BootsnAll Travel Network

Songnisan National Park: Songni Valley; Beopjusa

This year I’ve been to the Songni Valley twice: in Spring blossom time and in Autumn leaves time.

This from my April diary:

I got an early bus from Cheongju and got off at the tourist village below Popchusa, a very ornate Buddhist temple in Songnisan National Park. Had a bowl of seollangtang with rice and panchan to start out the hike, then headed up the valley. Stopped briefly at the temple (I had visited here in 2003, so didn’t stay long this time.) Farther along, the trail headed steeply up with no switchbacks and continued in that vein till I’d climbed over 2000 feet. Today was the first really warm day of the year, hot even in the mountains. Near the top I met folks on an English-immersion field trip. They were studying at a teachers’ college and were conversing among themselves in English. We climbed together to the summit of the mountain, Munjangdae, Wind was very heavy, but we stayed long enough to take photos of each other. When down at the saddle again, they returned down toward Popchusa and I headed east into Kyeongsang buk-do. This section of trail feature sections of stairs lined with rubber door mats – this made walking down easier on the feet. It was after 5 p.m. when I got down to the main valley. I walked a mile or so south to Hwabuk, the main village in that area (though a very small one.) There was a bus stop but no schedule posted. Finally, a bus came along going the wrong way. He said he was going farther up the valley and then returning. I waited quite a while longer till he came back, and rode down to Sangju. Then another bus took me north again to Jeomchon and home.

Sanae-ri is the quite large tourist village below the temple. It has all the yeogwans, minbaks, restaurants and souvenir shops you’d want. There’s a little tourist office in a corner of the bus station, and spring water from a fountain right outside.

One should walk barefoot on this ochre path. Said to have medicinal qualities, it’s good for athlete’s foot, exzema, and some “female problems.” Also supposed to stop refrigerator odors……. Songni stream is lined with flowering trees, and the water is filled with their fallen petals.

Songnisan ochre path . stream at Songnisan

Flowers in Songni stream

I returned to Songnisan in late October. Didn’t get up very high then. The autumn leaves were the focus then – there was a big festival that weekend and streets and businesses were crowded.

Click on these smaller pictures to enlarge:

Songni stream, Autumn grasses . Songni stream in Autumn

Composites, Songnisan . Autumn Walk in Songnisan

Beopjusa (Popchusa) is a kilometer or so upstream. It consists of a number of building located in and around a large courtyard. Outside the wall you can find an ancient rock carving of the “Goddess of Hell,” and by the stream there are many little rock pagodas.

Click on this thumbnail photo of the Goddess of Hell to enlarge. You may have a heck of a time seeing it well:

Goddess of Hell

In this late-April photo, the walk to the temples was decorated for the upcoming birthday of Buddha.
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This giant gold Buddha towered over everything in the temple grounds:

Buddha, building, water font at Beopjusa

Do-it-yourself pagodas on the streamside just outside of Beopjusa’s walls. Click to enlarge.

Stone pagodas Your pagodas by the stream Stone pagodas

I’ll post photos taken up on Mungjangdae in another entry.

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2 responses to “Songnisan National Park: Songni Valley; Beopjusa

  1. Fred Sed says:

    It looks like a beautiful place.Are there any specific yeogwans you can recommend in the village below Beopjusa temple?

  2. admin says:

    No specific recommendations, though if you get off the main street it’ll be less noisy. There’s a number of minbak hidden away down side streets. As for the more expensive places, you could ask at the little tourist bureau at the bus terminal, if it’s open….

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