Travel Review & Tips: Fall Foliage Trip to Naejangsan National Park

Greetings, travelers! I’m a member of Trazy Crew, back with a review, this time about my experience on my fall foliage trip to Naejangsan National Park!

Since South Korea is well known for the beautiful fall colors, I wanted to venture out. So last week, I signed up for our own tour package which was the ‘Korea Fall Foliage Small Group Tour‘.

What/Where is Naejangsan National Park?

In case this is your first time hearing about the park,  Naejangsan is a famous mountain located in Jeolla-do Province, which is not too far from Jeong-eup City.

It’s one of the best destinations for viewing a gorgeous color palette of autumn leaves (mainly maple leaves) and breathing in the fresh air in South Korea. Plus, there are also waterfalls and temples to explore.

Naejang means ‘many secrets’, implying that there are many beautiful things to discover in the park. Though fall is definitely the park’s peak season, it’s also gorgeous during the spring when azaleas and cherry blossoms bloom, summer when the mountain turns greener and in winter when the rock cliffs are blanketed in snow. 

The Best Way to Get to Naejangsan National Park

By Train: You can take the KTX from Yongsan Station to get to Jeong-eup Station, then take a local bus to get there. This method can be quite confusing for first-time travelers and the train ticket price may be a little bit expensive as it costs around 40,000 KRW (around 39 USD). And fall is a high season in Korea, which means the train tickets may run out real fast.

By car: It takes around 4 hours from Seoul, but during weekends or peak season, it may take even more. Also, during the peak season, access to the mountain can become quite difficult, especially if you arrive late. The parking lots fill up before noon and the roads get packed. It’s best to arrive early in the morning and leisurely explore.

For those who merely need a transport and do not want to go through the hassle, signing up for a tour package can be a great option as it provides a round-trip transportation and an admission fee.

fall foliage small group tour.pngTrazy’s fall foliage tour package also provides a round-trip transportation, which was a van along with a friendly tour staff member who spoke English. The admission fee is also included. I was picked up at Hongik University Station at 6:00am, but departure locations also include Myeongdong Station and Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station.

*Note that for a larger group of people, a bus may be used instead of a van. On the day of the tour, my tour group consisted of 6 people including myself.

By any means, if you would like to get there by yourself, click here for directions!

There was one rest stop halfway where we could use the bathroom and buy some food. We arrived at the park at around 10:30am ready to explore!

The Top 4 Hiking Trails We Recommend!

In Naejangsan National Park, there is a total of 10 hiking courses in the park. But here are the top 4 hiking trails and courses you should try.

1. Seoraebong Course – The most visited course that starts from the Hiking Information Center and passes through Seoraebong Peak (624m) and Bulchulbong Peak (622m) before ending at the Information Center again. It’s not too challenging, but there is a steep steel staircase that can be a little tiring to climb. naejang-eng-SeoraebongCourse(0).jpg2. Nature Observation Course – Also an easy one composed of mainly gravel roads and dirt that’s great for families, children or the elderly. The entire course can be completed in about an hour and 20 minutes. naejang-eng-NatureObservationCourse(0).jpg3. Baekyangsa Walking Trail  For those who want more of a challenge and really want to get in some exercise, these two trails are recommended. This trail contains several steep slopes and has lots of steps.naejang-eng-baekyangsawalkingtrail0

4. Ridge Hiking Course – The most challenging course as it passes through all eight peaks of Naejangsan Mountain.naejang-eng-ridgehikingcourse0

Here’s How Trazy’s Fall Foliage Tour Goes…

We took one of the easier courses that involved barely any steep inclines or difficulty. From the parking lot, we took a free shuttle bus to the ticket area, which took less than 5 mins. By walking, it would take around 15~20 mins.free shuttle bus.jpgThere the tour staff member bought us tickets for the second shuttle to the entrance of the National Park. All courses start and finish from this entrance where the ticket booths are.

The bus fee is part of the tour so we didn’t need to pay but it is normally 1,000 KRW. The first shuttle was big, but this one was smaller and more cramped but it didn’t matter since the journey was short. Bus Pass.jpgWe passed lots of hikers and tourists despite it only being 11am. On the way, you can find this sign in the picture below. If you are the left was the cable car, which people could ride at an additional cost. 0.5 km to the right was Naejangsa Temple, which was where we were headed and further ahead was Byeongnyeonam Temple.Signs.jpgThe walk to the temple takes around 5 minutes, and is so enthralling and beautiful that you’ll be stopping for photos constantly! street vendor.jpgThere were also many restaurants and vendors selling vegetables, herbs, teas, kimchi, meat, makgeolli (rice-based alcohol) and acorn jelly as well as various trinkets.

