Going through photos from old trips, I found a bunch of shots from a trip we took back in August of 2015 to Gyeryongsan National Park. Here is some info and a few of my recollections about that trip.
I guess the best place to start is the location. As you can probably see from the map above, it’s a fairly big park, and is very close to Daejeon. Google puts it at 45 minutes by bus from the outskirts of town. We’d traveled there from Cheongju, which I remember taking a little over an hour.
After you arrive in the nearby town, you’ll have to take another bus into the park. After being dropped off in a large parking lot, you’ll cross over a stone bridge lined with swastikas, which will immediately catch your eye if you’re a westerner. Don’t worry though, there’re no Nazis here; just tourists, monks, and ajumas.
Once you enter the little village at the entrance to the park you’ll be greeted by energetic restaurant owners as they rush out to entice you into their restaurants. We’re early risers, and had already eaten breakfast before we got on the first bus. Back in the town, we’d also had a couple of popsicles to stave off the heat while waiting for the second bus. So, we made our way through all the excitement and headed for the temple gates deciding that we’d come back and have a big meal before we got on the bus to go home.
It’s only a couple bucks per person to enter the park, and right away you feel that it is well worth it. I recall my senses being immediately delighted. The colorful and ornate gates and statues were a feast for my eyes. The the sounds of insects, birds, and rustling leaves accented every scene I took in. I’m fairly certain I was unable to stop smiling until I fell asleep on the bus ride home.
There are several trails of varying difficulties that ascend into the park. On this particular trip, we visited Gap Sa temple, and a famous little waterfall there. Gap Sa temple rests on a hill near the base of the mountain, not far from the village. If you happen to visit the temple, look for a big stone fountain in the shape of a turtle. It’s spitting water out of its mouth, and it’s back is constantly being filled with drinkable water. You can grab one of the colorful plastic ladles hanging nearby and get a cool drink of water to beat the heat.
After wandering around the temple grounds, listening to the chanting monks, we entered into the main building, grabbed some mats, and said some prayers. We then left and headed for the waterfall. After taking a few photos near the waterfall, we rested a while at a pool near one of the streams running parallel to the path. We dipped our feet into the water, stacking rocks where we’d noticed that others had done the same.
Later that afternoon, we encountered a heavy rain just as we were heading back to the village. We rushed inside the nearest restaurant hoping the food was good. It was just fine. We had a great meal of pajeon and dubu. The torrential downpour created a cool misty air that filled the restaurant perfectly complimenting the hot pajeon, and icy dongdongju
By the time we’d eaten our fill, the storm had passed. So, we paid our tab and made our way through the village back to the bus stop. The busses to and from the park are on a schedule, so you’ll have to plan your hike so that you get back to the bus stop on time!
This trip cost just over $100 if I recall correctly, and I highly recommend it. Depending on where you live, if you leave early in the morning, you can hop on a bus, travel an hour or so, tour the park, and be home before 9 or 10pm. If you don’t wanna take a long bus ride home, finding a cheap place to stay in Daejeon is pretty easy and shouldn’t cost more than $50-$60 bucks for the night.
Well, that’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed this little trip review. Until next time!