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Mountain Temples: Best Autumn Location

As the temperature drops, people start pulling out their heavy jackets from the back of their closets, and trees all over the place start to dress in their vibrant oranges, yellows, and reds for the season.

Since Korea’s fall seems to be getting shorter every year, tourists are planning to travel the nation to take advantage of the season at prominent leaf-peeping locations.

The maple and ginkgo trees that line the streets of most large cities will amaze pedestrians as they go about their days, with the fall foliage projected to be at its most stunning from late October through early November.

However, since about 70% of Korea is made up of mountainous forest, one of the greatest ways to properly appreciate fall is to visit Buddhist temples tucked away far into the forest.

The places listed below are some of the nation’s top weekend getaways for fall if you want to travel somewhere beautiful for a weekend.

Baekdamsa

The highland county of Inje, located in Gangwon Province about 170 kilometres east of Seoul, welcomes travellers with a magnificent mountain range that is easily visible from virtually anyplace in the region.

The Buddhist monastery Baekdamsa is probably one of the first places to get coloured as Seoraksan, one of Korea’s most well-known mountains, is anticipated to reach its peak on Monday.

Visitors reach the stunning temple tucked away deep in the mountains after a 15-minute bus ride from the parking area of the temple. For the round-trip, two separate one-way bus tickets must be purchased (2,500 won for adults, 1,200 won for passengers under 19).

A stone bridge that serves as the temple’s entry is the ideal location for pictures against a backdrop of vibrant foliage, a swift-moving river, and innumerable individually crafted stone towers. Tuesday in Inje, Gangwon Province, a family builds a stone wall in front of Baekdamsa. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald) Families and friends are frequently found looking for flat, robust rocks to use in building their own stone towers in order to make wishes and pray for good fortune in the huge, pebble-covered region outside of the temple.

At Seoraksan National Park, there is a trail that hikers can take to reach the Suryeomdong shelter. The 4.7-kilometer trail, which includes tunnels made of maple trees, provides breathtaking views of Seoraksan.

Cheoneunsa

Though Cheoneunsa, located in South Jeolla Province about 300 kilometres south of Seoul, may seem far away to many Seoul residents, the famed temple at Jirisan has everything a traveller might need, including dazzling foliage colours and silver grass.

Cheoneunsa is already a popular tourist site thanks to viewers of the successful films “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” and the 2018 period drama “Mr. Sunshine,” but the temple is at its most stunning during the fall season. Late October is when the area anticipates seeing the most vibrant fall foliage.

On the Suhongru stone bridge, many tourists have been seen taking photographs with their loved ones to remember the occasion.

It is advised to take a 30-minute side trip to the nearby Cheoneun Reservoir after viewing the Buddhist temple.
The 3.3-kilometer circular Sangseangui-gil trail is more than long enough to take in the fall atmosphere while strolling along the straw-covered road and silver grass.

Through the website of Cheoneunsa, individuals can apply for a templestay programme if they are interested in staying longer at the temple to experience life as a monk.

Yongmunsa

With its recognisable ginkgo trees, the ancient temple of Yongmunsa provides a spectacular view of the fall leaves in the autumn.

Many people who want to take fall photos with loved ones frequent the two rows of ginkgo trees that go from the Yongmunsan Tourist Information Center to the ticketing booth.

After a short hike, the chirping of birds takes the place of the sounds of traffic in the area around the parking lot. You can reach the temple’s wooden Cheonwangmun entrance gate, which is where the Four Heavenly Kings are kept, after a 20-minute stroll.

The largest gingko tree in Asia, which is a symbol of the temple, dominates the courtyard.

With its dazzling yellow ginkgo leaves, the reputedly more than 1,100-year-old tree steals the show at this time of year.
Adult admission costs 2,500 won, teen admission costs 1,700 won, and child admission costs 1,000 won.

The peak of the Yongmunsa fall foliage is predicted for October 27.

Naejangsa

250 kilometres south of Seoul, in North Jeolla Province, Naejangsan National Park offers the Foliage Tunnel, a lengthy archway connecting the park’s entrance to the temple and flanked on either side by more than 100 maple trees.

From the entryway, visitors can either walk or take a shuttle to the temple. Adult round-trip tickets cost 2,000 won, while child tickets cost 1,000 won. The little stone figure of a Buddhist monk, where visitors can make wishes while tossing coins into a pond, is one of Naejangsa’s distinctive features.

Consider taking the five-minute cable car journey to the peak for a breathtaking panoramic view of the entire Naejangsan ridge. Tickets cost 6,000 won for kids and 9,000 won for individuals 16 and older. The traditional Korean pavilion Uhwajeong, which is next to the cable car ticketing booth, may also be seen beautifully reflected in the lake by visitors.

The peak date of the fall foliage is anticipated to occur in the first few days of November, according to the forest authority and Naejangsa officials.

In the fall the surroundings and foliage compliment the temples beautifully. Be sure to visit them when travelling to Korea.

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