Posted : 2013-10-24 17:19
Updated : 2013-10-24 17:19

Autumn in Korea: where to best enjoy it

By Yun Suh-young

The winds are bringing in the crispness of autumn and leaves are changing from green to yellow, red and brown. The coming weeks will be a great opportunity to take out your camera and capture the changing colors.

We advise you to be quick — the country's famous mountains and fields will soon be covered with an unbearable number of hikers and ramblers. And doesn't it feel as if the fall is becoming shorter every year?

Here are some of our choices of the best places in Korea to view the autumn foliage.

Mt. Seorak


Mountains are obviously the most popular locations to view autumn leaves.

The Korea Meteorological Administration analyzes the forecast every year to determine the timing of the best foliage. This year, it expects Mt. Bukhan in Seoul to present its most spectacular display of colors this Sunday. Other recommended weekend destinations include Mt. Worak and Mt. Sokri in North Chungcheong Province, Mt. Gyeryong in South Chungcheong Province and Mt. Halla on Jeju Island.

The weather agency believes that Mt. Seorak, Mt. Odae and Mt. Chiak in Gangwon Province and Mt. Jiri in South Gyeongsang Province have already showed the best of their colors. Enough with the nitpicking though: these mountains are currently stunning and will likely continue to be so over the next couple of weeks.

World Cup Park

For those who will miss out on the mountains in the central regions, Mt. Gaya and Mt. Naejang in North Jeolla Province and Mt. Mudeung in Gwangju, all located further south, will provide opportunities to view the spectacular autumnal foliage.

Korea has many mountains and everyone will have their favorite. The most popular destinations appear to be Mt. Seorak, Mt. Bukhan, Mt. Naejang, Mt. Jiri and Mt. Halla.

Mt. Mindoong


City slickers in Seoul who are averse to hiking can still enjoy the autumn colors if they pick the right street on which to stroll.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has selected 81 pathways that are the most beautiful during the autumn season. Of course, most of these are usually bustling with families and couples.

The city has decided not to sweep fallen leaves off these streets until mid-November.

Deoksugung sidewalk

The most obvious streets on the list are Samcheong-dong Street in Jongno and the nearby Deoksugung road in Jung-gu. Mt. Nam, the modestly-sized mountain in the middle of the city, also has a great pathway that is best enjoyed at precisely this time of year.

For residents in southern Seoul, the Yangjae Citizens' Park and the Songpa Naru Park are great locations. In eastern Seoul, the hills surrounding the Sheraton Walkerhill Hotel in Gwangjin-gu are recommendable.

Mt. Myeongseong

Silver grass and reeds

There are places in Korea that are famous for reeds and miscanthus sinensis, sometimes called "silver grass" or Eulalia grass.

The casual observer might feel that the two plants look similar. Reeds, called "galdae" in Korea, are frequently found on riversides and wetlands. Varieties of Miscanthus (silver grass, "eoksae" in Korean), are found on mountains and in fields.

The most famous place in Korea for viewing silver grass is Mt. Mindoong near Jeongsun in Gangwon Province. There is also a festival dedicated to it, which will continue through Nov. 3 and include opportunities for hiking, horse riding, as well as time to enjoy musical performances and traditional rituals.

Photos provided by Korea Tourism Organization

Other mountains known for silver grass are Mt. Cheongwan in South Jeolla Province and Mt. Myeongseong in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province— the latter has a vast area of Miscanthus that covers much of the mountain. A festival is currently taking place there from Oct. 9 through Sunday.

In Seoul, the World Cup Park in Sangam-dong, Mapo-gu, is a popular destination to go and enjoy the silver grass. A Miscanthus festival, which includes various musical performances and light shows at night, will be held at the park until this Sunday.

As for reeds, Suncheon Bay is the best known destination. A reeds festival will be held at the bay from Friday through Sunday this weekend offering various performances, exhibitions, craft making and food tasting during the three-day festival. Also, the Suncheon Bay Garden Expo will be open for free during the reed festival period.

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