Mount Jiri (2021)- Hiking culture in Korea

The queen is back! Jun Ji Hyun is starring in drama “Mount Jiri” alongside Ju Ji Hoon! The script of this mystery drama is written by none other than Kim Eun Hee, who wrote numerous hits like “Signal”, “Kingdom” and “Phantom”.

분위기 미쳤다...” 전지현과 주지훈 '역대급' 투샷 공개됐다 (사진 5장) | 위키트리
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지리산' 전지현X주지훈, K드라마 주역 만났다…역대급 비주얼+분위기 : 네이버 포스트
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역대급 케미 예고" 드라마 '지리산' 전지현-주지훈, 투샷 최초 공개 - 한수지 기자 - 톱스타뉴스
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Other familiar stars like Go Min Si,

고민시 지리산 캐스팅 분위기 메이커 이다원役으로 활약 예고 | 한경닷컴
Photo Credits Actress Go Min Si

Oh Jeong Se,

Sung Dong Ill, and more, are part of the cast as well.

Jun Ji Hyun will act as Seo Yi Gang, who is a ranger at Mount Jiri that knows everything about the mountain. Ju Ji Hoon will act as Kang Hyun Jo, an ex-army captain who works as a rookie ranger at Jiri Mountain National Park.

As we wait for this to-be-hit drama, let’s take a look at Jirisan and hiking culture in South Korea!


“Jiri” is the name and “san” means “mountain”. This mountain, “Jirisan”, is the second-tallest mountain in South Korea after Jeju Island’s Hallasan, standing tall at 1915 meters in Jirisan National Park. The park itself is the largest in the nation, stretching across three provinces- North & South Jeollado as well as South Gyeongsangdo.

ESC] 지리산, 청춘을 만나다 : ESC : 특화섹션 : 뉴스 : 한겨레
Photo credits. A photograph of Jirisan

The mountain is also famous for housing seven major Buddhist temples, including the most famous Hwaeomsa temple, as well as various stone artworks from 600-900 CE which were designated as national treasures.

화엄사 - 위키백과, 우리 모두의 백과사전
Photo credits. A photograph of “Hwaeomsa” temple

Jirisan is visited by nearly 300 thousand people every year, with many choosing to visit it during summer and autumn, as the two seasons are most apt for sight seeing and safe hiking. It is also known for the ten sceneries- “Sunrise from Cheongwang-bong peak”, “Chilseon Valley”, “Royal Azalea Blossoming”, “Buril waterfall”, “Full moon at Byukso-ryung”, “Piagol Autumn Leaves”, “Nogodan Sea of Clouds”, “Yeonha Sunkyung”, “Banyabong’s Nakjo” and “Seomjincheongryu”.

It is also the habitat of over 1500 types of plants, which is a number only behind Mount Halla, also known as “Hallasan”.

자연의 보고' 한라산, 세계가 주목하는 명산으로 우뚝 : 뉴스 : 동아닷컴
Photo credits. A photograph of Hallasan

Hiking culture in South Korea

Hiking/mountaineering is called “deung-san” in Korean, which literally just means “to climb a mountain”. It’s a pretty widely loved sport and hobby in Korea among people of all ages.

As much as deung-san is loved, deung-san bok, or hiking wear, is also very popular in Korea, as you can see from the year-long deungsan-bok advertisements and commercials on billboards and TV.

kakaprotect수지 on Twitter: "봄 산행, 봄 등산 에 딱! K2 봄 등산복 코디 추천! (출처 : K2 공식 .. | 블로그) #수지 #Suzy #케이투 #K2…"
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류준열, 공효진과 케미 장난 아니네 "오늘도 짝짝꿍" [SNS☆컷]
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This addictive hiking wear ad featuring Gong Hyo Jin and Ryu Jun Ryeol

Especially on weekends and over long holidays, it’s easy to see people in Korea clad in deungsan-bok and sporting backpacks, some holding deungsan sticks, climbing mountains all over the nation. Some hike solo, some with friends or family, and some with complete strangers from the same deung-san club, chatting about life and sharing snacks.

PARKBOGUMPH 🇵🇭 on Twitter: "[ENDORSEMENT] 180328 @BOGUMMY for Eider 2018  SS source: Eider Naver blog & IG #ParkBoGum #박보검 #Bogummy… "
Photo credits. Park Bo Gum in deungsan-bok with a deungsan stick

Deungsan backpacks are often filled with snacks like these:

☆4/29~5/12까지 5,580→3,980원 할인☆크라운 밤/팥 양갱 10입 500g - 이마트몰, 당신과 가장 가까운 이마트
Yang-gaeng, which are snacks usually made of red bean paste, agar and sugar.
방유당] 미숫가루 2종 택배 배송 :: 미래식당
Photo credits. Misugaru (or: “misu” powder), which is often dissolved in water for drinking. The power is high in protein and consists of ingredients like white and brown rice, barley, alda beans, corn, black rice, white bean, millet and sesame seeds.
고독마저 감미롭게 만드는 달콤함, 올해 46살 국내 최장수 초콜릿 '가나' – 롯데 공식 블로그
Photo Credits Chocolate. Photograph of “Ghana” chocolate sold by Lotte
Cherry tomatoes. Photo by monicore on
We love snacking on steamed corns! Photo by Adonyi Gu00e1bor on
일본산 고구마
Sweet, sweet, sweet potatoes!
We love our mandarin oranges even more in the winter! Photo by Pixabay on
Photo by Rajesh TP on

Many people choose to pack light meals to eat at the top of the mountain, and of course, we Koreans go for kimbab. Nothing in the world tastes better than ice water and kimbab after a long climb!

Photo Credits. Kimbab of course!

Often after a long deung-san, we go to the “mok-yok-tang”, the Korean bathhouse. In a bathhouse, we take showers first, then immerse ourselves into the hot, steaming baths with our fellow bathhouse visitors.

♨살색주의♨ 정경호X박성웅의 티격태격 목욕시간 #무당눈깔
Photo credits. A scene from drama “Life on mars” where the two male characters are in “mok-yok-tang”, or, the korean bathhouse

Then we head to the “jjim-jil-bang”, the sauna house, which is often just upstairs/downstairs or connected to the bathhouse. There, we first don the comfy jjim-jil-bang clothes and put on a “yang-meo-ri” (literally meaning “sheep head”) using a towel.

BLACKPINK - '블핑하우스 (BLACKPINK HOUSE)' EP.9-2 - YouTube
Photo Credits. Blackpink members in a “jjim-jil-bang”, aka the sauna house.
가족끼리 왜 이래' 김현주-박형식-김상경, 찜질방 '양머리' 사진 공개 '양머리 삼총사' 결성 - 조혜진 기자 - 톱스타뉴스
Photo Credits. Drama “What happens to my family?” (2014)

At the sauna, we relax and lie down on the heated wooden floors or on the mats, watch TV, chat, and of course, eat 1-2 (or more of) “jjim-jil-bang eggs”, which are known as “Korean Sauna Style Eggs”. Check out this post on “My Korean Kitchen” for a look at how to make these heavenly eggs!

170102 Legend of the Blue Sea PD NOTE / “Legend of the Blue Sea” – бележки  на продуцента – LEE MIN HO BG
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Of course, these eggs have to go with a “sik-hae”, a sweet, icy traditional Korean beverage made of cooked rice.

Such a trip to the bathhouse and sauna, and then return home, completes the journey of a deung-san! Writing this post really makes me miss Korea- when covid’s really over, I’m looking forward to the day of going on a hike, and taking a trip to jjim-jil-bang and mok-yok-tang!

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