At last, the trees are changing color to welcome in the prime of the autumn season. Locals and tourists alike will flock to one of many travel destinations around the country boasting stunning views of the autumn foliage.
Autumn in Korea, although be it short-lived, is undeniably beautiful. It brings out families for holidays such as Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving, 추석). Flowers brighter than hanbok begin to bloom along the roadsides. You can spot cosmos and chysthanthemums among them, famed for their festivals like the Jogyesa Chrysanthemum Festival. And of course, who could forget the trees? Changing colours slightly later than one would expect and then having their leaves blow away with winter winds before we’re quite ready for it.
So, where can we see these natural spectacles? There are plenty of articles and guides for fall foliage travel, but we’re here today to share our top tips with you when you’re crunched for reading time.
- Asan Ginko Tree Road | 아산 은행나무길
Ahhh, the ginkgo trees. Their stench is feared, but tolerated, all around the world. It’s worth it to drown in those golden leaves for two months a year. The Asan Ginko Tree Road pays homage to these wonderful beings of nature and is best appreciated in late October. This wooden path follows many beautiful sights, but there’s really nothing more breathtaking than the halo of yellow leaves that tumble upon your head as you walk.
How to Get Here: Take the KTX from Seoul Station (40 minutes) or travel on Seoul Subway Line 1 (over 2 hours) to Asan Station. From here, take a taxi to the Asan Ginko Tree Road (은행나무길).
2. Nami Island | 남이섬
Sorry. We had to do it. Yes, we’ve talked about Nami Island on many of our lists before. Ironically, it’s not because we’re a mega fan of the island itself, but rather the nature that it has to offer. Name Island is crowded and small, which makes it more enjoyable in the early hours of the day. However, it’s worth a bit of push and shove to bask in the glory of its ginkgo tree forest. Don’t be fooled by the Winter Sonata memorable sold everywhere here – autumn is prime time to visit Nami Island.
How to Get Here: Take a train to Gapyeong Station from Yongsan (용산역) or Cheongnyangni Station (청냥리역) in Seoul. From here, the Gapyeong City Bus comes every 5 minutes and you can depart from Gapyeong Wharf. However, it’s very easy to walk to the ferry terminal from Gapyeong Station (15 minutes). Take the Zip Line (35,000 won) onto Nami Island or the ferry (7:30am-9am every 30 minutes, 9am to 6pm every 10-20 minutes).
Rest of Korea
- Naejangsan National Park | 내장산 국립 공원
Located in Jeollabuk-do and Jeollanam-do (North and South Jeolla Province, 전라도) lies a preserved gem: Naejangsan National Park. It’s size is comparatively small when matched with giants such as Seoraksan, but it boasts densely packed scenery. Ginko and Maple trees are littered across these grounds, defined by their bright yellow and red hues. Visitors can stroll along romantic paths such as the Maple Tree Tunnel or Uhwajeong Pavilion to soak in those precious autumn moments. For those hoping for quieter moments of contemplation, visit one of the Buddhist temples in the park or explore the numerous waterfalls. For hiking trails and other information offered in English, visit their site here.
How to Get Here: Travel to Jeongeup Station via KTX (정읍역). From here, transfer to any local bus headed towards Naejangsan National Park. A member of staff at the station will be able to guide you to the upcoming bus.
Expert Tip: Pick up some roasted chestnuts from a street vendor to much on during the colder weeks. Or, head to a convenience store and grab a roasted sweet potato and small pack of kimchi. Eating these two together packs a really punch of sweet and spicy that’s perfect for this time of the year.
2. Daedunsan National Park | 대둔산 국립 공원
The other national park to top our list is located near Daejeon (대전) and is best seen in the later weeks of October. Daedunsan is not only famous for its beautiful trees, but it’s exciting amenities. For a quicker trip to the top, hop on the Daedunsan Cable Car (12,500 won round trip). Feeling brave? The park’s near vertical ladder to the Cloud Bridge is sure to give you the adrenaline buzz you’ve been looking for.
How to Get Here: Head to Seobu Bus Terminal (서부 버스 터미널) in southern Daejeon and take Bus 34 to Daedunsan Rest Stop.
3. Gangcheonsan County Park | 강천산 군립 공원
Looking for something a bit last minute? Missed out on the autumn opportunities because your head was still stuck on summer beaches in Jeju? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Gangcheonsan County Park in Damyang (담양) is great for the later autumn months, reaching its peak around early November. This destination is well-loved among Koreans, but is scarcely discussed among tourists. Damyang, who? The yellow, orange, and red trees hug each other tightly in this stunning landscape. You can explore more than just the foliage – be sure to check out Gangcheonsa Temple (강천사), Geumseongsanseong Fortress (금성산성), and the Gangcheonsan Five-Story Stone Pagoda. There’s a suspension bridge above the valley that offers the best views in the park. Their Korean website can be found here.
How to Get Here: Take a bus to Sunchang Bus Terminal (순창 버스 터미널). From here, hop on a local bus bound for Jeongeup or Gurim (정읍 / 구림) and depart at Gangcheonsan Mountain Bus Stop (강천산).
Expert Tip: Loving Damyang? Be sure to visit the Damyang Bamboo Forest nearby for more amazing photo opts and a little more quality time with your girl, Mother Nature.
Travel By Train
If you’re traveling by train, be sure to find the best ticket from your location at Korail. You can reserve tickets easily online and can cancel up to one minute before the train departs. For Navigation around Seoul, download the Seoul Subway App or use Naver Maps (available in English).