3 Attractions You Should Not Miss!

1. Naejangsa Temple

After a leisurely 5 minute walk from the entrance of the park, we arrived at Naejangsa Temple.naejangsan-109The temples had people praying inside them and outside pretty much every spot was a photo zone. The trees and floor were coated with leaves and there was a pond with statues spurting out water.temple-fountain-01Korean temples also have wells called ‘Yaksuto.’ These wells pour out water that is fresh and drinkable, which you can do with the plastic cups provided. monk-performing-01The highlight was hands down a singing performance by one of the monks. He was singing a pop song with a voice that you would expect to hear from someone like Pavarotti or Bocelli. He was amazing.

Recommended photo spots:

*Illjumun Gate: It is symbolic because it is the entrance to the Buddhist temple and is apparently good for taking group photos. naejangsan-157-01*The lanterns: These were located in front of the temple. I LOVE the colors and found that they made the perfect background for a photo as they swayed gently in the wind. naejangsan-117-01*The pagoda: It houses the purported remains of the Buddha and makes for the perfect photo with the backdrop of the foliage and blue sky.

*Resting area: This area was where a lot of people were sitting down to take a rest. There were stairs leading up to the top where many photos were being taken too. The photographer would stand there and point their camera down so that the foliage would be captured with the subject in the middle.naejangsan-1121-01naejangsan-127-01

2. Uhwajeong Pavilion

The leisurely downhill walk from the temple back to the parking lot was about an hour and 40 minutes down a long path called ‘Five Colors Danpoong (Korean for autumn leaves) Path’.

As we walked down, we saw Uhwajeong Pavilion.

The name is derived from the legend that the pavilion once grew wings and ascended into the heavens. Various flowers, trees and foliage surrounding the pavilion created a view that looked almost fake. The water was also so clear that I could see fish swimming!

The one that stands today was built this year to replace the original one (pictured above) erected in 1965, which was criticized for failing to harmonize with its surroundings.

Recommended photo spots:

*Stone path: I noticed many people taking photos on the stone path leading to the pavilion. They would stand in a line and pop their heads out in alternative directions while flailing their arms, which made for a cute photo.

*From a distance: I also found that taking a photo from further away made the pavilion look like something out of a postcard. This was thanks to the foliage and trees appearing in the surroundings as well as the ray of sunlight! 

3. Sinsun Waterfall

sinsun-waterfall-2-01Located further down from where Uhwajeong Pavilion is, Sinsun Waterfall is a historical river bank where Japanese and Korean soldiers fought. Since the river is old, natural stones were stacked in efforts to reconstruct it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to see the water flowing out on the day of the tour, but when it does, it just looks amazing!

Recommended Photo Spot:

*Sinsun Waterfall and Uhwajeong Pavilion: Because Uhwajeong Pavilion is visible behind the waterfall, it makes for the perfect photo as you can see it in its miniature form in the background behind the cascading waterfall!

Trazy’s Survival Tips – Know Before You Go!

*Wear comfortable shoes! I wore a pair of combat boots that were relatively comfortable, but sneakers would be better. Wear hiking shoes if you plan on trekking along the more challenging courses.14*Skip the cable car or be prepared to waste a good two or three hours waiting. It’s much better to explore the paths by walking in that time.

*Stick to bibimbap if you’re not into foods that have strong seasonings or taste. The tour staff told us one of the tourists ordered a bean paste soup, but it turned out to have such a strong taste that was like ‘cheonggukjang’, a fermented soybean paste that has a pungent scent).

*Avoid weekends. If you head to the park on a Friday, there may be an increased amount of traffic when you head back in the evening. This is normal, though.

Review on ‘Korea Fall Foliage Small Group Tour’

Overall, I had a really great time at the park. I was dreading it at first since I am by no means an outdoorsy person, but it wasn’t bad at all! The trail was nice and easy to walk along and the weather was amazing. I captured so many amazing photos and got some exercise too.

I do kind of wish that I had visited earlier since the foliage is in full bloom during early November. Plus it had rained heavily the day before, making lots of leaves fall to the ground.

So, if you are thinking of joining the tour next year, check the weather forecast regularly and book your trip during the month of October.

At any rate, the Fall Foliage Small Group Tour was excellent since I was driven to and from the park by the tour staff. Since the tour is not guided, we were also free to explore the area on our own and be back at the parking lot at a designated time.

