Autumn in Korea is one of the best seasons and times to visit. With the wealth of national parks around and mountains to explore it’s easy to find the beautiful colors that make the season so popular here. One of the best places to explore autumn colors is Baekyangsa Temple located in Naejangsan National Park in the southern half of South Korea.
How to Get to Naejangsan National Park
Naejangsan National Park is located in Jeollabukdo Province, but despite the fact that it is quite a few hundred kilometers from Seoul, it’s quite easy to reach the park from almost anywhere in Korea because the town closest to it is along a KTX (Korea Train Express) rail line.
So if you are wanting to get there, you will first want to take a KTX Train or slow train depending how long you want to take getting there to the station called Jeongeup (정읍). If you take the KTX from Seoul, it takes roughly 1.5 hours to complete the trip.
Once in Jeongeup, find your way out the main doors and walk to the bus station in town. There are also a lot of buses that go from near the train station to the bus terminal. I highly recommend walking though as it’s less than a kilometer.
Once you are at the bus terminal, you will want to go to the ticket booth and get a ticket for a bus to baekyangsa (백양사). The times as of writing this article are as follows:
Jeongeup – Baekyangsa: 7:55, 10:50, 12:20, 14:50, 15:55, 17:05, 19:10, 20:10
Baekyangsa – Jeongeup: 9:30, 10:30, 11:50, 13:00, 16:10, 17:35, 19:15
The bus should only take around 30-40 minutes to get to the main entrance of the park.
There are other ways to get to the temple and park from Gwangju and other parts of Korea, and if you are interested in those details, please let us know in the comments below.
Naejangsan National Park
Naejangsan is quite a large park and quite famous during the autumn season. It was first designated a national park back in 1971. During weekends in the autumn season (particularly late October, early November) crowds will flock to Naejangsan to see all the beautiful colors on display.
The park is more or less split up into two distinct regions. The northern half which has Naejang temple and a cablecar that transports people to the top of the mountain, and the lower half which includes Baekyangsa. For this article, I’m only going to focus on Baekyangsa. The northern half would be best saved for another article.
When you get off the bus to Baekyangsa, you will follow the people and path towards the Temple. The pathway to the temple is nice a tree covered and provides and nice entry into the park. Also, along the way there are some nice coffee shops and other places to buy food or small trinkets.
The temple was first build way back in 632 during the Baekje kingdom. It’s a beautiful complex and there are various ponds and bridges leading up to the temple the give it such an amazing foreground during the autumn season.
So many of the trees in Naejangsan change color and the various ponds reflect it so perfectly.
Beyond exploring the temple area and enjoying the nature of the park, I highly recommend a hike up to the chunjinam hermitage.
It’s a small hermitage located higher up on the slopes of the mountain and the views from there of the temple down below and the valley are worth the effort into getting there. The hike isn’t extremely long, so you can easily check out the temple and hike to the hermitage in a morning or afternoon once getting there.
If you are interested as well, the temple does run a templestay program where you can stay overnight and learn from the Monks and see what their normal schedule looks like at the temple. If you are interested in something like this, you can learn more at the Baekyangsa Temple Website.
Where to Stay near Naejangsan?
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While there aren’t too many places to stay near Baekyangsa, there are 2 locations that you can book on booking.com near the northern half of the park. There are:
Ggot Dam Won – Rooms here are affordable and come with a balcony that overlooks a stream. In nature and close to Naejangsan. Easiest to get here if you have your own car, however, probably not super expensive with a taxi from the town of Jeongeup if you needed to.
Royal Hotel Jeongeup – Located within the town of Jeongeup, this highly rated hotel provides most of the amenities you need for your trip like air conditioning, a 24 hour front desk, business center, and shuttle service.
Tips for visiting Baekyangsa
- The autumn season gets to be a very busy time in Korea at all the national parks. If you can, it’s best to visit during the week instead of the weekends as it’s less crowded.
- If you are visiting during the weekend, brace yourself for crowds. Go with the flow and enjoy the nature around you.
- As always, when visiting temples, please be respectful and follow the rules that are posted.
- The peak season for fall colors in Naejangsan National Park is typically the very first week of November. This can change, but typically late October/early November is the best time to visit.
So if you get a chance to spend autumn in korea, visit Baekyangsa and you won’t be disappointed. Other seasons are just as beautiful there so don’t miss a visit to the park. Any questions or comments, please leave them down below.