Baekyangsa temple in Naejangsan National Park, South Korea
Naejangsan National Park is known throughout Korea as one of the best places to see the Autumn foliage. As with all National Parks, it's huge! Even after living in Korea for over 3 years I only just found out that there are in fact two separate temples which are on different sides of the park, each falling in a different province. Naejangsan Temple is in Jeollobokdo (click here for a full post on how to get there) and then Baekyangsa Temple (featured in this post) is actually in Jeollonamdo and closer to Gwangju.
Both temples are beautiful and offer spectacular scenery, but Baekyangsa was my favourite. They are pretty far from each other and unless you have your own car, it would be very hard to get to both in one day. Naejangsan Temple is quite a far walk from the parking lot where the bus from Jeongeup drops you off, but there are lots of food stalls and beautiful leaves to keep you occupied as you make your way up to the temple. The temple at Baekyangsa was a much shorter walk from the parking lot, and had a lot more diverse scenery, and was my favourite place to photograph.
If driving, I have posted the address below. We started at the Naejangsan temple parking lots and then drove the 35km to Baekyangsa temple. The roads weren't very well marked and the sign posts were very erratic. It ended up taking over 1.5 hours to make the 35km journey. You might have better luck by bus going from Gwangju, however as I haven't made the journey by bus I can't offer too much info on it. When in doubt, call the English Helpline (1330 from any cellphone) here in Korea, those guys and girls work magic and will help direct you where you need to go with bus times and other useful info.
There was ample free parking near the entrance to the National Park (W3 000 per person). From there the walk to the temple was beautiful, with lots of views of the mountains and streams.
26 Yaksu-ri, Bukha-myeon, Jangseong-gun, Jeollanam-do
Just a note
Dogs are not permitted in the national Park (although we did see a few little fluffy heads poking our of handbags and backpacks). #ShadowtheJindo is too big to hide in a bag and so had to stay at home for this trip. National Parks don't allow dogs, but Provincial Parks like Seounusa and Gaemsa Temple near Gochang are pet friendly as long as your dog is lead.
I have been wanting to visit the Enrogel Teapot Cafe ever since reading about it on Seoul State of Mind. When my friend Sam from There She Goes Again (you might recognise Sam as the stylist behind a lot of my styled photo shoots) recently took a trip there and I saw her photographs, I knew I had to make a plan to get there. Most of the weird and wonderful places to see in Korea are in Seoul. As I live way down south in a tiny little town called Buan, getting to Seoul is only really possible on the weekends.
I was delighted to find out that the teapot cafe is a mere 40 minute drive from Buan, and so I was able to go visit it one afternoon afternoon after school.
The cafe itself is actually just outside Jeongeup, which makes getting there quite easy as you can catch a train to Jeongeup and then from there a local bus. I am not sure of the exact route to take via public transport as I have a car (having a car in Korea is a real game changer especially if you have a dog here like we do).
The cafe is located in just outside Jangseon village , which is between Jeongeup & Gwangju and is actually quite near the famous Baekyangsa Temple in Naejangsan National Park. Naejangsan is particularly famous for its display of Autumn leaves, and Baekyangsa temple is a very special place to visit during Autumn.
We visited the teapot cafe at the end of Spring, and must have just missed the cherry blossoms. We were able to catch a glimpse of the end of the blossoms, but from the little we could still see of the blossoms, it must have been magnificent during full bloom. The drive itself from Buan to Jangseon is beautiful, and well worth an afternoon drive if you have a car.
If you're from the US, chances are you're not a big fan of these furry creatures. You probably have visions of your rubbish being riffled through and your pets being harassed. But to us South Africans, this funny little creature is a complete novelty.
We don't have racoons in South Africa, the only thing we can compare to the US 'racoon' in terms of how much havoc they wreck around your house is the vermit monkey. Most South Africans (at least those from Kwazulu-Natal) have at least 1 story of a monkey (or even a troop of monkeys) breaking into their house, causing complete chaos with the dogs and cats and stealing any food they can get their hands on.
I'm not a big fan of monkeys, so I can understand some of my American friends and their aversion to these so-called 'pests' but I was quite taken with these two racoons that we spent time with at Blind Alley Cafe near Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul. Obviously, these racoons are pets and so tame, I wouldn't advise anyone running up to a wild racoon and try and give it an affectionate scratch (ouch...you'll be in for a nasty surprise).
These two racoons were very entertaining (especially the white one who was the braver of the pair).
This was our second camping trip to Wido Island, a small island on the west coast of Korea, accessible only by ferry from Gyeokpo.
Even though right now it's technically Winter here in Korea, I saw buds on the trees while working to work yesterday. So thought this post would be a good one to write now so that you can get planning your first Spring camping trip of the year.
Having a dog here in Korea (click here to read more about our rescue pooch #ShadowTheJindo & owning a dog in Korea) makes it hard to travel. We do have a car, which makes our lives 100 times easier, but the accommodation is always a problem. You see many Koreans are terrifies of 'big' dogs (even though our pup would only be considered a medium sized dog in most countries). Here in Korea, he is a great big, scary wolf. and so booking accommodation is always a problem. Even the places which allow dogs usually turn us away when they catch a glimpse of him. This is why we go camping so much. This post is all about Wido Island, and one of our favourite (usually deserted!) places to camp in Korea.