About Suok Falls (suok pokpo [수옥폭포])
Suok Falls (Suok Pokpo [수옥폭포]) was an attractive waterfall that we found to be quite easy to visit (at least if you find the proper car park, which I’ll explain later).
The waterfall is said to be 20m tall over three tiers (a hard-to-see upper one, a middle one that drops onto a shelf, and a lower one below the shelf) originating from Joryeongsan Forest within the Baekdudaegan Mountains.
Although we didn’t see anyone swimming at this waterfall (maybe the plunge pool is too shallow at the time?), we did see people dipping their feet in the stream making for a nice spot to cool off, especially in the Summer.
The left side of the stream brought us to the fringes of the plunge pool as well as the octagonal Suokjeong Pavilion (said to have been built in 1711 though it was restored in 1960).
The right side of the stream brought us right to the base of the main drops of the waterfall right beneath a shelf with a low and wide alcove hinting that there were two layers of rock formations giving rise to Suok Falls’ height.
Even though we could get close to the waterfall on this side, we had to be real careful about the slippery surface, especially where it was wet.
Something that a worker at one of the cafes here told us was that this waterfall featured in quite a few K-dramas.
He didn’t say exactly which one, but a quick search turned up Damo (about a female detective in the Joseon Dynasty) and Alchemy of Souls (one of the more recent K-dramas as of our late June 2023 trip).
I haven’t watched either show to be honest so I can’t go into them much, but with the TV exposure as well as some movies come the increased notoriety, and thus I can see this place getting real busy (especially given the size of the main car park).
Speaking of the car park, our waypoint that we put into Kakao Map was right at the waterfall, but it incorrectly took us up a road past the main car park and up a narrower climbing road towards a water park.
Nevertheless, it was here that we could see that the stream responsible for Suok Falls was regulated (given the presence of a dam), and that there’s no direct trail descending from here to the base of the falls.
You still have to go along the stream on the sanctioned trail (as described earlier in this write-up) to get there.
Overall, we spent about 45 minutes encompassing the walk and the time spent taking in the Suok Falls before chilling out at one of the cafes on our way out.
Suok Falls resides south of the city of Chungju in Goesan-gun County, Chungcheonbuk-do Province, South Korea. It may be administered by the local authorities of Goesan. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting this website, which lists a phone number for further inquiry.
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 Yongmun Falls (계룡산국립공원 갑사주차장; Gapsa Parking Lot) so with that as our starting point (출발), we set up 괴산새재관광편의시설 (Goesan Saejae Tourist Facilities) as the destination (도착).
This route took us over 2 hours to go the 132km distance.
If we came from Daejeon (대전), then Kakao Map says it would take over 90 minutes to go the 113km distance.
And if we came from Danyang (단양), then Kakao Map says it would take about 90 minutes to go the 73km distance.
Finally, one thing to keep in mind about routing to Suok Falls is that we had originally routed using 수옥폭포 (Suokpokpo) as the destination, but it would up taking us past the main car park and up towards some water park on a narrow road.
That was incorrect, and it was one of the few instances where Kakao Map actually led us astray from where we needed to go!
For geographical context, Chungju was 56km (under 90 minutes drive) northeast of Goesan, 58km (about an hour drive) west of Danyang, 121km (under 2 hours drive) northeast of Daejeon, and 136km (over 2 hours drive) southeast of Seoul.
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