About Sambuyeon Falls (sambuyeon pokpo [삼부연폭포])
Sambuyeon Falls (Sambuyeon Pokpo [삼부연폭포]) was a 20m high waterfall dropping in three tiers between a steep granite notch though its main tier comprises most of the overall drop.
Personally, this waterfall introduced me to what it was like waterfalling in South Korea since it was my first one during our June 2023 trip to the country.
Situated in the Hantangang River Geopark on the slopes of Mt Myeongseong north of Seoul, it took me over 2 hours to drive to this waterfall.
Of course, if you didn’t miss some turns, take wrong toll lanes, and have trouble deciphering Hangeul in real-timeand (not to mention lots of speed bumps as well as speed cameras), then you might get here way faster than I did (details in the directions).
Nevertheless, once you’re here, visiting the falls was quite easy once you get to the waterfall’s car park.
I wound up walking a well-developed path through a nice cool tunnel paralleling the roadside tunnel with rest benches and lights so no torch is needed.
Upon emerging from the tunnel, I then followed a single-switchback ramp that leads straight to a lookout providing the frontal views of the Sambuyeon Waterfall that you see on this page.
My visit here was quite short because the steps leading down to the plunge pool was closed during my June 2023 visit, and the morning sun was shining directly against my line of sight.
I also didn’t realize that there was a temple across the road from the Sambuyeon Falls lookout so I can’t really say much more about what that would have been like (nor how much more time I could have spent checking that out).
In the end, my GPS logs said that it was about a 200m round-trip walk to cover the distance from the car park to the lookout and back, which underscores just how easy of a visit this was (provided you have your own rental car).
Overall, I spent about 45 minutes away from the car though I easily could have left sooner than that or linger even longer had I checked out the temple despite the trail closure to the waterfall’s plunge pool.
Sambuyeon Falls resides near Galmal-eup township in Cheorwon-gun county of the Gangwon-do Province, South Korea. It is administered by the Hantangang River Geopark as well as local authorities. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting this website.
Sambuyeon Falls resides on the slopes of Mt Myeongseong near the rural city of Cheorwon.
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 the Korean Network (we prefer using a SIM card for this).
As far as our routing app of choice, I’ve had pretty good success using Kakao Map (keep in mind that GoogleMaps doesn’t work for routing in Korea).
On Kakao Map, make the destination (도착) 삼부연폭포 (which is Sambuyeon Pokpo in Hangeul) as I’ve often had success putting in Hangeul place names whereas trying to put Romanized spellings for the same thing often fails.
Then, I let Kakao Map route me (paying very close attention to its prompts, especially if there are multiple lanes to choose from at certain interchanges, ramps, forks, or intersections).
Eventually, Kakao got me to the town of Cheorwon, where I eventually picked up the Myeongseong-ro and then the 112beon-gil (along the river) and followed this road for about 1km (there are lots of speed bumps and school zones along the way).
Next, this road will intersect with the Sambuyeon-ro, where I then took this road about 1.5km to a car park on the left beyond the end of the tunnel by the Sambuyeon Waterfall (Pokpo).
It’s worth noting that even though you can see the Sambuyeon Falls before entering the tunnel, there is no legal parking.
You have to drive through the tunnel before reaching the car park on the left side as soon as you exit the tunnel.
Overall, this drive took me about 2 hours and 15 minutes, but a lot of that was due to a combination of morning rush hour traffic, a few wrong turns, and overall getting used to driving in Korea.
Kakao Map says this should take over 90 minutes, but that assumes you’re already kind of used to driving here.
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