Recharge your batteries in a forest
Living a healthy, balanced life has become an important subject for many people today. Many of us pursue a life with a balanced diet accompanied by exercise. Also, we recognize the importance of having enough rest. The constant rise in the number of visitors to forests nationwide proves this. Indeed, you can be healthier when you are around trees, as the pungent smell of evergreens will help relieve you from your daily tension and can even help improve the immune system.
As one of the best places to take a break and to recharge your batteries, we would like to recommend a few forests for you to visit.
The Yongin Forest in Gyeonggi-do (Gyeonggi Province) is one of the best locations for people residing in Seoul and the vicinity because of its easy access. Surrounded by thick forests of pine trees, chestnuts and dogwoods, visitors can enjoy nature and take a walk around the mountains. The recently-installed zip line can add even more fun to the trip. The brave can fly through the forest, hanging from a 1,200-meter wire.
Visiting the Yongin Forest requires reservations on weekends and holidays. They can be made at its official website.
The Gariwangsan Forest recreation center is located on the southern slopes of 1,561-meter Gariwangsan Mountain. It is known for the beautiful harmony that the forests and valleys create, and for the many broadleaf trees, including firs and rowan trees, that grow there. A variety of medicinal herbs — Angelica, Codonopsis lanceolata and Paeonia obovata — can be found along this stretch of the mountain. Near the main trailhead still stands an official royal Samsanbongpyobi decree from Joseon times. It tells people of the prohibition on picking wild herbs here, as they were only allowed to be used in the royal court.
Gariwangsan Mountain is an ideal place to fend off the scorching summer heat. Hoedong Valley is known for its icy water, even during the summer. Most people can’t afford to stay there for as long as they want, as the water is too cold. There is also an ice cave near the official entrance to the forest’s hiking trails. It was said in the past that the cave was cold enough to form icicles and that people used to store and freeze things here to eat in the future. It’s very pleasant to take a stroll along the valley and to either walk through the forests or to take a bicycle.
As its name suggests, the Namhae Pyeonbaek Forest is known for its pyeonbaek trees, or Hinoki cypresses. Over a million cypress trees form this forest. Every direction you turn, you will find one of these aromatic trees. The Hinoki cypress is known for giving off an abundant amount of phytoncides and the refreshing scent helps stimulate the central nervous system, relieving tension and stress and strengthening cardiopulmonary functions.
Located in the north of Hallyeohaesang National Park, the Namhae Pyeonbaek Forest offers visitors beautiful walking trails up to an observatory that presents breathtaking views of the various shapes and sizes of the southern islands as they float across the South Sea.
By Lee Seung-ah
Korea.net Staff Writer
Photos: Korea Forest Service, Yonhap News