Maisan Provincial Park and Tapsa Temple

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The perfect itinerary for the Maisan Provincial Park and Tapsa Temple. Tag along on our trip with us.

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About Maisan Provincial Park

Now that spring has sprung the husband and I have been hitting the trails hard before summer makes this cold-weather girl melt. For this trip, we decided to venture a little further from Camp Humphreys and took the two hour drive out to Maisan Provincial Park in Jeollabuk-do. Maisan is an amazing park with great hiking, cherry blossoms, and interesting cultural sights.

One unique aspect of Maisan Mountain is that it has a different name at each season. Our springtime hike was beautiful and we will definitely come back to experience it throughout the year.

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The drive from Pyeongtaek to Maisan

Front of Jeongan Albam Service Area
Jeongan Alban Service Area

We left Pyeongtaek at 9am on Saturday and traffic was already pretty stop and go. Around 11:30 we got hungry and decided to stop for lunch. If you haven’t discovered it yet, I’m going to let you in on a not-so-hidden gem: food at Korean rest stops is legit. This isn’t your American rest stop with a Mcdonald’s or Subway. These places are frequently huge with shopping, cafes, snacks, and delicious food. We opted to eat in and went for ramen and vegetarian bibimbap.

Bibimbap at Jeongan Alban Service Area.

Map and parking

Map of Maisan Provincial Park

There are two entrances to the park, one from the north, one from the south. We came in from the south and parked at the first lot at the bottom of the hill. While this made the hike a bit longer, it ended up being a good idea because the upper lot was full. Usually, parking is 2,000 won, but the weekend we went the gates were up and parking was free.

Isanmyo Shrine

Rock carving at Isanmyo Shrine in Maisan Provincial Park
Rock carvings near Isanmyo Shrine

Immediately across from the parking lot at the top of the hill is Isanmyo Shrine. The shrine honors the founding of the Joseon Dynasty and has rock carvings on the cliff behind the shrine marking where King Taejo rested on the way to the capital after defeating the Japanese at Namwon. While the shrine proper was closed, the rock carvings and information about the history of the area were interesting and worth checking out.

Geumdangsa Temple

Geumdangsa Temple with magnolia flowers in Maisan Provincial Park
Geumdangsa Temple with magnolia flowers

After making your way through a lively street of shops and restaurants you will reach Geumdangsa Temple. It’s a pretty temple complex that houses a 17th-century hanging painting of the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. There were cherry and magnolia trees in full bloom which made for some beautiful photo opportunities.

From here you will need to pay to continue up the path toward Tapsa Temple. As of April 2022, the cost is 3,000 won for adults, 2,000 for teenagers, and 1,000 for children. The trail north is fairly short (about 2km) and easy. You can either walk on the paved road shared with cars or on the smooth sidewalk. Much of the trail is lined with cherry trees which were in full bloom. Along the way, you will pass a small lake with paddle boat rentals and a sculpture garden. This stretch of the trail is stroller friendly and good for people with knee problems as there aren’t stairs and the slope isn’t challenging.

Tapsa Temple

Walgwangtap (Moon Light Pagoda) and
Ilgwangtap (Sun Light Pagoda) at Tapsa Temple
Walgwangtap (Moon Light Pagoda) andIlgwangtap (Sun Light Pagoda)

Tapsa Temple is like nothing else I have seen in my travels around South Korea and is a unique experience I highly recommend. The temple is home to 80 stacked stone pagodas created by Yi Gap Yong in the late 19th century. Visitors wander winding paths among the groupings of pagodas, stopping off at various buildings in the temple complex. There was a celebration happening the weekend we visited and it was a magical experience to wander this surreal landscape while monks chanted and danced with cymbals. After wandering all of the paths we continued up the mountain to Eunsusa Temple.

Tapsa

Tapsa0

063-433-0012

Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Hangul Address

전북 진안군 마령면 마이산남로 367

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Enususa Temple

Enususa Temple against Maisan Mountain
Eunsusa temple against Maisan Mountain

The last stop we made on this trip was at Eunsusa temple. Though the path up the mountains wasn’t too steep and had railings for support, my knee was not up to that kind of climb that day. Eunsusa Temple is famous for Cheongsilbae, a 650-year-old specimen of a rare species of pear tree. There is also a spring whose water is said to freeze into columns when poured out in winter. Since it was a lovely spring day, we didn’t get to test this theory out, but many of the hikers did stop to fill their water bottles from the well.

Nomadic Brewing

Brewing tanks at Nomadic Brewing

On our way back to Pyeongtaek we detoured through Jeonju to check out Nomadic Brewing which had come highly recommended by the members of the Pyeongtaek Craft Beer Society. I’m so glad we decided to go a bit out of our way. The beer was great with TWO sours on tap, which made this beer nerd happy, and the pizza was everything that we could have hoped for after a day of walking. As a bonus, the owner was on hand and was happy to talk to us about his beers and to show us the brewing facilities. Overall, it was a great experience and a place we will go back to when we head back to Jeonju to check out the Hanok Village.

Nomadic Brewing

Nomadic Brewing5

063-902-3924

Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Hangul Address

전북 전주시 완산구 전라감영3길 12-10

This place is incredible. Jeonju is one of the most interesting and culture-rich cities Ive yet seen. The Hanok Village area feels like a more intimate little brother to the Suwon-Fortress, but with more quirky little winding alleys and so much life. The surrounding area has beautiful misty hills as well. Nomadic Beer Garden is located right at the edge of Hanok Village and has an ultra friendly staff, wonderful array of food on the menu, and a constantly rotating line-up of exceptional and truly unique craft beers. Cannot recommend this city and this brewery enough. Hidden gems for sure.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Current Air Quality and Weather in Maisan Provincial Park

Air quality and weather change throughout the day. However, having an idea of what the air quality is right now can help make decisions easier. You can download the Air Matters App for your phone to keep current on changing air quality conditions throughout the day. You can even set up alerts.

Remember that air quality changes around Korea. It may be poor quality in one area and excellent elsewhere. Checking air quality can be a great way to choose where to go, what activities to do when you get there, and when to be inside or outside. It also can help you decide if you should purchase and carry air filter masks for outdoor activities.

For those that prefer the weather in Fahrenheit, the following report may help.

More Hikes and Temples in South Korea

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