Out And About In Korea – Muju Gu, a mountain getaway within easy reach.
As 2020 draws to a close, and winter in Korea is upon us I would like to take the time to share one of the great mountain destinations in Korea. Muju-gun, and Doegyusan (Deoggyu-Mountain), and Muju Doegyusan ski resort. I have been to Muju about 5 times now. 2 for skiing trips, and 2 for general vacations. This series of blogs will cover Skiing, other outdoor activities, and where to stay.
The Doegyusan Ski resort boasts not only the longest vertical drop, but one of the longest ski run in Korea at 6.1km (3.1Miles). The snow in Korea is not great, and most resorts rely heavily on artificial snowmaking, but it still is a lot of fun to get out of the city and into the mountains. Ski rental is available on site, but be forewarned, the longest ski available is 170cm. The resort’s gondola is also open for sightseeing, and the view is quite impressive.
Topside facilities also include a gift shop, hot coffee, a relaxing warming pagoda, and a hiking trail (Stairs), that will take you 600m to the summit, which is amazing on a clear day, and you can see all the way down to the resorts base and the Muju-gun valley floor!
There are several beautiful temples in the area, the first that I visited was Anguksa which is easy to get to by car, on the way you can stop at this beautiful park by one of the reservoirs in the area, it is great for portraits but you cannot fly drones here.
This would definitely be a place to come to during the golden hour, with the glare from the sun setting to my left, It was impossible to get a proper exposure, but it definitely has the potential to be a great portrait area in the spring or fall.
On to the temple complex of Anguksa. Which is located on Mt. Jeoksang (Jeoksangsan), and was built in 1227. Its purpose was to be used as a stronghold for the sacred archives and was home to the Buddhist Soldiers whose job it was to keep them safe.
At the main temple building you can buy bags of rice to offer to the monks, which I did here, as well as candles. There were no candles already lit, and no place to leave them safely burning so I did not do that at this temple.
After a couple more portraits.
The following day it was time for the big hike to the Baengyeonsa Temple in the Deogyusan National Park. At the trailhead and being reminded to maintain 2m separation.
Most of the trail follows the Geum river, and there are some really neat waterfalls. So, make sure you factor in enough time to take pictures! The opportunities for portraits are endless.
The temple site is believed to have been founded between 681-590 AD by the famous monk Baengnyeon. It was named Baengnyeonsa “Temple of the white lotus” due a lotus flower that was seen to have bloomed there. The original temple seen here was burned to the ground during the Korea War.
Here is the main temple gate, after the 5 mile hike to the complex it is a great site to see.
The secondary gate leading into the complex, and of course a steep set of stairs..
These guards scare away the evil spirits.
The Temple Janitor?
The buildings here fit in really well with the natural surroundings, and were a joy to photograph. The only problem was in order to save weight I only took a single battery and did not realize that while hiking I note only bumped the switch putting the camera in video mode, but I also at some point also bumped the button to start recording. I realized what had happened half way up the trail and the battery was almost completely depleted! Which meant that the rest of my photos were taken with the Hipstamatic.
You could buy roof tiles, and inscribe prayer messages for good luck, or prayer candles. What I thought was interesting is that even though there were plenty of tiles available for you to write on, others felt that graffitiing the building would be a better way to get their message across.
After lighting a prayer candle for my sister, it was time to head back to the pension.
I would definitely recommend Muju Doegyusan to anyone looking for outdoor leisure activity, whether it be skiing, snowboarding, hiking, or just getting away from the city! There are plenty of hotels, resorts, and pensions in the area. The relaxing scenery will definitely put you at ease.
Mappable Names / Addresses:
Muju Doegyusan Resort (Skiing, Golf, Sightseeing)
Seolcheon-myeon, Muju-Gun. Jeollabuk-do
Anguksa Temple Jonggak
Goemok-ri, Jeoksan-myeon, Muju-Gun. Jeollabuk-do
No Phone Number Provided
580 Baengnyeonsa-gil, Seolcheon-myeon, Muju-gun, Jeollabuk-do
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