During the summer vacation period, going anywhere can be a hassle with endless lines and crowds of people. One place to get away from the bustling city is by stepping into the refreshing nature found in Damyang. While not as well-known as many other Korean cities popular as summer destinations, it is home to some very appealing natural attractions that make a trip here worthwhile. Visit Damyang this summer to enjoy an eco vacation in the shade of vast groves of bamboo.
The charm of Juknokwon can be felt from the moment you step foot into the lush forest. The cooling breeze that blows through the bamboo provides rest, relaxation, and mind-soothing meditation. The calm wind and deep shade keep the forest at 4 to 7 degrees Celsius cooler than the outside air and the forest has a high level of oxygen production. Take deep breaths while standing still within the forest and you will easily be able to feel this cool and refreshing environment.
Juknokwon is threaded with paths totaling a distance of 2.4 kilometers, enough for visitors to fully take in the dense forest. From the starting point at the observatory, the trail divides into eight paths with various themes, ranging from Lovers’ Road to Old Memory Bypath. Visitors to the forest can also find statues of pandas throughout the forest, along with dynamic experiences and information.
Bamboo trees keep their vibrant green color until well into winter. The forest floor is littered with the fallen leaves and new sprouts, providing a chance to see untouched nature. Walking through this forest is a great opportunity to enjoy the health benefits of a forest bath. If walking along all the pathways is too much, you can choose one or two that match your interests and physical condition.
Among the forest’s eight trails, the most popular are Lovers’ Road, Old Memory Bypath, and Philosopher’s Road. Walking along these trails, you will see not only the bamboo forest, but also couples walking hand in hand and people deep in meditative thought. Follow the trails as they lead you to pavilions, waterfalls, and stone stairs.
Visitors can enjoy the harmony of hanok, traditional buildings, surrounded by bamboo. Following the trail from the entrance, you will arrive at Bonghwangnu Pavilion, which serves as an observatory. From this vantage point, you can see Damyangcheon Steam down below and the metasequoia-lined road in the near distance. Take a moment to relax over a cup of tea while taking in the scenery from the Observatory Café located on the first floor.
Juknokwon also has hanok buildings spread out in Siga Culture Village. This small hanok village is set within a beautiful environment that highlights the traditional architecture. Some of the hanok houses hold traditional music concerts and offer tea-tasting experiences. Most visitors take a rest at Chuwoldang, a hanok café serving traditional teas and organic baked goods, before leaving the bamboo forest.
This gorgeous path of metasequoia trees is another popular attraction of Damyang. Located a mere 5-minute drive from Juknokwon, the entire 8.5km of Metasequoia Road is lined with tall metasequoia trees reaching lofty heights of 10-20 meters. In summer, the long, slender leaves are a strong green hue, while fall sees the leaves becoming deep brown foliage that bends and sways in the autumn breeze. The road is included on the list of Korea’s 100 Most Beautiful Roads and sees many visitors every year.
☞ Address: 12, Metasequoia-ro, Damyang-eup, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do (전라남도 담양군 담양읍 메테세쿼이아로 12)
If you’re feeling hungry in Damyang and you want to try some local specialties, look no further than House by the Museum. Named due to its location across the street from the Korea Bamboo Museum, the restaurant serves tteokgalbi, a foodfamous to this area, along with a full table of side dishes. Tteokgalbi, a grilled short rib meat patty, gets its name from its slight resemblance to tteok, or rice cake. Daetong bap, or bamboo rice, is another specialty of Damyang, and goes well with tteokgalbi. Bamboo rice is prepared by steaming rice along with dates, beans, millet, and other grains all together in a bamboo stalk and then served to you in the bamboo stalk itself. The taste of this healthy meal is made all the better by the scene wafting up from the still-warm bamboo stalk.
☞ Address: 22, Jukhyangmunhwa-ro, Damyang-eup, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do (전라남도 담양군 담양읍 죽향문화로 22)
* This column was last updated in July 2018, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.