Korea Travel Winter in Korea

Winter in Korea – Jiktang Waterfall in Cheorwongun

Besides those infamous beaches in its principal city of Gangneung; the area where fans of the Bangtan Boys, a very famous boyband BTS, know well where to look for the iconic bus stop, Gangwon province in the northeastern most is as well acknowledged as the best destination for winter getaway in Korea. With a combination of the region’s mountains dominated landscape and the most snowfall Gangwon-do has, it has become my regulars that I voluntarily stuff in on my itinerary when the weather starts to get cold.    

Last February as the high pressure cold gale still continued to gust down from mainland China across the northern part of the Korean Peninsula escaping to the East Sea, I decided to make Cheorwon-gun (철원군); a North Korea bordering county and the only gun in Gangwon-do I hadn’t had an experience in, my ultimate destination for the season. 

Cheorwon county boasts a totally different vibe from the rest of Gangwon-do. It is located on a printine plane formed after cooling of a volcanic eruption back during the prehistory era, a very similar process to a formation of the Siberian Traps. Occupied with nutrient-rich soil, Cheorwon plain is also known for its quality-recognized Odae rice and tomato. Also home to many war-related historic sites, the area is bisected by the Hantan River (한탄강), a tributary of the seventh largest river in Korea Peninsula, Imjin River(임진강). 

Hantan River displays a unique volcanic topography and was designated as the fourth UNESCO global geopark in Korea in 2020. The site covers the area of 1,166 square kilometers of the river. If you are a trekking enthusiast, you may want to include Hantangang Geotrail on your planner time slot. A number of astonishing natural creations such as basalt cliffs, columnar jointings, rocky valleys, and waterfalls awaits for you to discover.

I personally may not have been a big fan of a long walk or a hill peak conqueror, but a part of the Hantan River trail was the point of my last visit. I always yearned to encounter a scenic aspect of Korea winter from a different view of terrain other than its mountainous attributes. 

Aside from all attractions situated sporadically along the river, I was captivated by Jiktang waterfall (직탕폭포) the most. There is something intriguing about this 3-meter-high and 80-meter-wide cascade. It is a tiny version of the famous Niagara Falls. Only smaller in size, Jiktang waterfall has a much similar erosion effect with the star group of waterfalls; headward erosion, earning the nickname ‘Korean Niagara Falls’. And a rare image of a dark, fine-grained volcanic rock erecting by the river bank tucked away under a white blanket of powdery snow is what I traveled over 80 miles (approx. 129km) north of Seoul for.

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More Winter Shots at Jiktang Falls

Quick Info About Jiktang Waterfall

Parking Area: Yes (Free)

How to get there from Seoul via public transport (Approx. 2 hr 40 min)
Go to Seoul Bus Terminal (서울고속버스터미널) near Express Bus Terminal station (Seoul subway line 3,7, or 9) exit 1
Purchase a bus ticket to Sincheorwon Intercity Bus Terminal (신철원터미널): 10,100KW
When getting off at Sincheorwon Intercity Bus Terminal, look for bus stop 신철원공용버스터미널 정류장 (platform no. 2620285)
Get on a bus called ‘동송화지리’
Get off at the 14th stop 장흥3리 정류장 (2620245)
Walk for 5 minutes towards a roundabout
Go further through the first road on the left (태봉대교길)
Go straight for 15 minutes
Jiktang waterfall is located right in front of Pokpo Iyagi Pension (폭포이야기 펜션)

Naver Map: Jiktang Falls
강원 철원군 동송읍 직탕길 86

Access Map

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