Naejangsan National Park
Naejangsan is one of the most popular foliage tourist spots in Korea. In between the end of October and early November, Naejangsan celebrates the season change by converting its color palette from green to layers and layers of red, orange and yellow on the natural canvas; it is traditional for the locals and tourists to join the festivity and together marvel at the wonderfulness of the mother-nature.
The autumn foliage usually comes a little earlier in Korea than in Japan. Naejangsan is a national park of Korea that offers a number of hiking trails around the mountains for tourists to explore, and nothing’s better than appreciating the beauty of four seasons with nature as a canvas – from cherry blossoms, summery green shade, falling foliage to the snowy landscape.
What I did is a day trip – travel south from Seoul to walk through the amazing falling leaves in Naejangsan. The walk from the entrance to the Naejangsan Temple takes about an hour or so, and in fact, cars could reach up to the temple and so the road is nicely paved for all types of foliage admirers. During the high season, groups and groups of locals would bring their hiking gears and food for a picnic. Don’t worry though the entire mountain would be covered with beautiful colors to welcome the roaring crowd.
At the back of the temple starts the hiking trail. Some of the walks take 2-3 hours whilst hikers could enjoy a tranquil and pleasant scenery along the streams.
Outside the park is where all the festivities happening. Food stalls are set up with all sorts of Korean street food and delicacies; there is also a cable car station to the top of the mountain, too!
Open Hours: Open all year round
How did I get there: I began my trip from Seoul @ the Yongsan train station. Take the KTX to Jeongeup (about 3 hours) and the tourism office is right outside the train station. Get a map and take bus #171 across the road to the national park (about 20 mins). There will be a crowd visiting so don’t worry about getting lost 🙂
Closer to the city, Nami island (Namisum) is another fabulous location to get a little bit of fresh air. It got famous and popular because of an old Korean TV Show, and now statues are erected based on the show characters. Since then, the island is all about romance. Well, one couldn’t deny it’s an outburst of emotion when the entire island turned red as if it’s on fire. Bike rental, resorts, camping sites, lodging facilities, educational center, and even a theme park was built with all sorts of entertainment available. I saw there’s a long queue for the stimulating Zipwire, or mini electronic cars running around the island.
Nothing to complain as I was sitting at an outdoor restaurant working, with a hotpot simmering and a fantastic view.
Open Hours: Open all year round – the island is connected by ferries.
07:30-09:00 (30min intervals)
09:00-18:00 (10-20min intervals)
18:00-21:40 (30min intervals)
The island is free – with various fees for different activities
How did I get there:
There are bus connections from Gapyeong train station to the ferry terminal; better yet, there are shuttle bus services @ the ferry terminal that brought me directly back to the Seoul city center. Just buy tickets @ the ticket stalls as you are leaving (it took about 2 hours – due to traffic)