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Last updated : Nov 2009
East of Korea South
East of Korea South - TravelPuppy.com
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 highway.

The 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. TheSoarkdong'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.

Odaesan National 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.

Kyongju

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 hiking trails.

Excursions

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 pleasingly 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 excellent artistic importance.

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.