Gwandong Palgyeong (관동팔경) means eight landscapes that have been famous for their beauty since the Joseon dynasty.
Gwandong Palgyeong is composed of eight spots along eastern seacoast of Korea: Chongseojoeng, Samilpo, Cheongganjeong, Naksansa, Gyeongpodea, Jukseoru, Mangyangjeong, and Weolsongjeong. Now, two of them are in North Korea. Chongseojoeng, Cheongganjeong, Mangyangjeong, Weolsongjeong are pavilions to enjoy the landscapes. After visiting these spots, Jeong Cheol (1536-1594), a Korean poet and politician, wrote an epic titled Gwandong Byeolgok, which is considered one of the most beautiful poems in the history of Korean literature.
Korean traditional religion has been influenced by Taoism as well as Buddhism and Confucianism. For scholars in the Joseon Dynasty, enjoying nature was not only traveling or sightseeing but also religious training. For example, Jeong Cheol's Gwandong Byeolgok starts with "I missed rivers and lakes, then I lay in the bamboo forest...", and the protagonist meets a xian in his dream in the final chapter. You should know this background before departure.
If you want to try this itinerary, then car is the most suitable transport and you can visit the spots in South Korea along National Route 7.
Some of the stops are serviced by train, and the ones that are not can largely be reached by express bus.
- 1 Chongseokjoeng (총석정). The ocean views from Kumgangsan mountain park
- 2 Samilpo (삼일포). A freshwater lake in North Korea.
- 3 Cheongganjeong (청간정), 5110, Donghae-daero, Toseong-myeon, Goseong-gun, Gangwon-do. A pavilion.
- 4 Naksansa Temple (낙산사), 100, Naksansa-ro, Ganghyeon-myeon, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do, ☏ . A Buddhist temple. It is located on the slope of Obongsan Mountian, and you can enjoy the sea at Uisangdae Pavilion built on the top of a cliff.
- 5 Gyeongpodea (경포대), 365, Gyeongpo-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do. A building. You can sightsee Gyeongpo Lake here. It also famous with the moon on 15th day of the first lunar month. Gyeongpo Beach is nearby, which is one of the top spots for seeing the sunrise on the New Year's day.
- 6 Jukseoru (죽서루), 37, Jukseoru-gil, Samcheok-si, Gangwon-do. A pavilion. It was not built to sightsee the sea, but a river, in contrast to other spots. You can overlook the Osipcheon Stream on a rocky cliff.
- 7 Mangyangjeong (망양정), 716-1 Sanpo-ri, Geunnam-myeon, Uljin-gun, Gangwon-do. A pavilion. Seeing sunrise and the Moon here has been famous since the Joseon Dynasty. King Sukjong chose it as the best place in the eight sights. Mangyangjeong Beach is nearby.
- 8 Weolsongjeong (월송정), 517, Wolsongjeong-ro, Pyeonghae-eup, Uljin-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do. A pavilion. We cannot see the original building any more, as it was rebuilt after Korean independence from Japan.
Although fairly obvious, the border area can not be crossed at all. This means at present the full itinerary cannot be experienced end to end.