Danyang, Korea: A Guide To The Best Things To See & Do
When it comes to getting away and taking a weekend to travel, I know it’s not just me, I search out a coastal city and head straight to the nearest one with an available hotel and a seaside view. The center of Korea has been quite overlooked by me… and I imagine many others, but I’m gonna put this little post up here with a little reminder that there is indeed plenty to see and DO in the middle of Korea. To be fair, I had visited Danyang (단양군) many… many years… okay, maybe a decade ago. It was actually one of the FIRST places I ever enjoyed a weekend away to with a group of girls when I came to Korea. I can’t remember why we landed on it but I do remember visiting some stunning spots like Guinsa Temple and the Gosu Caves.
This past weekend I went back to Danyang and have to say there is just something so special about this place.
With that, I’ll get right into what you can see and do in the area that is just a two and a half hour bus ride away! It’s great in any season, but quite soon the leaves will be changing colors and this area is sure to be amazingly beautiful with yellow, red, and purple fall foliage.
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Chungju Lake & Ferry Ride
The ferry ride on Chungjuho Lake (충주호) was one of my favorite activities of our trip because the stone formations really just towered above us and actually reminded me of the karsts of Thailand that dramatically rose from the sea. The lake is actually the largest in the country and was formed after the construction of the Chungju Dam. At the time, 50,000 people lost their homes when the 66.48 km area became submerged. Today, it is a popular tourist destination in the region. If you want to head to the lake, take a cruise and not worry about transportation and getting around, check out the tour with Trazy that will get you to the lake for the cruise as well as visit Dodamsambong Peak and Guinsa Temple in the area. It’s a great day trip option.
There are multiple ferry/cruise ship options. We took the hour long trip that allowed us to see the peaks of Oksunbong and Gudambong, a cliff shaped like a tortoise. Those are also two of the “8 Wonders of Danyang” if you were trying to check those off of your list when you’re in the area. An on-board speaker relays information on what to look out for and information was provided in both Korean and English for those interested. When you get on board, head straight up to the top deck to really enjoy those rocky views, with a side of windy breezes.
Cruise Ship Admission: Chungju Lake Tourist Center Janghwa Ferry Terminal: Adults: W12,000, Children (3-13): W8,000, Babies 2 and under: Free.
Hours: Summer: 9:00am ~ 4:30pm; Winter: 10:00am ~ 3:00pm
Mancheonha Skywalk & Zipline
The Mancheonha Skywalk (만천하 스카이워크) was just opened in July 2017 and really offers some absolutely stunning views of the river flowing nearby. After parking and buying a ticket (W2,000 for adults), visitors board a bus that takes them up to where the Skywalk is on a 90 meter high hill. Walk up and around the gently sloping walk up and come to the observatory adding a further 40 meters at the top. Walk out onto one of three, or all three, glass bottomed walkways to take in the sheer beauty on all sides.
In the autumn, this spot is sure to provide just amazingly colorful views.
After you’ve walked up and around and around and back down again, you’ll either board a bus back down, or find a seat to wait for the zipline down. The zipline is a two parter. From the top, there’s a long one across the river and then there’s a shorter one back to where you began at the ticket office. A great way to get back to the bottom in style.
Hours: Summer: 9:00am ~ 6:00pm; Winter: 10:00am ~ 5:00pm
Hours: 9:00am ~ 6:00pm, Closed Mondays
The Gosu Cave System (고수동굴) is one of Korea’s most famous caves and I visited this site the very first time I visited Danyang. It is listed as “Natural Monument Number 256” and was formed over 450 million years ago. Walk through the 1.7 kilometer long twisting limestone caverns and be careful not to bump your head. The metal walkway can be slippery and the lighting is dim so do prepared to step lightly and carefully. This isn’t the most exciting spot on this list, but it is really interesting to see how the rock has been carved out by the water dripping and dropping over time. Do NOT visit if you’re claustrophobic.
