About Yongmun Falls (yongmun pokpo [용문폭포])
Yongmun Falls (Yongmun Pokpo [용문폭포]) was a modestly-sized idyllic waterfall situated a short distance uphill from the Gapsa Temple in Gyeryongsan National Park.
This was really a side attraction or a waterfaller’s excuse to check out the Gapsa Temple, which is one of Korea’s oldest temples (founded by the monk Adohwasang in 420).
This temple also runs a temple stay, which is a program where you can stay at the temple while also opening up the possibility of volunteering as well as speaking with monks (assuming you know Korean) to learn a little more about Buddhism.
A visit to the Yongmun Waterfall involves walking up from the car park (see directions below) through a marketplace and up to the Gapsa Temple Complex.
The waterfall itself is actually another 700m walk beyond the Gapsa Temple.
It turned out that we inadvertently “cheated” by driving up to a small car park by the Gapsa Temple, but I suspect that this car park was reserved for temple stay guests or staff.
I’m not sure how we managed to end up there, but I think we might have gotten here before the staff were setting up because when we were done with our visit, we saw people directing traffic to the designated car park closer to the marketplace.
Therefore, we wound up going about 1.4km round-trip just to do the falls while checking out the Gapsa Temple for a bit, but normally, this excursion would be 3.4km round-trip (accounting for the 2km round-trip distance that we were supposed to do).
As for the Yongmunpokpo Waterfall, it had a pretty light flow during our visit, which kind of made it a bit of an anticlimax.
It was definitely a far cry from the notion of a dragon flying out of the gate (Yongmun means “dragon gate”).
There were also cages clinging to the neighboring cliff face to prevent rockfalls into the plunge pool and viewing area.
In front of the viewing area, I noticed some inscriptions in Hangja that said 龍門瀑布 or “Dragon Gate Waterfall”, which also translates directly in Chinese.
By the way, the Hangja kind of gave this place more of an ancient feel to it since that form of writing has been replaced by Hangeul to improve literacy in Korea (so we haven’t really seen it in most places around Korea).
Yongmun Falls resides in Gyeryongsan National Park near the city of Daejeon in Gongju-si County, Chungcheongnam-do Province, South Korea. It may be administered by the Korean National Park Service as well as local authorities of Gongju. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting this website for leads.
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 Wibong Falls (위봉폭포) so with that as our starting point (출발), we set up 계룡산국립공원 갑사주차장 (Gyeryongsan National Park Gapsa Parking Lot) as the destination (도착).
This route took us about 90 minutes to go the 87km distance.
If we came from Daejeon (대전), then Kakao Map says it would take under an hour to go the 34km distance.
For geographical context, Gongju was 34km (about 60 minutes drive) west of Daejeon, 85km (under 90 minutes drive) north of Jeonju, 156km (about 2 hours drive) north of Gwangju, and 145km (about 2.5 hours drive) south of Seoul.
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