For those of you who have never been to Naejangsan National Park or other national parks across South Korea during fall, check out Trazy’s fall foliage tour next year and book in advance if you want to save your seats during the peak season!

Found this post helpful? Don’t forget to check out Trazy.com, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop for more fun and exciting things to do in South Korea. 😉button_main 2

Where to Go in South Korea During Fall for Each Type of Traveler

It’s October, which means that fall is finally here! The pretty colors, sweater weather, sipping hot drinks, cool breeze… need we say more?

Garden of Morning Calm (3).jpgIt’s also the best time to visit Korea as the weather is a far cry from the disgustingly sticky and humid summer. Instead, it is cooler and drier, but still quite warm and sunny.

Take a look at some of these options tailored to four different kinds of travelers planning to come to Korea! Which one are you?

1. Traveling All By Yourself?

If you’re traveling alone and looking to meet and hang out with new people, sign up for a group tour like the Fall Foliage Small Group Tour. You’ll get to meet and interact with other travelers just like you while admiring the rich orange, yellow, and red fall foliage and breathing in the fresh fall air!  The tour staff also all speak English, so communication won’t be a problem at all!

If you’re too lazy to leave the city and still want somewhere peaceful to explore on your own, head to the World Cup Park. Built to commemorate the 17th FIFA World Cup in Korea, this park is made up of five smaller ones. Haneul Park is the most popular of them, with 22 lookout points offering stunning views of Seoul, Namsan, Bukhansan, and Gwanaksan Mountain. Best of all, it’s free!

So get your camera and selfie stick ready to click lots of photos to upload to your social media to let all your followers and friends instantly know how much fun you’re having on vacation.

2. Lovey-dovey Couples

If you’re a couple, you’ll be happy to know that Korea is an absolute HEAVEN for couples. There are a bunch of romantic spots all over Korea. Jeju Island is one of them, with stunning autumn views that make it the perfect destination to enjoy a romantic vacation.

The Jeju City Tour Bus offers a low-cost way for you and your other half to comfortably explore the main attractions on the island!

Nami Island is famous for its beautiful scenery and for being the filming site of the 2002 hit drama, ‘Winter Sonata.’

Bask in the nature and peacefulness of this beautiful venue by strolling around hand-in-hand along the tree-lined paths and exploring various museums, art galleries, and handicraft workshops. The Nami Island Shuttle Bus and Ticket Package will get you to and from the island with ease. Click here to check out more awesome Nami Island tours!

#송도빛축제 집앞인데 끝나기전 부랴부랴 보러오기

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Finally, for a romantic date night, check out the Incheon Songdo Light Festival and Seoul Lantern Festival. The light festival features a light rose garden full of 20,000 LED roses while the lantern festival lights up the Cheonggyecheon Stream spanning 1.2km. Perfect for taking a romantic stroll and taking cute selfies! You can participate in activities like lantern-making and writing on a new year’s wish paper too!

3. Fun For the Whole Family

If you’re looking to have some great family fun in Korea, look no further. Chuncheon, a lakeside city located about an hour away from Seoul is absolutely gorgeous during the fall.

Thanks to this Seoul Vicinity Tour 4 in 1 Package, your whole family can enjoy four of the most popular destinations here. You can visit not only Nami island but also rail bike at the Gangchon Rail Park,  explore the lovely french style village called Petite France, and see fragrant flowers at the Garden of Morning Calm.

If you’re an active bunch and enjoy exploring nature trails, places like Seoraksan National Park and Naksansa Temple are great options. Seoraksan National Park is one of Korea’s most beautiful places, home to the third highest mountain in South Korea. Here your family can see abundant wildlife, hot springs, rock formations, and ancient temples.

Naksansa Temple is one of them, boasting a  1300-year history and serving as a place of prayer and meditation with pristine natural surroundings. It also offers a magnificent view over the East Sea.

4. Adventure Junkies

October is the month of Halloween, which means it’s time to bring out the costumes and face paint and get ready for some fun!

#서울랜드 #좀비런 추웅데…😭 #좀비#할로윈#분장

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The Zombie Run is perfect since you can actively participate in it, rather than simply just walk through a standard haunted house as people try and scare you. Choose from two different levels of difficulty, ‘normal’ and ‘hell’. If you’re feeling daring and fearless, go for the ‘hell’ package, which has more complex rules and scarier zombies.11813247_829724363802041_5633861595135009242_nYou’re dead once the zombies steal all 3 of your ‘life’ flags, so run as fast as you can and don’t look back. 14068203_1053289454778863_5548238847947211171_n.jpgFor all you party animals, the official after party is held at Club Made in Itaewon, so head on over afterward to dance till the sun comes up.