Cafe Sann & Paragliding
This cafe will have your heart skipping a beat if you’re afraid of heights. Not really set up just for the dawdler with a camera, this cafe is for those people looking to enjoy some brew before they leap off the mountain to paraglide to the bottom. The cafe sits 600 meters up on Dusan Mountain and offers the most spectacular views… even if you’re not so interested in jumping off the side of the mountain. While I was taking the zipline down from the skywalk, Emma, or Kunyangg, was paragliding. Enjoy her amazing pics!
If you want to head out to the area and go paragliding, look into some tour options to make it easier. Here are a couple great options that include this paragliding experience:
- Join a day trip with Klook that will take you to the Ondal Tourist Park in the area and then head up paraglide in the afternoon. Transportation only available from Seoul. (The paragliding fee should be paid separately upon arrival.)
- Join a day trip with Trazy that will take you to the Ondal Tourist Park in the morning and then head to paraglide in the afternoon. Transportation available from Seoul & Busan. (Fee includes paragliding so you can pay for everything easily in advance.)
Hours: Monday ~ Friday: 9:30am ~ 7:30pm; Saturday & Sunday: 8:30am ~ 7:30pm
Paragliding Fee: W100,000
Korea Tea Culture Museum
The Korea Tea Culture Museum (한국차문화박물관) is an interesting spot that isn’t all that old but run by a very exuberant older tea loving gentleman. The building seems to have been an old school that has been converted into a museum that displays over 3,000 teas and tea products. The displays are beautiful and do present far more than I could have ever imagined about tea. The owner and guide has traveled extensively to curate a great collection. Visit the showcases and then enjoy some tea with the guides where they’ll teach you how to enjoy that oh so delicious drink. (This is not IN Danyang FYI. This was a stop on the way down to the area that was great for stretching our legs a bit.)
Hours: Daily 10:00am ~ 6:00pm (CLOSED Mondays)
Suyanggae Light Tunnel
Originally built in the early 20th century as a railroad, the tunnel saw a period of vacancy before being recently converted into a lit up multimedia tunnel that was opened in July 2017. Outside, there is a lit up garden of flowers and trees. In the tunnel are several different spaces with lights everywhere, hanging down from the ceiling, lighting up the ceiling and more. Get to the end and you can have a little dance party before coming back out the 650 foot long tunnel. This was quite the surprise for us as we really just didn’t expect this lit up madhouse, said in a good way, after dinner. The Suyanggae Light Tunnel (수양개빛터널) is just outside of the Suyanggae Prehistory Museum so you can make it a little educational if you want to and visit the museum before diving into the lights.
While you can definitely get to Danyang via public transportation fairly easily, you could also look into renting a car and heading own from Seoul. With a group of friends it’s quite affordable… and who doesn’t like a road trip? We always use Avis when we’re getting around the peninsula and have always found their customer service great.
Admission: Adults: W9,000; Children: W6,000
Hours: 1:00pm ~ 10:00pm
Guinsa Temple (구인사) is the headquarters of the Cheontae school of Buddhism and has to be one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples on the peninsula. The Cheontae school of Buddhism had a major impact on Goryeo Buddhism but lost popularity and almost complete disappeared before it was firmly re-established in 1945 by Sangwol Wongak and today has about two million followers. The buildings you can see today were built in 1966 and the temple complex sits on the side of a mountain so be prepared for quite a little trek up to see each part of the complex. Since the buildings are a few floors taller than most Buddhist temple buildings AND because it’s on the side of a mountain, the buildings just seem to tower and soar above. It’s really a gorgeous temple that will provide a some beauty along with a little exercise if you head out to see it.
There’s a great tour that Trazy offers that heads to Guinsa Temple after stopping for a cruise on the Chungjuho Lake and a look out over the Dodamsambong Peak. Check it out if you want to have a great and easy day trip to the area.
Where To Stay!