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Saturday, 14 December 2013

National Parks in Korea, Part I: Mount Naejang, Jeongeup, Northern Jeolla

I like Nadeko when she wears Hanbok. Sweet.
Mount Naejang (Hanja: 內藏山) is a mountain located on the border of Northern and Southern Jeolla Provinces (Jeongeup, Sunchang and Jangseong) in southwestern South Korea, approximately three hours drive south of National Capital of Korean Republic, Seoul. It has an elevation of 763 m above sea level (2,503 ft).

Located at the Noryeong Range (노령산맥/盧嶺山脈), Mount Naejang forms the core of Mount Naejang National Park (내장산국립공원/內藏山國立公園). It is located nearby the city of Jeongeup (the precinct of Naejang-dong) and is a very popular tourist destination, particularly in autumn due to its spectacular autumn foliage.

Naejang means that something hidden in the mountain is infinite. Because of the bright crimson leaves that blanket Naejangsan Mountain’s fall scenery, the mountain is also referred to as "Mount Kumgang of Honam Region." The mountain is located in the boundary between Jeongeup and Sunchang. It is one of the best mountains in Korea. And it has been famous for fall foliage more than 500 years. 

On 17 November 1971, the mountain became a national park. During the peak season, there are about 100,000 tourists per day visiting to see fall foliage, and there are a million tourists in per year. In the spring, there is cherry blossoms on the green mountain. In the summer, there is well-shade of tree. In the autumn, there is a blazing fall foliage. In the winter, there is snowy landscape. The mountain is very attractive in all four seasons. The park is home to a total of 919 plant species and 1,880 animal species. 12 of the animals are endangered.

The Park is beautiful not only in the fall, but also in the spring when the azaleas and cherry blossoms bloom, in the summer when the green mountain turns greener, and the winter when the rock cliffs cover themselves with snow. All throughout the year, different kinds of wild flowers bloom here.

There is bus station and train station in Jeongeup. Both station are less than 20 km from the mountain. The train station is on Honam Line. So you can depart from Seoul (Yongsan Station) or Gwangju. Also KTX (Korea Train Xpress) is available. From Yongsan to Jeongeup is about 2 1/4 hours. If you take a bus from Seoul, it will take about 3 hours. From the stations, take bus No.171 (from 0625–2100 hours) and you can reach the Naejang bus station. It is next to the mountain.