On my 2nd day I decided to go Bukhansan (북한산) and climb to the peak to see the view. However, it wasn’t as easy as I thought, but the hardship was worth since the view up there was really spectacular.
How to get there
I checked informations on Internet how to get there from Seoul and it was said to take metro line 3 until Gupabal station, take exit 1 and get on bus 704. But when I was there the bus didn’t stop at exit 1 but on the opposite side of the road. It was exit 4. I hardly found the bus but fortunately I successfully got on it. I got off at Bukhansanseong Fortress. It is said that this way was the easiest to reach the highest peak, Baegundae (백운대) standing 836.5 metres. And it was my goal to get to the highest point.
But when I got there and saw the mountain, I was already intimidated. It was huge. But I thought the road shouldn’t be dangerous, as on the Internet people said it was safe to hike alone. I entered. It was OK at first, there wasn’t anything hard, except the steep was getting higher. After 15 minutes of going up, I started to breath harder. Not to talk about my outfit. I wore long jeans, T-shirt, simple Adidas shoes and tote bag. It was hot and humidity was high as well. Walking for 15 minutes meant I was already covered with sweat. At the intersection one way would take 4.2 km to get to the peak, the other route was just 2.6km. Of course I chose the shorter route. But the price I paid for it …
The road started to get steeper. It was full of rocks that looked like as if it would fall down as soon as someone step on it. Fortunately they were solid. After maybe 1 hour of hiking I couldn’t catch my breath anymore and the heat killed me. I sat down to drink water, but that didn’t help. I was thinking whether I could do this by myself or not. I was thinking about giving up, but right at that moment, a woman appeared. I remembered her. I saw her down at the entrance to the mountain. I guess she also remembered me, since she asked me if I was alone and suggested to go together.
I was like, why not? I waited for her. The road was harder and harder. I didn’t want to complain nor showing my tiredness, but I had to ask her which peak was Baegundae. It was her first time climbing there as well. On the way she took a really good care of me. She gave me water. Her showing up gave me strength to keep going on. Then finally we arrived. The view amazed me up to the point I had to shout out. It was wonderful. It took us 3 hours in total to arrive to the peak. Hiking was hard, but getting to the peak was even harder. To get to the summit we had pull ourselves up as the surface was almost like waveless. But it was all worth it. The stunning view paid off everything.
We stayed up there for around 45 minutes then went down. A man who translated between me and woman, told us to turn left and take that road since it was easier. We listened to him. The road going down was hard as well. Since I didn’t have proper outfit nor equipment it was even scarier for me to go down. After like 2 hours finally we arrived to the surface. But to get to any public transport’s stop we had to walk for 1 hour more. I was so tired that I just wanted to get on the taxi and go home. But the woman just kept walking so I followed her.
When we finally arrived to bus, metro station, the woman took me to a shop and bought me ice coffee. I wanted to pay back, but she said, since I went with her, that was her treat. I was so moved by her care. The place we arrived was Uidong and from there we took metro Ui-Sinseoul LRT and then just following the metro map to go home.
I left home around 8:30 and arrived back around 5:30pm. My clothes was totally wet due to the sweat, so I took a shower and then had a rest. I felt so energetic and the feelig of success brought my appetite back. Since I came to Seoul I didn’t eat anything properly. The weather tired me out up to the point I didn’t have appetite.
However, this time I already took a shower and had to do laundry, so I was really lazy to go out in the hotness.
This case had taught me a lot of thing.
The most important one is that if we are kind and helpful from heart, we will definitely get it back. Just because I agreed to go with the woman, I got food and drink from her. She even bought me ice coffee and made sure I know how to get home. Many times we think that a little thing doesn’t matter a lot. But for the others it might mean the world. When I agreed to go with her, I just thought “why not?” but honestly it wasn’t necessary for me to go with someone. But for her it probably meant a lot, since she even took care of me.
We shouldn’t look down on the small thing we do. A lot of small good thing will become big. Something small for us, but big for the others. So whatever we have we shouldn’t take it for granted but appreciate them. Water, house, clothes, electricity, support, care. Those are things that we think we always have. But there are people who don’t have them and just a small care means a world to them.
And if we treat others sincerely from heart, we will definitely get it back somehow. But to get back we shouldn’t have any expectation towards it. So when we help someone, think that what we do is good for them. Don’t think about what you will get back from it. Because if you expect it, you will most probably NOT get it.
