By Varsha Mukherjee
There you are, sitting down with a list of places to visit on your upcoming trip to South Korea. It would be a fair guess that it would include the most popular and famous locations such as the bustling city of Seoul, Jeju Island – the scenic Hawaii of Korea and Busan, with its famed Buddhist temples.
But why not take a look at places that are off the beaten track, and consider these suggestions that cover nature, chirping crickets, open quaint drama sets, cliff islands, beautiful fortresses and unique festivals.
Love historical architecture? A fan of films and their making? A nature enthusiast? This beautiful town has it all.
- Naganeupseong folk village: Home to hay thatched stone huts, meandering paths lined with charming shrubs right in the lap of nature, this village is a surreal combination of medieval architecture and modernization.
- Suncheon Bay: A developed conservation area, home to over 500 species of trees and 100 species of flowers.
- Naganeupseong castle: A Joseon dynasty era castle built in 1397 it has been reverently preserved to date.
Jincheon hosts the World Taekwondo Hwarang festival every year. Fans from all over the world come together to revel in the spirit of the martial art which itself has originated in Korea.
Nonggyo Bridge: Also known as the Nongdari Bridge (Nong = “centipede”), this is oldest stone bridge in South Korea. Astonishingly, there is no cement or any other sort of adhesive added to hold the stones of the bridge in place. So the stones do move a bit due to the rise and fall of the river.
The name literally translates to ‘good water’. This maritime city on the Yeosu peninsula comprises of a staggering 317 islands, most of them inhabited. Yeosu Maritime cable car offers a wonderful way to take in the gorgeous scenes of the peninsula’s south coast and the Dolsandaegyo Bridge while zipping along in a cable car.
- Hyangiram Hermitage: One of the four Buddhist hermitages in Korea, the temple is home to exquisite flora and geological formations.
- Yeosu Ocean Rail bike: This is for the child in you, which translates to train tracks, cycling, and a 3.5 km long track that glides along the rocky coastline of Yeosu
Dubbing itself the “blue city”, this is actually an island and Korea’s second largest scenic coastal line. A series of uninterrupted, calm, blue, beached caverns and steep pine-forested grey cliffs overlook the sea.
- Haegeumgang: Designated Korea’s “national scenic site 2#”, this island is famous for its tall, sheer cliffs.
- Oedo Island: Korea’s privately owned island is host to Oedo-Botania, which is a botanical garden located in Hallyeo Maritime National Park.
The best way to discover a new country and to discover places outside of the guidebook is by asking local residents for tips. So go ahead and brush up on your Korean phrases, or download one of those handy translation apps, pack your bags and off you go. Have a good journey or as they say in Korea: Jalda nyeoo sip sio!