Located in the foothills of the Sobaeksan Mountains in the province of Gyeongsangbukdo, the town of Mungyeong is a most underrated scenic destination. What it lacks in name recognition, it makes up for in small-town charm, history, and pristine mountain scenery. Koreans know it mostly for the beautiful Mungyeong Sae Jae pass, a historic thoroughfare that once linked southeast Korea with the capital area, but there’s much more to the town, including one of Korea’s most intriguing Buddhist temples and some of the best hiking destinations you’ve never heard of. In October, the town hosts the Mungyeong Apple Festival (Oct 12–27).
EAT> The town specialty is mukjobap, or acorn jelly and millet rice. You can find restaurants serving this in front of Mungyeong Sae Jae.
Take in the scenery along the Mungyeong Sae Jae pass.
Try the Mungyeong Rail Bike, a fun and scenic trek along a disused coal rail.
Try the Mungyeong Tourist Hotel (T. 054-571-8001) in Mungyeong Sae Jae Provincial Park.
Buses to Mungyeong depart from Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (travel time: 2 hours).