Thursday, 21 March 2013

Hiking Achasan

Angela and I recently spent a Sunday afternoon climbing Mount Acha (or Achasan) in Seoul. It's a fairly low-lying mountain, at just over 237 metres high, but it has some great views of Seoul and the nearby Han River.

Angela strokes a very placid, furry friend on the streets near Yongmasan.
Before climbing Achasan, we visited Yongma Waterfall Park.
Sadly, the waterfalls weren't actually working that day (they're artificial waterfalls and they sometimes stop during repairs). We'll probably try visiting again later in the year so we can catch them when they're flowing.

After leaving Yongma we made our way up the slopes of Achasan. There were quite a lot of other hikers out that day.

A view of Goguryeo Blacksmith Village, which I visited last month.

Approaching the summit of the mountain.

We made it to the top!

Spread around the summit were many pagoda-shaped piles of rocks. These Buddhist stupas are built by travellers as a way of expressing piety and gratitude. I think they may also be an apology for all the trees that were cut down on this summit.

It's Korean tradition to drink makgeolli (Korean rice wine) whenever you reach the summit of a mountain, so Angela and I brought a bottle with us. 

Slightly tipsy from the makgeolli, we soon made our way back down towards the city.
A man builds his own stupa on the lower slopes of Achasan.
If you're a beginner hiker and you want to get some great views of Seoul without tackling the craggy outcrops of Bukhansan, then Achasan is a great place to start. You can get to the top within half an hour, and the routes are well signposted and easy to climb. Just be prepared to meet a lot of other Seoulites (and their puppies) along the way.

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