What will you do during your stay at The Damyang House? Here are 20 suggestions to help you organize your visit (in no particular order). These can all be done without a car (bus/transfer service gets you to the house):
1. Hike Through the Bamboo Forest
Pretty obvious choice seeing as you’ll be surrounded by it on three sides. Added bonus: the trailhead is in the front yard.
2. Play a Round of Cornhole (Bean-bag toss)
Call it cornhole, call it bean-bag toss, call it poor man’s horseshoes. Any way you slice it this game is hours of fun for any skill level.
3. Have a Campfire
I’ve been here for a decade and can count the number of campfires I’ve had on one hand…before building this house. It’s a luxury. We provide the wood, you provide the marshmallows.
4. Visit the Gwangju Lake Eco-Park
The Eco-Park is the big draw around here and for good reason. It’s not a huge park, but the boardwalks that winds through the wetlands are well organized and provide scenic views of the lake. Sneak in a bottle of wine (or a fishing rod!) and catch the sunset.
5. Have a BBQ
A good BBQ is always a crowd-pleaser. Large Weber grill available for your burgers, hotdogs and veggie kabobs. Steel drum table (pojangmacha style) for your Korean BBQ needs.
6. Visit the Local Restaurants
Within walking distance there are a handful of pretty amazing restaurants we frequent often. Baram Sori is about five minutes down the road if you’re looking to impress. The veggie buffet is five minutes the other direction if you’re looking for meatless options. A fifteen minute walk will get you the best bowl of kimchee jiggae in Jeolla-Do.
7. Go for a Bike Ride
Four bikes of varying sizes and quality in the storage unit. At least two of them are more than adequate to tackle the surrounding mountains. Or just take a chill ride around the neighborhood loop…the 4km ride could take all afternoon if you hit up the local tourist attractions and explore a bit.
8. Listen to Music on a Real Stereo
If this list were a bit more personal this would be number 1. I used computer speakers for years and thought it was an acceptable way to live. I was wrong. Treat yourself. Turn it up. Enjoy.
9. Hike up to the Overlook (식영정)
Take the long way to this overlook from the trailhead in the front yard and it’s a good 90 minute hike. Head up the trail behind Shikyungjung (next to the poetry museum) just down the street and it’s about 20 minutes to the top. It’s largely unknown and underused. Amazing views of the valley and Mudeung.
10. Take a Bath
Make it a bubble bath! Can’t say I’ve ever used it, but I know people that like to take a bath, love to take a bath. It’s an option.
11. Go Fishing
The bass fishing along the banks of Gwangju Lake is some of the best in the area. We have a rod and lures here at the house so you’re welcome to try your luck. This spot is only a 15 minute walk from the front door.
12. Take a Dip in the Mudeung Swimming Holes
Just inside Mudeung National Park (4km from the front door) is a gorgeous valley filled with pools deep enough to spend an afternoon in. Pro tip: head down the trail to the second trail marker (skip the first trial maker where the toilets are). This section of the river is largely unoccupied.
13. Try the Local Makoli
One of the restaurants in the neighborhood makes their own makoli (and tofu!) and it’s fresh and delicious. The food is tasty too and provides the perfect anjoo for your afternoon of sampling. If you want to get a bit further off the beaten path I’ll give you directions to the local makoli bootlegger (40 minute bike ride). This lady doesn’t mess around.
14. Visit the Local Pottery Studio
The owners of this place are really cool and I have a soft spot in my heart for any Korean that bucks the system and lives an alternative lifestyle like this. This dude has been making pottery since the 70’s and has photos on the wall to prove it. Great place to pick up a small gift or souvenir.
15. Walk Through the Rice Paddies
Sort of a locals-only activity, but that’s only because visitors don’t know these little farm roads exist. It’s hours of fun walking around these paddies (just across the street) and the views of the surrounding mountains are top-notch. Have a dog? They’ll love it out here.
16. Chef it up
We like to cook and designed the kitchen with that in mind. Sure, we have an oven. We also have a crepe pan, sausage grinder, pasta maker, pizza stone/peel, etc…basically all the tools you’ll need to make it look like you know what you’re doing.
17. Use the Wood Burning Fireplace
Number 17 couples well with number 16 on this list. Factor in fall foliage and a bottle or two of wine and you’ll be a very popular person for at least a night.
A bit of a stretch seeing as we’re not that far from Gwangju, but I’ve seen enough shooting stars to include it on the list. Walk through those aforementioned rice paddies around midnight for the full stargazing experience.
Included on just about any top 10 list of Damyang is Sosaewon. Caught at the right time (read: without busloads of Korean tourists) it is an extremely beautiful place. Well worth the 1,000 won entrance fee.
20. Do Nothing
Turn off your phone and enjoy yourself. Snooze in the hammock. Stare at the trees. Listen to the birds. When’s the last time you did that?