Geumjeong Mt. Fortress (Geumjeongsanseong)
Geumjeong Mt. Fortress (Geumjeongsanseong)

Geumjeong Mt. Fortress (Geumjeongsanseong)

Busan, South Korea

The basics

An escape from the hustle and bustle of Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city, Geumjeongsanseong Fortress makes for an easy half-day hike. You can explore streams and ponds, rock caves and granite peaks, and thickly forested hills, enjoying stunning panoramic views overlooking the countryside and the city of Busan. Many visitors begin their short hike to Geumjeongsanseong with a stop at the Buddhist temple of Beomeosa, located on the eastern edge of the fortress, or Seokbulsa, another Buddhist temple famed for its cliff carvings reachable through a longer trek.

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Things to know before you go

  • The complete trek around the fortress’s four gates is a 5.5-mile (9-kilometer) loop. Ensure you have enough water for the entire circuit. Otherwise, you’ll find shorter walking trails, such as the trip up to the South Gate from Beomeosa. There is a cable car option available, too.
  • Be sure to wear proper hiking footwear if you plan on walking—the trails are rugged, and you can expect a steep climb. Bring hiking poles as well if you’re used to using them.
  • Bring a map with you—either a paper one or, ideally, a GPS-based map on your smartphone. The trail signs are in Korean with minimal English translation.
  • Options for exploring the area abound, from hiking for just one or two hours to an almost full-day trek. Research your route in advance and consider going with a guide or group if you’re unsure of your navigation skills.
  • You won’t find any food options up the mountain, so pack a picnic lunch. There are tables along the way to eat at.
  • Be sure to try Geumjeongsanseong makgeolli—a traditional local Korean rice wine with a centuries-long history—when you’re in the area. There are plenty of scenic villages nearby well worth exploring.
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How to get there

There are multiple ways to reach the fortress. Many people use Beomeosa Temple (reachable from Oncheonjang subway station) as the starting point for a hike up to Geumjeongsanseong South Gate—it takes about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your speed. There is also a cable car with panoramic views from Geumgang Park, and from there, you can head to South Gate on foot. Continue hiking between gates or following other trails that splinter off the main route, or head back down.

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When to get there

Summer is peak time for Busan when the beaches swell with locals and tourists. While Mount Geumjeongsanseong has an altitude of around 2,625 feet (800 meters), making it a little cooler than the city it overlooks, fall and spring are better weather windows for hiking outside the city. Watch out for icy conditions in the winter.

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Beomeosa Temple

While some visitors only visit Beomeosa as a quick bathroom break en route to the hilltop fortress trail, the more-than-millennium-old Buddhist temple merits a closer look. You’ll find traditional pavilions and pagodas (like the three-story Iljumun Gate) and no less than 11 hermitages—in fact, Beomeosa even runs a temple stay program for long-stay visitors to come and immerse themselves in Buddhist philosophy and culture.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Geumjeong Mt. Fortress (Geumjeongsanseong)?
Attractions near Geumjeong Mt. Fortress (Geumjeongsanseong):