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Take the scenic route this ChuseokBy
Published : Sept. 9, 2011 - 20:18
National roads offer pleasant alternative to highways for homecoming motorists
Chuseok is here and a majority of the nation’s population will head for their home towns for family gatherings, using major expressways. For those planning a short trip to local travel spots during the nation’s biggest holiday, the Korea Tourism Organization recommends some national roads that offer nature, tradition and foods, with the bonus of being relatively uncongested.
Hoengseong-PyeongChang on National Road No. 6
Those leaving the metropolitan area near Seoul for Gangwon Province usually use the Yeongdong Express Way that runs east to west. However, the road will be mostly congested over the Chuseok holiday. National Road No. 6 is a wonderful alternative, which lies parallel to the Yeongdong Express Way. Running from Yangpyeong to Hoengseong to PyeongChang, it offers great mountainous views of Gangwon Province.
The stretch between Bongpyeong-myeon and Jinbu-myeon in PyeongChang boasts various cultural facilities that attract visitors. Places to be checked out include the birthplace of famous Korean writer Yi Hyo-seok, PyeongChang Mui Art Center, Moonlight Theater, Woljeong Temple and Sangwon Temple.
Famous local foods that you can enjoy on the road include PyeongChang hanwoo beef, Bongpyeong buckwheat noodles and Jinbu wild greens. For more information, call PyeongChang County’s tourism department at (033) 330-2541 or visit www.happy700.or.kr.
Yongin-Anseong on National Road No. 17
The National Road No. 17 runs vertically down the peninsula. It starts from Yangji-myeon in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, leading all the way down to Dolsan-eup in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, via Jincheon in North Chungcheong Province. When the Yeongdong Express Way and Jungbu Express Way are heavily congested, this national road is often used as a bypass.
Near the section between Yongin and Anseong, famous tourism spots include Hantaek Botanical Garden, Baekam Sundae Village, Jukju Fortress, Anseong Herb Village and Chiljang Temple. In the autumn days, Hantaek Botanical Garden offers a fantastic array of unique Korean flowers such as gujeolcho and matari. In Anseong Herb Village, herb dishes can be enjoyed. For more information, call Yongin City’s tourism department at (031) 324-2068 or visit www.yonginsi.net.
Jeonju-Imsil on National Road No. 27
On the National Road No. 27, Korea’s tradition and arts create good harmony with nature’s scenery. Deokjin Park in Jeonju has Deokjin Lake, which is covered with lotus flowers in summer and leaves in autumn.
Jeonju Hanok Village, located in Pungnam-dong and Gyo-dong, comprises about 700 traditional Korean buildings, clustered together with their roofs beautifully curved. Gyeonggijeon, the gatekeeper of the royal families of the Joseon Dynasty, is a good site for learning a little about history.
If you drive along with the Okjeong Lakeside Driveway, the view of the mountains and the lake will be magnificent. For more information, call Imsil County’s Culture, Tourism and Forest department at (063) 640-2344 or tour.jeonju.go.kr.
Buyeo-Seocheon on National Road No. 4
The National Road No. 4 links Buyeo and Seocheon in South Chungcheong Province, offering the chance to visit historical sites and to take therapeutic walks in the woods.
In Buyeo, the last capital of Baekje (18 B.C. ― 660 A.D.), historical sites such as Buso Fortress, a pagoda in the Jeongnim Temple and Gungnam Lake are recommended. For children, a visit to the Buyeo National Museum can be educational. Or, boarding a cruise ship running on the Baengma River will be refreshing.
In Seocheon, walking in a forest of pine trees blows away stress. For more information, call Buyeo County’s tourism department at (041) 830-2244 or visit buyeotour.net.
Suncheon-Yeosu on National Road No. 17
The National Road No. 17 comes down to Suncheon and Yeosu in South Jeolla Province where Korea marine life of the past, present and the future can be found. Suncheon boasts endless tidelands and massive reed fields created over thousands of years where rare birds and plants find home.
In Yeosu, the South Jeolla Marine Science Museum and the Soho Yacht Stadium showcases the current marine activities, while the upcoming Expo 2012 Yeosu will show the way to the future of the sea. The Cheonsa Mural Alley, located in Goso-dong, the oldest town in Yeosu, is filled with paintings of marine creatures and Yeosu Expo mascots. For more information, call Yeosu City’s tourism department at (061) 690-2821 or visit www.yeosutravel.net.
On the National Road No. 25 running from Daegu to Cheongdo in North Gyeongsang Province, one tourism spot is family-oriented while the other is for couples.
Daegu Arboretum, the best spot for families, is considered a good example of turning wasteland into a beautifully-designed urban garden. The municipal arboretum’s botanical gardens hold more than 1,000 species of plants including giant cactuses, medicinal herbs, wild flowers, and potted plants.
In Cheongdo, ancient Namseonghyeon Tunnel, originally built in the Joseon era, is transformed into a wine cellar. In the tunnel, sipping some wine under soft lighting will create a romantic atmosphere. For more information, call Daegu City’s tourism and cultural assets department at (053) 803-6512 or visit tour.daegu.go.kr.
By Kim Yoon-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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