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Arts & Cultur Gyeonggi-do Bookstay Travel Course, Yangpyeong



Enjoy a romantic autumn day reading books at Walking Whale


There are times when the blue autumn sky looks sad for no reason. When in need of comfort for a tired mind, or longing to spend the day in a relaxing mood, why not go for a book stay? Savor the crisp sound of turning pages, the pleasant sweet smell of ink, and the delight of discovering phrases that touch your heart. Walking Whale, located on the way to Yongmunsa Temple, is a small bookstore and book stay venue where you can wallow in the joys of books.


Travel Schedule

Walking Whale → 3.3km, seven minutes by car→ Yongmunsa Temple → 4.4, eight minutes by car→ Café Moonlit

1. Tonight you’re the owner of Walking Whale




How about spending a whole day immersed in a book with your smartphone pushed to the side? The “season of reading” has arrived, as we leave the scorching heat behind. Walking Whale is located in a quiet village at the foot of Yongmunsan Mountain in Gyeonggi-do Province. It’s a small local bookstore and book stay place run by Whale Story Publications, a publisher of picture books. After the publisher’s office near Hongik University was moved to Yangpyeong, the bookstore was opened in an attempt to create an open space where writers and readers can meet and explore the world of books.

From outside, Walking Whale looks pretty much like a normal house but inside it’s a small, compact bookstore packed with books published by Whale Story Publications and picked by the owner of the store himself. As the bookshelves are crowded with lots of good, interesting reads, you might be tempted to pull an all-nighter in a bid to read them all.

The bookstore is open from 12 pm to 6 pm. If you buy a book, you can help yourself to a cup of coffee or an herbal tea. After 6 o'clock the store becomes a dedicated space for the day’s book stay guests. It can only accommodate one group of two to six people per night, and anyone can become the owner of the bookshop for a night.

Books that have recently become popular, books you’ve long wished to read, books on gardening with a pretty cover, books on books, books that comfort you ... There are so many titles that might interest you. Picture books for children are displayed separately in a small loft. On top of all that, you may also like the back yard where autumn leaves fall on a wooden table, as well as the front yard where cabbages are grown.


Address: 340-20, Yongmunsan-ro Yongmun-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do

Tel: +82-31-771-7863, +82-70-8870-7863

Admission: Free

Opening hours: 12:00 - 18:00 (bookstore). There are no regular closed days but off days are agreed on with Whale Story Publications and posted on the blog each month.



2. A stroll amid phytoncides refreshes the mind - Yongmunsa Temple



It’s widely agreed that Yongmunsa Temple is at its most beautiful in autumn. Even without its iconic gingko tree, it’s a great place for a stroll in the cool autumn weather amid the colorful autumn leaves. Once you pass the ticket office, a sculpture of the "YONGMUNSAN" character will greet you in the square. It’s about one kilometer from there to the temple, but the gently sloping paved path through the forest is easy to walk along, and continues right through the valley. The cool air, the chirping of birds, the sound of water flowing along the mountain and the rustling of fallen leaves beneath your feet create a perfect harmony. It feels as if the scent of the forest and the phytoncides permeate deep into my lungs and cleanse them.

After a shortish walk you’ll reach a souvenir shop followed by the entrance to the temple. The site is a bit busy and cluttered as the construction of a stairway from Cheonwangmun Gate to Daeungjeon Hall is in progress. Don’t worry, you can take photos of the beautiful temple against a background of countless lanterns hanging in the front yard of Daeungjeon Hall and a superb gingko tree.

The ginkgo tree, a symbol and landmark of the temple, is well over 1100 years old, making it the oldest ginkgo tree in Korea. This tree which is 42m tall and whose root is 15.2m in width is so huge that it even appears mysterious. It has been designated as Natural Monument No.30.
In October, when autumnal hues adorn other trees, Yongmunsa temple’s ginkgo tree is still green. This is because the leaves don’t turn yellow until early to mid- November, after all the leaves of other gingko trees have fallen. If you want to see the tree’s leaves when they’ve turned yellow, you’ll have to visit the temple in November.


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

Tel: +82-31-773-3797

Admission: Adults KRW 2,500, Teenagers/Soldiers/Police Officers KRW 1,700, Children KRW 1,000







3. Fancy taking a great selfie? Visit Cafe Moonlit



As soon as you enter this café you’ll want to take some pictures. Newly opened in the spring of 2018, this place is well known among travelers as a great place for taking photos and relaxing with a coffee in its wide and refreshing garden. The line of stepping stones through the garden also makes for a great background for group and couple photos.


After sunset, the light bulbs hanging among the trees create a deeply romantic atmosphere. As soon as you go in be sure to occupy your favorite seat before placing an order at the counter. There’s a variety of seats to choose from, including bean bag sofas, low tables, wooden chairs and tables, cabanas and sofas with white chiffon curtains, hammocks, tents and camping chairs. There are so many visitors at the weekend that you may have to wait to get your favorite seat.

In front of the café runs a valley which makes the area even more picturesque. The wide view you get when sitting on a bean bag sofa on the valley side is splendid. The corners of the café are decorated with flower beds, pots and hanging baskets which are great to take pictures of. The interior covered with transparent plastic becomes a cinema after sunset. If you pass by the counter and head further into the garden, you’ll find a rooftop, and there’s even a rented cottage and restaurant attached to the garden. As for the menu, coffee, tea, fruit ade, and smoothies are available, but why not try a variation coffee rather than a simple Americano.


Address: 109, Deokchon-gil Yongmun-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do

Tel: +82-10-5615-2438, +82-10-5047-1880

Opening hours: 10:00 - 21:00 Monday - Thursday, Sundays and Public Holidays; 10:00 - 22:00 Friday - Saturday

Menu: Coffees KRW 5,500 - 7,000, Latte KRW 6,500, Smoothies KRW 7,000




1. Unmarried couples are not allowed to stay at Walking Whale. Groups of girlfriends tend to be most satisfied with the place. It is recommended for moms and daughters, or for groups of friends. Since the books on display are for sale, they should be read with care and returned to the shelf after reading. As the bookstore is closed on an irregular basis, make sure to check in advance whether it is open at the website or by phone.


2. Yongmunsa Temple was built by the Buddhist great master Daegyeong in the second year of the reign of King Shindeok of the Shilla Dynasty (913) and rebuilt during the reign of King Sejong the Great, and is home to two Buddha statues and eight bodhisattvas. There are two legends about who planted the gingko tree, either Crown Prince Maui, or the Buddhist great master Uisang put a stick on his way to Mount Geumgangsan.


3. Cafe Moonlit’s outdoor space is more popular than its indoor space. It can be windy or chilly particularly after sunset in autumn, so make sure you wear a warm coat.


Public Transportation Information

[Subway] Leave Yongmun Station (Gyeonggui Jungang Line) via Exit 1, walk for 300m to Yongmun Intercity Bus Terminal, take bus no. 7, 7-4, 7-8 or 7-11 and get off at the Yongmunsa Temple bus stop. It takes about 35 minutes.


Driving Information

Olympic-daero → Head toward Yangpyeong across Paldangdaegyo Bridge → Guksu-ri → Wild Flower Arboretum → Turn left at the Maryong Junction → Yongmunsan-ro → Walking Whale