Always in search of beautiful waterfalls, and rather disappointed our latest jaunt to Paraeso Falls (one of the infamous Ulsan 12), we were buoyed by the prospect of mention in Lonely Planet of a valley full of waterfalls just out of Pohang. Having not ventured to Pohang previously, we took advantage of the long weekend and set out to see if these waterfalls could top the one of the previous weekend.
Korean flags were out in full force for the long weekend. It made us a feel a little misty eyed about our approaching exit from the country but also determined to put as much effort into seeing what we can before we leave.
The morning gone in travel, we arrived into the most northern part of Pohang at the bottom of Mount Naeyeon. Hopping off the bus with some delight at finally being somewhere, we set off for a stroll through the tourist village en route to the attractions beyond.
Of course, this was enough to entice us in for lunch. Its kinda awesome seeing someone hand create your noodles and then seeing them in your bowl not long after.
칼국수 (kalguksu) literally means “knife noodles” as they are cut, rather than spun or extruded. Made from wheat flour and egg the dough is let to breathe, then rolled out thinly and cut in long strips. We ate son kalguksu which is noodles in a lightly flavoured broth. A side order of 호박전 (hobakjeon) didn’t go astray either, with its warm pumpkin-y goodness complementing the plain noodles perfectly.
Energy levels restored, it was time to head towards Bogyeongsa temple, the gateway to the valley of waterfalls.
And then it was straight onto to the trail to wind up way up through the beautiful valley, which boasts 12 waterfalls, gorges spanned by bridges, hermitages and stupas. There are a number of hikes on this trail as well, actually quite decent ones, too!
It’s about 1.5km to the first waterfall, 5m hight Ssansaeng Pokpo.
Which really isn’t that far…except at the moment it takes us triple the amount of time to do anything as Dan is constantly playing with the fancy new camera! A ten minute walk now becomes a 30-40 minutes walk unless smack down is enforced. This issue has become even worse since we purchased the ‘Canon EO60d for Dummies’ book. Every couple of minutes six to eight photos have to be taken with different shutter speeds at different apertures at different angles. He really is turning into a camera junkie. In saying that, one of the two of us needs to be able to use the camera in our relationship – seeing as the other one of us has a habit of breaking/losing/drowning cameras!!! Anyway, here’s waterfall number 1 – the little Ssangsaeng.
We continued along the extremely well-maintained trail through the gorge, winding our way through the lovely countryside toward more waterfalls.
Now a really striking feature of Korea (and something we’re really going to miss!) is the particular ability to make everything super dang convenient. When’s the last time you were wandering up a river valley miles away from anywhere and stumbled across a coffee vending machine?! Awesome, right! A gratuitous beaver shot. Or is it a chipmunk? Or a squirrel? We actually don’t have a clue…we don’t ‘do’ these types of critters in New Zealand. Awwwww ain’t he cute.
The sixth waterfall, Gwaneum Pokpo, is apparently “an impressive 72 metres and has two columns of water with a cave behind it”…if this is it, and this is where the sign led us, then its not 72 metres. We were a little confused by this. But here’s proof that we were at least in the vicinity of number 6!
72 metres?! Hmmm….
Maybe it just hadn’t been raining enough lately. We took some nice scenery shots anyway.Number 7 waterfall was for sure the most impressive in our eyes. About 30 metres high, Yeonsan Pokpo is a stunner, dropping into an aquamarine pool at the bottom of an impressive rock face. We were starting to suspect some typos in the information we had received.
Seven waterfalls down, the day was getting away on us and the evening was starting to set in. The decision was made to push on a little bit further and get to the top of Naeyeonsan to have a final nosey over the valley. The going got a bit crazy at this point – a steep, rocky climb with ropes lining the path to help the short legged of us haul ourselves up the sheer climb. Pretty awesome though! A hasty scramble up some large rocks led to some pretty cool views over the waterfalls, a closer vantage point of the dudes scaling the rock face and right back down the valley.
We suspect these dudes might have not made it as successfully off the mountain again. But its one hell of an impressive final resting place.
With the evening fast closing in, it was time to get our butts back down the valley and toward a bus, to take us to another bus and then another bus and then home. The five remaining waterfalls shall remain undiscovered by us at this juncture but the ones we did manage to see were impressive (mostly!) and well worth the journey.