Just go to Muju!
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Just go to Muju!
  • Hwang Woo-ram reporter
  • 승인 2010.03.17 09:07
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Have you ever been asked to think about Muju? First, most people will think that Muju is a heaven of skiers and boarders. I’m also the same as them because I like snowboarding. But the Muju that I discovered had another fascination I never thought about before. Muju is a clean region where fireflies which are almost extinct inhabit. Rajetongmun, which was a boundary gateway between Baekje and Silla, still connects the West and the East. In addition, there are also many attractions in Muju. For example, in BandiLand, you can see many insects, including fireflies, and you can see constellations in the clean sky. Gucheondong valley and Deokyu mountain boast unique natural settings each season. I wanted to go everywhere in Muju, But I didn’t have enough time. So, I planned a trip to the best places in Muju: BandiLand, Rajetongmun, Gucheondong valley, Deokyu mountain and Muju resort.

BandiLand

November 28th, the weather in Jeonju was sunny. I went to Muju by bus. There are many shuttle buses to Muju resort from Jeonju. But I used a bus to Muju’s Seolcheon Terminal to transfer to Bandiland. Arriving in Muju, I tried to get to Bandiland, but I didn’t know how to use public transportation. As Bandiland was not far from the terminal, I finally used a call taxi. However, the taxi fare was more expensive than that of Jeonju. Bandiland is a theme park for fireflies. A firefly is a type of beetle that produces light from its body and is a natural monument. The light of a firefly occurs when luciferase, a radiation enzyme, is oxidized to luciferin. Muju is the only protected area for this rare insect in Korea.
BandiLand has an insect museum, a nature school, a site for Firefly Ecology Recovery and a greenhouse, as well as a camping ground for teenagers, a natural recreation forest, log houses for accommodation, swimming pools, etc. In the theme park ranging around 37,000 pyeong (a pyeong =400/121m2), all people have vivid experiences with fireflies and enjoy a rest in nature. Entering in Bandiland, I fluttered as a child. Its harmonious design drew my attention and many insects in the museum actuated my curiosity.

Rajetongmun, and 33 Scenic spots in Gucheondong

Next, I went to Rajetongmun. There was not a lot of public transportation because it was in the countryside, so I didn’t know how to go there. However, I was a lucky guy because I met a taxi in front of BandiLand. The taxi driver said that it was a rare case in Muju. But the taxi fare was expensive, too. Soon, I arrived in Rajetongmun. I was surprised at the scenery there as soon as I got out of the taxi. Rajetongmun is a tunnel going through the rock wall connecting Sindu village in Dugil-ri and Yinam village in Socheon-ri, Seolcheon-myeon on the way from Seolcheon-myeon toward Mupung-myeon. During the era of the Three Kingdoms in old days, 'Seolcheon' was a boundary between Silla and Baekjae and was used as both countries' military supply base. This spot played a role as an important gateway where the western and the eastern cultures of the southern region of the Korean peninsula were exchanged. This region had been divided into two parts, which had totally different cultures and civilizations.
After seeing Rajetongmun, I moved to see the 33 scenic spots in Gucheondong. The 33 spots were picturesque places in Deokyu Mountain National Park. The first scenic spot among them was Rajetongmun, but it was a problem that the distance from the first spot to the 33rd scenic spot was too far. So, I decided to shift to Gucheondong tourist zone. This is at the entrance of Deokyu mountain and is a place for tourists. I thought I could experience the mood of the 33 scenic spots from there. However, due to the expensive taxi fare, I walked for quite a long time. After few minutes, I found a bus stop. However, I would have needed to wait for the bus for two hours! I didn’t have much time, so I still walked. Walking on the long distance, I decide to try hitchhiking like in a movie. It was very difficult for me because I was not a sexy girl. After several attempts, a van stopped for me. Nothing could give greater pleasure than this! A friendly man asked where my destination was, and when I answered that it was Gucheondong tourist zone he told me to get in his van. By doing that, I saved money and experienced a special thing.

Doekyu mountain and Gucheondong tourist zone

Gucheondong tourist zone was like a shelter to tourists. It was a starting point to the 15th scenic spot and was en route from the 15th scenic spot to the last scenic spot. Deokyu mountain is one of the most renowned mountains in Korea and it has many high peaks which are more than 1000m above sea level. Its highest peak is Hyangjeokbong, the last scenic spot of the 33 scenic spots of Gucheondong. When the water originating from the top of Hyangjeokbong, flows down, the 33 scenic spots come to life. Arriving in Gucheondong tourist zone, I immediately walked through the trail in Deokyu mountain. I was fascinated by its scenery and was very busy taking pictures due to the view. Walking on the road in Deokyu mountain, I met one person who asked me for the distance to the entrance. He said that Hyangjeokbong was very far from there so I had better return. As weather was colder and it was getting dark, I decided to climb down the mountain. Although I didn’t see many things there due to time, Deokyu mountain was very fascinating from the few things I saw.

Muju resort

The next morning, the weather was terrible. My plan was to move to Muju resort for using the gondola from Muju resort to Hyangjeokbong on Deokyu mountain. Also, I should use the shuttle bus to go home from Muju resort to Muju terminal. So, I moved to Muju resort to use the shuttle bus. There were many people there to enjoy skiing and snowboarding even though it was rainy. The scenery was so attractive because I like snowboarding very much. Due to bad weather, I guessed that the gondola wasn’t running. But it was! I headed out to Hyangjeokbong by gondola. While I watched skiers and boarders outside the window, the gondola had already arrived. Contrary to the weather below, the top’s weather was snowy. Hyangjeokbong was 15 minutes' walk from Seolcheonbong, where the gondola stopped. However, I couldn’t go Hyangjeokbong because the trail was deadlocked. Still, its white snow made me feel pure like a child. This travel was somewhat hard for me because it was my first legwork. But I felt that Muju was an eco-cultural city harmonizing its nature and living things and the culture and tradition. Just go to Muju this winter!

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