July 03, 2012

Autumn Splendour to capture your heart in Korea

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Autumn in Korea is without doubt the best season to visit the country.  It's a magic time to enjoy the splendour of the autumn colours in Korea's many national parks as well as join in some of the most exciting and fun festivals of the year.

The autumn colours begin to appear in early October and can be enjoyed in various parts of the country till mid to late November.  The peak time is mid-late October when the mountain ranges and valleys are a masterpiece of burnt orange, crimson reds and golden colours.

The weather is also very reliable at this time of year with beautiful sunny warm days and cold nights.  It is a very popular time to go hiking in Korea's spectacular national parks.

Korea is seventy percent mountains so you don't have to go far to enjoy some of the most beautiful autumn scenery you will ever see.  Without leaving Seoul you can enjoy the autumn colours in the royal palaces and the nearby Bukhansan National Park which can be reached on the subway.

If you venture out of Seoul you can take part in some of the most famous annual festival events and enjoy the spectacular autumn colours in various regions of the country. Get yourself a Korean railpass before leaving Australia and you can travel anywhere in the country on Korea's fast track rail network.  The Korean railpass is exceptionally good value costing as little as $80 for three days, $90 for five days, $113 for seven days or $131 for ten days rail travel anywhere on the country's extensive rail network.  The Korean railpass is available to purchase online at www.railplus.com.au

Some of the highlight places to visit in Autumn for the best of the Autumn colours are Naejangsan National Park in the south west of the country with its famous tunnel of maple leaves.  Stay in Jeonju city nearby and you can sleep in a 400 year old traditional village and enjoy a traditional Korean living village.  Jeonju is also the home of Korean bibimbap (mixed rice, meat and vegetable dish) which is loved by most visitors to the country. If you love bibimbap, then visit Jeonju from 18-21 October for the Jeonju Bibimbap Festival.

Seoraksan National Park on the east coast is perhaps Korea's most famous park with stunning mountain scenery in autumn.  With its steep granite cliffs and rocky outcrops and picturesque streams and trails along the valley floor it is especially beautiful at this time of year.  Seoraksan is just three hours by express bus from Seoul and it is a very popular place with Korean hikers during autumn.  You will never be alone in any of Korea's national parks, Koreans are one of the biggest hiking nations on earth so even if you are travelling alone you will always find friendly Korean hiking companions.

Gwangju city in the south-west of the country is the home of the Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival which will be held this year from 13-17 October.  Kimchi is Korea's most iconic food, a fermented spicy cabbage served as side dish at every meal.  Gwangju is a centre for culinary culture in Korea and the Kimchi Culture Festival is one of the biggest in the country.  Visitors can join in the kimchi making competitions and have a lot of fun learning how to make kimchi. Nearby Gwangju you can enjoy the natural beauty of the rolling hills and valleys of Jirisan National Park with it's glorious Autumn scenery at this time of year.

Korea has many World Heritage sites with easy access from Seoul like the ancient city of Gyeongju in the south-east corner.  The former royal capital of Korea is known as a 'museum without walls' due to its many open air treasures.  The royal burial tombs and Asia's most famous Buddhist shrine, Seokguram is set at the end of a picturesque trail in the mountains.  The stunning Autumn colours add to the beauty of this site. Together with  Korea's largest and most beautiful Buddhist temple Bulguksa, the Gyeongju Historic area is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The ancient fortress of Suwon just outside of Seoul celebrates the Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival from 5-7 October.  You can enjoy the re-enactment of the royal life of King Jeongjo the Great at the UNESCO World Heritage Hwaseong Fortress.  For photographers it's a great opportunity to film traditional royal performances and clothing.

Travel to Korea this autumn and you will have a truly memorable vacation and spectacular photographs to show off to your friends on your return home.

To plan your autumn journey in Korea email Korea Tourism Organization Sydney office for a free colour guidebook to Korea  visitkorea@knto.org.au or visit the official travel website for Korea www.visitkorea.or.kr


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