Journey into Picturesque Yangpyeong
The road leading to Yangpyeong, passing through Namyangju, runs alongside a thick forest and a wide riverside. Its beautiful landscape tempts people to drive or bike along the road, and I knew that traveling along the road will be a memorable journey.
Yangpyeong is surrounded by several mountains and big rivers, creating scenic views, making it an area with many places to visit. Dumulmeori, where the Bukhangang and Namhangang Rivers merge, is a popular tourist attraction in Yangpyeong and it was selected as one of Korea’s 100 famous places. On my way to my first destination The Greem, I was able to take a glimpse at Dumulmeori, which provides stunning natural scenery in harmony with the rivers that seem to traverse endlessly. I was in awe and took in the breathtaking views.
Today, I planned to visit The Greem, which has a beautiful garden in Okcheon-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, and then move on to Yongmunsa, which is an old temple famous for its 1,000-year-old gingko tree in Yongmunsan Mountain. I will then dine at a restaurant in the Yongmun Tourist Complex and take the Yangpyeong Railbike, which will to be a fun way to relieve my stress.
♣ The Greem
The Greem (meaning “painting” in Korean) is a beautiful destination as its name implies. It’s easy to see it as a theme park that incorporates a garden or a special cafe. While touring exquisitely manicured gardens and beautiful buildings, I felt like a main character in a movie. Each flower, tree, and prop seems to have been carefully planted or placed with great thought, making the entire vicinity pleasing to the eye and heartwarming. Furthermore, the scenery surrounding the Greem added more beauty to the area.
I was able to clearly see the peak of Yongmunsan Mountain, which stands high from a distance in the midst of the surrounding scenery. I have never seen such beautiful mountain peaks.
While the area is known for its stunning beauty, it is also a popular filming location and has appeared in over 50 television dramas, commercials and movies. With a romantic ambiance, it is also known to be where lovers propose marriage and where wedding photos are taken.
The Greem operates a unique admission system. Admission fee is 7,000 won for adults and it includes a free beverage. Once visitors enter The Greem, they can choose a beverage of choice and enjoy it at the café, while touring buildings or going for a stroll through the outdoor gardens.
I ordered blueberry ice cream at the café and the taste of my ice cream was more than what I expected.
Since The Greem is located not far from the Yongmun Tourist Complex, I recommend visiting Yongmunsa Temple within the complex after touring The Greem.
Address: 564-7, Yongcheon-ri, Okcheon-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do (175, Sanasa-gil)
Inquiries: 070-4257-2210 / 010-2169-1910
Closed: Wednesdays (Operates if a holiday falls on a Wednesday; or if there is filming or group reservations)
Directions to The Greem: It takes 10 minutes by taxi from Yangpyeong Station (Gyeongui Jungang Line).
♣ Yongmunsa Temple
From The Greem, it takes 10 minutes by car to get to Yongmunsa Temple, which is located in Yongmunsan Mountain. Yongmunsan is the third highest mountain in Gyeonggi-do Province, and is famous for its majestic mountain terrain and deep valleys. Yongmunsa is a representative temple that has been around for more than 1,100 years since its construction during the Silla Dynasty.
Located halfway up Yongmunsan is the winding tree-lined path leading to Yongmunsa. It is perfect for a bike ride, a drive or a leisurely stroll while enjoying the clean air and mountains. While meandering through the trees with red and yellow foliage, I expressed my admiration for the natural beauty surrounding me. Because of the tourist complex, restaurants were conveniently located along the path. As soon as I entered the Yongmun Tourist Complex, I had already decided which restaurant I would go to have my lunch later when I went up the mountain.
To reach Yongmunsa temple, I parked my car at the parking lot within the complex and walked up for more than 30 minutes along the mountain path. The distance was neither too short nor long for walking, making it the perfect course to take a leisurely stroll. A traditional market and restaurants lined the path from the entrance, and after walking a little further up the mountain, there was the Sustainable Agricultural Museum of Yangpyeong and a garden for visitors to take a short rest.
After passing the Iljumun Gate, a natural mountain path started. The plants’ unique fragrance enveloped the air and I was pleased to be surrounded by a thick forest.
When I got to the entrance of Yongmunsa with the gate of the Four Guardian Kings, gingko trees colored with yellow leaves on one side of the temple welcomed me. Red autumn leaves, together with green tree leaves, made for a feast of colors, and I was struck with awe at the natural sight.
