Climbing Korea's Mount Apsan
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published: November 16, 2018
It can be hard to get a workout in when you’re traveling. Between sightseeing, food tasting, experiencing new things and meeting new people, who has the time?!? For many, carving out an hour or two to exercise while on holiday isn’t realistic. They’re too busy adventuring and gallivanting to squeeze it in. But there are ways to explore AND burn calories simultaneously. During my last trip to Daegu, South Korea I did exactly that.
Mt. Apsan is one of the most popular places to visit in Daegu. Visitors can enjoy swimming, practice archery or ride horses at facilities at the bottom of the mountain. Additionally, the panoramic views from the top are breathtaking. It makes the city seem so small and far away when it’s really quite big and very close. You can enjoy these views by taking a short (and reasonably priced – 9,500 Won roundtrip) cable car ride to the peak of Mt. Apsan or by climbing the mountain. Well… hiking it, really. Which is exactly what we did.
Bright and early at six o’clock in the morning we started our journey from the hotel to the summit. Luckily, the walk to the base of Mt. Apsan from the hotel wasn’t very far. Just a brisk, mildly-inclined, 15-minute walk away (give or take five minutes). From bottom to the top, however, is a completely different story. There are a variety of walking routes you can take, depending on where you start and what your capabilities are.
The path we took was shorter in distance but at a pretty steep incline. I was too focused on climbing to read the signs, but the trail was about 4 kilometers (from the hotel to the top) if my watch calculated correctly. It took us about an hour and a half to get to the apex (we stopped a couple of times to hydrate and catch our breath). The path we took crossed a couple of creeks and was lined with beautiful trees and greenery. At the top, there are a couple walking paths to different areas or you can just enjoy the observatory area. Where we ended up was visitor light. It was a more secluded area and felt far more serene. Also, we got there just after 07:30, and the cable car wasn’t running yet. That’s probably why it was much less crowded (we were the only ones there) and more peaceful. The hike down took us only about half of the time we spent going up.
Climbing Mt. Apsan instead of catching the cable car to the top is a great way to experience nature, explore the terrain and get in some exercise while still seeing the sights. It takes little longer, but if you’re not super pressed for time you’ll really enjoy it. Just follow the signs that say Mt. Apsan, and you won’t get lost or be disappointed. The views are spectacular and the endorphins are worth it. Plus, you won’t feel guilty for ordering dessert later.
If you want to check out Mt. Apsan and have bad knees or another condition that prevents you from climbing to the summit (or simply don’t want to hike), the cable car takes only 15 minutes. It starts running at 10:00 and goes up every 15 minutes or so. The last ride up depends on the time of year you go. It varies between 18:00 (winter) and 18:30 (summer). The signs were all in Korean, but the cab driver told me you have to buy your ticket 30 minutes prior to the ride.
Whether you decide to climb to the top or ride to it, Mt. Apsan is definitely a must-see in Daegu!