Gunpo Royal Azalea Festival

Late April is the time for Royal Azalea blooms in Korea. One of the best spot to see these beautiful flower is in Gunpo, Gyeonggido, around 45 mins away from Seoul.

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Royal Azalea is really similar to Azalea (read here), especially the form of flower. The difference is only in the size of the tree because Royal Azalea tree is smaller and bloom 2-3 weeks after Azalea. The color is also the same, red, purple, and pink.

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The festival is usually held on the last weekend of April. In 2017, it was held between April 28-302017, which already ended for this year. However you can still see the flower until 2 weeks after since the flower bloomed a little bit late this year.

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[HOWTOGETTHERE]

  • Take subway line 4 to Surisan Station
  • Take exit 3 and go straight for about 400m

*more info

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VISITED ON APRIL 27TH, 2016

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Wansan Park, Jeonju

If you look for the King Cherry Blossom and colorful Royal Azaleas, Wansan Park in Jeonju is the best place to visit. Since it’s located just next to Jeonju Hanok Village, you can reach this place after you spend some hours in the famous Hanok Village, only 30 mins by walking.

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King Cherry Blossom is another type of Cherry Blossom flower, but the flower is more pink, bigger and has more petals.

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Royal Azalea in Wansan Park has some two colors, the red and pink one.

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Something you can’t forgot is taking good photos.

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[TIPS]

    • You can get to Jeonju by taking public bus from Express Bus Terminal to Jeonju city which is available every 10 mins
    • If bus terminal is too far from your area, the easier way to travel is joining oneday shuttle bus to Jeonju organized by Trazy where they have pick up points on popular area such as myeongdong, hongdae and dongdaemun. Click here Travel with Trazy
    • Once you arrive to Jeonju City (by your own) or to Jeonju Hanok Village with Trazy, read my instruction bellow.

[HOWTOGETTHERE]

  • Walk from Bus Terimal to Geumam Gwanjang Intersection (금암관장사거리) for about 5-10mins, and take right and you will find bus stop. Take bus 165.
  • Get off at Nambu Market Bus Stop (남부시장). As soon as you get off, go to your left and keep going straight until you see a river and bridge.
  • (If you wanna visit after spending time in Jeonju Village, you can go to a big road next to Jeoju Cathedral, and turn left, towards a river and bridge)

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  • As you find the bridge, you will see small hill on your right.

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  • Find the entrance to the hill (steep stairs) and Wansan Park is just behind that hill.

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  • Take the stairs and as soon as you reach the top, take left, go straight untill you find way down exit, and take left again and you will see the entrance of the Wansan Park on your right.

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Visited on April 25th, 2017

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Wonmisan Mountain Azalea Festival

Azalea flower is purple flower which usually bloom on early April in Korea.

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Wonmisan Mountain Azalea Festival is held on April 7-9 this year. Beside Wonmisan, there are other Azalea Festival such as Yeongchwisan Azalea Festival (Yeosu, early April) and Goryeosan Mountain Azalea Festival (Incheon, late April).

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Not only purple Azalea, yellow Forthysia also blooms around the mountain make it more colorful.

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If you walk around, they have a pretty bridge, a good spot for you to take good picture. Meanwhile if you reach the peak, you can see Bucheon Stadium from above.

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[HowToGetThere]

  • Take subway to Bucheon Stadium Station (Line 7), take exit 2
  • Walk straight for around 500 m, just afer you pass the stadium you will see sign “The Azale Garden” (photo below), that’s the entrance of the festival

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*more info

If you miss Wonmisan Mountain Azalea Festival, you still have a chance to visit Goryeosan Mountain Azalea Festival by joining daily tour Trazy!

Click here  Travel with Trazy

visited on April 7th, 2017

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Naejangsan National Park

Naejangsan National Park is the most visited place in November as thousands people come to see the colorful autumn leaves when its hitting the peak. Located in Jeollabuk Province, about 3 hours away from Seoul, Naejangsan is the first most recommended place to spend your autumn holiday in Korea.

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Just before you reach the main entrance of Naejangsan National Park, you will find Naejangsan Sculpture Park, which is located 15 mins away.

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Once you enter the main entrance, you will understand what beauty of autumn is.

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After walking for about 30 mins (or taking shuttle ride for 1000 won) you will arrive at Uhwajeong Pavilion (우화정) which is a pavilion in the middle of small lake. This place is located next to the Naejangsan cable car station.

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As you keep walking inside the national park, you will see the Naejangsa Temple, about 10 mins walking from the cable car station.

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Do not forget to take a closer picture of the maple tree leaves whose form is so lovely yet colorful.

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[HowToGetThere]

  • Take bus to Jeongeup Intercity Bus Terminal from Central City Terminal (Honam Line)
  • At the bus terminal, take bus no. 171 and get off at Service Area Naejangsan Bus Terminal (휴게소.버스터미널) Bus Stop.

