National Park Tourism in South Korea
South Korea is very similar to New England. While it has large and prosperous cities, it has beautiful suburban foliage and landscape which it is well known for. One of the great beauties and treasures of Korea are its national parks. In total there are 21, that lie around coastal and mountainous regions, dispersed throughout the entire country. For those of you traveling to Korea for a short or long time the national parks are the perfect tourist destination for you. Come during the fall and you will see them covered in fiery golden leaves. It is one of the best sites you will ever see.
National parks comprise a little under 7% of the countries land. It is managed by the Korean National Park Service, overseen by the government for sustainable use. Hiking and walking through the parks is a common tourist attraction, especially during the fall and spring. The national parks are beautiful, inexpensive, and provide a good exercise. The majority of them do not charge for entrance. Near the parks are many different hiking supply stores. After hiking through Bukhansan I highly suggest purchasing some of these items. Korean parks are not for the faint of heart. Throughout my hike I had to climb, scale, and jump over large rocks. At one point I had to repel down a large boulder via a rope. These parks, or at least in Bukansan’s case, are like a mini adventure course. It's an experience. Having a good pair of gloves or hiking sticks would definitely have been helpful. The views from the top are well worth the exercise.
The 21 national parks are as follows. One is a historical national park, Gyeongju. Four are marine and coastal national parks which include, Hallyeohaesang, Taeanhaean, Dadohaehaesung, and Byeonsanbando. The remaining sixteen are mountainous national parks, Woraksan, Juwangsan, Jirisan, Songnisan, Gayasan, Chiaksan, Seoraksan, Gyeryongsun, Odaesan, Hallasan, Deogyusan, Mudeungsun, Sobaeksan, Wolchulsan, Bukhansan, and Naejangsan.
When exploring the national parks make sure to set aside a whole day for the park of your choice. Any less than a day and you won't get the opportunity to see the most gorgeous parts of the park. It wasn't until an hour and a half hiking in Bukhansan that I got a quarter way up the mountain and was able to see Seoul from the very top. Come during the fall or spring when the fresh foliage is in bloom and it will burn your eyes it's so beautiful. Throughout the hike you will find yourself in quiet thought. It is then that you will realize that these parks symbolize what is most beautiful about Korea.
While exploring the national parks during your stay you will not only get an inexpensive, beautiful view, for those of you on a low budget, you will also find yourself having a zen like experience. Which should be appealing for those of you looking for quiet away from the city.
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