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5 Stunning Autumn Destinations in Korea for Outdoor Activities

November 25, 2019 Visit North Asia No Comments Email Email

If you ask for recommendations on the best season to visit Korea, you are very likely to hear ‘autumn’. Autumn in Korea is a truly special time, with clear blue skies, mountains turning shades of gold and red, and the perfect weather for exploring the country by foot. Even many families and locals take advantage of these brief few months of temperate weather to go on outings to nearby destinations on weekends.

If you are fortunate enough to be in Korea during the autumn months, you’re in luck! There are plenty of outdoor activities you can enjoy and festivals happening all throughout Korea during this time. We’ve selected a few destinations especially popular for outdoor activities, all of which are ideal for teambuilding group activities as well.

Continue reading below to discover some of the most stunning places your group can visit in Korea this season.

Paragliding in Danyang

Photo credit: VisitKorea

Autumn foliage is beautiful viewed from the ground, but imagine getting a complete 360 degree view from above.

Danyang is a popular destination in Korea for paragliding, as the mild weather and ideal geographic conditions provide the ultimate paragliding experience almost 300 days out of the year. The experience is particularly stunning during the autumn months, when the surrounding mountains take on shades of warm orange and gold.

You do not need any prior experience with paragliding. Professionals will guide you each step of the way, from registration to driving up the mountain to takeoff and landing. There is even a video recording option, in which you can receive a video at the end of the journey of the entire 11 minute flight. It’s a fun keepsake to remember your time in Korea!

While you are in Danyang, try some dishes with garlic, as garlic is a local specialty. Dakgangjeong, or glazed fried chicken bites with black garlic are especially popular. If you are not a fan of chicken, you can also find garlic tteokgalbi (beef) and garlic dumplings.

Canoe in Chuncheon Mulle-gil

Photo Credit: VisitKorea

Located just an hour away from Seoul, Chuncheon is a city located in the beautiful natural retreat of Gangwon Province. Home to many lakes and mountains, the city is a popular destination for outdoor activities even for locals. While there are plenty of options to choose from, one activity we recommend is canoeing on Chuncheon Mulle-gil.

Chuncheon was the first place in Korea to introduce wooden canoes. The owner first encountered canoes while studying abroad in Canada, and to his disappointment, he found they were not widely known in Korea. He decided to change that and began making his own wooden canoes and in 2011, Chuncheon Mulle-gil was opened.

Chucheon Mulle-gil soon gained even more recognition after appearing in popular Korean TV Shows including “Two Days, One Night” and “Running Man”. There are a total of three courses available, as well as a range of programs for different skill levels and group sizes. It is a fun teambuilding activity for groups, allowing members to spend time together while taking in the beautiful natural scenery of Korea.

After a long day of canoeing, satisfy your appetite by visiting Chuncheon Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street for a taste of the city’s specialty food – Dakgalbi. Dakgalbi, or spicy stir-fried chicken, is a mouthwatering dish made by stir-frying a combination of sweet potatoes, cabbage, scallions, rice cakes and diced chicken marinated in a spicy gochujang sauce. You can even fry rice in the remaining sauce for a delicious end to your meal. Typically served in a large skillet in the middle of the table, it is a fantastic dish to share as a group.

TIP: On weekends, special sunset canoe tours are available. Rowing through the lake during sunset is an experience not to be missed.

Hiking around Ulleungdo

Photo Credit: VisitKorea 

Many people are probably familiar with the island of Jeju, but there is another island off the east coast of mainland Korea that is often overlooked but definitely worth a visit.

Ulleungdo offers a taste of island life that is more authentic and closer to nature than the more industrialized Jeju or the mainland. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why the island is often tagged with the labels ‘mysterious’ or ‘spiritual’. The unobstructed natural scenery is unlike what you will find in other parts of Korea.  Boasting plenty of ocean views, sweeping mountains and beautiful sunsets, a visit to Ulleungdo will offer a healing, immersive experience in the great outdoors.

The best way to explore Ulleungdo is by foot or bike to take in the natural beauty up close, and the island offers both walking and biking trails that will put your right along the coastline, with views of the crashing waves below and the lush mountain ranges. A walk along the Haengnam Coastal Walking Path will bring you to the Dodong Lighthouse, where you can get a beautiful view of the surrounding oceans and even see out to Dokdo on a clear day.

After exploring the island, be sure to taste some of the local specialties. Fresh seafood is in abundance, and the island is especially known for their grilled squid. For those that prefer meat over seafood, the island is also famous for its special bulgogi (roast beef) made from cows that graze on the island’s herbs. The special diet of medicinal herbs results in a fragrant and flavorful meat that is unique to the island.

Bike Riding in Gyeongju

Photo Credit: VisitKorea

What’s great about visiting Gyeongju in autumn is the wide variety of sights. If you head over to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site Bulguksa Temple, you will find the ancient temple surrounded by golden autumn leaves. If you head over to the area around Cheomseongdae Observatory, you will find endless fields of pink muhly, providing the perfect backdrop for photos. Or head over to the Bomun Lake Complex for a leisurely walk or bike ride around the lake.

As Gyeongju is a popular tourist destination, you can easily find small shops renting out bicycles, tandem bikes, and scooters. Hop on a bike, feel the crisp autumn breeze and enjoy the clear blue skies and colorful sights of Gyeongju’s autumn.

With a recent boom in trendy cafes and restaurants in the Hwangridangilarea, there is no shortage of places to grab a bite, but be sure to try the Hwangnam-ppang, a local specialty. Many shops in Gyeongju sell the small sweet pastries filled with red bean paste. They are sold in gift boxes as well so be sure to pick up a few on your way home!

Hiking the Jeju Olle Trails

Photo Credit: VisitKorea

Did you know, you can walk all the way around the island of Jeju? The Jeju Olle Trails are a set of 26 routes, consisting of 21 main routes and five sub-routes. The trails connect to make its way around the entire island, plus a few small surrounding islands. Trails range in difficulty from low to high, and durations range from one hour all the way up to eight hours. The routes offer an opportunity to observe the landscapes and seaside views of the island from up close, and each trail offers a unique experience. You can even get a passport where you can receive stamps for every trail you complete.

Fall is a great time to hike the trails, as the sun can be quite brutal when walking during the summer months. In the fall, the temperature is mild and perfect for a leisurely walk. In fact, Jeju Island hosts an Olle Walking Festival each year in the fall, and during festival time, you can spot long rows of people making their way along the trail together. It makes a great teambuilding activity. After your walk, be sure to fill up with some of Jeju’s delicious fresh seafood!

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