Exhausted by the scorching summer months, people grab any opportunity they can to leave the big city for cooler climes, even as the heat starts to recede and fall approaches.
Below is a list of some valleys that maintain cool temperatures throughout the year and which have become popular retreats for those who want to escape their hectic urban lives and enjoy some fresh air amid pleasant pastoral surroundings.
◆ Eoreumgol in Milyang
Eoreumgol, meaning "ice valley," is one such destination. Rising 1,189 m above sea level, it lies halfway up Mt. Jaeyak in Milyang, South Gyeongsang Province and captivates visitors with its lush scenery and frozen streams.
The first thing that comes into view at the entrance is a signboard showing the temperatures of the nearby parking lot and surrounding valley. When visitors see the mercury measures zero degrees Celsius, many cannot believe their eyes. But once they venture deeper into the valley and dip their toes in the stream, they soon recognize how cold it is.
Walking along the 700-m path from the parking lot to the point where ice starts to form, tourists are often left reeling by the sudden drop in temperature. Most amble down the path to find resting places and dip their feet in the stream from nearby rocks, but soon give up on the idea due to the stream's icy touch.
◆ Baenaegol in Yangsan
Baenaegol in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province commands picturesque views as it is surrounded by mountains. As the depth of the valley varies, couples, groups and families with kids can enjoy various water sports like swimming, rafting and boating. The valley also offers a wide range of accommodation facilities.
◆ Seoknam Temple in Ulsan
The valley near Seoknam Temple in Ulsan is surrounded by a forest of pine trees, creating a peaceful and comforting ambience. The small stone towers scattered here further add to the sense of serenity, attracting visitors throughout the year.
◆ Jangan Temple in Busan
Tucked away in Mt. Bulgwang, Busan, this valley close to Jangan Temple boasts crystal-clear, ice-cold streams. As people walk up to the mountain's peak, they encounter various herbs and mountain berries. The more fortunate are also treated to sights of the local fauna, such as wild jackrabbits and squirrels.