Hampyeong is located in South Jeolla Province, bordering Korea’s west coastline. It is easily accessible by either Muan International Airport, which is about 25 minutes away by car, or Kwangju Airport, which is about an hour and a half away by car from Hampyeong. Situated between metropolitan cities such as Mokpo and Muan, Hampyeong is a unique place that offers both the comfortable lifestyle of the city and the rustic natural environment of the countryside.
Giant Golden Bat
Hampyeong is home to hundreds of different species of butterflies. Every year, these beautiful colorful butterflies attract thousands of visitors. Children especially enjoy learning about their metamorphosis and seeing the butterflies emerge from their cocoon. Hampyeong has been hosting butterfly festivals every year since 1999, attracting an average of 600,000 visitors.
In 1999, a golden bat, which was thought to be extinct, was found inside a cave in the mountain range of Hampyeong. It was immediately named national natural monument No. 452. To commemorate this discovery, Hampyeong built a statue of the golden bat from 24k gold. The statue weighs 162kg and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area.
Dream-like Experience in Butterfly Gardens
The Butterfly Festival includes the Hampyeong World Butterfly and Insect Expo held in the Hampyeong Expo Park. This is not a typical display of insect species and pictures of butterflies, as visitors can touch and see the butterflies in their actual habitat. During the Japanese colonial ear, Hampyeong was one of the three places where Korea’s temporary government offices were located. The office was to be demolished due to reconstruction of the surrounding area, but a lack of budget made it impossible for them to relocate elsewhere. During a Memorial Day celebration, government officials released hundreds of butterflies to fly over the graves of Korean soldiers. The scene touched the Veteran Commissioner and he approved the budget for relocation. People of Hampyeong have ever since believed in the magical effect butterflies can have on human beings with their natural beauty.
Stone Head Beach
Located on the western coast of Hampyeong, the Stone Head Beach has pure white sand and measures 1km long and 70m wide. The waters are clear and shallow with pine trees surrounding the waterside. The name Stone Head was given due to its appearance of a human head made by large rocks at the end of the beach. In order to provide a safe swimming area for visitors, the beach has installed an artificial salt-water pool which is open every year from July 8 - August 20. The beach is also equipped with parking lots and rest areas. Visitors also enjoy a salt-water massage, which is a long-running Korean tradition. Stones containing high levels of sulfur are heated then put into a pool of saltwater which relaxes the body and provides healthy nutrients to the skin. After enjoying a day at the beach, visitors can also visit Hampyeong’s numerous famous tourist spots, such as the Gosung temple and Daedong reservoir which are located not too far from the beach.