아이디어좋아 #빨간회전목마 #호러할로윈 #롯데월드나이트파티

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If you’ve wanted to try staying at a theme park after closing time, check out the ‘Night Party with Zombies‘ at the Lotte World theme park. There are various events to enjoy and fourteen different attractions, four of which are decked out in a Halloween theme. The highlight is the concert, with this year’s fantastic line-up of singers and rappers ready to fire up the stage.

#롯데월드나이트파티

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Whatever kind of traveler you are or want to be, Korea has got something for you to enjoy doing! So what are you waiting for? Plan your fall vacation now and get in one last getaway before the year ends!

To find the best holiday spots and activities for you to enjoy in Korea, head over to Trazy.com, Korea’s #1 travel shop! button_main 2

Photo Credits
“Korea Andong Autumn scenery near Yeongnak Bridge” By Robert 
“Temple in Seoraksan National Park, South Korea” By Chris Campbell
“A couple walking in sunset silhouette” By Darin Kim
“JEJU Island” By MIN_Photo
“2013, 남이섬” By thomas park 
“autumn trees” By Brian Yap 
“Buddha Statue Near Heundeulbawi – Seoraksan National Park” By Chris Campbell
Zombie Run@zombierun.korea

The Best Fall Foliage Hotspots in Seoul for Your Instagram

Autumn in Seoul is absolutely wonderful – The leaves turn crisp and rich shades of yellow, red, orange and brown, the air is chilly, and you can start pulling out your light coats and scarves.

It boasts the perfect weather to walk around outside, bask in the cool breeze and to take in the gorgeous landscapes. Here’s our list of the best in Seoul for you to take in the beautiful fall foliage and take the best Instapics. Head to them quick before winter hits!

1. World Cup Park

#Seoul #worldcuppark #autumn 각자 저마다의 색을 뽐내는데 나는 무슨 색일까

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Made up of five parks, World Cup Park is lined with endless nature paths.

It also holds the Seoul Eulalia Festival at the top of the park to highlight the blooming field of reeds every autumn.

2. Garosugil (Sinsadong)

오늘의 #가로수길 #가을 #노오란은행잎 #토요일 #seoul #garosugilroad #garosugil

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Garosugil means “street with trees” and it definitely is lined with lots of them, especially Ginkgo trees. Enjoy taking in these towering trees with yellow fan-shaped leaves as you shop along the streets or sip a cup of coffee.

3. Samcheongdong-gil Road

#삼청동가을 가을색 올만에 칭구 후배랑 낮콧바람~ 날씨좋으다~ 온도는 초겨울…

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The scenic stone wall road that runs beside Gyeongbokgung Palace is perfect for taking a stroll during autumn.

At Samcheongdong-gil Road, you’ll be greeted by shades of striking yellow, orange, and red. Try a walking tour to really enjoy it to the fullest!

4. Gilsangsa Temple

#korea #seoul #gilsangsa #autumn #landscape #color #길상사 #가을 #단풍 #풍경

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Gilsangsa Temple is surrounded by many old trees and beautiful autumn leaves. It’s the perfect place to take a leisurely walk since the environment is peaceful and airy.

5. Deoksugung Palace

굿모닝~ 불금 잘 보내세요! #가을 #덕수궁 #덕수궁길 #seoul_korea

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Beautiful scenery is everywhere along this stonewall road, with the trees that look particularly colorful when viewed against the Deoksugung Palace walls. Enjoy it after a tour of the palace!

6. Bongeunsa Temple

The summer hues of pink and white are replaced with shades of orange, yellow, and some green at Bongeunsa Temple – all against a serene backdrop of the Buddha statue.

7. Dosan Memorial Park

A small but peaceful park, Dosan Memorial Park is full of golden autumn leaves and is a popular destination for office workers to enjoy a walk during their lunch breaks.

All the locations mentioned in this post are organized here for your convenience. If you’d like to check out more picturesque places across Korea to enjoy the fall foliage this autumn, try this tour!

