As I looked back at my five years in Korea, some say I must have visited all parts of Korea but it just dawned on me as a sudden realization that there is one particular province in the country that I had yet to visit. That is Jeolla province. As the weather cools and the leaves began changing colors, autumn is the best season to take road trips out of the city. Ask any local about the best place for fall foliage in Korea, and Naejangsan National Park will unquestionably be named. Since Naejangsan is located in Jeongeup, Jeollabuk-do, I figured it is best to visit all the nearby #KoreaMustGo100 places altogether! After much research, Naejangsan, Damyang and Boseong seemed like the best itinerary that I can go with. Read on to find out how my day rolled out!
1. 1st Stop: Naejangsan National Park
Started the day really early at Naejangsan National Park located in Jeongeup, Jeollbuk-do as we entered the park at 6:30AM. To my pleasant surprise, there are way more people at the park in this time of the day than I had imagined. Mostly professional photographers, who are there to set up their cameras at the best spot while waiting for sun rise and its changing position I supposed.
The mandatory shot of the spectacular Uhwajeong Pavilion in Naejangsan National Park. I visited Naejangsan on the first weekend of November, but I must say the full peak for this year is probably sometime along the second week of November (depending on rain or other weather factors).
A mini bus that brings you to the cable car boarding point is available at 1,000 won (one-way). I would recommend just taking a walk through the park since the roads are well paved out for leisure walking. And you may also take beautiful fall foliage along the way.
Since I was early, the queue for the cable car was not exactly long and I got the round-trip ticket for 8,000 won per adult. The cable car ride was only about 5-min+ and you will arrive at the observatory of the Naejangsan National Park.
It might not seem entirely “autumn” in the above picture, but I am assuming most of the trees in the picture above at just evergreen all year round. The ones that had turned red / orange, are pretty obvious.
This is the view that you get from the observatory. Unbelievably astonishing! Since I had an entire day of schedule lined up after, I made my way to take the cable car down and left Naejangsan National Park at about 10.30AM. By this time, the queue for the cable car, as well as the mini buses were insanely long. Highly recommend that you visit Naejangsan National Park super early in the morning like I did. It is really worth the morning rise. 🙂
➡ Click to Book “Free & Easy Naejangsan One day Tour”
2. 2nd Stop: Damyang Bamboo Forest (Juknokwon)
After departing from Naejangsan National Park, the next stop was Juknokwon in Damyang-gun, Jeollnam-do, which is just another hour drive away. Some say that this is the Korean version of Japan’s Arashiyama in Kyoto, while I have yet to visit Kyoto, I can’t say if it is comparable.
Once you enter, you will realize the majesty of these tall and skinny bamboo trees surrounding you. Though I may not be exactly tall, being in this forest just made me feel somehow shorter and smaller than before, hah. One thing for sure is the air just felt much fresher and there was an instant revitalizing feeling. One of the must-try food here is the Bamboo-flavored ice-cream, which I did not manage to try. Definitely giving it a try the next time if I’m ever heading back!
➡ Click to book “Private Van Tour to Damyang”
3. 3rd Stop: Boseong Green Tea Plantation
Drove for another 2 hours to arrive at our final destination of the day, Boseong Green Tea Plantation. This is yet another place in Korea that I had been wanting to visit. I guess I was lucky since the crowd hadn’t formed when I was there, and I could take multiple photos without any obstruction.
And of course, I had to feature my crystal ball that I had been carrying with me whenever I know I’m traveling to somewhere scenic (see more photos on my travel via hashtag #아이린랑여행갈래).
Introducing my newest travel buddy – Ryan the maneless lion from Kakao Friends. I am so in love with him, and you may also check out my newest hashtag on Instagram #라이언랑여행갈래 for updates. 😆 Had him featured with my green tea ice-cream, a must-try if you are here! Since I did not get to try the bamboo-flavored one in Damyang, I had to try this green tea one here. And it was absolutely yummy!
As it was also past lunch time, there were a variety of green tea-infused food options to choose from such as green tea naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodles), green tea bibimbap and green tea donkatsu (pork cutlet). Had the pork cutlet since I wasn’t a fan of cold noodles and I craved for some meat, but nothing tasted like green tea except a few green tea powder specks sprinkled all over. It was not too bad for taste, but definitely not worth a photo taking. (Sorry!)
Climbed all the way to top to get to the observatory, and it somehow felt like I was hiking up a mountain. But the view from the top was pretty worth the trek up.
➡ Click to book “Private Van Tour to Boseong”
So that pretty much concludes an entire day at Jeolla province. Had such a fun and fulfilling day, and I was more than happy to check 3 places out of the #KoreaMustGo100 list, all in one day! Probably the most fruitful road-trip I had ever embarked on thus far.
Getting there by car is the most ideal situation. Here are the addresses that you may need for navigation:
Naejangsan National Park:
1253, Naejangsan-ro, Jeongeup-si, Jeollabuk-do
Damyang Bamboo Forest (Juknokwon):
119, Jungnogwon-ro, Damyang-eup, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do
Boseong Green Tea Plantation:
763-67, Nokcha-ro, Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do
*If you do not wish to drive in Korea, hire a van with driver from FUNKO!