CONTRIBUTED BY JANVIKA SHAH
Gayasan National Park was established in 1972 as Korea’s 9th national park. It’s spectacular in all seasons starting off with the cherry blossoms and azaleas in the spring, lush green forests in the summer, dazzling foliage in the autumn and a wonderland in the winter. Not only are the views from the peaks outstanding, but the park beholds a vast array of historical and cultural treasures. Within the park, you can visit the famous Haeinsa Temple, one of Korea’s top three temples, a Buddha statue, a monument designated as a UNESCO world heritage site and several other temples and monuments.
There are a few mountain peaks within the park; however, the two most visited and highest peaks are Sangwangbong (1430m.) and Chilbulbong (1433m.) Both of these peaks are less than half a kilometer apart. The trails in Gayasan are perfect for both inexperienced hikers and avid hikers who simply want to marvel at the unique beauty of the landscapes.
There are two main campgrounds to stay overnight, or you may choose to stay at the Gaya Hotel for a more luxurious option. We chose to stay at the Baekungdong campsite which conveniently had an information office, a small snack shop, garbage disposal and clean and stocked bathrooms.
The trail to Sangwangbong took approximately two hours from the campsite and was roughly four kilometers to the peak. The difficulty of this trail is considered moderate. The trail along the valley was gentle and the last kilometer to the peak was quite steep.
The view at Sangwangbong was breathtaking, and the craggy mountain peaks compared to that of Seoraksan National Park’s peaks. At the summit, there was plenty of space in both the sunshine and the shade to rest, eat snacks or take a nap. My friends decided to return the same way to collect their luggage at Baekundong’s information office; however, I hiked with my pack and ventured onward to Haeinsa Temple. Coincidentally, we ended up on the same bus returning to Daegu! The bus leaving Haeinsa every 40 minutes also stops in Gaya town, which is closer to Baekundong’s campsite.
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Gayasan National Park
Campsite Fees (per campsite which fits three medium sized tents):
* Baekundong Parking Lot (+82-54-932-3999)
[S] 2,000 won
[M] low season 4,000 won / peak season 5,000 won
[L] low season 6,000 won / peak season 7,500 won
Approximate Address: 산80 Hwangsan-ri, Gaya-myeon, Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea
Approximate GPS Coordinates: 35.7771932, 128.1177685
How to get to Baekundong’s campsite from Daegu:
Take the subway line 1 to Seongdangmot. Leave the station at exit 3 which is right outside Daegu’s Intercity Seobu bus terminal. At the ticket office, ask for a ticket to Gaya town which costs just under 6,000 won. The bus ride is approximately an hour to Gaya. Once you get off the bus, there will be plenty of taxis across the road which you’ll take to Baekundong. It costs 10,000 won to get to Baekundong’s campsite.