Yongchu Temple and Yongchu Waterfall in Hamyang, Korea

A great day trip from Daejeon, South Korea (with a car) with less than 2 hours drive lies the beautiful and serene Yongchu Valley 용추계곡. Here you can enjoy the sounds of birds, lush greenery of the surrounding mountains, gentle sounds of the water, and perhaps the soothing mumbles of Buddhist Monk’s prayer from the nearby temple. I love doing this drive, along the Tongyeong Daejeon Highway 35 towards Muju because of the hills and mountains that envelop this road in a cozy hug. During springtime the trees are beaming with foliage, making it a great contrast against the blue skies of this not very developed part of the country. You’ll be passing by some smaller towns, visualizing life in those slower-paced neighborhoods, sans Costco, traffic, noise, and pollution. Getting out of the city, leaving behind 1.5 million busy bodies feels right, expecting to spend the day in wonderful nature. Relax, you deserve it!

“In Korean, Yongchu Valley is also called ‘Simjindong’ because it’s where “someone achieved the highest level of concentration in the sense of Buddhist mediation because of the beauty of the deep valley”.

Yongchu Waterfall 용추폭포

Bring comfortable shoes if you’d like to frolic around the stones near the waterfall, there are lots of them and they may or may not be wet depending on the weather conditions. From the parking lot to the waterfall, the path is easy and short, about 1-2 minutes. Just follow the sound of the rushing water.

The stream to the waterfall forms in the valley between Mt. Mabong and Mt. Beombang to fall into the pool of water here named Yongchu meaning “a pool of water where a dragon lives.”

“Legend has it that two female dragons flew from this heart shaped pond up into the sky and upon doing so made markings on the granite boulders on either side of the waterfall with their dragon scales.”

This waterfall has also been noted in the media, most recently in 2018 show ‘Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter 계룡선녀전’, where Jung Yi-hyun (Yoon Hyun-min) and Kim Geum (Seo Ji-hoon) stumble across Seon Ok-nam (Ko Du-shim/Moon Chae-won) taking a bath at the Fairy Waterfall in episode 1, as well as in episodes 13/14 and 14/15. If you’re a fan of K drama, more about the location of this show can be found here. 

Yongchu Temple 용추사

This is an only existing temple among old Jangsusa and 4 small-belonged temples founded by Gakyeondaesa in King Soji 9th year (487) of the Silla. It was destroyed during the Korean war but rebuilt in 1953. The grounds are not very big and can be enjoyed in 10 to 20 minutes. If you’re interested in streams and mountain trails that run through this area, you can also take the temple road but to the right. There you can head to the top of the waterfall, then follow it further up the stream, where a bridge crosses over the water and the path can lead you further towards Yongchu National Recreation Forrest.

How to get to Yongchu Waterfall and Yongchu Temple


Sangwon-ri, Anui-myeon, Hamyang-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do

경상남도 함양군 안의면 상원리


962 Sangwon-ri, Anui-myeon, Hamyang-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do

경상남도 함양군 안의면 상원리 962

Admission for both: FREE

Facilities: parking lot, bathroom

If coming by bus: Take a bus at Daejeon Terminal towards Geochang 거창 (approximately 1 h 40 min). Then taxi to Yongchu Waterfall.

Do you feel like getting out of the city to enjoy some peaceful nature and some culture? Then hop in your car or on the Intercity Bus and head towards Geochang, where Yongchu Waterfall and Temple await. Don’t forget to bring your camera, lunch or picnic necessities, walking shoes, and get ready to get infused with the energy of the forest. Enjoy!

Check out other great locations to visit from Daejeon, such as Muju. 


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