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Walking in autumn in Gyeonggi-do

WriterAdministratorDate10/25/2018

 

- Travel in the beautiful scenery and breathe in the heavy fragrance of autumn -

  
It’s October when the colors of the mountains and fields become more vivid After Chuseok, autumn is reaching its peak, and the chilly wind causes us to turn up our collars in the morning and evening. Why not take a walk in Gyeonggi-do when the heavy autumnal fragrance is most potent.

 

[Pray in autumn]

1. The Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Namyang, in Hwaseong

Left: a consecration hall with lots of candles, a place for praying. / Right:  a statue of Jesus Christ on the Cross among the autumn leaves.


Sometimes we pray desperately. Even if we are not religious, we pray to something when we are desperate and cannot find the answer by ourselves. At such moments, The Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Namyang offers warm comfort. Why not take a walk along the road of prayer that leads to the forest holding a candle with your heart. You may be able to find the answer by yourself. The splendid maple leaves will be a blessing for you.   

The Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Namyang is a place where numerous religious people lost their lives during the Byeongin Persecution of 1866, but it has been forgotten with the passage of time. In 1991, the site was announced as a pilgrimage of the Holy Mother for the first time in the history of the Catholic Church in Korea, and since then many people have visited it. Though many believers visit the place each day, it is not noisy. The low sounds of prayers will calm you while the sacred atmosphere of the well-maintained garden and forest will give you comfort like the snug hug of the Holy Mother. Even if you are not a Catholic, you can enjoy a picnic under the warm sunlight and enjoy the scenery of autumn. You will also be able to taste sweet jumbo shrimps and fresh seafood at the nearby Sagang Market and on Jebu Island.

 

Address: 112, Namyangseongji-ro Namyang-eup, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-356-5880

Website: http://www.namyangmaria.org

Opening hours: Pilgrimage program 10:00~16:30

Admission: Free

 

2. Yongmunsa Temple in Yangpyeong, and the legend of the ginkgo tree

Left: there is the huge ginkgo tree and people are watching it outside a fence. / Right: Daeungjeon Hall of Yongmunsa Temple  under the colorful mountain.

 

Even in ancient times Yongmunsan Mountain was famous for its majestic physical aspect and deep valleys. In autumn, colorful autumn leaves make hearts flutter. The most beautiful section begins at the Iljumun Gate of Yongmunsa Temple. With the figure of a dragon sitting on the red roof, the Iljumun Gate creates a dreamlike scene of natural colors, as if it borders reality and dreams not a just a gate dividing the secular world and the temple. However, it’s too early to be surprised. You will meet the huge gingko tree in the temple precincts after walking along the autumnal forest road. This gingko tree is the largest one in Asia, standing some 42 meters tall, and is estimated to be more than 1,100 years old. It has been designated as Natural Monument No. 30 of Korea.
 

There are many legends associated with the gingko tree in Yongmunsa Temple. One legend has it that the tree grew from a stick put in the ground there by Preceptor Euisang, while another legend tell that Crown Prince Maeui, the last crown prince of the Silla Dynasty, planted the tree in an expression of his sorrow over the loss of his country. The village people hold the tree to be sacred, believing that it emits a strange sound whenever a national catastrophe is imminent. How about praying and making some small wishes to the sacred gingko tree? The millennial guardian of Yongmunsan Mountain might just listen to your special prayer. Or, if you are seeking peace of mind and relief from the daily routine, you could participate in the temple stay program run by the tranquil Yongmunsa Temple.  

 

Address: 782, Yongmunsan-ro Yongmun-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-773-03797

Website: http://www.yongmunsa.biz (Korean only)

Opening hours: 24 hours

Admission: Adults- KRW 2,500, Soldiers/Adolescents- KRW 1,700, Children- KRW 1,000



[Autumn road]

3. Doksanseong Road in Osan, greeting autumn the very first

Left: a man walking Doksanseong Road looking down an open view of downtown Osan. / Right: Daeungjeon Hall of Bojeoksa Temple and a Three-story Stone Pagoda in front of it.