[Tips]

  • Best time to visit in 2016 is November 9-16
  • Take your own car or go together with travel group (taking public bus by your own is a little bothersome)
  • Come as early as possible (or stay over if possible) since so many people coming to this place, late means you gotta park your car so far away from the entrance or even can’t get seat on the bus.
  • Take the cable car earlier as the queue is longer after the lunch.

*more info

visited on October 29 , 2016

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Seorak Mountain (설악산)

Seorak mountain is the highest mountain in  Gangwon Province as it’s the third  highest mountain in South Korea. The main entrance of Seorak mountain is 30 mins away from the nearest Seokcho City.

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Seorak mountain is famous for its waterfall and peaks which you can reach by hiking for some hours such as

  1. Biryeong Waterfalls (2,4 km – 1 hour per way, difficulty 2 out of 5 )
  2. Biseongdae Cliff (3,6 km – 1,5 hour per way, difficulty 3)
  3. Ulsan Bawi Rock (3,8 km – 2 hour per way, difficulty 5)
  4. Cheonbuldong and Baekdam Valleys (3,5 km – 1 hour per way, difficulty 2)
  5. Daesung Waterfalls (0,9 km – 1 hour per way, difficulty 3)
  6. Baekdamsa Temple (7,5 km – 3 hours per way, difficulty 2)

** However, they also provide the easiest way to get to the Gwongeumsong Fortress by riding a cable car in Sinheungsa Temple area (1 km from main entrance) which cost you 10,000 won (round trip).

When you get off the cable car, you can follow the road and get to Gwongeumsong Fortress which is about 500 m away from the cable car station to get the full picture of Seorak mountains from 1200 m altitude.

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The best thing if you visit Seorak Mountain in mid-late October is that you can witness the colorful image of autumn foliage from above

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Seorak mountain is famous for its beauty and colorful maple trees during autumn season. For 2016, the autumn foliage first appeared on September 29 and get its peak on October 20 (earlier than last year’s autumn foliage).

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I visited Mount Seorak back in October 14, 2015, one week before it hit the peak time for autumn foliage. I took the bus from Seoul to the Seokcho bus terminal, proceed with local bus and arrive at the main entrance at 11am. I didn’t get the cable car ticket during the lunch time (packed of guests) so I decided to take the cable car later at 5pm as I planned to hike Ulsan Bawi Rock first (I bought the 5pm ticket at around 11pm).

I started hiking around 11.30am and arrived at two temples and a spherical rock Heundeulbawi at around 12.30pm (already halfway to Ulsan Bawi).

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Ulsan Bawi (울산바위) is a rock formation of Seorak Mountain, one of the famous peak spot for hiking. It takes you 2-2,5 hours total for 3,8 km (one way) from the main entrance. To get to the peak, you gotta climb over 888 steps before you can see such amazing view of the Ulsan Bawi Rocks and Seorak mountains.

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You can also see the Seokcho City which is exactly next to sea.

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I spent 5 hours long for Ulsan Bawi trip (2 hours climbing up, 1 hour rest, 2 hours going down) and managed to comeback before 5pm to ride the cable car to Gwongeumsong Fortress.

[HowToGetThere]

  • From Seoul Express Bus Terminal or Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, take a bus to Sokcho City ( 2,5 hours, 18.100 won)
  • From Sokcho Express / Intercity Bus Terminal, across the street and take bus No. 7 or 7-1.
  • Get off at Sogongwon Bus Stop (45 mins away)

[Tips]

  • If you want to take 2 courses (cable car and Ulsan Bawi) but for only one day trip in Seorak Mountain, you gotta leave Seoul early in the morning and comeback later in the afternoon.
  • If you want to enjoy more Seorak Mountain, you can stay over in Seokcho and play Pokemon Go!
  • Check the temperature before you come so you can prepare jacket if its cold.
  • Don’t forget to bring water and food.
  • Hiking during rainy day is dangerous, you can just take the cable car course instead
  • If you don’t like hiking, you can take the cable car course.
  • Come during weekday if you want to visit during peak autumn foliage. You might have to wait for a long time for cable car (1-2 hours to get your turn)
  •  The best view of autum foliage of Seorak Mountain is from the Gwongeumsong Fortress, which means you have to take the cable car for this.

[Recommended Itinerary]

  • 7.30 leave from Seoul Express Bus Terminal
  • 10.00 arrive at Seokcho Bus Terminal
  • 10.15 take bus no 7 or 7-1
  • 11.00 arrive at main entrance of Seoraksan
  • 11.30 buy ticket for 4pm cable car
  • 11.30 – 15.00 climb up to Ulsan Bawi
  • 4.00-5.30 take cable car, Gwonggeumsong Fortress
  • 6.00 go back to Seokcho Bus Terminal
  • 7.00 take bus to Seoul Bus Express Bus Terminal
  • 8.30 arrive at Seoul

*more info *course details

visited on October 14th, 2015

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