Bugaksan is the mullet of mountains in Korea---all business in the front, all party in the back.
The Scouting Report
First off, a little bit more needs to be said about the mullet comment at the top of this page. You see, Bugaksan is truly a mountain with two distinctly different sides.
The front face of the mountain sits directly behind the presidential Blue House. Because of the mountain's proximity to this high-security area, there is a large military presence. In fact, everyone wishing to access this part of the mountain must first show proper identification and fill out necessary paperwork. The front = All business.
The backside of the mountain is a little more carefree. Although some parts of the mountain are still closely watched by the military, access to this area is much more easily attained. Hikers can freely enjoy the trails and parks sans identification, and cyclists can freely enjoy the Bugak Skyway, a scenic road that traverses the mountain. The back = All party.
Now that everything is cleared up, let's proceed with the good stuff.
Bugaksan is only 342 meters high. Although it is not terribly tall, it does afford excellent views of a number of popular landmarks in central Seoul. This is thanks to its great location.
Unfortunately, photography is not permitted on many parts of Bugaksan, especially the spots with great views of Seoul. As mentioned earlier, the military keeps a strong presence on Bugaksan. For security purposes, they watch for would-be photographers and will promptly stop anyone from taking any pictures.
At the risk of becoming too repetitive, the following must be stated: in order to hike through several zones on the mountain, you are required to show proper identification, fill out a form, and wear an ID tag. Either a passport or a Korea-issued identification card can be used.
If the mountain sounds like too much of a hassle to be enjoyed, reconsider. Yes, the military does get in the way. However, in a way, its presence creates a unique experience on the mountain. And all that aside anyways, it is a beautiful mountain with gorgeous views. It's definitely worth a visit.
Elsewhere on the Web
- Bugaksan (Mt.) - by Visit Seoul
- Bugaksan - by Time
- Hiking Hub Korea - by Hiking Hub Korea
- Hiking in the Heart of Seoul, Korea - by Aclipse
- Seoul Fortress Wall of Mt. Bugaksan - by The Korea Blog
- Seoul Fortress Wall of Bugaksan - by The Lost Wanderer
- Destination: Bugaksan - by Koreabridge
- Excursions Along the Wall - by Seoul City Wall
Years ago, spies from North Korea on an assassination mission were found hiding on Bugaksan. Being so close to the presidential Blue House, South Korea has tightly monitored the mountain ever since.
Check out the Bugaksan photo album for more pictures of Bugaksan.
See more at Seoul Scout: Bugaksan.
How To Get There
Where: Seoul-si, Jongno-gu
From Line 3 - Anguk Station (안국역):
-There is a bus stop immediately out from exit 2.
-Take Bus No. 2. It will soon start to ascend Bugaksan. Get off the bus whenever the heck you feel like it.
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Originally posted February 3, 2015
Updated December 3, 2015