  

Doksanseong Road, the 7th course of Samnamgil road, is known and appreciated as the first place to greet autumn in Osan. You can see the remains of Doksanseong fortress and downtown Osan at a glance from the walls of Doksanseong Fortress. You will pass by Semadae, where General Kwon Yul defeated the Japanese army during the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592, and a number of dolmens as you stroll along this historical road. Instead of walking the entire length of Doksanseong Road, visitors are recommended to walk along the section from Doksanseong Fortress to the Dolmen Park.
 

The section to Doksanseong Fortress goes uphill, and is steepest from the entrance of Doksanseong Fortress to Bojeoksa Temple. Fortunately, the dense forest offering shade and the fresh breeze will help you get there without any problems. Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend much time walking up the mountain, you could drive up to the east parking lot at Doksanseong Fortress. The unobstructed panoramic view of colorful mountain and nearby cities including Dongtan New City and Suwon from the fortress wall is overwhelming. The beautiful scenery is sufficient compensation for all the sweat you shed while walking. So take your time to enjoy the cozy precincts of the temple and the long, curved lines of the fortress wall. But please take care when you walk down to Semadae Forest Park as the paved road is very steep. The road is much easier from Semadae Forest Park to the Dolmen Park, with just one low hill between them. The Dolmen Park is an interesting place where prehistoric dolmens can be seen against the background of a modern apartment complex. You can enjoy the full colors of autumn while sitting in the lookout hut or walking along the trail.

 

Address: 155 Jigot-dong, Osan, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-8036-7608 (Department of Culture, Sports & Tourism of Osan City)

Website: http://www.osan.go.kr/osanCulture/contents.do?mId=0201000000 (Korean only)

Opening hours: 24 hours

 

Admission: Free
 

4. Neumnae-gil and Gaetgol Ecology Park in Siheung, a salt pond road full of autumn flavors

 

Left: Heundeul observatory on the the Gaetgol-gil trail surrounded by a huge reed field. / Right: a man walking in the the Gaetgol-gil Ecology Park really well-maintained with various plants.


Neumnae-gil is an environmentally-friendly walking trail in Siheung set amid mountains, fields and sea in the capital region. You will be able to feel the concern not to spoil the nature for a beautiful harmony of beautiful scenery and the perfect trail for walking. Among the courses of Neumnae-gil, the Gaetgol-gil trail has been made in an old salt pond that stretches across the only back-bay mud flat in Gyeonggi-do Province. Autumn is the perfect season to walk along the Gaetgol-gil when salt plants such as East Asian seepweed and sea blite become darker and the reeds and silver grass grow thicker. Visitors are recommended to try the half course of Gaetgolgil. There is a car park at the Gaetgol-gil Ecology Park, and a walkway to and from the reed field and Buheunggyo Bridge back to the park, which usually takes about two hours to complete.  

The Gaetgol Ecology Park is located around a back-bay tidal channel, something rarely seen anywhere in the world. A back-bay tidal channel is a channel that is formed deep inside the interior. It is the best place for the production of solar salt in a slate pond as the seawater flows along the tidal channel. The old sale warehouses scattered here and there attest to the past prosperity of the large salt ponds. As you walk along the well-ordered trail, you will see various species of living organisms in the mud flat, including red-foot sand crabs and other small crabs. You will be able to view the whole of Gaetgol-gil Ecology Park at a glance from the six-story observatory located at the end of the trail.  

 

Address; 287 Dongseo-ro, Siheung, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-488-6900

Website: http://www.siheung.go.kr/culture/%ec%8b%9c%ed%9d%a5%ea%b0%af%ea%b3%a8%ec%83%9d%ed%83%9c%ea%b3%b5%ec%9b%90  (Korean only)

Opening hours: 24 hours

Admission: Free


 

[Forest tinged with autumnal colors]

 

5. Namhansanseong Fortress in Gwangju, tinged with autumnal hues

Left: Chimgoejeong Pavilion under the yellow gingko trees. / Right: a person walking down along the fortress wall enjoying the colorful autumn flavors.

