Sometimes, seeing famous or historical or nature-full things in Korea feels like visiting Disneyland on Valentine’s day. There are detailed signs, panda statues, and couples taking selfies everywhere.
I wanted to visit Damyang since before I came to Korea. I read about it in a 50 Beautiful Places in Korea list and well, I just had to see it. While I found the bamboo beautiful, it felt less like a forest and more like a garden; less like an oasis and definitely more like a tourist trap. (NOTE: You can’t tell from my photos, but I went to Damyang in early-mid March and it was CRAWLING with people, as I suspect maybe it always is. I just.. cropped all the people out…) Despite the crowds, it was breezy and cool under the bamboo.
If you do go to Damyang, I suggest leaving some time to stroll along the Gwanbangjerim, a riverbank protected forest. The Damyang river is right next to the bamboo forest and it’s lined with trees that date back to the Joseon period. The trees were planted by officials to protect local villages from floods. This is the Gwanbangjerim, as I understand it. Some of the trees are over 200 years old and there’s a beautiful walking path that goes for at least a few km. (The trees are PROTECTED NATURAL SPECIES No. 366, don’t you love that Korea numbers everything?) Also, there is a stone pathway that you can use to cross the river. It’s fun to skip from one rock to another, just don’t fall in!
To Get There:
Take a bus to Gwangju and take a local bus to Damyang. From there, find a taxi and tell them Juknokwon or give them this address:
119, Jungnogwon-ro, Damyang-eup, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do
전라남도 담양군 담양읍 죽녹원로 119 (담양읍)