Baekyangsa temple in Naejangsan National Park, South Korea

Baekyangsa Temple Naejangsan National Park South Korea

Naejangsan National Park is known throughout Korea as one of the best places to see the Autumn foliage. As with all National Parks, it's huge! Even after living in Korea for over 3 years I only just found out that there are in fact two separate temples which are on different sides of the park, each falling in a different province. Naejangsan Temple is in Jeollobokdo (click here for a full post on how to get there) and then Baekyangsa Temple (featured in this post) is actually in Jeollonamdo and closer to Gwangju. 

Both temples are beautiful and offer spectacular scenery, but Baekyangsa was my favourite. They are pretty far from each other and unless you have your own car, it would be very hard to get to both in one day. Naejangsan Temple is quite a far walk from the parking lot where the bus from Jeongeup drops you off, but there are lots of food stalls and beautiful leaves to keep you occupied as you make your way up to the temple. The temple at Baekyangsa was a much shorter walk from the parking lot, and had a lot more diverse scenery, and was my favourite place to photograph.

If driving, I have posted the address below. We started at the Naejangsan temple parking lots and then drove the 35km to Baekyangsa temple. The roads weren't very well marked and the sign posts were very erratic. It ended up taking over 1.5 hours to make the 35km journey. You might have better luck by bus going from Gwangju, however as I haven't made the journey by bus I can't offer too much info on it. When in doubt, call the English Helpline (1330 from any cellphone) here in Korea, those guys and girls work magic and will help direct you where you need to go with bus times and other useful info.

There was ample free parking near the entrance to the National Park (W3 000 per person). From there the walk to the temple was beautiful, with lots of views of the mountains and streams.


26 Yaksu-ri, Bukha-myeon, Jangseong-gun, Jeollanam-do

Just a note

Dogs are not permitted in the national Park (although we did see a few little fluffy heads poking our of handbags and backpacks). #ShadowtheJindo is too big to hide in a bag and so had to stay at home for this trip. National Parks don't allow dogs, but Provincial Parks like Seounusa and Gaemsa Temple near Gochang are pet friendly as long as your dog is lead. 

Autumn in Korea - Naejangsan National Park in Jeongeup

Naejangsan where to see autumn fall leaves in korea

Farmboy and I had a very exciting time last weekend as my mom arrived from South Africa to spend the next 2 weeks with us. She has been wanting to experience a Korean Autumn since we arrived here back in 2013 and so we took her to Naejangsan National Park just outside of Jeongeup so she could experience the vibrant colours for herself.

Naejangsan is one of the most popular places in all of Korea to see the Autumn (or Fall) foliage and it's easy to see why. The hillsides and pathways are covered in a multitude of red, orange and yellow leaves. We headed there on a Friday afternoon in the hopes of missing some of the crowds, but only got lucky because of the freezing cold weather and icy wind. By the time we had arrived most of the people were on their way home, racing back to their cars and tour buses to escape the wind. This was very convenient for us as we had the mountainside just about to ourselves, and were able to quickly take these photographs before it got dark.

Naejangsan is easy enough to get to by public transport. You can catch a local city bus from the Jeongeup bus station. The bus leaves from right outside the CU Convenience store (not from the usual bus platform inside the bus terminal) which is right next door to the bus terminal. If you get lost just pop into the CU and ask for the bus to Naejangsan.

The bus ride is about 40 minutes long and you'll get dropped at the parking lots at the base of the park. From there it's about a 25 minute walk to the entrance to the National Park. There is a small (W3 000) entrance fee...make sure to bring cash as they don't accept cards. From the National Park entrance you slowly make your up through the leaves and trees to Naejagsan Temple, it's about a 1.5km walk.  Along the way there are a few stalls to buy souvenirs and other trinkets, as well as a cable car  closer to the temple which you can take all the way up the mountain side. 

Once you get to the temple and make your way back down to the visitors centre, you can catch a shuttle bus back down to the entrance (W1000 per person) or you can walk the 1.5km back down. 

Here are a few photographs of some of the interesting people we saw along the way. The walk up (and down if you don't take the shuttle) can take a looonnnggg time if you enjoy taking photographs, so make sure to bring along some water and snacks to keep you going. 


Naejang-dong, Jeongeup-si, Jeollabuk-do
전북 정읍시 내장동 , 전남 장성군 북하면 백양로

Nami Island Zipline and the Autumn Leaves

Nami Island Zipline Autumn Fall Leaves

Nami Island is a teeny tiny 'island' situated in the middle of the Han River just outside of Seoul. It's quite a way from Seoul itself, so keep that it mind if you are hoping to just pop by while you're next in Seoul. You need to get to Gapyoung Station (about a 1.5hour subway ride from central Seoul).

