Korea is home to mountainous regions. Although it does not possess the highest peaks or the deepest valleys in all of Asia, a large number of wonderfulmountains and hills provide hikers and mountain climbers with stunning sights. What makes hiking in Korea more interesting is that most Buddhist temples are located on mountains, exuding a serene tmosphere and magnifying the picturesque beauty of the traditional architecture of the temple. Making Buddhist temples the destination of your hiking 182 Leisure trip will make your trip a lot more interesting. Try a drink of cool and crystal clear stream water at the temple, as this experience will add to the breathtaking view from a temple perched on top of a mountain. For those who are interested in camping, it is important to know that camping is only allowed in designated camping sites of national parks. The following is a list of some of the representative national parks and Buddhist temples in Korea.
Seoraksan National Park
- Tel. 033-636-7700
- http://seorak.knps.or.kr [K, E]
- This popular national park in Gangwon-do, Seokcho is frequented by visitors for the beauty of the rock formations of the Seoraksan Mountain. There are several established Buddhist Temples on site: Sinheungsa Temple, Baekdamsa Temple, Naksansa Temple.
Bukhansan National Park
- Tel. 02-909-0497
- http://bukhan.knps.or.kr [K, E]
- Also referred to as Samgaksan, Bukhansan is the only national park located in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do. Therefore, the wildlife and natural environment pales in comparison to some of the other notable national parks. Frequented by urbanites of the capital city as well as its surrounding cities, hiking courses vary from those suitable for novice climbers to harsh terrains popular among enthusiasts. Doseonsa Temple is located on BukhansanMountain.
Hallasan National Park
- Tel. 064-713-9950
- http://www.hallasan.go.kr [K]
- Hallasan National Park is a volcanic mountain located on Jeju Island. Most of the mountain is covered in basalt and the crater’s Baekrokdam pond is a popular tourist destination. On this tallest mountain in South Korea, rare stones and rock formations can be found. Gwaneumsa Temple is located on the northeastern end of the range, and is quite an attraction because the architectural style of the temple is different from those commonly found on the ground level.
South Korea is on a peninsula and therefore is surrounded by three bodies of water. The East Sea is deep and clean, the Southern Sea and its numerous islands are known for its beauty and the Yellow Sea contains long sandy beaches due to its shallow waters. In order for people to enjoy the beautiful seas of Korea, the ollowing is a list of Marine National Parks.
Taeanhaean National Park
- Tel. 041-672-9737
- http://taean.knps.or.kr [K, E]
- This National Park includes the popular tourist destination, Anmyeondo Island and contains over 130 islands in the central west area of the peninsula. A must-see for visitors is Mallipo beach.With its sandy white beach running over 3 km long, it is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Korea.
Hallyeohaesang Marine National Park
- Tel. 055-863-3521
- http://hallyeo.knps.or.kr [K, E]
- Hallyeohaesang has the distinction of being the firstMarine National Park in Korea. Over a million visitors flock to this locale to relax in the natural beauty created by the sea, islands and land. Located in the Southeastern corner, Geojaedo Island and Tongyeong, among other well-known tourist destinations, are a part of Hallyeohaesang Marine National Park.
Traditional villages are great places for foreigners to gain a glimpse into Korea’s wellpreserved past. The beauty of traditional tileroofed and straw-roofed houses is something of a rarity in modern Korea and the beauty of it all will leave a lasting impression.
Andong Hahoe Folk Village
- Tel. 054-854-3669
- http://www.hahoe.or.kr [K, E, J]
- Andong Hahoe Folk Village is like a page out of a Korean history book. The cultural remnants have been so well-preserved the entire village has been designated the label of Important Folk Customs Material. Hahoe roughly means surrounded by water and as the name suggests, Nakdonggang River surrounds the village. To further add to the beauty of the village, mountains provide a beautiful backdrop like a meticulously designed traditional folding screen. The trip down to Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do will not seem like a long commute when you consider the traditional beauty of the village, the affordable stay at a traditional home, as well as the festivals and events.
Yongin Korean Folk Village
- Tel. 031-288-0000
- http://www.koreanfolk.co.kr [K, E, J, C]
- This artificial village contains traditional houses representative of various places around Korea. The folk village is not actually inhabited but is used as a sightseeing venue inside Everland (an amusement park) and for traditional events and festivals. Since Yongin is relatively close to Seoul, it’s a great way to spend a day on the weekend with your family or friends. Admissions for adults are 11,000 won and children, 8,000 won. A multiple entry pass costs 16,000 won for adults and 13,000 won for children.
The capital city, heart and soul of Korea, Seoul plays an important role in many aspects. Approximately a quarter of the entire Korean population is concentrated in Seoul and as such, it plays the central role of all things including economics and culture. Tourist information on destinations in downtown Seoul as well as its surrounding areas can be found on the official tourism website, www.visitseoul.net [K, E, J, C] Not really sure where to start? The following is a simple list of tourist destinations around downtown Seoul.
National Museum of Korea
- Tel. 02-2077-9000
- http://www.museum.go.kr [K, E, J, C]
- The location, in Yongsan-gu, Itaewon, makes it easy for any Seoulite to easily access the museum. The National Museum of Korea is appreciated by visitors and residents alike because of its extensive collection of artifacts from ancient to modern times. Furthermore, various special exhibitions and performances are always in store. Check their website for ongoing and upcoming events/ exhibitions.
National Folk Museum
- Tel. 02-3704-3114
- http://www.nfm.go.kr [K, E, J, C]
- The National Folk Museum is located on the Gyeongbokgung grounds in Jongno. The visit to the folk museum is a nice way to finish the tour after your stroll around the palace grounds. The main purpose of the museum is to research, collect and exhibit aspects of traditional Korean culture. The beautiful landscape architecture provides a nice place for a stroll.
- Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung and Deoksugung are major royal palaces from the Joseon era. Since they are all located north of the river (Gangbuk) and in relative close proximity to each other, touring the four royal palaces is a great way to discover the history of Seoul. Furthermore, City Hall, Gwanghwamun and Insadong are all nearby which provides tourists with easy access and plenty of activities before or after the tour of the palaces. Jongmyo is another site worth visiting. It is a place where the ancestors of the royal families are enshrined. You will notice the tranquility and serenity that’s of stark contrast to the noisy downtown area in its surroundings.
- Tel. 02-3783-5900
- http://parks.seoul.go.kr/guide/introduce.asp?body page=namsan/park.html [K, E, C, J]
- The city that is now Seoul, during the Joseon Dynastywas north of the river and since Namsan (South Mountain) was located south of the city, it was given its name. As the city began to grow over time into areas south of the river, Namsan is now associated with the central region of the city. It is recommended that visitors take the cable car from Myeongdong up to the Namsan area. N Seoul Tower, Namsan Hanok Village, a walkway and National Theater are just a few of the attractions clustered on the grounds of Namsan.
- Tel. 02-120 [Day]/ 02-3780-0777 [Night]
- http://hangang.seoul.go.kr [K]
- Hangang is often the first notable landmark in Seoul that visitors will notice. As a river that stretches from East to West, the high water volume and the width of the river crossing the central area of Seoul is quite impressive. Seoul City has been hard atwork to utilize the Han River to its fullest potential. Their latest plan involves affordable water taxis that provide a solution for the busy commuters trying to beat the chaos of rush hour. Hangang Park runs along the river and ferries, water skiing and other water activities make it a great place to enjoy summer days.