In this post, I'll be talking about some of the fun stuff you can do around Chungju. In our last post on this, I mentioned some of the places you can go to get a bit of shopping done. There are a lot of places around Chungju that you can go for some fun. But let's reorient ourselves to the map first.
This is a bit of a wider view than we had last time, but the post today will range over considerably more territory.
First up, the famous Chungju Dam:
It's about 6km northeast of the city, and is a vivid spot to view the cherry blossoms.
You can get there by walking, if you've got some hearty legs. Otherwise, bus 515 picks up in front of the HiMart south of Lotte Mart (you can reference our last Chungju post if you don't know where that is), and runs all the way out there. Get off at the Jongmin stop. You will still have a little walk (about 1/2 km), but it's down a straight road.
While you're there, you could head over to Chungjuho Lake and take a ferry tour. The tour picks up from the dam, and takes you around the lake to some sights of interest, including several beautiful rock outcroppings, a set of caves, and a few of the local resorts.
If, on the other hand, you're more in the mood for hiking, there are a couple of mountain trails that are very popular among the locals.
First up? Namsan Mountain.
It's a great spot to hike in fall, when the humidity is down and the trees are just turning yellow. The trail is a good climb, but includes several spectacular views of the city.
An alternative would be a winding trail to the north. Now, I've never been able to find a name for this particular mountain, bit it seems to be very popular with locals out for a bit of exercise.
The stairs are lined with flowers, for the first part. It's a scenic little trail between farms, winding along the spine of the hills toward the distant mountain.
I have a confession to make here. We've never actually climbed all the way to the top of this one, so I don't know how close to the peak it gets. But the trail goes quite a ways back into the hills there, if you feel like exploring.
Alternatively, if you're looking for something less vertical, you can take in the placid scenery around Hoamji Pond.
It's a beautiful spot to take a leisurely stroll, complete with plenty of benches, forested paths, and several wooden bridges out over the water.
It's one of our favorite spots for a walk, really. But we are also big fans of Chungju's Martial Arts Park.
It's got massive, manicured grounds, a coffee shop, a stadium and a bunch of exhibition halls, as well as a bike trail that winds along the river all the way to Chungju Dam. It's a bit of a walk outside the city, but it's definitely manageable. The World Martial Arts Festival is held there every fall (we wrote about that here).
Right next to the Martial Arts grounds is Tangeumdae (the green spot on the map up there), a little wooded hill hiding a beautiful Buddhist temple, and several statues, shrines, and memorials. Apparently, the hill was the site of an ancient battle. It's also home to an outdoor concert hall and an archery range.
Last (for this post) but not least, is Junangtap Park.
It's a ways outside the city, so you probably wouldn't walk there, but it's got a large, ancient stone tower, built during Korea's Silla period. The distinctive shape of this structure is used in marketing all over the city. The park includes a number of sculptures done by local artists as well, and a good sized green space to stomp around in. It's also where Chungju hosts any rowing competitions, like the World Rowing Championship (which we covered here).
If you want to get there, take the 400, the 411, or the 413 bound for Gageum in front of the Chungju Bus Terminal (double check with the driver that they're stopping at Jungangtap). It's not a long trip.
That's it for today. Next post, we'll talk about our favorite local restaurants, and what to do on a Saturday night.