| Eastern Korea offers
magnificent mountain and coastal scenery, a blaze
of colour during autumn and a great location for wintersports with
modern, fully-equipped ski centres.
The mountains run down to the ocean along much of the 390 kilometre (240 miles)
east coast and are interspersed with fishing villages, harbours and
long, white sandy beaches, like the famous resort of Hwajinpo.
The marvelous beaches of the Samchok area range
from tiny, isolated coves to quite large hotels and resorts. The fabulous,
scenic volcanic island of Ullungdo lies 130 kilometres (80
miles) off the coast and is accessible by boat and ferry.
Soraksan, Odaesan and Chuwangsan are 3 of the Korea’s National Parks which are accessible from the East Coast
northernmost Soraksan National Park is widely
believed to provide the most breathtaking scenery
in Korea with its rugged peaks, forests, waterfalls and temples.
Great tourist facilities range from hiking trails and campsites
to the Osaek Springs luxury hot spring resorts. The Soarkdong's resort village is a famous starting
point for climbing excursions. A cable car operates from the village
up to the ancient Kwongumsong Fortress from where
travellers can enjoy fantastic views. The neighbouring Alps Ski Resort is great for wintersports.
Park is well-known for its ski resorts, as is the Dragon
Valley (Yongpyong) area to the south. For rock climbers, the Chiaksan region is an ideal place to enjoy the challenges.
Towards the centre of the country, Songnisan National Park
is another area renowned for its refined natural beauty. Dates back to AD 553, the well-known Popchusa
Temple has an attractive pagoda
and a good choice of art treasures including an immense standing Buddha.
Rural Andong district possesses much of its traditional
culture and the Musil Folk Village and Museum is
well worth a trip. The neighbouring Hahoe Folk Village
is especially renowned for its mask makers and dancers. The yearly Andong Folk Festival and Masked Dance Festival
takes place during October.
Known as Korea’s ‘museum without walls’,
Kyongju is a depository of ancient Korean history and Buddhist culture
and has been assigned by UNESCO as 1 of the
world’s ten most historically important sites. Capital of
the Shilla Kingdom from 57 BC to AD 935, many traces of monuments, palaces and temples
of that time still remain. The most wonderful
structure to survive is unquestionably the 7th-century Chomsongdae,
an observatory that ranks amongst the oldest in Asia. Neighbouring Tumuli
Park has twenty tomb mounds of Shilla Royalty,
1 of which, the Heavenly Horse Tomb, can be entered.
Many treasures of the area which include golden crowns excavated from
the tombs, can be seen in the Kyongju National Museum.
The Anapji Pond and Gardens is a rebuilt
pleasure garden complete with pavilions. The encompassing hills encircle the ancient monuments and temples and laced with very spectacular
The Pomun Lake Resort which is within easy reach of Kyongju has been a complex of hotels, a convention centre,
sports facilities, golf courses, a casino, marina and shopping districts.
The neighbouring Pulguksa Temple is 1 of the country’s
most popular and a main tourist spot. This big wooden temple is
designed, its atmosphere is very pleasant and the stone foundations
and pagodas date back to the 8th century. The impressive Sokkuram Grotto which is high on the mountain above
Pulguksa is an
ancient and highly complex cave-like structure containing a massive
granite Buddha and wall carvings of guardian deities, all of
The Kayasan National Park is 50 kilometres west of Taegu City, at the centre of which is Haeinsa,
Korea’s most famous temple. It is constructed in AD 802 and comprises the
amazing Tripitaka Koreana, a set of over
80,000 wooden printing blocks engraved with the complete Buddhist
scriptures. Completed during 1252 after 16 years of work, they are
still in excellent condition.