Friday, 22 September 2017

The Most Beautiful Places in Gangwon during Autumn

Do you prefer to visit Korea during Spring or Autumn? Although I visited Korea five times, but it's sad that I've not see beautiful cherry blossom nor colorful foliage yet.

Actually, planned to go to Korea this autumn, but this year is important year for my son as he'll be sitting for PSLE. No choice, but have to reschedule the trip to April next year...

If you're planning to visit in Autumn, do check out this forecast for the finest and fiery foliage at five famous National Parks in Korea:  

Autumn 2017 Foliage Forecast. (Source
Seoraksan Mountain (설악산국립공원), Gangwon-do 
(First: 27 Sept / Peak: 19 Oct)
Odaesan National Park (오대산국립공원), Gangwon-do 
(First: 1 Oct / Peak: 17 Oct)
 Naejangsan National Park (내장산국립공원), Jeollabuk-do 
(First: 20 Oct / Peak: 8 Nov)
Jirisan National Park (지리산국립공원), Gyeongsangnam-do
(First: 11 Oct / Peak: 24 Oct)
 Hallasan National Park (한라산국립공원), Jeju-do
(First: 17 Oct / Peak: 31 Oct)

Fall foliage in Korea starts from the coldest place, so Gangwon is the first place to welcome this awesome nature’s foliage change, and then gradually moves into lower elevations in southern area.

The first autumn color is determined when 20% of the leaves on the mountain turning their leaves to vibrant colors such as tangerine, crimson and red hues. The peak foliage is determined to be when 80% of the leaves have turned. The peak for autumn color is usually two weeks after the leaves begin to first change.  

It's easiear to witness foliage in this country because it last for 2 months unlike cherry blossoms only for 2 weeks after blooming.

Hiking probably is the most rewarding way to admire magnificient mountainous scenes and wide array of different colours at different elevations. Feel the fresh autumn breeze while walking under colorful canopies of trees.

Check out different lengths and difficulties trails and 
best courses from Korea National Parks.

You won't go wrong to include Seoraksan in your itinerary. It's UNESCO listed World Heritage site and Korea’s most popular mountain destination with forested granite peaks and flowing streams. It's also known as 2nd Geumgangsan Mountain because of its incredible beauty.

It's a great place to visit in any season because it has fantastic foilage in the autumn, amazing snow scene of the winter, blooming rosebays in the spring or flourishing verdure in the summer.

 Cable car ride will take you to Gwongeumseong. 

Bonghwadae, the top of Gwongeumseong can be reached by walking up about 10 minutes. From the mountaintop, you can see not only the scenery of Outer Seorak, but also the beauty of Inner Seorak and various bizarre looking rocks. 

 Beautiful scene valley with calm and crystal-clear water flowing~

Ulsanbawi Rock standing at 876m.

Amazing alpine scenery, East sea and Gangwon City at the background.

10-meter bronze Buddha statue at Shinheungsa Temple.

But not to worry if hiking is not your liking...
Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung or Deoksugung in Seoul dressing 
themselves prettily in foliage too. Don't forget to rent beautiful 
Hanbok to enjoy free entrance to these palaces.

Do you know that Chuncheon is easily accessible by ITX train from Yongsan. It only takes an hour to reach Chuncheon, therefore Chuncheon is the perfect for a romantic and scenic day trip out of Seoul. 

I purposely not included Chuncheon in my previous posting of "Picturesque Pyeongchang and Nearby Attractions" because in this post I want to introduce you more about this city.

ITX from Yongsan Station (Line 1) to Chuncheon Station.

Chuncheon is a tourist friendly city. There's KTO office next to Chuncheon station that you can get detailed information should you need any assitance.

You can even join City Tour Bus that has different courses on daily basis which start from 10:30 to 17:30. There's another tour bus that circulating this city and you can unlimitedly hop on and off to different sightseeing places in Chuncheon. Course A circulating through Namiseon Island, and Course B in the direction to Soyang Dam. All the city Tour buses departed from Chuncheon Station (infront of KTO).

Here are some not to miss attractions and activities in this city full of fun, nature, culture, history. Don't forget that Chuncheon has popular local representative dishes of delicious dalkgalbi (닭갈비) and makguksu (막국수).

1. Nami Island (남이섬)

Nami Island coated in charming cherry blossom contrasts with 
colorful green, yellow and red leaves.

Nami Island (남이섬) is a half-moon shaped island that was created in 1944 with the construction of Cheongpyeong Dam in the Bukhangang River. 

 Hallyu drama "Winter Sonata" was filmed here.

Click this link to read my previous post and photos of where the main characters had their first kiss, metasequoia paths, bench with snowmen and artificial lake.

In fall, autumn colors the paths where lining maple trees and ginkgo trees are gorgeous.

It's a perfect place to stroll with your family, friends and loved ones. Bike or electric car rental are available to immerse yourself in the beauty of this island.

If you want to continue to next destination by Circular Tour Bus, do make sure to check the timetable and wait at the car park at least 5 -10 minutes earlier.

2. Gangchon Railbike (강촌레일파크)

Let's pedal along the old train track~!

Gangchon Rail Park is now a popular tourist attraction, because it's near to Nami Island and unique experience to pedal on the route which previously used by Mugunghwa train for 70 years after Gyeongchun rail line replaced it to connect Seoul and Chuncheon.

Waterfall between Gimyujeong and Gangchon  |
 There's a rest stop near the small waterfall, snack stalls and toilets
after pedalling for about 6 km in about 50 mins.

scenic train to bring us to Gangchon station. |
After short break, this scenic train to bring you to Gangchon station.
Sit back and enjoy the nice scenery of stream flowing to Bukhangang River.

Go-kart, ATV ride, bungee jump, cycling and others
exciting activities can be found near Gangchon Station.

If you're coming directly from Seoul, you can take ITX train
to Chuncheon and transfer to Gimyujeong Station because
the rail park is just beside this station.

3. Mulle-Gil and Jungdo Mulle-Gil (물레길 & 중도 물레길)

Mulle-gil is a great place to enjoy water sports (Photo source: KTO).

Our VIP Invitation tour guide told us Chuncheon is popular place for students and companies for excursion and some teambuilding activities especially during weekend. She did mention to us about this Mulle Gil...

How about enjoying water sports such as canoeing, yachting, water skiing
on beautiful Uiamho lake and around Jungdo Island?

Please check out this website for reservation, fares and others information.

4. Jade Garden Natural Arboretum (제이드가든 수목원)
Jade Garden boast a total of 3,900 plant species including maple trees, irises, 
blueberry and patches of thick natural forests. (Photo: KTO)

It's created under the theme of "Small Europe in the Forest," on a plot of land measuring 160,000 square meters with 24 distinctively-themed areas in the garden.

 The arboretum makes the most out of its natural valley topography, a mix of tidy gardens, 
graceful flowers, and an array of European-style architecture. (Photo: Source)

It's another Hallyu Tour destination apart from Nami Island. It's because of its apperances in Korean dramas and films including Movie "You Are My Pet (2011)" Drama "Love Rain (2012)" Drama "Full House 2 (2012)" Drama "That Winter, the Wind Blows (2013)."

Visitors may choose from three different walking courses (each 2 hours in length) around the sites that offers magnificent sight to behold from spring to autumn. Gardening program is also available for aspiring gardeners~^^

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