Nami Island became a popular tourist destination after the wildly successful Korean drama, Winter Sonata. In the movie, the famous 'Kiss Scene' can be re-created (complete with little snowmen replicas) but be prepared to queue up for your photo opportunity. Even though it seemed quite silly to replicate something from a movie we had never heard of or watched, it was fun and definitely a part of the Nami Island experience.

Nami Island Kiss Scene Winter Sonata Autumn

We had a long weekend and make the long trek up to Seoul from our town after school, Buan, arriving in Seoul at 11pm and taking the last subway as far as it would go before the lines were closed. We got as far as PyeongnaeHapyeong at midnight and found a motel and restaurant open all night to grab dinner before crashing in our motel. Our aim was to to get to Gapyeong Station (the subway station right the Island) the night before so that we could get to Nami Island early the next morning and catch the first ferry/first zipline. We only ended up getting to the Gapyeoung Wharf at 09h00 and realised that there are a few motels/pensions you could stay at to be right at the ferry terminal to catch the first ferry. Nami Island is ALWAYS busy, so week days would be far quieter but most of us aren't able to get there on a week day. If you get there early it will be MUCH better than later in the day. By the time we were heading home, thousands of people were only just arriving and the queues for everything were so long. Also, we caught a taxi from Gapyeong station to the ferry terminal (W7 000) but there really is no need. It's only about 1.5km's and will only take you about 25 - 30 minutes to walk.

The first ferry runs at 07h30 and goes every 20 - 30 minutes. The Zipline opens at 09h00 and they take about 8 people up at a time so the waiting time is long. We arrived at 09h30 and had to wait until 11am before we could go across. It wasn't a bad wait, as there is a cute coffee shop to grab a drink and people watch. The Zipline itself was a lot of fun. A little scary for me, but nothing crazy, and lasted about 90 seconds. There are two courses (the family course & the adventure course). The family course lands right on the Nami island and the adventure course lands on a smaller island next to Nami, and then you take a small boat across to to Nami. The adventure course was W38 000pp and included entrance to the island and the ferry back to the mainland.

ZipLine Info

Fare: 38,000 won
Operating hours: April-October 09h00 ~ 19h00 / November-March 09h00 ~ 18h00
* 8,000 won discount with SK Telecom T-membership
* Operation may be discontinued in the case of snow, rain, or strong winds
* For inquires: +82-31-582-8092

Dogs up to 5kg's are allowed on the island, you can see all the rules in the photo above.

Nami Island declared its cultural 'independence' in 2006 and re-named itself the Naminara Republic (Namisun).
The Naminara Republic is an imaginary country, but it has invented its own passport, currency, stamp and telephone card.  A 'passport' issued from Naminara is required to enter the Namisum. We didn't need this passport as we got onto the island via the zip line and we were rather happy to avoid the huge lines at 'immigration'. If you bring your passport with you to prove you are a 'foreigner' to Korea you get a small discount on admission. Normal entrance to the island is W10 000 pp but with the foreinger discount it is W8 000.

Korea, (and Nami Island is no exception) sure know how to do cute. Here are some photographs from the coffee shop at the ferry terminal. Snowball couple EVERYTHING.

We had hoped to see more Autumn/Fall colours on Nami, but we were obviously a little too early. The leaves usually peak at the end of October/beginning of November, but bear in mind that is when the rest of Korea will be wanting to see the colours too. Be prepared for the crowds and go as early as possible. Even with a lot of green, Nami was beautiful. There is a wonderful, relaxed feeling on the island. Everyone was smiling and there was a lot of laughter. I would definitely recommend going there, and from what I could tell online, it's beautiful in every season so even if you miss the Autumn leaves, you can can go anytime of the year. The recommended months to visit are May, July - August & October.  

Everything is more expensive on Nami, this isn't a surprise (our pizza costs us W28 000!!!!) so I'd suggest packing a picnic lunch and a blanket and finding a spot under the trees to enjoy your lunch/breakfast. There are also a number of places to stay on the island (cute cottages and a hotel of sorts) in case you are able to book ahead and want to spend longer on the island. We were there from 11h30 and by 3pm we were definitely ready to head home. Nami isn't big, you can wall around the entire island in an hour or so. There are also bycicles, tandems and other things to rent and we saw lots of families enjoying themselves.

How to get to Nami Island

By Subway:

  • Get off at GAPYEONG station (on the Gyeongchun Line) & walk/taxi to Gapyeoung Wharf (the ferry terminal). It's a 30 minute walk or a W7 000 taxi).
  • If walking, head out the station and turn left. Then follow the cars!