As always, don’t forget to stop by our official website, Trazy.com, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop to stay up-to-date on the best things to do and places to check out! button_main 2

Top 3 Fall Foliage Trails in South Korea You Must Add to Your Travel Itinerary

nature-527836_1920Beaches, ice creams, short pants… It’s finally time to bid the long scorching summer goodbye and welcome the chilly fall weather with open arms. Famous author Jim Bishop once said, “Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons”. In contrast to the lush green grass and fragrant flowers of Spring, Autumn presents us with stunning shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Throughout October and November, you can feast your eyes on lush mountains dyed with scarlet-tinged leaves in 3 breathtaking destinations in South Korea: Seoraksan National Park, Naejangsan National Parkand Daedunsan Provincial Park.

These sights all offer spectacular foliage scenes and worthwhile hiking experiences. So get up, grab your camera and prepare to immerse yourself in the beauty of Autumn!

1. Seoraksan National Park

10790459573_8e57aa510d_o
A view of Seoraksan National Park in autumn

Known for its beautiful scenery all year round, Seoraksan National Park is the starting point of fall foliage in Korea. Located in the northeast of Korea, the park spreads across Gangwon Province which is divided into two main areas, OeSeorak (east) and NaeSeorak (west).

It is an extremely popular hiking destination during the autumn season, with throngs of people gathering to watch the leaves change color. On October 18th, the foliage will reach its peak in the park, boasting magnificent views of the mountains with the hiking routes blanketed in a canvas of yellow, reddish-gold and orange.

To enjoy the autumn tints here to the fullest, Trazy highly recommends the following two trails:

A Course. Seoraksan National Park – Baekdamsa Temple5159467145_320c968e99_o

Baekdamsa Temple is one of the beloved trails you can take from Seoraksan, a very popular destination within the mountains. The trail here is narrow and winding, but it’s well worth it as it is a beautiful temple, known for its scenery that embodies an old history tracing back to the Silla kingdom (B.C.57~935).

There are streams and valleys nearby as well that add more beauty to the scenery, complete with crisp blue skies and a gentle cool breeze.

B Course. Seoraksan National Park – Ulsanbawi

14160545978_89707b19d7_o
Magnificent granite peaks of Ulsanbawi

The second trail is from Seoraksan to Ulsanbawi, a massive rock standing at 876m that provides a spectacular view. Hiking up these granite peaks is no easy task, with the last section involving a steep flight of 800 steps that can be especially difficult to climb in strong winds.

But don’t give up, because once you reach the summit and gaze upon the panoramic view, you’ll realize the pain and suffering were all worth it.

ulsan-rock-605245 (1)
Seems difficult but give it a try!

Besides the foliage, Seoraksan boasts colossal mountain peaks that pierce through the clouds, dense rocks, gorging valleys and cascading waterfalls that are sure to be magnificent.

2. Naejangsan National Park

autumn-leaves-965674
Naejangsan surrounded by fall foliage

The next foliage destination that you could visit in South Korea is Naejangsan, located in Jeolla Province. This place is particularly famous for its vivid crimson foliage, 600-year-old nutmeg trees, and famous waterfalls such as Dodeok Falls. There are also two famous temples to explore called Baekyangsa Temple and Naejangsa Temple.

Temples, mountains, plants, animals, waterfalls … Naejangsan has an endless list of things to offer so you’ll never be bored. There are incredible views every season, such as cherry blossoms in the spring, greenery in the summer, and trees covered with snow in the winter.

3. Daedunsan Provincial Park

On top of Daedunsan Provincial Park
On top of Daedunsan Provincial Park

Daedunsan, at 878 meters, is known for its steep and rocky landscapes and is one of the most challenging but worthwhile mountains to climb. Characterized by large rocks and trees, the main attraction is a hair-raising suspension bridge that hangs over a deep ravine 300 meters above sea level. Cross it if you dare! We can assure you that it’ll add an element of thrill and excitement to your trekking, especially on a windy day when the bridge sways from side to side.

However, for those of you who don’t want to cross the bridge, you can ride the cable car instead! Aside from the thrills, Daedunsan is full of maple leaves that are a dazzling red spectacle from above.

Whether you’re someone who loves going up mountains or not, it’s sure to be an enriching experience, especially once you reach the summit, not to mention it helps build incredible strength and endurance. Check out this list of trekking courses in Korea for more places to explore. If hiking isn’t your thing, not to worry as there’s plenty of autumn foliage in the city too!

Finally, don’t forget to stop by Trazy.com to stay informed on the latest and best things to do in South Korea!button_main

The Ultimate Guide to Korea Autumn Travel

The Ultimate Guide to Korea Autumn Travel 2016