Attain Nirvana amidst the Greenwoods of Ahopsan

Are you a panda? OR Are you magnetically attracted to the serenity of bamboo forests?

Photo courtesy by the Author

Then Ahopsan Forest will amaze you!!!

Located at a 30-minute drive from cityscape (Nampo-dong) in Gijang, is Ahopsan Forest; one of the least known tourist spots in Busan. If you have, your heart to enjoy the greens whilst having a sweaty hike Ahopsan will not disappoint you.

Ahopsan Forest is a 400-year-old lush, unspoiled greenery and is home to the stunning bamboo forest and some wildlife. It has endured the eras of Japanese liberation, war, and Korean industrialization. It has only been accessible to the public after 2014. “아홉산 숲” (Ahopsan) in Korean means ‘embracing the nine valleys’.

This place would look a lot familiar if you are a K-drama fan. The place became quite popular as it was the filming site from the K-drama “The King: Eternal Monarch” streaming on Netflix. C’mon! Why don’t you put on the shorts and hike shoes and travel along with me?

Not surprisingly, it’ll take more than a couple of hours to hike around and cover this all. You will never know what you’ll find on the way. And there are so many alcoves and crevices to explore that it’s easy to get lost. So be prepared to meet surprises.

This is the entrance of the Ahopsan Forest. From here starts your tacking journey (Photo Courtesy by the Author)
Photo courtesy by the Author

As you can see most of the areas are covered with dense canopies of bamboo and some other tall trees. Most of the time you get a sparse amount of sunlight peeking in through these green woods. Though this little amount of light is sufficient enough to enjoy the breathtaking view.

Photo by Ahalya Arulnayagam on Unsplash (Photo by the Author)
Photo by Ahalya Arulnayagam on Unsplash

You’ll see stunning bio architectures to wonder about on the way. Moss and fungus just add color to the forest; giving away a fantastic experience. It indeed showcases a quieter side of busy Busan.

You will also find eco-friendly rest sites on your way during the hike. It is a bit long, isn't it? You’ll need a not-so-fancy spot to rest your legs. You deserve it :)

Cute and friendly resting spots (Photo courtesy by the Author)
Photo by Ahalya Arulnayagam on Unsplash

Inside the forest, there is also an ancient temple and a place for worshiping the souls of the ancestors. In Korean culture they arrange stones one by one on top, to pray for the ancestor’s souls. Typically, the number of stones represents the number of years (as far as I understood).

The forest reminded me of some nostalgic lines from one of my favorite author:

“Wrapped in the deep fragrance of the forest, I listen to the flapping of the birds’ wings, to the stirring of the ferns. I’m freed from gravity and float up — just a little — from the ground and drift in the air. Of course, I can’t stay there forever. It’s just a momentary sensation — open my eyes and it’s gone. Still, it’s an overwhelming experience. Being able to float in the air”
— Haruki Murakami

The sounds of the birds chirping, the innocent wildlife running around, and the wind whispering something to you; is all part of the visual retreat. This just purges the toxicity inside and cleanses the soul; bringing peace and calm at the end of the hike. In a way, this helps you attain nirvana without any cost.

The endpoint of the Ahopsan Forest (Photo courtesy by the Author)

If you reach this “Hanok” (Korean traditional house) that means you have successfully completed the hike. Just exit from here and treat yourself to a nice cup of coffee thinking about the tranquil experience you just had.

To me this one of the iconic spots I’ve traveled to in South Korea. Try not to miss is :)

Hope you enjoyed this piece! Read more! Travel safe!

Location: Ahopsan forest. 37–1, Midong-gil, Cheolma-myeon, Gijang-gun, Busan, Republic of Korea

Location of the Ahopsan Forest (Screenshot by the Author)

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