South Korea is a country that has gained international recognition in the last decade due to its gastronomy, art, and now the more and more globally recognized K-pop groups and Korean dramas. However, Korea is the home of many natural wonders that some might describe as magical.
Jeju Volcanic Island
A World Heritage Site, Jeju Volcanic Island is well-known for its amazing volcanoes and lava tubes. The island has everything, ranging from the highest mountain in Korea (Hallasan) to the stunning, ancient volcanic tubes, and is home to thousands of endemic species. The lava tubes are one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, because not only are they beautiful, they have also helped researchers understand how volcanoes work and change lands. The volcanic tubes are home to one of the greatest caves in the world, Geomunoreum. Although it has now become a big tourist destination with many luxurious hotels, the Hallasan National Park takes up a large majority of the island. Whether you decide to stay at the comfortable beaches or climb up the volcanoes to visit lands untouched by humans, it is safe to say that visiting Jeju Volcanic Island will leave an impressive impact on any visitors.
Jeju is also home to many stunning waterfalls. Amongst them is Cheonjeyeon Waterfall, also known as The Pond of God. After a beautiful forest hike, visitors are gifted with an amazing view, with its stunning turquoise waters falling into a pond that is said to be where five nymphs bathe.
Dadohaehaesang National Park
Being the biggest national park in South Korea, Dadohaehaesang is mostly water and around 1,700 islands, most of which have never been inhabited. You can spend a day island-hopping; using the regular ferry system, which stops in most of the inhabited parts of the park. You can go on hikes around the bigger islands, such as Heuksando, Hongdo, Gomundo, Bogildo and Wando, where there’s an option to do tours by bike or scooters and see the wonderful views the mountains have to offer. One thing is for certain, visitors of Dadohaehaesang will fall in love the magical charm the national park has to offer.
Garden of the Morning Calm
If hiking is not your cup of tea, the Garden of the Morning Calm will accommodate to your preferences. The arboretum (a botanical garden focusing on trees) was made in 1996 by professor Han Sang-kyung, who wanted to show the beautiful flora of Korea, in an exposition of curves, spaces and asymmetrical balance. Visitors walking through the gardens will see over 5,000 species, and walk through four seasons of plants. As the name states, a sense of inner tranquility will be predominant as you stroll peacefully.
Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival
Perhaps one of the most magical sights in the world, the Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival is a sight that will shock anyone. Once a year, around spring, the tide of the Yellow Sea drops an astonishing 42 metres (137.8 feet) and a path is made between the islands of Jindo and Modo. Locals and tourists alike are then able to walk from one island to the other on the 2.8km (26.1 miles) path, carrying fire torches. Although many people compare it to Moses and the Red Sea in the Biblical story, the legend of the Yellow Sea states that Jindo was once attacked by merciless tigers. The inhabitants managed to escape, except for one woman. She prayed to the Gods to open a path in the sea, and the Gods listened, allowing her to escape. Needless to say, this extremely unique event is a must for travellers to add on their places to visit lists.
Korea has many magical places, whether they are man-made or natural. Merely walking around one of its many forests, mountains or beaches will most likely give you awe-striking views and unforgettable experiences.
Have you been to any of these places? Which one appeals to you most?
Written by Lucille Bamber