We all judge. Ourselves or others. We all have prejudice when we see someone. Not only people, but there is also stereotype about countries. So if you meet someone from a X country, you already think he will be like this and that, just because of stereotype. It is the same when we think about ourselves. This one happened to me before I arrived to Korea:
During my childhood I was outcasted and mocked because of my Asian look. Since then I had a sort of minority complex, so wherever I go, I’m always afraid people won’t like me. I have this thought even before I met anyone. This time going to Korea I had the same thought. Since I’m also Asian, I was afraid the Koreans wouldn’t like me and treated me differently when I buy stuff. But the opposite was proved. Since the first day I arrived I already received a lot of help from them. I wasn’t treated differently.
This proves that we shouldn’t judge anyone based on where they are from, but on who they are. I understand there are similar personalities relating to a country and its habitant. But even if 100 people are the same, the next one maybe not. Therefore we shouldn’t judge and have prejudice towards anyone without meeting them first.
Actually that way we only make our life easier, as we don’t have to overthink, judge and hate the others without knowing them. Therefore we save energy for ourselves.
Willpower is crucial. With willpower even things that seem impossible can be possible. And this time was the same. If I didn’t have curiosity, willpower, persistance and patience, I wouldn’t be able to climb the mountain and reach the highest point standing 836.5 metre.
I realized we are so rich. If we have leg, arm, eye, ear, we already have everything we need to live a good life. The main point is how we use them. How much willpower we have to make our goals come true.
And that leads to the know-how. To know something and to be good at something is nice. It makes completing a task easier. But without willpower nothing is going to be accomplished, no matter how good we are at it.
Therefore we need to figure out what we really want to have and work hard for it. I’m not a sportive person. This time I didn’t even have a proper equipment for hiking. I even doubt whether I could come back alive. But I made it. I got to the highest point. It proves that we are capable for everything. The question is: How much energy and time do we want to invest in it?
Care among human is a must. But we also need to take care of our environment. During the hiking trail, I haven’t seen a single tissue or cigarettes. Everywhere is marked “No trash”. And people obey it. Asians hiking style is that they always bring food and drinks with themselves, so to make sure they don’t get hungry. On the road I saw many people sat down and eat ramen, drink tea as if they were on picnic. But even so, there wasn’t any trash on the mountain.
It is really important that we take care of the nature as well. Because we live there. If there is no nature, there is no life. So taking care of it is like taking care of ourselves.
Honestly without the woman, I wouldn’t be able to climb up to the summit. Her appearance and support helped me fighting the obstacles in mind. I have to admit that working together is stronger. We can always support and bring the best out of each other.
The same with nature, it is really important that we all are aware of our environment as well. And today, this is the most important thing to do to save our world. If everyone of us just pay attention and do simple things like not throwing trash, not wasting food, water, electricity, collecting garbage selectively, we already help our environmnet to be cleaner in the whole word. And if we are kind and understandable to each others, we already start to create a better world where we like to live.
Be opened and be nice to everyone you meet. Because you never know what role that person will have in your life. It might be just a meeting for a moment, they can also become your best friend, working partner, or maybe even your other half. You don’t know it, but it will turn out by time. No matter who they are, they come to our life with a purpose. If they don’t stay with us then they come to give us a lesson. But we can only know this for sure if we treat them the way we want to be treated.
This doesn’t mean you cannot stand up for yourself when there is a conflict situation. When you need to be strict and decisive, you do it. But it doesn’t mean you are not kind. Because as long as you are polite, respectful and fair, life will reward you fairly.
I got this idea from a man. Since my Korean language skill is not the best yet, I didn’t always understand what the woman said. A man translated for us. He told me that according to Buddhism, in my previous life I probably knew the woman, that’s why now we met and hung out together. He has a point. Sometimes I ask myself why I meet this person. The answer is in our previous life we have met each other and now in this life we meet again. Therefore it is beneficial for us to be kind to each other, since we probably met beforehand as well.
These are lessons I learned on the road by challenging myself and meeting new people. Everytime I meet someone new I always have a new realization, that can help me to improve myself. I’m sharing all these with the hope that we all can learn and improve ourselves to create a better surrounding for us where we feel comfortable to live.
Koreans love hiking. They usually go there with their family, if not then alone. On my way I even met a 9 or 10 -year old kid who climbed the mountain with his/her parents as well. It is a big tradition for them. And they prepare for their trek really well. Outfit, equipment, food, anything that can make sure they are safe.
If you decide to climb Bukhansan or any other mountain, make sure you have at least a right foot wear. I was told that my outfit didn’t fit hiking as I could get hurt. My shoes literally became a topic.