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Communing with Nature’s Plentiful Bounties
Hoengseong is a vacationer’s dream with breathtaking sights for all four seasons
Communing with Nature’s Plentiful Bounties
  • By matthew
  • August 13, 2010, 16:00
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Jincheon in the middle of North Chungcheong Province has many local attractions, such as flavorful rice, aquarium fish and sweet-smelling roses. Located in the heart of South Korea, Jincheon benefits from ground and air transportation through Cheongju International Airport, Jungbu Highway, the Dongseo Highway, and three other national highways. Thanks to such conditions, the area is developing into a center of Korea’s advanced transportation network. The county is bordered by Goisan-gun to the east, Cheonan City (of South Chungcheong Province) to the west, Cheongwon-gun to the south, and Anseong City (of Gyonggi Province) to the north.

Hoengseong-gun County might seem a modest, out-of-the-way borough nestled near Wonju in Gangwon-do Province, but first impressions can be misleading. Famous for pristine environmental conditions and breathtaking natural sights, Hoengseong combines the simple charm of the country with all the amenities of the city. Blessed by nature with mountains full of hidden nooks and crannies plus a wealth of cool waters to rest near, Hoengseong-gun County might be the destination of choice for those looking for restful relaxation away from crowds to commune with nature.

Hoengseong sits in the southwestern region of Gangwon-do Province, and consists of nine small boroughs. The county is well-known for its cultural tourism, showcasing its nature and plentiful crops.

As a slice of Korea’s archetypical landscape, Hoengseong’s uncontrived sights are a joy to behold.

Beauty of Chiak-san

There are no less than six mountains in Hoengseong-gun County, with each its own charm to draw visitors. But the most compelling is undoubtedly Chiak-san Mountain. Designated as a national park in 1984, the name ‘Chiak’ means ‘pheasant mount,’ originating from a legend of a pheasant saving the life of a traveler to repay the debt of an earlier kindness.

With a particularly gentle slope great for brisk climbing, Chiak-san Mountain has many preferred routes for the health-conscious visitor. The highest point, called Biro-bong Peak, features three towers of accumulated stone upon its summit placed by well-wishers from olden days.

The visitor has a choice between the famous route past Guryong-sa Temple that boasts gorgeous, ever-changing views in each season and the lesser-known East Chiak-san route, with such otherworldly sights as Bugok Waterfall transporting the fortunate traveler to another world. Chiak-san Mountain is also home to a plethora of Buddhist temples, with more than hundred temple sites remaining today.

When one thinks of Buddhist temples on Chiak-san Mountain, Guryong-sa Temple comes to mind. Built by the monk Eui-sang in the year 668 A.D. during the Silla Dynasty, Gyryong-sa Temple is a bastion of Buddhist beliefs from time immemorial. The faithful still make the trek to this hallowed sight to soothe their world-weary hearts.

Mountains and waters

The region near Hoengseong boasts a remarkable collection of various bodies of water, inviting passersby to cool their heated brow in their sweet depths. Ravines, streams and waterfalls abound, from Naksudae Waterfall, Bugok Ravine to Soguni Ravine. These spots are magnets for families seeking a quiet place for picnicking and fishing, while man-made reservoirs such as Ohwon and Samgeori Reservoir also attract travelers.

In particular, Bongmyung Waterfall, so named because the sound of the falling water is like the cry of a phoenix, is a beauty. The waterfall has two tiers - a picturesque top level and a powerful lower level - providing the pleasure of contrast. Visitors can climb to the top of the waterfall, from which vantage point the downward view is said to be spectacular - the lucky individual feels like a demigod surveying a new domain.

Fresh air of green forests

A surfeit of tall mountains and sonorous waters might leave one with a longing for the hush of forests - thankfully, Hoengseong has an abundance of forests as well. It is home to a wide variety of trees, including but not limited to birch, fir and oak.

Forest lodges such as Soopchewon and Jucheon River Forest Lodge has made use of this bounty to provide lodgings combining the unspoiled beauty and cleansing powers of dense woods with the necessary amenities favored by the common traveler. Most forest lodges provide camping spots, swimming pools, walking routes and sporting grounds. Hoengseong is truly the place to go to get in touch with all facets of nature.