Ten Things about Korean Mountains I Think You Should Know
1. The hiking culture is very robust. Droves of people hike mountains every day. In bigger mountains, some trails are closed off depending on the season for conservation purposes.
2. Ajumma (elderly woman) and ajusshi (elderly man) are usually the ones who hike, but families, young people, and pet dogs do so as well. From what I have learned, it is generally ok to call an elderly man an ajusshi, but do not under any circumstances call someone an ajumma.
3. Most mountains, especially the bigger ones, are very historical. Parts of the Seoul fortress are on the more central mountains.
4. Parts of mountains have been turned into a gym of a sort, with exercise machines on the vast majority of them. Other amenities include tennis courts and the occasional football field.
5. Most hikers dress as though they stepped out of a hiking catalog. While many dress in expensive clothes, the things I wear look just the same, but each piece costs a mere 10,000 won (about $10 USD) from the large markets in Seoul.
6. The bigger mountains usually have Buddhist temples in them. The monks are usually friendly and very kind to hikers. Usually, the temples have vending machines for drinks or a well with fresh spring water. Drink up.
7. Many hikers like to drink makgeolli (an alcoholic rice beverage) on the mountains.
8. For the most part, the mountains are quite clean.
9. Most big mountains have prospect points with large signs that label what you are seeing. You can usually see the N Seoul Tower, the highest point in Seoul.
10. For the bigger mountains, you will usually know you have reached the summit because of the South Korean flag at the top.