By ITX Train:

  • Yongsan → Gapyeong Station (about 60 min.)
  • Cheongyangni → Gapyeong Station (about 42 min.)
  • Chuncheon → Gapyeong Station (about 20 min.)
  • Bear in mind the train doesn't go very often so make sure to look at the train schedule (or book online here). 

By Shuttle Bus:

  • Insa-dong: 09h30 (Nearby the West Gate of Tapgol Park)
  • Namdaemun: 09h30 (Sungnyemun Square Bus Stop in front of Namdaemun Market)
  • Price: Adult W15 000(round-trip) / W7 500(one-way) 

More info on the shuttle bus can be found here >>> Nami Shuttle Bus

Let me know if you make it to Nami Island and what you thought of it! I love hearing from you.

Where to see the Autumn/Fall Leaves in Korea 2015

Where to see Autumn Fall leaves in Korean 2015

Typically, mid-October into early November is the peak time to see the leaves turning here in Korea. But this year, the leaves have begun to change earlier than expected. 

Just as wonderful as the spring blossoms (click here) the Autumn/Fall foliage is breathtaking. For us South Africans, we just don't get sights like this back home. The trees turn of course, but it's just nothing like the sea of red and yellow that greets you here in Korea.

The four most popular mountains (and therefore the busiest!) places to see the Autumn colours are Naejangsan (내장산) just outside of the town of Jeongeup, Jirisan (지리산) which is close to Namwon, Seoraksan (석악산) in Gangwon Province and Gwanaksan (관악산) which is closer to Seoul. 

We made it to Naejangsan (pictured below) in 2013 and and last year I took some photographs at Seonunsan, just outside Gochang (pictured at the bottom of this post).

As with many outdoor activities here in Korea, be prepared for the crowds! We were stuck on a bus for 2 hours making our way to Naejangsan, due to the hoards of people and cars, and eventually jumped off the bus and decided to walk the 5km road from the base of the mountain to the actual main viewing. It was a logistical nightmare. But, as long as you know it's going to be chaos and you are prepared for that, you will be rewarded with stunning sights. Seoununsan is much quieter, and offers just as much beauty as Naejangsan.

Here is a map of the expected Autumn/Fall foliage here in Korea:

Fall Leaves Foliage Korea 2015

Naejangsan (Jeongeup, Jeollobokdo)

Seonunsan, Gochang Jeollobokdo

Do you have any recommendations of places to see the foliage here in Korea? Any secret spots you've been to? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Suncheon Bay Ecological Park

Suncheon Bay Eco Park Korea

Suncheon Bay is most famous for it's huge expanse of reeds which grow so tall that one can get lost walking through them. The reeds are incredibly beautiful to watch swaying in the breeze. Suncheon Bay is widely known for attracting a large number of rare birds  such as the hooded crane, white-naped crane, white stork, black-faced spoonbill, and the Eurasian Oystercatcher, as well as other birds designated as natural Korean treasures. 

We didn't explore much of actual Suncheon, but rather headed straight for the Eco Park. There is lots to do there, from wandering around and enjoying the views to grabbing a coffee to enjoy on your walk through the reeds.

This time of year (Autumn) is particularly beautiful at the Eco Park as all the trees are slowly loosing their leaves, dropping red and yellow leaves all around. The light is also spectacular


Suncheon bay is at the very bottom of Korea and is easy enough to get to – take any bus heading for Suncheon. Once you get to the main bus terminal, cross the road and head left. Once you get to the end of the street turn right.You need to take the 67 Bus (a 20 minute ride to Suncheon Bay). 

Autumn Colours in Korea, Seonununsa Park


Autumn is about to leave us here in Korea, making way for icy winds,  frozen fingers & toes and of course the snow. It all seems to be over very quickly and I feel like I didn't really get a proper chance to enjoy the colours and sights of one of the most popular seasons here in Korea.

I did manage to get to Seonunsan Park one afternoon to photographs the changing leaves. Aren't the colours beautiful?

Last year we headed up Naejangsan (just outside of Jeongeup) with what seemed like the whole of Korea. Naejangsan is one of the most popular places to see the changing leaves and so this year I made sure to avoid the crowds and find a place that was still beautiful, but one that I could photograph without having to strategically block out millions of bodies. Seoununsan is just outside of Gochang and relatively easy to get to. See below for directions.

There is also a temple there, but I was more interested in seeing the leaves. For the temple there is an admission fee to pay before entering (see information below).


