It’s only 50 minutes by bus from Gwangju to Yeongam. From here you can simply hop in a cab and point to the obvious mountain in the distance and they’ll take you to the park entrance for 5000 KRW. The open faced summit and lack of trees give this range of mountains a striking resemblance to the Seoraksan National Park area. The climb was filled with stairs, something I’ve gotten used to here in Korea, but the summit is only 800 meters. Find more information about my day hike in Jeollanam-do.
Fifty minutes on a bus from the U-Square Terminal in Gwangju will bring you to the epicenter of Korean bamboo, Damyang. We finally went there a few weeks ago after months of, “Hey, we should go do this.” The main bamboo park, located just across the river and only a block or two away from Damyang’s landmark Metasequoia Avenue, was much smaller than expected. Like every other formalized attraction in Korea, it was way overcrowded with families, many of whom were utterly fascinated by the sight of non-Koreans in public. I lost count of how many times someone pointed out that I was a weygookin (foreigner) or meegook saram (american person). Can you imagine saying Asian every time you saw one walk by on the street? Really fucking rude, I think… but since Korean society is so homogeneous, they don’t see it that way. Eleven months deep and I’m still not sure what they find so particularly interesting about us to gawk over. I am quite sure that there are other bamboo forests in the area which are much larger, less crowded, and allow visitors to roam freely. From here, we walked along the river to Metasequoia Avenue. Also very crowded, but we saw a little boy erratically operating his Power Wheel go and crash into one of the massive trees.
Crossed another one off the TO-DO list in hiking Cheonwangbong (천왕봉) on Jirisan (지리산) this past weekend. At 1910 meters, 천왕봉 is the tallest peak on mainland South Korea. It is also the tallest mountain I’ve personally ever hiked, and there were a few mental / physical road blocks on the way to the top. But if it were easy, it wouldn’t mean anything. Read more about it on Tripwolf.
Pictures from the southern most province in South Korea on a beautiful November day; sunny and 70’s.