Course

Gwanghallu Pavilion in Namwon Loach Soup Chuhyang Theme Park Lodging Hwaeomsa Temple in Gurye Dulle-gil Unjoru House
Namwon is the best place to start if you want to take a tour of Jirisan Mountain the easy way. It's because there are various of means of transportation in the city, and it's also the busiest area around Jirisan Mountain. Express buses run from and to Seoul every hour, and there are also frequent buses from other major cities such as Gwangju, Jeonju, and Daejeon. In addition to express buses, many trains stop at Namwon Station everyday. So this is one of the main reasons why first comers to Jirisan Mountain are recommended to start from Namwon before taking a tour of Gurye and Gokseong later.
  • How do I get to Namwon?
  • Seoul Central City Bus Terminal→ Express Bus to Namwon:
  • The bus departs every hour from 06:00 to 20:20.
1day,Gwanghallu Pavilion in Namwon The first place you might want to try in the city of Namwon is Gwanghalluwon Garden. It's the most popularly visited place in Namwon. That's probably why there are signs leading to the place all over the city. To get to the place, you have to take a cab if you're getting off at Namwon Station or Express Bus Terminal, but it's only about a 10-minute walk from the Intercity Bus Terminal. In other words, the area around Gwanghalluwon is the busiest area in the city.

Any Korean would think of a young woman named Chunhyang when the word Gwanghalluwon is mentioned. It's because most Koreans know that it's where Chunhyang and her fiancé Mongnyong met for the first time. They are the main characters in a Korean classic novel titled The Story of Chunhyang, and even those who never read the book have heard about them and the story at least once. But the most surprising thing is that the backdrop of a novel written hundreds years of ago still exists today.

Once you're in Gwanghalluwon, it's a good idea to take a tour of the place in an hourglass shape. Past Wanwoljeong Pavilion just past the grass field is a rainbow bridge over a pond. The bridge is called "Ojakgyo" in Korean, and it's one of the main features of Gwanghalluwon. The stone bridge is a representation of the beautiful bridge in the story of Gyeonu and Jingnyeo.

