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Cool off at scenic valleys

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : July 8, 2023 - 16:01

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A view of Geoyeonjeong Pavilion (left) in Hwarimdong Valley, Hamyang, South Gyeongsang Province (KTO) A view of Geoyeonjeong Pavilion (left) in Hwarimdong Valley, Hamyang, South Gyeongsang Province (KTO)

For those looking to escape the scorching heat, valleys offering cool shade and a chance to splash about in cold water from the mountains is a popular choice.

For the month of July, Korea Tourism Organization recommends scenic valley destinations that offer quiet, cool respite.

In certain valleys, visitors can follow in the footsteps of ancestors by seeking solace from the sweltering temperatures and enjoying the gentle breeze.

Alternatively, lesser-known valleys offer a tranquil and awe-inspiring landscape, providing a serene getaway from the noise and pollution of the city.

Visitors walk through the Suseong-dong Valley located in Jongno, central Seoul. (KTO) Visitors walk through the Suseong-dong Valley located in Jongno, central Seoul. (KTO)

For Seoulites looking for something close to home, Suseong-dong Valley, located at the heart of Jongno-gu, offers a glimpse of nature's wonders.

Nestled between Inwangsan Mountain and Gyeongbokgung Palace, Suseong-dong Valley holds a special place in Korean history as a beloved retreat for Joseon royalties and yangban.

The valley's enchanting beauty has been captured in paintings and poetry by renowned artists such as Jeong Seon and Kim Jeong-hui.

The valley, which was closed off in 1971 to make way for a new apartment complex, was restored to its former glory in 2012.

Although the streams do not flow continuously, Suseong-dong Valley, after a heavy rainfall is a picturesque spot.

Visit the observatory located at the base of Inwangsan, for a panoramic view of Suseong-dong Valley and its neighboring attractions, including Cheong Wa Dae.

View of Hwarimdong Valley from Donghojeong Pavilion in Hamyang, South Gyeongsang Province (KTO) View of Hwarimdong Valley from Donghojeong Pavilion in Hamyang, South Gyeongsang Province (KTO)

Hwarimdong Valley in Hamyang, South Gyeongsang Province is adorned with multiple pavilions, representing the essence of Korean pavilion culture.

The pavilions historically served as gathering places for scholars who sought solace in nature while engaging in discussions about learning and life.

Along the Seonbi Culture Expedition Road, these pavilions come into view as you take a leisurely stroll along the valley. A total of seven pavilions await you on this journey: Geoyeonjeong, Gunjajeong, Yeonggwijeong, Donghojeong, Gyeongmojeong, Ramcheonjeong and Nongwoljeong.

You can start your journey at any point, but if you prefer to walk in the direction of the water flow, starting at the Geoyeonjeong Pavilion is recommended.

If the thought of completing the entire trail feels overwhelming, you can pause and rest at any of the pavilions.

Additionally, a nearby destination worth exploring is the Namgyeseowon Confucian Academy, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Water streams seen at Bongrae Gugok Valley in Buan, North Jeolla Province (KTO) Water streams seen at Bongrae Gugok Valley in Buan, North Jeolla Province (KTO)

Bongrae Gugok Valley in Buan, North Jeolla Province, is an enticing destination for summer hiking enthusiasts, offering enchanting hiking trails to discover and explore.

Meaning "nine valleys of Bongrae," Bongrae Gugok is located in the Naebyeonsan Mountain, which part of the Byeonsanbando National Park.

The area spans approximately 20 kilometers, showcasing nine distinct river formations.

The hiking trail covers the first five valleys, offering a two-hour round-trip adventure. Unfortunately, valleys No. 6-9 were submerged when the Buan Dam was completed in 1996.

Located just eight kilometers west of the valley is Byeonsan Beach, popular for its pristine sand and crystal-clear waters. The beach offers additional attractions, including an observatory and a camping site.

Walking trails of Bongrae Gugok Valley in Buan, North Jeolla Province (KTO) Walking trails of Bongrae Gugok Valley in Buan, North Jeolla Province (KTO)