The Guardian hikes the Baekdu-daegan

There’s a nice piece in The Guardian this week about hiking the Baekdu-daegan. The author starts at Cheonwangbong peak, Jirisan, in Sancheong County (Gyeongsangnam-do) and walks north, ending his hike in the Deogyusan national park in Muju County, Jeollabuk-do. Koreans have long believed that a current of life-energy, or gi, runs between [Jirisan in the […]

2013 Travel Diary #10: Breakfast at Beopgyesa

Beopgyesa Temple, Jirisan, Sancheong-gun, Sunday 8 September, 8:30am. Breakfast is again in the kitchen, and as usual (because I’m a foreigner unused to sitting on the floor) I’m allowed to sit with my back to the wall. I’m encouraged to stretch my legs out straight, and pummel my thighs and massage my knees, which are already […]

2012 Travel Diary #19: Beopgyesa Temple and those Japanese feng-shui stakes

Beopgyesa Temple (법게사) is the highest in Sancheong County and at least the third-highest in Korea. The good people of Sancheong believe that Beopgyesa is the highest temple in South Korea, a claim which is supported by Beopgyesa’s entry on the Cultural Heritage Administration website, where the following text is to be found: “It is […]

2012 Travel Diary #18: The hike to Beopgyesa

Sancheong, Gyeongsangnam-do, Thursday 29 March 2012. The road through Jungsan-ri stops in a car park beyond which are the Jirisan National Park office and a barrier across the road. Jungsan-ri is the start of the shortest (but not necessarily the gentlest) trail to Cheonwanbong, Jirisan’s highest peak. We are permitted to proceed through the barrier, shaving […]

When “going to the valleys” is not a good idea

Many languages have all sorts of euphemisms for death. “He’s gone to meet his maker”, “He’s pushing up the daisies” are a couple of the expressions in English. In Korean, there’s the picturesque phrase “He’s gone to the valleys.” The valleys in question are in the Jirisan region of South Gyeongsang province. Jirisan has always […]

The Jirisan Forest Trail

Jirisan is the highest peak on the South Korean mainland, and the National Park in which it is set is South Korea’s largest. Most of the park is in Gyeongsangnam-do, but in the west it spills in to Jeollanam-do and Jeollabuk-do. For walkers, the park offers a wide variety of experiences. For the hardened hiker, […]