About Buril Falls (buril pokpo [불일폭포])
Buril Falls (Buril Pokpo [불일폭포]; also spelled “Bulil”) was my waterfaller’s excuse to explore Jirisan National Park (sometimes also referred to as “Wisdom Mountain” since eccentric and wise people would go there to seek enlightenment).
This was a towering 60m waterfall that involved a bit of a hike starting near the Ssanggyesa Temple so it was an opportunity to combine that holy experience with Nature.
Jirisan Mountain was the second tallest mountain in South Korea at 1915m, but it was also apparently one of three “legendary” mountains in Korea as far as being epicenters of the Korean faith in Buddhism.
The other legendary mountains were the popular Hallsan on Jeju Island as well as Geumgansan in North Korea.
The Ssanggyesa Temple (meaning “twin streams”) was said to be one of the head temples of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism (I had seen the one at Sinheungsa earlier on in our 2023 trip to Korea).
So I guess its location on the hallowed Jirisan Mountain made sense insofar as its importance as far as Korean Buddhism was concerned.
During our mid-June 2023 visit, we happened to show up in the morning when monks were already performing chanting and praying rituals, which certainly added to the otherworldly atmosphere of this place.
Moreover, prior to getting to the Ssanggyesa Temple, we stumbled upon the Hadong Hwagae Market, which apparently was a very famous market fronting a well-known cherry blossom bloom spot (though they were long gone by this time).
Even around Jirisan, we saw turnoffs to other large temples like Hwaeomsa and Cheoneunsa among others.
Indeed, there seemed to be lots of important sights around the Ssanggyesa Temple and Buril Pokpo Waterfall, but I prioritized the waterfall and let whatever other sights we happened to see to be the icing on the cake, so to speak.
Summary Of The Hike To Buril Falls
In any case, like many things that are worth it in life, I had to earn my visit to the Buril Pokpo by going on a bit of a long uphill hill hike beyond the Ssanggyesa Temple.
According to my GPS logs, it’s around 500m from the car park to the Ssanggyesa Temple gaining around 30m along the way.
The GPS logs also incidated that it was about 2.6km each way with nearly 400m of elevation gain to go directly to the Buril Falls from the temple (though the signs indicate that it was merely 2.4km in each direction).
Therefore, the overall hiking distance is probably more like 3km each way or 6km round trip, and this doesn’t count the optional 600m out-and-back hike to check out the Guksaam Temple.
In addition to the Guksaam Temple, I also encountered a campsite as well as a hermitage near the Buril Falls deep into this hike.
I wound up spending about 3.5 hours away from the car, but it could have easily been 3 hours or less if I didn’t take as many pictures nor socialize with some people (including a nice Swiss couple) that I met on the trail.
One thing worth mentioning since this is a bit of a moderate half-day excursion, if you have people in your group not wanting to do the hike and they have to wait, well they don’t have cafes or food stands at the Ssanggyesa Temple.
I guess that makes sense if you’re talking about one of the more holier temples in Korea, but at least there’s good internet to kill time since Korea’s cell coverage in general has to be second to none!
From the car park (see directions below), there were a pair of uphill paths going in parallel (one going through archways and the other kind of going around a garden) leading up to the Ssanggyesa Temple.
Once at the temple, I took some time checking out the complex, which consisted of a handful of buildings (mostly containing worshipping rooms where taking photos were not allowed).
It was from some of these buildings that I heard monks making chants that reverberated in these south-facing Jirisan slopes.
Continuing with the hike, there were steps leading to another wing of Ssanggyesa Temple, but the steps ultimately veered around it, went by a sign indicating that the Buril Falls was another 2.3km away, and then went onto a more conventional forest trail.
After 300m, the moderately uphill trail (gaining about 80m in elevation) reached a trail junction with the optional detour to the Guksaam Temple on the left, but I kept right to continue towards the Buril Falls.
According to my trip logs, the next 2.1km pretty much involved hiking up mostly shaded forest gaining another 250m in elevation before reaching an opening by a campground.
In much of this stretch, there were interpretive signs to keep things interesting though the surface could get a bit rocky and uneven in spots.
Beyond the campground, the trail then started to flatten out then descend onto a series of ledges and catwalks, where there was a junction for Burilam or Buril Hermitage (that kind of looked like it had another shrine and residence) after about 500m.
After the spur trail to the hermitage, the path then steeply descended a series of cliff-hanging steps before reaching a lookout right in front of the Buril Falls.
Since I was kind of looking against the midday sun (I showed up at around 11:40am in mid-June) and this waterfall was quite tall, it was hard to get a good picture of it all.
Nevertheless, it was worth the effort to get up to this point, and I got to savor it alone for a bit before looking forward to the mostly downhill trajectory save for a few climbs at the start of the return.
Buril Falls resides in Jirisan National Park by the city of Hadong in the Jeollanam-do Province, South Korea. It may be administered by the Korean National Park Service as well as local authorities. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting this website for leads.
Buril Falls lies within Jirisan National Park near the town and county of Hadong.
Rather than confuse you with a bunch of turn-by-turn directions that won’t mean anything to you, I’ll just tell you that it’s best to use a Korean routing software on a phone that’s hooked up to a Korean Network (as Google Maps doesn’t work in Korea).
We prefer using a SIM card with an unlimited data plan for this purpose so we shouldn’t be running out of data while routing (while also allowing us to use that phone as a hot spot).
Regardless of what your current location is (and South Korea is as well-connected of a country as I had ever seen), use Kakao Map app to navigate your way through all the city streets, interchanges, and local rural roads.
It even tells you the whereabouts of speed bumps, school zones, speed cameras, and all the particulars about which lane to take when there’s a decision point with multiple lanes involved.
The only catch to using Kakao Map (or any other Korean routing app) is that you’ll need to at least learn how to put your place names in Hangeul (the Korean writing system).
That’s because using romanized words and expecting the app to find it doesn’t always work, but placenames in Hangeul almost always can be found in the app.
Anyways, in our example, we were coming from Surak Falls (수락폭포) so with that as our starting point (출발), we set up 쌍계사 (Ssanggyesa Temple) as the destination (도착).
This route took us under an hour to go the 39km distance.
If you’re coming from Jinju (진주), then Kakao says the 67km driving distance should take less than 90 minutes.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the road leaving the Route 19 and going up towards the Ssanggyesa Temple involves going through both the Hwagae Market and the famous cherry blossom road.
Although it wasn’t a problem for us since we were 2-3 months after the cherry blossom ended, traffic may be restricted given that it would be crowded here at the peak of the blossom.
So that’s something to keep in mind.
For geographical context, Hadong was about 38km (45 minutes drive) southeast of Gurye, 42km (under 45 minutes drive) north of Suncheon, 43km (under an hour drive) west of Jinju, about 67km (over an hour drive) southeast of Namwon, 157km (over 2 hours drive) southwest of Daegu, and 331km (about 4 hours drive) south of Seoul.
Find A Place To Stay
Related Top 10 Lists
Trip Planning Resources
Featured Images and Nearby Attractions
Visitor Comments:Got something you'd like to share or say to keep the conversation going? Feel free to leave a comment below...
No users have replied to the content on this page
Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:If you have a waterfall story or write-up that you'd like to share, feel free to click the button below and fill out the form...
No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall