As an outdoor enthusiast I enjoy a tough climb. Dobongsan in northern Seoul is one of the best climbs around the city of Seoul. Offering varying paths the climb can take anywhere from 3-7 hours and the fir lined forest quickly turns into rocky terrain as the trails ascend toward the sky.
Returning from the summit one Sunday afternoon I happened to come across a Buddhist temple. In need of some directions I poked my head inside of the temple gate to find this statue gleaming back at me. I eventually was spotted by a monk who was able to show me which path to take. I thanked him for the directions and asked him if I could take some photos of Buddha, he obliged and I was soon on my way. I had climbed this mountain several times but the moment inside of the Buddhist temple made this hike better than the rest.
To get to Dobongsan from Central Seoul, take Line 7 (Dark Green) north until you reach Dobong Station. Take exit 1, then cross the main street. Walk west towards the mountain (which is hard to miss!) and follow the crowds. After the climb, stop in one of the many restaurants in the foothills to have alcoholic rice wine and grilled octopus - very comforting after a tough trek.
P.S. If you do make it to the summit (which is always chilly, bring a light jacket) and it is a clear day look north to try and spot North Korean soil. At roughly 50 miles this it is possible.
Dobong-gu, Seoul, South Korea