Take a break from the city on this full-day tour that combines a hike on Mt Bukhan with a rejuvenating Korean spa experience. Your guide will select a 2- or 3-hour route, depending on the group’s skill level, taking you past granite peaks and crystal-clear streams on Seoul’s highest mountain. At the ‘jjimjilbang,’ or traditional sauna, you’re rewarded with a soak in a hot bath followed by a full-body scrub, oil massage, face mask and shampoo — all applied by an expert practitioner. Lunch and round-trip hotel transport are included.
After hotel pickup in the morning, you’re driven to nearby Bukhansan National Park, a region abundant with granite peaks, gorges and more than 100 Buddhist temples. Once your experienced guide chooses the route, based on the group’s ability and preferences, set out on your hike along Bukhansan, or Mt Bukhan, which translates to ‘north Han mountain,’ referring to its orientation to the Han river. Follow your guide to Seunggasa Temple on a 2-hour hike, gaining approximately 1,300 feet (400 meters) in elevation. This popular trail is relatively easy for beginners, but if you’d like more of a challenge there’s the 3-hour Bibong path. If your group decides on the latter option, climb approximately 1,835 feet (560 meters) along a narrow trail with a mountain stream flowing on either side. You’ll soon understand why Koreans consider mountains to be paths leading to heaven.Once you descend, you’re taken to lunch, and then it’s time to rejuvenate at an authentic Korean spa, or jjimjilbang. Nudity is the norm at this communal indoor bathhouse, separated by gender, and your guide waits outside after describing what to expect. Start with a 20-minute soak in a hot bath before moving to the sauna for an hour while a ‘scrub mistress,’ or ddemiri, rubs your entire body with a thin, coarse towel to slough away layers of dead skin. Complete this Korean cleansing process, called seshin, with an oil massage, cucumber face mask and shampoo applied by your expert practitioner.When you’re feeling as good as new, settle back into your vehicle and make a brief stop at an amethyst factory or a ginseng center — two of Korea’s most famous goods — before drop-off at your hotel around 5pm.