Bamboo plants produce 35% more oxygen than other trees
Bamboo grows insanely fast – up to four feet a day, full height in a matter of weeks, and reaches maturity in a few years
Bamboo forests grow naturally, are self-propagating, and naturally anti-bacterial
Bamboo plants have been used to create fabric, which is twice as soft as cotton.
These facts may or may not have been on your knowledge radar, as for myself, I knew it was strong and used as a building material in tropical countries, but didn’t expect a day when I’d have a chance to taste it. I also wasn’t aware that 25% of all bamboo species are situated in Damyang, less than 2 hours’ drive from Daejeon. That’s what I love about traveling and blogging, it always introduces a new piece of knowledge or a topic that I gladly dive into in order to inform and entertain my awesome readers.
So last week, I was able to check off Juknokwon from my Korean Bucket List and it only took me 12 years to get there. Better late than never, because this place is dope AF!
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How to get to Bamboo Forest Juknokwon
By Car: It takes approximately 2 hours to drive from Daejeon to Juknokwon Bamboo Forest depending on traffic.
By Train: Take a train to Gwangju Station, then in front of the station take bus #311 which will drop you off right in front of its main entrance (of which there are 2 – front and back).
By Bus: From Yuseong Kumho Express Bus Terminal, you can board a bus to Damyang Bus Terminal (not to be confused with another city of Danyang). Once in Damyang, outside of the terminal, you’ll want to catch bus #311 to Juknokwon. Alternatively, from the terminal take a taxi. The taxi trip length is about 10 minutes.
Built in 2005, this large 310,000 square meters park contains three different types of bamboo plants. Around 1 million people visit this serene place every year and for the right reasons. They say that bamboo helps to relieve stress, relax the muscles, soothe the mind, increase happiness, and improve brain function! Bamboo Forest Bathing is equated to the Japanese tradition of “shinrin-yoku,” also known as Forest Bathing, which scientists claim is an excellent way to connect with nature through forest walks, retreats, and ecotherapy time.
"Phytoncides found in forests are airborn essential oils which are said to help boost our immune system."
Juknokwon’s threaded walking paths total a distance of 2.4 kilometers (1.4 miles), which is definitely enough to fully take in this dense forest. If you find yourself visiting during the week (a definite must, versus the weekend!), the peaceful nature of this place is very calming for the mind. As for the body, the deep shade of the bamboo canopy keeps the forest and its visitors at 4-7 degrees Celsius cooler than the outside air. Knowing that bamboo plants absorb 4 times more CO2 than pine trees and create more O2 than other plants, makes you want to breathe deeper and bottle up some of that awesomeness in a to-go cup!
There are 8 trails with different themes, from giving pupils motivation to strengthening your friendship. As you walk through the Bamboo Forest, check out these short yet memorable trails:
Good Luck Road
Meditation Road (the shortest)
Lover’s Lane (the longest)
Old Friend’s Trail
Old Memories Byway
While we entered the park through its back entrance, we, fortunately, missed out on the slightly crowded areas of the front entrance. If done over, I would still drive in the way we did because you can experience the Korean traditional architecture at the Siga Culture Village firsthand instead of skipping it after walking through the maze of Bamboo trails.
Siga Culture Village
Built in 2009, there are 7 pavilions that were recreated to represent the jeonga culture of Damyang. You can experience the traditional Korean-style house Hanok, as well as a tea house, visit pansori singing training center, or poetry monument park. Poetry park is home to various types of penmanship, including the works from the Joseon Dynasty artists such as Myeonang Song Soon, Haseo Kim In-hu, Songgang Jeong Cheol, Jebong Go Gyeong-meong, and others. Throughout the year some of the hanok houses hold traditional music concerts and offer tea-tasting experiences.
Walking through the park before lunch, I was jonesing for a cup of something tasty. We didn’t see any immediate coffee shops in our random walking escapades through the Bamboo Forest until we came across a dome-shaped building, which sparked both of our architectural curiosity. It is the Art Center Gallery of Lee Lee-nam, whose media work features that of bamboos as well as representations of famous paintings (such as a very memorable Mona Lisa piece, whose beauty was transformed into spring flowers with flying helicopters and explosives. You gotta see it to believe it 😛
There we treated ourselves to a tasty snack of bamboo ice cream. That’s right, bamboo is such a miracle plant that not only is it used in building, clothing, furnishings but it’s a viable food source as well! It tastes very similar to Green Tea ice cream, but is a lot smoother and perhaps tastier! I love to try uniquely flavored foods and was happy to check a bamboo flavor off my Bucket List.
Unique flavor fail: Sweet potato latte!
So don’t wait like me for 12 years, take a weekday off, and go to explore Damyang’s Bamboo Forest Juknokwon! Let the calming qualities of these tall and powerful plants infuse you with their amazing properties and inspire you to spend more time in nature, build a sustainable piece of furniture or motivate you to try more unique flavors such as Bamboo!
What weird/strange/unique ice cream flavors are you proud/disappointed with having tasted? Comment below!
Address: 119, Juknokwon-ro, Damyang-eup, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do
(전라남도 담양군 담양읍 죽녹원로 119)
Admission: Adults 3,000 won / Teenagers 1,500 won / Children 1,000 won
Recommend to visit on a weekday
Time to explore: 1 – 2 hours
Day off: Open all year round
November – February 09:00-18:00
March – October 09:00-19:00
Dogs: Small dogs are permitted.
Amenities: Cafes, restrooms, free parking
Bicycles, kick boards, and other recreational items with wheels are not permitted on the premises.
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