After a very lazy Sunday afternoon following our temple stay at Golgulsa, Therese and I were up in good time Monday morning to catch a bus to Busan.
We had just received confirmation that we would be climing Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo, Malaysia at the end of February so we wanted to start doing more hiking in preparation. In Busan there are many hiking trails so it was the perfect opportunity to start training for the climb and see another part of South Korea.
Busan is located in Gyeongsangnam-Do province, just South of Pohang. A coastal city, it is known as one of the more metropolitan cities in South Korea with mountains dividing the city into sections along the South Sea coast. I was eager to visit as my dear friend Jen had just spent a year living and teaching in Busan and I wanted to get a taste of her life during that period.
Arriving in Busan, Therese and I followed street signs to a path leading up to Beomeosa Temple. The temple is one of the northern starting points for trails across Geumjeongsan, the mountain range Therese and I were going to hike along.
It was about a five kilometer walk up hill to the temple where we took in some of the traditional architecture before figuring out which path to take to get to the North Gate, part of the Geumjeong Fortress built on the mountain. We would then hike from the North Gate to the South Gate, a 10 kilometer trail following the fortress wall passing the East Gate and various restored watch towers along the way.
We spent five hours on the trail, winding through the mountains stopping to take in the beautiful view of the ocean and Busan along the way.
A highlight was standing on the wall at Wonhyabong Peak, the highest part of the mountain range with a 700 meter elevation. This put our climb of Mt. Kinabalu in perspective as that mountain’s elevation is over 4000 meters.
By the time we arrived at the South Gate the sun was setting over the park and we opted to take the cable car down. With the sun low in the sky and our body temperature’s dropping we both were shivering as we rode down the mountain, grabbing a cup of tea before boarding a bus back to Pohang.
We took countless photos of the beautiful scenery along the way so I’ve included a small slideshow of images.
It is now Sunday, February 5 and I leave for Beijing tomorrow morning. I am excited but also nervous to start the solo portion of my Asian adventure.