When the pace of big city life is giving you the blues, an escape to Chungju Lake offers a rejuvenating splash of color to recharge your batteries.
Situated about two hours south of Seoul, the farmland and valleys stretching between Chungju and Danyang seem to have been specifically designed for those looking to escape the buzz of neon lights and traffic jams. And with Chungju Lake, South Korea’s largest man-made body of water, the area attracts thousands of tourists year round.
Chungju is home to a host of different resorts offering spectacular views, hot springs, and when the weather is right, water sports and outdoor activities. Fall is arguably the best time to visit with the World Martial Arts Festival taking place every October, the apple harvest (for which Chungju is famous) and a two-hour ferry ride from Chungju to Danyang that offers breathtaking scenery of Korea’s fall colors. Bring a good camera, as almost every turn is a chance to capture the beauty and history of the place—especially the “Eight Scenic Wonders of Danyang.”
Moved by the natural beauty of the region, 16th century scholar Hwang Lee designated eight special areas of Danyang as “scenic wonders.” Each spot has its own piece of history to tell. Dodam Sambong is a set of three peaks located in the Namhan River, said to represent three people involved in a love triangle. Just up the river you will find Seokmun, a giant stone gate where locals believe spirits sang after they passed. A short climb to the top of Seokmun will give you an incredible view of Dodam Sambong and the surrounding area. The six other wonders—Sainam rock (a large cliff), Haseonam (three “brother” cliffs), Jungseonam (home to Ssangyong falls), Gudambong (a turtle-shaped rock), and Oksunbong (“the gateway to Danyang”)—make Chungju a must-see for history buffs and tourists alike.