Temperature is rising in Korea as we move into summer very soon. Here are some recommendations on where to head to to escape the heat of Korea summer!
Summer heat escape in Korea
Summer in Korea is in full force by mid-June, bringing with it muggy weather and bouts of heavy rain. As temperatures rises, people try to escape the heat by heading to the beach, the swimming pool, or air-conditioned cafes and malls. Not a beach or water theme park person? Fear not, let us share with you some “cool” places in Korea you can drive to escaping the heat and perhaps crowd too.
A cooling and relaxing trip into the greenery…
Bamboo Forest, Juknokwon, Damyang county
During the summer vacation period, going anywhere can be a hassle with endless lines and crowds of people. One place to get away from the bustling city is by stepping into the refreshing nature found in Damyang. While not as well-known as many other Korean cities popular as summer destinations, it is home to some very appealing natural attractions that make a trip here worthwhile. Visit Damyang this summer to enjoy an eco vacation in the shade of vast groves of bamboo.
The charm of Juknokwon can be felt from the moment you step foot into the lush forest. The cooling breeze that blows through the bamboo provides rest, relaxation, and mind-soothing meditation. The calm wind and deep shade keep the forest at 4 to 7 degrees Celsius cooler than the outside air and the forest has a high level of oxygen production. Take deep breaths while standing still within the forest and you will easily be able to feel this cool and refreshing environment.
Did you know? There is even a festival specially dedicated to the bamboo in Damyang known as Damyang Bamboo Festival.
☞ Address: 119, Juknokwon-ro, Damyang-eup, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do
Metasequoia-lined Road, Damyang
This gorgeous path of metasequoia trees is another popular attraction of Damyang. Located a mere 5-minute drive from Juknokwon, the entire 8.5km of Metasequoia Road is lined with tall metasequoia trees reaching lofty heights of 10-20 meters. In summer, the long, slender leaves are a strong green hue. However, as temperatures cool, the leaves become deep brown foliage that bends and sways in the autumn breeze. The road is included on the list of Korea’s 100 Most Beautiful Roads and sees many visitors every year.
☞ Address: 578-4, Hakdong-ri, Damyang-eup, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do
Wonang Falls, Jeju Island
Wonang Falls is located within Donnaeko, and besides being very pure and clean, shows a mystic blue light. Swimming is allowed in the area, so you can swim and experience the waterfall directly. However, as it is a stream coming from Halla-san Mountain, its temperature is cold as ice and is thus difficult to stand underneath the falls for more than 3 minutes at a time. As a stream that never dries up, it is rare in Jeju Island, and for also being a Hyodon-ro Soesokkak’s upstream area, it is famous for its Taewoo (boat).
☞ Address: 137, Donnaeko-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Bijarim Forest, Jeju Island
Bijarim Forest is an ideal spot for a relaxing forest retreat. This botanical garden, housed with heavy dense bija (nutmeg yew) trees, is ranked top for being the largest forest for having made up of one plant species. Large clusters of the trees have lived for at least 500 to 700 years, giving its nickname “Forest of Thousand Years.” A must-see sight while at Bijarim Forest is non-other than the 800-year old conjoined nutmeg yews.
One course is a shorter one that takes about 40 minutes and the other is a longer course which takes about 80 minutes. Baby strollers and wheelchairs are allowed in the 40 minute course, so anybody can enjoy the beauty of the forest regardless of age or gender. The Forest of Japanese Torreya, which is visited by tourists throughout all year, is designated and protected as Natural Monument 374.
☞ Address: 55, Bijasup-gil, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
A refreshing underground trip…
It can be hot in summer aside from the shady greenery; you may want to head underground and explore caves which can be 5-6º lower in temperature compared to above ground. Here are some interesting caves which you may head out on an exploration.
Gwangmyeong cave, Gwangmyeong city in Gyeonggi Province
Gwangmyeong Cave, an abandoned mine spanning 7.9 km in length and reaching 275 m in depth, has been given new life as a tourist attraction. It is the only cave in the Seoul metropolitan area and has become a top attraction of Gwangmyeong since being included on the 100 Must-go Destinations in Korea list for 2017-2018. The cool air of the cave makes it popular in summer, while the many exhibitions and events held within the cave keep it interesting all year round.
There is also a Wine Cave within it which holds over 170 wines produced at Korean wineries. This is the only location in the nation where you can taste and purchase locally produced wines from across the country. The cave is divided into the wine cellar, where the wines are kept at the optimal temperature, and the tasting room, where visitors can try and buy their favorite wine. Each region produces it’s own unique taste so be sure to try a variety.
☞ Address: 142, Gahak-ro 85beon-gil, Gwangmyeong-si, Gyeonggi-do
Manjanggul Cave, Jeju Island
Manjanggul Cave is one of the finest lava tunnels in the world, and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. A lava tunnel is formed when the lava that was deep in the ground spouts from the peak and flows to the surface. Manjanggul Cave has a variety of interesting structures inside including 70cm lava stalagmites and the lava tube tunnels.
Only 1km of the 13,422m Manjanggul Cave is open to tourists and the inside of the tunnel sustains a temperature of 11~21℃, creating a comfortable atmosphere. There are rare animals such as bats living in the tunnel, which makes this tunnel valuable for researchers as well. The stone pillars and stalactites are widely spread and the tunnels shows off the cave’s topographical features. "Stone Turtle" is especially eye-catching because it is shaped like Jeju-do Island.
☞ Address: 3341-3, Gimnyeong-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Muju Meoru Wine Cave, Muju County in Jeollabuk-do
Located in the area of Jeoksangsan Mountain, Bukchang-ri, Jeoksang-myeon, the Muju Meoru Wine Cave is surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape and various cultural heritages. Visitors can enjoy the taste and charm of sanmeoru (wild grape) wine here. The wine tunnel used to be an excavation working site to build the Muju Water Power Plant. The working site was later remodelled to the current wine tunnel for maturing and storing wine, in order to increase the income of wild grape farms and to boost the regional economy. The tunnel sells wines at 15% off market prices. You can enjoy wine tasting as well if you buy an admission ticket.
** The Muju Meoru Wine Cave is currently under upgrading and is scheduled to reopen very soon.
☞ Address: 359, Sanseong-ro, Jeoksang-myeon, Muju-gun, Jeollabuk-do
Daegeumgul Cave, Samcheok city in Gangwon Province
Credits to Samcheok Daegeumgul Cave
Daegeumgul Cave is believed to be as old as Hwanseongul and Gwaneumgul Caves located nearby. The entrance to the cave was not exposed until 2003 when an excavation project revealed the entrance, and after a long preparatory period, the cave was opened to the public. This newly opened, well-preserved cave is filled with limestone features such as stalactites, and a considerable amount of water flows through the cave, creating waterfalls, both large and small, along with numerous ponds. You can also visit the ecological park, built in harmony with the natural environment of the cave and the surrounding area. Also, take Korea’s first cave monorail 140 meters deep into the cave, and be sure to stop by the Visitor Centre where you can learn about the significance of natural caves. Because of its fascinating features, Daegeumgul Cave is fast becoming a popular tourist attraction in the Donghae area.
☞ Address: 800, Hwanseon-ro, Singi-myeon, Samcheok-si, Gangwon-do
Summer in Korea may not be that hot and unbearable after all if you plan and drive to these recommended places. Hence, do consider planning a driving trip to Korea this summer with your kids over the June school holidays.
Check out this thread as we bring you more information and ideas for your next driving holiday in Korea!
Brought to you by:
Korea Tourism Organization Singapore