Danyang County is located in the North Chungcheong Province and is known for it’s natural beauty.
TRAVEL ITINERARY: DAY ONE
1. Danyang Danuri Aquarium
2. Gosu Cave 고수굴
3. Dodamsambong Peaks 도담삼봉
4. Seongmun 석문
TRAVEL ITINERARY: DAY TWO
1. Ondal Tourist Park 온달관광지
To get to Danyang you can take the bus from the Dongseoul Bus Terminal or the train from the Cheongnyangli Station.
When you get to the Danyang Bus Terminal check out the Danyang Danuri Information Center next door. The center includes am aquarium, a fishing museum, and a library. The appeal of the aquarium is that it’s located in the only landlocked province in Korea. It specializes in unique looking fish. The library is open 9 am to 10 pm so you could borrow a book or movie or just use the computers at the media center if you’re looking for something to do at night.
Aquarium Operating Hours: 9am – 6pm
Then it’s just 1.3 km to Gosu Cave 고수동굴. You can take bus 170 if you want, but I think it’s easier to just walk. Cross the bridge across from the bus terminal and follow the road until you get to the cave. There are lots of restaurants there as well as souvenir shops.
Gosu Cave is 1,700 meters long and was used as shelter by people during the Paleolithic Era. The Spleological Society of Korea (한국동굴화학) first investigated this cave in 1973 and the cave is estimated to be around 150,000 years old and made of limestones that are 400-500 million years old. The cave is a valuable source for research on terrain, cave coral, and minerals.
There are two courses available, the A Course and the A +B Course. I suggest the A + B, but if you’re planning on being frugal you won’t miss out on too much by choosing the cheaper one.
Gosu Cave Admission Fee: 5,000 won / 8,000 won per adult
Contact Information: 043) 422-3072
Average Viewing Time: 1 hour
After the cave, walk back to the bus terminal and along the way stop by this information center or the Danuri Information center for directions. You can walk to the Dodamsambong Peaks, but it’s about 4 km from Gosu Cave.
The Dodamsambong Peaks 도담삼봉 are a set of three granite rocks each with a pointed peak that rises out of the Namhangang River. It’s supposed to represent an angry wife turning away from her husband after he took in a concubine in order to bear a male heir.
Operating Hours: 24 hours
Average Viewing Time: 20 minutes
From there, walk up the hill to the Seongmun 석문 which literally means stone gate. It is the largest stone arch in Asia, and it may have been part of a cave that collapsed. On the left side of the arch, there’s a small cave from folk tales that is supposed to be the home of Mother Mago 마고 할머니 who came down from the sky to fetch some water but couldn’t go back after losing her hairpin.
Operating Hours: 24 hours
Average Viewing Time: 15 minutes
For dinner, head back to the bus terminal and find a restaurant that serves Maneul Babsang 마늘 밥상, which is a sort of Garlic Course. Danyang is known for garlic so you’ll find many restaurants serving it here by the bus terminal.
The next day it’s 21km to Ondal Tourist Resort 온달관광지 which contains the Ondal Cave, a drama set, a fortress, and an exhibition hall, and lots of restaurants. Take the bus from the bus terminal, and it should take about 25 minutes.
The park was built in the area where General Ondol fought his last battle. Ondal was originally a commoner who ended up marrying a Princess. As a joke, King Pyeongwon would always threaten his crybaby daughter Princess Pyongang that he would marry her off to Ondol the Fool if she didn’t behave, so once Princess Pyonggang turned 16, she ended up marrying Ondal the Fool, to spite her father. The princess then sold off her jewelry and used that to train Ondal in archery and horseback riding. Eventually, he became so talented, that the King made him a general.
Operating Hours: 9am – 6pm (summer) 9am – 5:30 pm (winter)
Admission Fee: 5,000 won / adult
Contact Information: 043) 423-8820~1
The drama set was used by shows like 대왕의 꿈, 신의, 광개토대왕, 천추태후 and 태왕사신기. It’s pretty impressive with lots of colorful buildings that you can go inside.
The Ondal Cave is located behind the drama set. It’s very slippery and low, so you’ll have to wear a hard hat. It’s about 900 meters long and takes 20-30 minutes to walk around it. It was created naturally around 400 million years ago and was used by General Ondal while training his troops here.
There’s also the Ondal Exhibition Hall that tells the story of Ondal the Fool and Princess Pyunggang, and also about life in general during the Goguryeo Dynasty. Unfortunately the museum is in Korean Only.
Behind the resort, you’ll find the Ondal Fortress. It’s a long hike up to the fortress but it’s worth it. It’s only 683 meters long but has a strategic view over the Namhangang River which General Ondal used to defend against the Silla army. Relics from the Three Kingdoms period as well as the Joseon Dynasty were found here. It’s speculated that after he died in battle here, General Ondal’s body was buried in this general area, however others say that he was buried in Pyeongyang, near the Goguryeo capital’s palace. No one know for sure which one is the real grave.
If you are able to travel by car, I suggest that you also check out the Chungjuho Lake. There is the Janghui Ferry 장회나루 that you can take across the lake to see some of the Eight Danyang Sights.