Weekend getaway from Daejeon – Muju

UPDATE 2020:

While the actual Wine Cave was closed during the COVID Pandemic, we were still able to taste some wines and make a purchase from the workers outside the cave. We hope that it will reopen soon because we could see from the outside that they have been working on redecorating it.

Sadly, Hyangrosan Resort is no longer available for booking on Airbnb, but if you speak/understand Korean, then you can still book this lovely resort from their main webpage.

UPDATE 2019:

We felt like coming back to the Hyangrosan Resort again during our Midterm week when the prices were even cheaper than on the weekends (win-win!)

We were bummed out to not have experienced a ride on the monorail during our last visit but jumped at the opportunity to give it a go on this trip. Assuming that it was going to go around a small circle, we didn’t have very high hopes, but as luck would have it – we were wrong!

The monorail car was very easy to navigate, with two buttons at our disposal – Go and Stop. We paid 5,000krw per person fee and off we went at a thrilling speed of around 2-5 miles an hour. I know, kind of ridiculous, but at the same time fast enough to take in the forest, pine smell in the air, and the peace and quiet of being away from the city.

With our treehouses looking far away in the distance, we arrived at the halfway point, where other passengers were waiting for us to disembark. Conductor a-joshi told us to go take in the scenery and off we went up the hill, not really knowing what he meant. “He said to gu gyeong,” I said in my broken Konglish as we ascended some stairs up to what looked like a wooden pagoda. A few more steps to the top revealed WHAT he wanted us to “sightsee.”

We spent a short time at the top of the mountain, wanting to come back down to check into our accommodation to unpack and relax. Funny enough that on the way down, the monorail’s seatbelts are not just a joke but actually a requirement when the path got pretty steep. I bet you didn’t think you could have the sights and the thrills on the 1.5 km long mountain track. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and felt like it was a great way to experience this mountain range other than just hiking or driving.

This time we made sure to reserve a unit with an actual bed, no more floor sleeping for us, we’re too old for that @#%^!

A little later in the day, when hubby took a nap, it took me around 10-15 minutes to walk along the side of the mountain to go from our “Gam Namu” unit to the same spot with the wooden pagoda. Despite a rainy and cloudy day, I was hoping for a picturesque sunset.

See if you can spot a bright paraglider in one of my shots.

The following day, we did a bit of sightseeing by driving on the super windy roads towards a local Buddhist Temple, which dates back to 1227, called Anguksa. It was drizzling rain that day, but the temple grounds were lovely and driving through Daegyusan National Park on the way there was great – more mountains, trees, and even Cherry Blossoms 😛

 

ORIGINAL POST from Fall of 2018:

When you live in a city of 1.5 mil + (fifth largest in South Korea), inevitably you’ll find yourself longing for a bit of crowd-less peace and quiet. While I enjoy living 2 minutes away from my gym, 15 driving minutes away from work and 10 walking minutes to a subway line, getting away from it all and closer to the nature of a local National Park is just what I was looking for recently. Cue my love for #Airbnb and the number of eclectic dwellings available on their platform. By the way, I’m a Superhost, so if you’re new to Airbnb, grab your $40 credit here!

While searching for a funky listing in Korea to stay at, my hubby and I came across these Tree House-like cabins near Muju’s Deogyusan National Park, only 1-hour drive away from Daejeon. Sadly, it wasn’t available for booking on the night of my birthday, but the following weekend it was! A late birthday getaway is still a birthday getaway in my book. So off we went!

If you’re new to driving in Korea, a very handy driving App: T-map is an excellent way to get you to where you need to go. Just make sure to have your address available in Korean.

While doing some research into the area we’d be visiting, we came across Muju’s Wine Cave and couldn’t pass a chance to try some local beverages. The entrance cost us only 2,000 krw ($1.79)!

While we were late for the Wine Bath to soak our feet, we were just as happy to walk around the premises, admire the local landscape featured in a gallery, try some local wine, purchase a few samples for later and enjoy the cool atmosphere of being inside a mountain.

Then it was time for lunch, so we drove around to find the busiest restaurant in town – knowing that the food would probably be worthy!

It was! To find out later, the food from this region is known as the BEST in all of Korea, so I would happily agree with that, stating that both of our meals during this trip, including Bi Bim Bop, Kimchi Soup and Jeongkuk Jang, were nothing short of delicious! I didn’t note the name of either restaurant, but now that you know what you know, feel free to just explore!

Visiting Muju, don’t forget to treat yourself to the European-like architecture of the Muju Ski Resort. On this particular September Sunday, the resort felt a bit like a scene out of any Apocalyptic Zombie movie – deadly quiet with a chilly fog rolling through the area. Nevertheless, we found someone to guide us in the right direction, where other humans were also hanging out. Whew!

We bought our Gondola tickets (15,000 krw each) up to the top, hoping for clear views for miles.

Our luck had turned on us and all we got was a blanket of fog, drizzling rain, and an idea to come back when the weather was much better!

UPDATE 2019:

We picked a pretty perfect October day to ascend the Deogyusan Mountain in the cable car again and then take a stroll down to one of the Buddhist Temples – Baengnyeonsa (백련사). It is said that during the Silla Kingdom, a white lotus flower bloomed here, and that’s why the temple is called Baengnyeonsa (lit. White Lotus Temple). The way to the temple was gorgeous during that time of the year, I was sure glad that I brought my camera on this hike.

Deogyusan Resort’s Hotel Tirol’s Austrian architecture and atmosphere look phenomenal during a warm autumn day. It makes you feel as though you’ve been dropped off in Europe, minus the crowds and the pricey cafes.

While Hotel Tirol is a bit outside of our price range, we drove on to our cabin, which could resemble a treehouse from Montana or another mountainous region.

Located inside a recreational forest, called Hyangrosan, this resort has everything one would need for an amazing weekend getaway. To name a few, there is a monorail train, a pool, a waterfall, two recreation centers, a visitor center, campsites, cafe/restaurant, a market, hiking trails, and multiple stand-alone accommodations like Tree Houses and Cave Houses. Oh yea and it has a small pond too!

Sadly, many of the facilities were closed (being off-season in mid-September), but that, nor the rain didn’t deter us from having a good time. We looked at the bright side of things – lack of noisy people, warm and cozy cabin with an amazing view towards the mountains, tasty The Ranch Brewing beers, and some English-language movie channels. Yup, I’m easy to please 😛

Just check out our Tree House room:

Overall, I love this place – on or off-season! It’s close to Daejeon, its beautiful, it’s in nature, and it’s very affordable (50,000-350,000krw). If you’re in need of a weekend trip to a very picturesque and tranquil place, then Muju Hyangroasan Resort is for you!


Getting to Muju:

By bus: Take a bus towards Muju from Daejeon Terminal Complex in Yeonjeong-dong. Trip length is around 50 minutes.

By car: Take highway 300 south towards Tongyeong/Jinju/Muju/Geumsan.

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