popular in the park. There are even a few schools that run climbing programs in the park for those of you who are interested in this extreme sport but are not sure how to get started. Check out Sanirang if you're interested in climbing.
2 - Hiking
Koreans love to hike, and one thing is for sure: they take advantage of living so close to the wonderland of day-hiking that can be found in BNP. While some of the routes are packed full of people, it is very easy to get “lost” and avoid the crowds. Bukhansan National Park is a big park. There is plenty of room for everyone.
If you love hiking, do not hesitate to get out into the wild here at BNP. Follow one of these routes or explore on your own.
For those of you interested in hiking yet are timid about the idea of hiking in mountains, consider following the dulle-gil. It is a relatively flat trail that loops around the perimeter of the park. Tackle the trail in segments until you eventually work your way around the entire park.
1 - Free Access
That’s right. Visiting Bukhansan National Park is completely free. Enjoying the great outdoors at Bukhansan National Park is one of the most efficient uses of your money that you can find.
***There are certain things in the park that require a fee. The entire park isn't free. But you are certainly free to enter and leave the park at no expense.***