As if representing the mountain, Yongmunsa is majestically situated on the hillside. After passing the gate of the Four Guardian Kings, I looked for the famous 1,000-year-old gingko tree while scanning my surroundings that was rich with falling autumn leaves. As expected, the giant gingko tree stood strong, with branches that stretched toward the sky. It was so big that I couldn’t believe it was actually a tree. I imagined the gingko tree to have all of its leaves already yellow, but it still had green leaves, so I was a little disappointed. Many visitors lingered around the gingko tree in awe and I could see many gingko leaf-shaped wish memos were hanging compactly around the tree.
I stayed around the tree for some time, feeling overwhelmed by the majesty of the 1,000-year-old gingko tree. I then toured Yongmunsa, which has been with the gingko tree for many years.
Yongmunsa is operating a temple stay program, and I highly recommend participating in it.
Address: 782, Yongmunsan-ro, Yongmun-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
Inquiries: 031-773-4768 Temple stay 031-775-5797
Directions to The Greem: Get off at Yangpyeong Station (Gyeongui Jungang Line). Take Bus No. 7-4, or No. 7-8, and get off at Yongmunsa Bus Stop.
♣ Set Menu with Seasoned Cirsium
There are several restaurants within the Yongmun Tourist Complex and at the entrance of Yongmunsa Temple. I enjoy healthy food, so I chose a restaurant that serves Set Menu with Seasoned Cirsium (gondeurae) and Rice in Bamboo. There were several restaurants specializing in set menu with seasoned cirsium but I decided to dine at a restaurant called ‘Gohyangjip.’
Gondeurae is a wild plant that is usually harvested from Gangwon-do Province, and this restaurant had the sign “Gondeurae from Gangwon-do,” which caught my attention.
The rice is cooked by adding gondeurae and it tastes particularly delicious when mixing it with seasoning. Rice with gondeurae is gaining widespread popularity due to people who care about their health. It is rich in protein, calcium and Vitamin A, and it can be digested easily, making it a favorite for both young and old people. As it is high in rough fiber, it lowers cholesterol levels and is good for indigestion or diets.
The menu serves steamed rice with gondeurae in a hot pot, along with several vegetable side dishes, so I could feel healthy already as soon as I saw foods served on my dining table. After I finished my meal, I headed out to take a railbike.
Address: 144-3, Deokchon-ri, Yongmun-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do (291, Yongmunsan-ro)
♣ Yangpyeong Railbike
Yangpyeong Railbike was located within 10 minutes by foot from the restaurant where I dined. Autumn is the perfect season to ride a railbike. I got very excited thinking about riding a bike along the rails through the autumn leaves. Others probably felt the same, as there were many visitors waiting to ride the bike even though it was a weekday. The railbike is equipped with a 4-people bike and a 2-people bike, and is round-trip 6.4 km long and lasts for about one hour. At the starting point, all the bikes are connected together while they are kept at a safe distance from each other. In the beginning, you may feel both scared of the possibility of being derailed and thrill from riding the bike along the train track. Since it’s important to maintain a certain distance from the bike in front of you, you need to adjust the speed of the pedals. I felt refreshed biking through cool autumn breeze and even sang a song to myself.
Breathing in the fresh air of Yangpyeong, after you ride along the track that passes through a forest path and streams, you will soon pass through a dark tunnel. Pretty lighting decorations installed in the tunnel emit sparkling lights that make for an environment that is unique and fun.
You may think that pedaling the bike might be too exhausting, but the track is mostly downward, letting the bike advance forward even if you apply little energy. However, when turning back to the starting point, you will need to press the pedal a little harder because the track runs on flat land or uphill. Overall, the railbike did not require a lot of physical strength, so it is a great activity for families with children, couples or friends to enjoy.
Railbike Fees: 25,000 won for two people / 32,000 won for four people / Group 10% discount (Except Saturday, Sunday, holidays, high season)
Railbike Operation Hours: Operates from 9 a.m. every one hour and 30 minutes; 7 sessions a day from November-February; 8 sessions a day from March-April; 9 sessions from May-October.
Address: 277, Yongmun-ro, Yongmun-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do (126-5, Samseong-ri)
Directions to Yangpyeong Railbike: Get off at Yongmun Station (Gyeongui Jungang Line) and walk for 10 minutes.1