A Bamboo Theme Park on Geoje Island
Anytime “theme park” is in the title of a place in Korea I’m being led to, a small part of me sighs with the anticipation of a let-down to come.
I’m just not a traveler into the manicured views and childish fads. I prefer nature, old architecture and culturally relevant stops personally. On a recent trip to Geoje for a business meeting, my host took me to the Bamboo Theme Park or the Maengjongjuk Theme Park (맹종죽테마파크). I was pleasantly surprised when we came upon the natural 90,000 square meter bamboo forest on the side of a hill.
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Of course there were quirky little things along the way like any good theme park would have, but there were mostly tall looming bamboo stalks everywhere we looked. The paths led immediately into the forest and then to some benches that were positioned so that when sat on the back and head leaned back to stare up into the abyss of bamboo leaves above. The smallest bit of blue sky peeping through the leaves adds to the meditative nature of the surroundings.
The planners behind the park made it super kid friendly as well with a “playground” of sorts in one area with play things made entirely out of bamboo stalks. A MacGyver-like see-saw and other “equipment” were definitely future fort-building inspiration. While I had previously visited more touted tourist sites on the island including Haegeumgang, or The Sea Diamond that can only be accessed via boat along with Oedo-Botania, an island with a gorgeous botanical garden atop the clifffs, I definitely found this to be a spot that should be shared more in guide books.
Other bamboo forests in the country of Korea are oft shared as MUST SEES, but this should definitely be making those lists too and it just isn’t for some reason.
After a good rest, the paths, which are posted with signs so that were there numerous people, which there is doubtful to be, everyone would be walking in one direction so that the peaceful nature is kept in cue. To walk through the forest only takes about 45 minutes, but it could take longer if you’re hoping to relax and de-stress in the calm surroundings.
Continuing on there’s also a zip lining/ropes course activity which we didn’t partake in but would certainly be fun and I was told it is kid-safe too. Bamboo lines parts of the paths to be walked on in socks or barefoot for a natural foot massage and at the peak, gorgeous views of the surrounding area can be enjoyed. It’s a spot that I hadn’t heard of prior to visiting Geoje, but found to be one of my favorite stops while I was there. To be surrounded by such tall natural beauty is always a way to be reminded of our place in nature and to be shown how spectacular nature can be.
If you’ll be headed to Geoje for a weekend away, check out the Samsung Hotel or the Daemyung Resort for a comfortable stay on the island.
Maengjongjuk Theme Park (맹종죽테마파크)
경상남도 거제시 하청면 실전리 880
880 Siljun-ri Hachung-Myun, Geoje 656-823
Transportation: Buses 30 , 30-1 , 31 , 31-1 , 32 , 33 , 35 , 35-1 all stop nearby
Admission: W2,000 per person
Hours: Monday through Sunday 9:00am ~ 6:00pm