[TRAVEL] Escape from the fast city pace at “Slow City” Damyang’s Samjinae Village

On the second trip to explore the rural parts of Korea with Korea Rural Tourism, we spent 2 days 1 night at Samjinae Village (Damyang Changpyeong) and Bohyang Dawon (Boseong), both located down south at Jeollanam-do. If I were to give a theme of this trip, it would be “healing” – from the slow pace of life in the village to beautiful green tea fields stretching across the lands, both places are perfect for a calming getaway from the busy city life.  Read on to find out more, and also check out the other rural villages and farms we visited on our previous trips here!

Samjinae Village: For those seeking a break from hectic city life

Website: http://www.slowcp.com (English, 中文, 日本語 available), Visit Korea website (English)
Address: Doldamgil 56-24, Changpyeongmyeon, Damyang, Jeollanam-do (전라남도 담양군 창평면 돌담길 56-24, 담양창평슬로시티)

How To Get There:
1) Take the KTX train from Seoul (Yongsan station) to Gwangju (approx. 3 hours) and hail a taxi to Changpyeong (fare about 30,000 Won, approx. 45 min).
2) For a cheaper alternative, you can take an express bus from Express Bus Terminal to Gwangju Bus Terminal, then take Bus 311 to Seobang Market (서방시장(남)), and change to Bus 3-1 and alight at Changpyeong 1-gu (창평1구).
More directions here.

What To Do: Play Korean traditional games, check out the traditional Korean village landscape, taste the yummy local cuisine, make beeswax candles and Korean traditional rice candy ‘yeot’, spend a relaxing day watching the clouds go by (the grass is good for lying on!).

What We Did:

Damyang, also named as “Slow City”, got its nickname for their efforts to preserve the Korean traditional way of living and the slow pace of life, that is different from the rapidly changing city lifestyle. The houses are built in the olden fashion, and over here you will also be able to play with traditional Korean games, walk along the beautiful fields and taste the Korean cuisine cooked by the locals.

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We also had the chance to make beeswax candles, which is done through dipping the candle numerous times in a pot of beeswax – which actually attracted one or two real bees to it that thought it was their home!

After that we moved on to learn how to make the Korean rice taffy, also known as yeot (엿), which is a traditional candy made from rice that was grown in the village. From the starting brown solid form, we had to pull and lengthen it with our hands to make the yeot. The colour turns from brown to white and hardens as time passes so we had to be quick! The final product looked really pretty and when eaten it had a very chewy texture to it.

After the taffy making session, we had the chance to walk around the village and were greeted by beautiful landscapes around the area. But as the weather had already turned cold, the day ended a lot earlier than expected and we were not able to see too much of the village in the dark. The good thing was, when night fell, it was so dark you could see the sky scattered with stars! (Sadly, we didn’t have the equipment to take the starry night view…)

Dinner was even better than we expected – a hot pot of Korean stewed beef (bulgogi) was waiting for us when we headed back! After dinner time, we were given polaroid prints of the photos we took earlier in the day to make a personalised polaroid album, for us to keep the fun memories all in one place! Pretty sweet, right?

We ended the day early after to prepare for the next day’s trip to Bohang Dawon in Boseong – where the beautiful green tea fields are located at. Read about it in our next article!

The trip is made possible thanks to Korea Rural Tourism. Check out their Facebook page for more information about Korea rural spots!

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