* This post is written by Lauren Kilberg, one of the Korea Blog's Worldwide Korea Bloggers.
There are many reasons to visit Danyang. For me, it was to accomplish a goal I set when I first arrived in Korea; travel to all 9 provinces. Danyang is located in the central, landlocked North Chungcheong province. If you search the city's name on Google, it will first ask you if you meant Damyang (a city in South Jeolla province famous for its bamboo forest), followed by Anyang (a suburb of Seoul). My guidebooks offered a mere blurb for this particular destination. As I headed South from Seoul's Cheongnyangni Station, with a standing-only ticket on a Mugunghwa train, I wasn't sure what to expect. What I learned over the course of my three days in Danyang was that perhaps, three days were not enough to see all that the city had to offer.
Arguably one of the biggest draws of tourism to Danyang is its proximity to Woraksan and Sobaeksan national parks. The latter is famous for its azalea-blooming slopes and is the third most mountainous park in Korea, after Jirisan and Soraksan. I spent an afternoon hiking to Birobong, the highest peak of Sobaeksan at 1,439 meters. Although a relatively easy climb when compared to some of Korea's more famous peaks, Birobong was just as rewarding. The final hundred or so meters provide misty views of the greater-Danyang area far below and pink-speckled slopes, thanks to the numerous azalea bushes that help make the peak famous.
Gosudonggul is another worthy attraction in Danyang. The 1,300 meters deep limestone cave has all the features one could hope for on a cave tour, from stalactites to stalagmites and massive flowstones. At a steady 15 degrees Celsius, a tour of the cave can be a welcome break from the summer heat.
The most surprising of Danyang's sights, however, was Guinsa. This massive temple complex is nestled securely in a valley some 30 minutes outside Danyang-proper. The temple serves as the headquarters of the Cheontae school of Buddhism. Most who've lived in Korea for some time, like myself, have seen their fair share of Buddhist temples. Guinsa drastically stands out from many I've had the pleasure of visiting. The temple is considerably new, originally built in 1945, and the 50 buildings that make up Guinsa pop with bold colors and shine in their comparative newness. The entire complex unfolds in layers as you make your way upwards and through the temple. Balconies are strewn with drying bags and patios occupied by neatly arranged Onggi kimchi pots. The highlight of my visit was a much needed lunch break in the temple's massive cafeteria. The food was simple and free, but the experience of dining on genuine temple food among monks and tourists alike was priceless.
Like many Korean cities, Danyang is host to several "scenic wonders". The natural beauty of the area has been organized into the the Danyang Palgyeong, or the eight beautiful scenes of Danyang. Among them is the three-peaked island of Dodamsambong and Seongmun, a natural stone gate.
From elevated-explorations on one of Sobaeksan's numerous peaks to subterranean cave adventures, the city of Danyang has plenty to offer. This sleepy resort town has many more reasons to visit than ticking a goal off of a travel to-do list.
* The original piece can be read at HERE
Source : blog.korea.net/?p=441... ( English Korean )
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