Korea is famous for its distinctive seasons, each of which offers different scenic highlights and top destinations to hike or travel. To enjoy the colorful autumn foliage, mountain treks are hugely popular at this time of year. And one spot that has deservedly earned its place on the tourist map is Milyang in South Gyeongsang Province.
A group of mountains in the city whose name translates as "secret sunshine" are often compared to the Alps in Europe for their beautiful scenery taking in fields of pampas grass.
Pampas grass looks similar at first glance to regular reeds, but a closer inspection reveals subtle differences. It grows up to 1.5-m tall in dry areas such as mountains and fields and has a tapered shape, while the flowers that blossom at the end of its stems are covered in soft fuzz. Its seeds travel far and wide on white "wings," and the grass starts to sprout in early spring. It flowers just before the arrival of winter.
Although the stems die during the coldest part of the year, the roots survive to begin the process all over again in the following spring.
The silvery waves rolling through fields of pampas grass make for spectacular views on the southern city's mountains at 1,000 m above sea level, especially when set against a clear blue sky. The effect is heightened in the early evening when the setting sun casts a crimson glow over the fields. Hiking here also allows for refreshing respites in the form of several striking waterfalls.
The mountains offer a number of paths for hikers of all ages and levels, and they take between two and six hours to complete. Some offer mild gradients, while other ascend to the peak at 1,241 m above sea level.
The area can be accessed by coach or train. Visitors can take a coach to Milyang intercity bus terminal or a train to Samrangjin Station, then transfer to local buses to get to the mountain.
For more information visit the official website at http://www.yeongnamalps.kr/EN/.