The QiRanger Adventures


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Heading up Bansongsan (반송산)

Heading up Bansongsan (반송산)

Friday night I was asked by a new friend, “Why do you like living in Korea?” The answer was simple: I enjoy the culture, the people, and the countryside. Probably the most intriguing thing about living in Dongtan is its topography. With so many people crammed in to such a small country, I marvel at the use the city planners are able to extract from the lay of the land. I mean, Dongtan didn’t exist three years ago, and while much of the city is still under construction, the planners left in tact, a great network of trails between the various “mountains” that guard the cityscape.

One minute you’re standing next to a skyscraper being built, and the next you find yourself cozying on a park bench surrounded by pines. The difference is very welcomed and reminds me a lot of what it was like to attend university in Flagstaff, Arizona. The town was urban, but surrounded by mountains. The city also spent a lot of money creating the Urban Trail System for recreation purposes.

Route Marker

Route Marker

I see that here in Dongtan as well. Starting from the parking lot next to my building, I can be up Bansongsan (반송산) in less than 15 minutes. To call it a mountain would be respectful, but not accurate. However, the neat thing is that the walk (some call it hiking) doesn’t end there. You can easily take a new route at the top and explore more of the city. Hiking these trails is enough to generate a little sweat, so many Koreans that walk the trails come dressed in their matching hiking gear.

Bansongsan Pavilion

Bansongsan Pavilion

All the trails are well marked and even have lit paths, should you want to walk them in early morning or at night. I love hitting the path right before school or on a Sunday morning. There’s just something really nice being among the trees this time of year. Sadly, the weather isn’t cool enough yet (and is changing quite fast), so we’re not getting a lot of pretty foliage. However, I still make it out a few times each week, hoping to catch some amazing colors. I also enjoy taking a book along to read at the pavilion, located at the summit.

On my trek through the trail system yesterday, I spotted several parks and a large historical monument dedicated to the Suwon Fortress. While it was completely written in Korea, I was able to see a little of the history and enjoy the park. Then, just as before, I stepped onto the mountain trail system and was back home. I think in total, I walked the trails for about 3 hours yesterday and another few hours this morning. I’m hoping to find a map at city office and map out a long route to take one afternoon.

Here are a few more pictures from this morning’s adventure.


Written by Steve Miller

October 11, 2009 at 2:36 pm

2 Responses

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  1. lovely words and pictures
    took me right back there like i never left or dreamt i left
    makes me miss the land of the morning hope of love


    October 11, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    • Thanks Michael! I’m looking forward to having you back in-country in a few months. I know you’ll be busy, but maybe there might be a day where you can have some down time to recharge out in the mountains.


      October 11, 2009 at 2:54 pm

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