 

Namhansanseong Fortress in Gyeonggi-do is famous for its beautiful maple leaves. You can enjoy mountain trekking in autumn along the well-preserved walking trail and fortress wall amid the beautiful scenery and splendid maple leaves. It is easy to reach by public transportation, and the local eateries serve many delicious foods.   
 

The walls of Namhansanseong Fortress are 12 kilometers long, and there are five walking trails in the area, of which course no. 1 best reveals the beauty of the Namhansanseong Fortress wall. The course, which is relatively safe and easy, begins at Jongno Rotary near the fortress and ends at the South Gate after passing via the North and West Gates. In autumn, the yellow gingko leaves around Chimgoejeong Pavilion, located near the starting point at Jongno Rotary, are a truly beautiful sight to behold. However, the panoramic vista of the landscape from the curving fortress walls, on the road from the West Gate to Sueojangdae, is the real highlight of the course. Here you can see downtown Seoul at a glance, with Mt. Gwanaksan, Mt. Bukhansan and Mt. Dobongsan rising in the background. Meanwhile, course no. 4 is the best way to enjoy the splendid essence of the maple leaves at Namhansanseong Fortress, on the section of trail running from the South to the East Gate via Namjangdaeteo. You are sure to fall in love with the flavor of autumn as you walk along the fortress wall embraced by colorful autumn leaves.

 

Address: Sanseong-ri, Namhansanseong-myeon, Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-760-2468 (Department of Culture and Tourism of Gwangju City)

Website: https://www.gjcity.go.kr/en/contents.do?mId=0301010000

Opening hours: 24 hours

Admission: Free


6. Bukhansanseong Fortress in Goyang, the prestigious autumn landscape of Gyeonggi-do

Left: people climbing rocky Mt. Bukhansan to the peak. / Right: a man is praying in front of the statue of Buddha's head of the Wonhyoam.  

The best place to see the colors of autumn at Bukhansanseong Fortress is Bukhansan Nuri-gil (which is course no. 1 of the Goyang Nuri-gil) as this route reveals the beautiful landscape of Mt. Bukhansan and its great rocky peaks soaring above the trail. If you don’t fancy climbing to the top of the mountain, casual clothes, a bottle of water and a roll of gimbap are enough to enjoy the colorful autumn flavors.

Mt. Bukhansan is a famous mountain that is instantly recognizable for its dominant granite peaks. The Bukhansan Nuri-gil is a course that runs around the foot of the charming Mt. Bukhansan. The trail starts at the entrance to Bukhansanseong Fortress and frequently overlaps with the Bukhansan Dule-gil. You will arrive at a fork after passing by the Bukhansanseong Tour Support Center, and will have to cross the wooden Dulegyo Bridge on the left to enter the Nurigil. The view of Bukhansan Mountain from Dulegyo Bridge is quite grand. You will also see the autumnal landscape of Wonhyobong Peak, Baekundae Peak and Mangyeongdae Overlook  in one sweeping vista. Meanwhile, the trail on the right goes up to Bukhansanseong Fortress, and you will have to begin climbing in earnest if you take it. One hour’s walk from here will take you to Wonhyoam hermitage, a small temple nestled between the rocks, and Wonhyobong Peak, a famous for its view of Bukhansan Mountain. Though you will be out of breath by the time you get there, the impressive view will be a rich reward for your effort.  

 

Address: 375 Daeseomun-gil, Deokyang-gu, Goyang, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-8075-4384 (Department of Green Tract of Goyang City)

Website: http://nuri.goyang.go.kr (Korean only)

Opening hours: 24 hours

Admission: Free