It makes a perfect photo spot with the Gwanghallu Pavilion as the background. When you cross the bridge and exit Gwanghallu, you'll see the Shrine for Chunhyang. Past the shrine and then Wanwoljeong Pavilion on the opposite side of the Ojakgyo Bridge, and you'll come across the Wolmae's House and a playground with swings and other traditional Korean games.
  • Travel Tip
  • Gwanghallu Pavilion
  • Admission Fee: KRW 2,500
    Opening Hours: 09:00~22:00 (Winter: Until 21:00)
1day,Loach Soup Alley If you started the tour late in the morning, we recommend you to try a bowl of loach soup after the tour of Gwanghalluwon. It's one of the things that Namwon is famous for. There is a place called the Loach Soup Alley, on the opposite side of the street from Gwanghalluwon. Namwon loach soup is made of ground loach and dried radish leaves. Mildly spicy without the fishy taste, it's one of the most unique and popular soup in Korea. Those who are used to this delicacy often put a little bit of Sichuan pepper powder on the soup at the table to add a delectable tang to the taste. Most of the loach soup restaurants in Namwon offer free refill. Some of the most popular restaurants in Namwon are Hyeon Restaurant, Gohyang Maru, Saejip Chueotang, and Busanjip.
1day,Chunhyang Theme Park If you stand on the embankment on the opposite side of Gwanghallu, you'll see a wide river called Yocheon. It's where many local people take a morning or evening walk. Cross the bridge over river and walk straight ahead for about 10 minutes, and you'll reach a tourist complex with the theme of Chunhyang. Once you're at the complex, climb the stairs in front of the place to go into the Chunhyang Theme Park with various buildings and structures described in the novel. There are a number of walking paths with direction signs that will take you through the story of Chunhyang and Mongnyong, from the place where they met for the first time and separated for some time, the courtyard where Chunhyang was tortured for not serving the evil Magistrate Byeon, and the scene showing the dramatic reunion of the two for a happy ending. These places will basically show you how the story went. And some of the most reproduction of the scenes are the government office, the jail, and the Chapter of Trials with a wooden bench where the accused is flogged. Many visitors lay face down on the wooden bench to pretend to be flogged and take photos.
  • Travel Tip
  • Chunhyang Theme Park
  • Admission Fee: KRW 3,000
    Opening Hours: 09:00~18:00 (Open till 17:00 in winter and 20:00 in summer)
  • Accommodations
  • Many tourists visiting Namwon often choose Gurye as their next destination. For those who are not driving, there is a bus going to Hwaeomsa Temple in Gurye at Namwon Intercity Bus Terminal. It's about an hour's ride to the bus stop in front of the Jirisan National Park Nambu Office. If you're thinking about staying overnight, make sure to check in to a motel or hotel nearby. It's a famous tourist district, so there are a number of motels and hotels in the area. If you arrive at Hwaeomsa Temple around 18:00, you might want to go into the temple grounds before anything. It's because they hold an evening ritual at 18:40. Many people find the sound of Buddhist prayer and instruments very calming, especially in the quiet of the night.
1day,Hwaeomsa Temple in Gurye It's recommended that you get into the temple grounds a little earlier before others, since the place is often crowded with tourists. Also, it would be a good idea to look around the thousand-year-old temple while it's quiet. There are lots to see at the temple in Buddhist sense. One of the things to look for is the layout of the grounds using optical illusions. If you go past Bojeru and stand in the front yard of Daeungjeon, or the main hall with Buddha statues, you'll see Gakhwangjeon to the left and Daeungjeon to the right. Daeungjeon is smaller than Gakhwangjeon, but its staircase is much wider than that of its counterpart. They were designed as such to make the main building look bigger than the one next to it. Many find the odd contrast interesting. The stone pagoda with four lions is yet another attraction you don't want to miss. To see the stone pagoda, just follow the signpost to Jeongmyeolbogung on the left side of Gakhwangjeon. It's only a short walk on a mountain trail. Along with the two pagodas at Bulguksa Temple, this stone pagoda appears in Korean art textbooks. It's in the shape of Yeongi, the famous Buddhist monk who founded Hwaeomsa Temple, offering a cup of tea to his mother. In Korea, it's widely regarded as the origin of the Korean concept of filial piety. If you come back down from the place after appreciating the piece of art, you'll see the back of Gakhwangjeon. Somehow it looks bigger when seen from behind. Above all, it's regarded as one of the finest Buddhist temples in Korea. Many of those who appreciate Buddhist art let out a sigh of relief when they hear that it was nearly burnt down to the ground. During the Korean War, the Korean police force was ordered to clear the area by burning down the temple in order to hunt down communist partisans. However, Cha Il-hyeok, the Police Superintendent in charge at the time, disobeyed the orders by burning down only the doors and submitted a false report saying that he had the entire temple burnt down as ordered.
  • Travel Tip
  • Namwon→ Gurye/Hwaeomsa Temple
  • First Bus: 07:40 / Last Bus: 20:00 / 9 Buses a Day, 1 Hour Ride
    Bus Fare: Gurye – KRW 3,500 / Hwaeomsa Temple – KRW 4,000
    Namwon Bus Terminal Information Center: +82-63-633-1001
  • Food
  • There are many restaurants in the commercial district near Hwaeomsa Temple. Among them, Garagwon just below the parking lot is perhaps the most popular. It specializes in set meals with cheonggukjang (rich soybean paste stew) or sanchae (wild vegetables). In addition to the dining hall, it also has a separate tea room for diners to prepare and drink a cup of tea for themselves. Another equally popular restaurant on the road to Hwaeomsa Temple is Yewon, which specializes in set meals with wild vegetables.
2day,Unjoru House If you come down from Hwaeomsa Temple to the commercial district, you'll find a mountain trail called Dulle-gil. It's where the Omi-Banggwang Section starts. The section of Dulle-gil leading to Omi Village starts from the valley on the left side of the parking lot next to the Jirisan National Park Southern Office. It's a great trail to take a leisurely walk since it's not steep or rugged. It's about a two-hour walk to Omi Village on this trail. Omi Village is well known as one of the best mountain villages to live in Korea. It's here in this village where you'll find Unjoru, a traditional Korean house built in the Joseon Dynasty some 300 years ago.

It still remains intact. Among Koreans, it's mentioned whenever the Korean sense of noblesse oblige is brought up as a subject. It was originally owned by Yu I-ju, who's well known for having built Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon by using geojunggi, a type of Korean traditional crane, for the first time in Korea. He also shared ricewith the poor, by placing a wooden chest filled with rice next to his quarters so hungry people can take some rice whenever they run out of food. His love for his neighbors is what saved him, his family, and his house after liberation from Japan, when most of rich landowners in the area were killed and their houses were burnt down by an angry mob. Unjoru is a must-visit for anyone interested in feng shui, because it's regarded as one of the most auspicious sites in Korea.

Many of those who study traditional Korean houses also visit this house because of the unique structures. The place is also easily accessible because there is a bus stop on the road in front of and near the house.

The bus bound for Gurye Bus Terminal runs frequently, making it easier for transit users to get around. If you're taking the bus, it would be a good idea to stop by at Gokjeonjae, another traditional Korean house owned by a nobleman in the past.
  • Travel Tip
  • Tea House [Sanesane] There is a little café right next to Unjoru called 'Sanesane'. It's a part of the thatched guesthouse, characterized by simple exterior and cozy indoor. It's a great place to enjoy a cup of tea while appreciating the environment over the short, country-style fence.