250, Seonunsa-ro, Asan-myeon, Gochang-gun, Jeollabuk-do 
전북 고창군 아산면

From Gochang Intercity Bus Terminal, take a direct bus or a local bus to Seonunsa Temple (선운사).
Direct Bus: runs 8 times a day / Local Bus: runs 24 times a day

From Gwangju U-Square Bus Terminal, take a direct bus to Seonunsa Temple.
(runs 4 times a day)

Admission fee to see the temple:

Adults (ages 19-64): 3,000 won / Group: 2,500 won

Youths (ages 13-18): 2,000 won / Group: 1,500 won

Children (ages 7-12): 1,000 won / Group: 800 won

Shadow & Nami {Puppies in Korea}

Today my four month old Jindo puppy Shadow, had his first play date with another pup.

Nami is an 8 month old Golden Retriever who lives with his humans (Tom & Mairead) in a town nearby called Namwon. Nami was also a rescue pup like Shadow, found on the streets of Korea. Unfortunately there are too many unwanted dogs littering the streets here, but his and Shadow's stories are happy ones.

Poor Nami was absolutely terrorized by Shadow, who is a little bundle of energy with razor sharp teeth. But they had a ball nonetheless, and even kept still long enough for me to take a few photographs. Here are a few snaps from this afternoon in the golden Autumn sunlight in Jeongeup Park.

Where to see the Fall Foliage in Korea this year.


Typically, mid-October into early November is the peak time to see the leaves turning here in Korea. Just as wonderful as the spring blossoms (click here) the Autumn/Fall foliage is breathtaking. For us South Africans, we just don't get sights like this back home. The trees turn of course, but it's just nothing like the sea of red and yellow that greets you here in Korea.

The four best mountains to see the Autumn colours are Naejangsan (내장산) just outside of the town of Jeongeup, Jirisan (지리산) which is close to Namwon, Seoraksan (석악산) in Gangwon Province and Gwanaksan (관악산) which is closer to Seoul. 

Last year we only made it to Naejangsan (pictured below) and this year I hope to make it to Jirisan. As with many outdoor activities here in Korea, be prepared for the crowds! We were stuck on a bus for 2 hours making our way to Naejangsan, due to the hoards of people and cars, and eventually jumped off the bus and decided to walk the 5km road from the base of the mountain to the actual main viewing. It was a logistical nightmare. But, as long as you know it's going to be chaos and you are prepared for that, you will be rewarded with stunning sights.

Autumn Festivals in Korea 2014


Summer will slowly be drawing to a close here in Korea, and with that we can expect a break from the humidity and of course something that Korea is very famous for, it's Autumn/Fall foliage.

Here is a list of upcoming festivals to look forward to in September & October. The leaves won't be turning yet, that happens towards mid November, but there are enough interesting things to see before that happens.

September 2014

25th September – 28th September Wonju Hanji Festival in Wonju (Traditional Korean Paper)

Hanji Theme Park in Wonju-si, Gangwon-do

26th September - 5th October Andong Maskdance Festival

Downtown Andong, Talchum Park, Hahoe Village and surrounding areas in Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do



26th September - October 5th Suncheon Bay Reeds Festival

Suncheon Bay in Dongcheon, Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do



October 2014

1st October - 12th October Jinju Lantern Festival

Namgang River in Jinju-si, Gyeongsangnam-do

1st October - 5th October Gimje Horizon Festival

Byeokgolje in Gimje-si, Jeollabuk-do

1st October - 5th October Anseong Namsadang Baudeogi Festival

Anseong Matchum Land in Anseong-si, Gyeonggi-do

Source: VisitKorea

Source: VisitKorea

2nd October - 11 October Busan International Film Festival

Theater District in Nampo-dong, Suyeong Bay Yachting Center, Haeundae Beach, and other locations in Busan

Busan InternationalFilmFestival

3rd October - 9th October Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal Festival (Traditional Tea Bowls)

Mungyeongsaejae Provincial Park in Gyeongsangbuk-do

Source: VisitKorea

Source: VisitKorea

October 4th - October 8th Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival

Jungoe Park in Buk-gu, Gwangju



23rd October - 26th October Jeonju Bibimbap Festival

Jeonju Hanok Village in Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do

Source: VisitKorea

Source: VisitKorea

Thank you to Visit Korea for the above information. 

Autumn in South Korea {Naejang Mountain, Jeungeup, Korea}

Here are some photographs from our trip to one of the most famous mountains to see the Autumn leaves here in Korea; Naejang Mountain. We were told that the weekend we had decided to go was THE weekend to see the leaves, and although you can't really tell from the photographs (I am a bit of an artist at concealing unwanted elements!) the WHOLE of Korea seemed to be with us to see the colourful show of nature.

It was spectacular, we simply have nothing like this back home in South Africa, and I literally had to be dragged away from each and every tree (you can only have so many photographs of leaves I was told).