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Reward Yourself with a Day in Damyang

Autumn approaches us slowly, its gentle breeze blowing past us along with the leaves that prepare to change their colors. Kingos have probably been busy due to all the assignments and team projects. With the start of October and the impending mid-terms, how about catching your breath for a while through a short day trip? The Sungkyun Times (SKT) suggests Damyang, a city known for its vibrantly colored autumn foliage – Meta Provence and Gwanbangjerim would surely welcome Kingos with open arms.

A Beautiful Village in Damyang: Meta Provence

Introduction to Meta Provence

The Panoramic View of Meta Provence

Meta Provence is a small village in Damyang County, South Jeolla Province. It is also famous for the Metasequoia-Lined Road near the town, which was designated as a National Forest Cultural Asset in 2015. The village’s name, “Meta Provence,” is a compound of “Meta,” from metasequoia, and “Provence,” which refers to a geographical region of France. Nowadays, the village has grown into a tourist spot that attracts about 5 million people annually. Meta Provence is divided into five different complexes: the Provence Complex, Café Complex, Outlet Complex, Pension Complex, and Damyang Insect Zoo. Each complex has various entertainment facilities, including cafés, souvenir shops, and artistic workshops, which provides tourists with unique experiences. The nearby Metasequoia-Lined Road is also a famous spot for tourists. The road is about 2.1km long, and there are 487 trees planted along the route.

The Metasequoia-Lined Road

How to Visit Meta Provence

From the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus, Kingos should take bus Jongno 02 at the west gate and get off at Jonggak Station. Then, take Subway Line No. 1, and get off at Yongsan Station. After that, take the KTX and get off at GwangjuSongjeong Station. Next, take Express City Bus 02 and get off at Gwangju Bus Terminal to get on bus No. 311-2. After taking the bus, get off at Meta Provence Station and enter the village. Kingos from the Natural Sciences Campus could take Subway Line No. 1 and get off at Osan Station. Then, walk to Osan Bus Terminal to take the intercity bus, and get off at Gwangju Bus Terminal. Then, take bus No. 311-2 at the terminal; the route is identical from then on.

Relish the Picturesque Scenery

1. Enjoy Everything in Meta Provence!

As a village full of white houses with red roofs, Meta Provence has an exotic vibe, much like a peaceful town in Europe. People can enter the Provence Complex through a path decorated with love locks. In the complex, various experience facilities are waiting for Kingos. For example, the glass art workshop, Qverre, allows visitors to create their own glass crafts, and the Pulip Culture Center provides visitors with a hands-on experience of wood arts.

The Love Locks Path on the Way to Entering Meta Provence
Glass Art Workshop in Qverre
Wood Art in Pulip Culture Center

The Outlet Complex contains several souvenir shops and loft stores that sell many attractive products. The SKT especially recommends shopping for handmade candles and diffusers in a shop named “Hello, Jay.” After enjoying such experiences, visiting the Café Complex located behind the Outlet Complex would be a perfect schedule. In the Complex, different cafés, including dessert cafés, roasting cafés, and theme cafés, would fully satisfy Kingos. Behind the Café Complex is the Pension Complex. Since the different pensions and pool villas in the complex can be reserved online, Kingos who may want to stay at Meta Provence should better hurry before they are all booked up.

Sooop Café in Café Complex

2. Feel the Autumn Breeze with Metasequoia Trees

The Front View of Metasequoia-Lined Road Culture Village

After a tour full of splendid attractions at Meta Provence, how about going for a walk and enjoying the scent of nature? Walking through the dense metasequoia trees along the Metasequoia-Lined Road may lift your mood. Watching the trees’ appearance change each season would be another reason for visiting the road. The SKT recommends visiting Metasequoia-Lined Road in October, when you can appreciate the scarlet landscape colored with maple trees. Also, stopping by other tourist spots, such as the Damyang Insect Zoo, the set location of the movie The Fatal Encounter, as well as Damyang Eco Center, could to your fun day out.

Gwanbangjerim, Where We Reconnect with Nature

Introduction to Gwanbangjerim

Gwanbangjerim is a scenic forest that surrounds Gwanbanje, a levee of the Gwanbang River, located on the west side of Meta Provence. Gwanbangje was built in 1648 to prevent destruction from the Gwanbang River’s floods. People planted trees while building the levee, which formed a little forest around the Gwanbang River. The length of Gwanbangjerim is about 2.1km, about a third of Gwanbangje. As the beautiful scenery is full of old trees about 300 to 400 years old, Gwanbangjerim was designated Natural Monument No. 366 in 1991. You can catch sight of diverse trees such as muku trees, Chinese hackberries, and zelkova trees. The forest is near Meta Provence, so Kingos can visit Gwanbangjerim after touring the village. – admission to the forest is free, so do not worry! To get to Gwanbangjerim from Meta Provence, you can take bus No. 311-2 at Meta Provence and get off at Hyanggyo Bridge Station. Walking is also an option since it only takes about 26 minutes.

The Path in Gwanbangjerim

Ways to Enjoy the Night of Damyang

1. Strolling Course Colored by the Sunset

In Gwanbangjerim, you can enjoy the sense of nature, as about 420 trees cover the area. Also, the trees reflected in the Gwanbang River provide breathtaking scenery. Moreover, animals that visit the river, such as herons and cranes, make the landscape of Gwanbangjerim even more spectacular. The SKT recommends visiting Gwanbangjerim in the evening, as the sun sinking beyond the forest creates a beautiful sunset glow over the river. You can enjoy the fascinating view of the sunset even more on Jukhyanggyo, located in the middle of Gwanbangjerim. Walking through Starlight-Moonlight Road next to the causeway would be a great choice if you want to capture the view after sunset; the colorful lights between the trees create a dreamlike feeling, much like you are in a forest full of fireflies playing hide-and-seek.

A Sunset from Jukhyanggyo
The Starlight-Moonlight Road(asiatoday.co.kr)

2. A Perfect Night around Gwanbangjerim

After touring Gwanbangjerim, the SKT would like to introduce to you how to enjoy the rest of the night in Damyang. The restaurants at Damyang Noodle Street would be a perfect choice for dinner. Damyang Noodle Street is a food street formed by the merchants of Damyang, famous for their delicious noodles. Different types of noodles, such as bamboo blade noodles and anchovy broth noodles, are sold at a relatively low price: about \5,000 to \6,000. Also, each restaurant has outdoor tables, so you can enjoy your meal while relishing the scenery of the Youngsan River. Since the street is only three minutes away from Gwanbangjerim, you can easily visit the alley strolling in the forest. After the meal, looking around Dambit Road near Damyang Noodle Street is recommended. Dambit Road is a cultural district that was established in 2016, containing diverse art workshops and cultural facilities. There is a mural street about a minute away from Damyang Noodle Street. A look around the folksy murals would be a perfect way to end your night at Damyang.

Entrance to Damyang Noodle Street
Various Types of Noodles in Damyang Noodle Street(ohmynews.com)
Entrance to the Dambit Road

Although most Kingos are probably busy preparing for the mid-term exams, how about catching your breath for a short moment? For those planning to go on a trip after the exam, Damyang would be a perfect p laceto take a rest. The SKT hopes Kingos will wrap up the rest of the semester along with pleasant memories from Damyang.

박성결  kyl1989@skku.edu

<저작권자 © THE SUNGKYUN TIMES, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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