Mount Seorak’s Biryong Falls is one of the State-designated Cultural Heritage also the official Scenic Site No.95. [KOREA NATIONAL PARK SERVICE]

Some 1261 — that’s the number of places in Korea with the word ‘dragon’ in the name. Dragon, or yong in Korean, was once considered sacred and holy in the country. Yongan, for example, was used to indicate the face of the king, and yongpo meant the King’s clothes. The norm of creating names around the word applied to monumental places as well, embracing people’s wishes to bring prosperity and positive vibes to the site.
 
With the Lunar New Year holiday starting today and the year 2024 corresponding to the Year of the Blue Dragon, the Korea JoongAng Daily recommends four dragon-featured travel spots in Korea from Gangwon to Jeju.  
 
 
 
Biryong Falls
비룡폭포  
 
 

Biryong Falls' waters fall from a 16-meter height at Mount Seorak in Sokcho, Gangwon. [CHOI SEUNG-PYO]

Biryong Falls’ waters fall from a 16-meter height at Mount Seorak in Sokcho, Gangwon. [CHOI SEUNG-PYO]

Biryong Falls means flying dragons. The name came from the waterfall and the surrounding rocks resembling a scene where a dragon rises from the mist. Noted as one of the most beautiful attractions at Mount Seorak in Sokcho, Gangwon, the waterfalls give off pounding, ricocheting sounds into the air as the water plunges down 16 meters (52 feet). In the winters the water freezes into an ice pillar and offers an exquisite scenery. Mount Seorak’s Biryong Falls is one of the State-designated Cultural Heritage, Scenic Site No.95.  
 
To visit Biryong Falls, you can either walk along the trail or hop onto a cable car from a ticket booth five minutes away by foot from the entrance of Mount Seorak National Park. The round-trip ticket costs 15,000 won ($11.3) for passengers who are middle school students and above.  
 
More waterfalls are available within a three-hour trip with Towangseong Falls and Yukdam Falls nearby.  
 
Seoraksan-ro, Sokcho, Gangwon
(강원도 속초시 설악산로)




 
 
Mount Gyeryong
계룡산  
 

The view from Donghak Temple in Mount Gyeryong, Gongju, South Chungcheong. [CHOI SEUNG-PYO]

The view from Donghak Temple in Mount Gyeryong, Gongju, South Chungcheong. [CHOI SEUNG-PYO]

 
Mount Gyeryong in South Chungcheong overlooks Gyeryong National Park and stands at 845 meters. The mountain’s border touches four cities — Gongju, Gyeryong, Nonsan and Daejeon. The mountain’s Sambul Peak, at 777 meters, and Gwaneum Peak, at 766 meters, unravel breathtaking views of a dragon-like ridgeline. 
 
Gye is the Chinese character for chicken, so the mountain’s name technically translates to “chicken dragon mountain.” The name is derived from the shape of the ridgeline that resembles a moving dragon with a chicken comb. According to pungsu jiri, the Korean practice of feng shui, or geomancy, the mountain contains extremely holy and positive vibes and therefore was the site of many ancestral rituals.  
 
 
Mount Gyeryong is home to three main Buddhist temples — Donghak Temple, the oldest study temple for female monks in Korea, Gap Temple and Shinwon Temple. Donghak Temple is the peak mountain base where the hike starts. The climb is mostly moderate apart from some rugged, rocky trails but during the winters the slope may be slippery.
 
 
Gyeryong-myeon, Gongiu, South Chungcheong  
(충청남도 공주시 계룡면 일원)
Website: https://www.knps.or.kr/front/portal/visit/visitCourseMain.do?parkId=120200&menuNo=7020086
 
 
 
 
Guryongpo  
구룡포

An installation of nine entangled dragons rising toward the sky is located on the hill of Guryongpo Park in Pohang, North Gyeongsang. [BAEK JONG-HYUN]

An installation of nine entangled dragons rising toward the sky is located on the hill of Guryongpo Park in Pohang, North Gyeongsang. [BAEK JONG-HYUN]


 
“A port village where nine dragons ascended to heaven” is the literal translation of Guryongpo in Pohang, North Gyeongsang. A large installation of nine entangled dragons is perched on the hill of Guryongpo Park.  
 
 

Guryongpo Japanese House Street in Pohang, North Gyeongsang. [CHOI SEUNG-PYO]

Guryongpo Japanese House Street in Pohang, North Gyeongsang. [CHOI SEUNG-PYO]

The village promises a spectrum of things to see from a sea view, a themed street and a modern history museum. Below the hill, the Japanese House Street appears filled with Japanese-style buildings and photo spots. Until the early 1900s in the Joseon Dynasty(1391-1910), Guryongpo used to be a peaceful port village with residents heading to the ocean to fish for themselves. However, the Japanese colonization of Korea (1910-45) turned the tranquil village into a fishing hub following a port construction and a large influx of Japanese fishers. Today, around 50 Japanese-style houses remain in Guryongpo with many of them renovated into tourist attractions.  
 
 
Guryongpo Japanese House Street
구룡포 일본인 가옥거리
153-1, Guryongpo-gil, Nam District, Pohang, North Gyeongsang
(경상북도 포항시 남구 구룡포읍 구룡포길 153-1)
 

 
 
Yongmeori Coast
용머리해안

 

Yongmeori Coast in Seogwipo, Jeju is a natural monument and a core geological site of the UNESCO Global Geopark. [JOONGANG PHOTO]

Yongmeori Coast in Seogwipo, Jeju is a natural monument and a core geological site of the UNESCO Global Geopark. [JOONGANG PHOTO]

Yongmeori Coast, also referred to as Yongmeori Tuff Ring, is a coastal area in Seogwipo of Jeju. Located below Mount Sanbang (395 meters, or 1,295 feet) and stretched over 600 meters, it is a natural monument and a core geological site of the UNESCO Global Geopark. The literal meaning of the name is the head of the dragon, which is linked to the legend continued among ancestors. The legend says that Mount Sanbang and Yongmeori Coast used to be connected as one, but a dragon decided to settle on the mountain and extended its head toward the coast, forming Yongmeori Coast in the shape of a dragon’s head facing the ocean. From a bird’s eye view, you can trace the landscape of the dragon’s head and the shape of the mountain where the imaginary animal once sat.  
 
However, the origin of the coast tells a completely different story. Millions of years ago, a hydrovolcanic eruption created a coast and its unusual shape. Bolstering that theory, Mount Sanbang and Yongmeori Coast were formed at different ages and differ in geological characteristics as well.
 
Despite the dissimilarity between the legend and the formation, a 20-meter wall of sedimentary layers presents an admirable landscape. The entrance is only open during the low tide. The entrance fee is 2,000 won for adults. Before visiting, make sure to check the official social media accounts where operation times are announced. You can also call.
 
 
@6sot_official
112-3 Sagye-ri, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo, Jeju
(제주특별자치도 서귀포시 안덕면 사계리 112-3)
Admission fee: 2,000 won for adults ( above age six)
Phone number: 064-760-6321
 
 

BY CHOI SEUNG-PYO, BAEK JONG-HYUN, SON MIN-HO, KIM DONG-EUN [kim.dongeun@joongang.co.kr]