In Korea, hiking is a rising trend in tourism. Many people hike along paths in the mountains, through fields, or along the shore. Some people even discover new paths hidden deep in the forest or in the countryside.
Among all types of paths, many people head to riverside paths where they can enjoy learning about the history, culture, and the nature of the area as they hike along the river.
The Korean government plans to create and develop riverside trekking paths. Some paths have been already built or reopened along the four major rivers -- Han, Geum, Nakdong, and Yeongsan Rivers.
* Han River
The Han River holds enormous significance in Korean history and culture from ancient times to today. The river has also been closely related to the lives of Seoul citizens.
Some of the recommended hiking courses along the river are Dumulmeori-gil (path) in Yangpyeong, Gyeonggido (Gyeonggi Province), Binae-gil in Chungju, Chungcheongbukdo (North Chungcheong Province), and Donggang-gil in Jeongseon, Gangwondo (Gangwon Province).
Dumulmeori literally means 'two water areas,' and refers to the place where the Bukhangang (Northern Han River) and Namhangang (Southern Han River) meet. Dumulmeori-gil starts from Yangsu Station (Jungang Subway Line). After walking to Dumulmeori from the station, a 400-year-old Zelkova tree welcomes visitors with a scenic view along with an old sailboat.
|Dumulmeori (Yonhap News)|
People who visit Binae-gil in Chungju, Chungcheongbukdo, can find the beautiful nature of Binae Island and enjoy a spa at hot spring resorts in Yangseong. Binae Island is one of the favorite spots for photographers as this island is known as a habitat for migratory birds, including egrets and mallard ducks.
Donggang in Jeongseon-gun (Jeongseon County), Gangwondo, is usually known for eco-tourism, rafting, and rail biking. Jeongseon County is also known for “Jeongseon Arirang,” a variation of the popular folk song “Arirang.” Donggang-gil starts from Jeongseon Station and stretches to Arari-chon (Arari Village), the cultural center of Jeongseon where many traditional Korean houses, called Hanok, can be found. Other charms of this trekking path include local cuisines like gondeure rice, and the Jeongseon Five-Day Market which opens on the 2nd, 7th, 12th, 17th, 22nd , and 27th of every month.
* Nakdong River
The Nakdong River is nicknamed 'the Lifeline of Yeongnam Region’ (Gyeongsang Province). Some good hiking paths along the river are in Andong, Gyeongsangbukdo (North Gyeongsang Province), and Upo Wetland in Changnyeong, Gyeongsangnamdo (South Gyeongsang Province).
|Trekking path in Andong (photo courtesy of Weekly Gongam Magazine)|
The city of Andong is regarded as the centre of Confucianism in Korea. People who walk along the paths in the city can learn more about Confucianist culture and the traditional lifestyle while looking around traditional houses, farms, and the famous Hahoe Village, a traditional village which was added to UNESCO World Heritage list in 2010. At Hahoe Village, visitors can experience folk culture and enjoy local delicacies.
|Visitors look around Upo Wetland (photo courtesy of Weekly Gongam Magazine)|
|People can enjoy the scenic view at the riverside path on the Geum River (Yonhap News).|
|People have fun at the Metasequoia Road in Damyang (Yonhap News).|
The city of Damyang is where the Yeongsan River starts to flow. This city is known for its bamboo forest named Jungnogwon, which is where the trekking path begins. After passing Jungnogwon Bamboo Forest, another forest will begin. This forest, named Gwan-bang-je-rim, was artificially created 200 years ago to prevent flooding and forms a great natural 1.5-kilometer-long tunnel. Outside the tunnel, visitors will meet another must-see forest path, the Metasequoia Road. Thanks to its great vantage point, this road is often seen on TV dramas or movies.
By Yoon Sojung
Korea.net Staff Writer
Article adapted from Weekly Gonggam Magazine