Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Damyang's Bamboo Forest

Last weekend we decided to get our butts off the couch and get outside. The weather was sunny, cool, and breezy and it was practically demanding we go spend time in the warmth before the chill of winter sets in.

We decided to head a couple hours north of Suncheon to a little town called Damyang, which is known for it's bamboo forests. The guidebook says something about enjoying the sound of the wind rustling through the bamboo and that sounded very charming and delightful to me.

We stepped off the bus in Damyang and into the smallest bus station we've seen yet in Korea. We thought maybe there would be a map or something to help us find our way to some bamboo since this small town was known for it. Alas, no. There was nothing.

We walked out to the street, looked both ways, and turned right since it seemed like there was more stuff that way. We passed several groups of boys who had obviously just gotten out of school and at least one out of each group would say hello to us. When a Korean group of kids sees a foreigner, one will always pluck up some courage and say hello. It's really very cute and welcoming.  Plus, they think it's hilarious so fits of laughter were all around us!

When we found a park with a tourist map (in Korean) we waited there looking confused until a group came up to us and asked us where we wanted to go. We pointed to a picture of bamboo and they said, "go that way, turn left." So we did and within about 15 minutes we were at the entrace to the forest!

We really had no idea where we were going and they saved us. It seems like kids are our saving grace in Korea. Not only are they the reason we are able to get a job here, but they also are always willing to speak English and help us out if they can. (Thank you boys of Damyang!)

Spencer bought our tickets (2,000 Won each or about $2) and we started our journey into the bamboo. It was really cool to see all the tall stalks together and the weather was perfect for walking along the paths. The sound they made when the wind blew was, in fact, charming and we enjoyed a nice stroll around the hill. It was a Saturday and pretty busy but even so, it was nice.

When we reached the summit, we went down the back way and down into a big open area with ponds and old fashioned Korean buildings.

It was so beautiful down there. It felt like we were back in time. There were a lot less people around and it was a big wide open space compared to the trails through the bamboo.

We watched a woman in traditional clothing playing a drum and singing along with three little girls for a while. I took a video of it, if you are interested.

After that, we watched the coy in the coy pond glide along the top of the water, admired the leaves that were just beginning to change color, and then made our way back to the teeny tiny bus station to start our journey home.

See all our pictures from Damyang on our Flickr.

From Suncheon, we took a bus to Gwangju where we transferred buses to go to Damyang. Damyang is a small town with a tiny bus station. If you're coming from anywhere in Korea, you'll probably have to go through Gwangju. It took us over 2 hours to get there. We had to wait incredibly long to get a bus to Gwangju from Suncheon, so that added a lot of time. Actual riding time on the bus was about 45-50 minutes each. 

Have you ever been the Damyang? What did you think about it? Did you get there a different way than through Gwangju?


  1. Great post..I am planning to go there in November too. May I know did you take the inter-city bus from Suncheon to Gwangju? What time does the last bus leaves from Suncheon? I can't find any informations on this online, hope you can help.
    Thank you.

  2. Hello! Yes, we took the inter-city bus from Suncheon to Gwangju but I don't know what time the last bus leaves. If you go to the bus terminal, you can look at the times. Sorry I couldn't be more help! I hope you enjoy the bamboo!