Our urge to discover a little bit more of South Korea saw us heading out to Sinbulsan Falls Recreational Forest over the Chuseok break, setting our sights mainly on finding Paraeso Waterfall.
The mountain range, set about 40 minutes outside of Ulsan, was approximately an hour drive for us from Busan so it made for the perfect day trip with a little bit of hiking, a visit to Seongnamsa Temple and, of course, the waterfalls.
While not viable from the main roads, we found that once we were in the mountains, the waterfall was sign-posted. The whole area is very cute with little cabin-style bed & breakfast places and rustic houses which are quite charming.
As you approach the forest, you’ll cross a small bridge which will lead you to a parking area. I will admit that we weren’t charged for the parking (or the entry to the trek up to the Falls) but this may have been because it was Chuseok. Normally there’s a minimal charge of between 1,500won and 3,000won per car.
At the base of the trek there’s a little camp site which you’ll need to walk past and then follow the main path that veers up slightly to the right-hand side. From here on in, it’s a fairly easy walk.
Our children did it with relative ease; always eager to leap ahead and lead the way, it’s definitely a walk that you can do as a family. The paths are a little rocky in places but it then turns into a wooden boardwalk-type path with steps and handrails.
It’s probably a good 20-minute walk from the car park, crossing little streams and getting a few glances of the water running past you but you’ll know you’re getting close when you see a man-made bridge and the sound of water becomes increasingly impressive!
While there’s no bathing/swimming allowed in the water of the base of the falls, there are rocks to climb to reach the most desirable photo spots and some view points built into different levels of the forest to make the most of the scenery.
Paraeso Waterfall may not be the largest of Falls, but we were all really impressed with this little hidden treasure. It’s very picturesque with a great flow of water and is definitely worth the short walk up through the first. We’ll be heading back very soon to catch the same spot in the autumnal colours that promise to hit fully this weekend, so I’ll add a little something here for you once we’ve returned!
If you want to carry on trekking up over and past Paraeso, there is that option but we didn’t do it ourselves. From the map, it looks like you would reach a reed park and a second waterfall so it’s something serious hikers might want to look out for.
On our return journey back down the mountainside, we stopped at Seongnamsa Temple, easily spotted by the huge parking area just opposite with lots of local eateries and market sellers.
There’s a small ticket office on the right as you approach the entrance. It costs just 1,000 won for adults to enter (teenaged are charged 600won, and children 300won). You then have a five minute walk up through the forest to reach the temple.
It’s a nice temple, its beauty enhanced by its setting in the forest with the mountain range in the background, and a very serene atmosphere.
For the general direction of both of these Ulsan attractions, think ‘Eden Park Valley’, the resort offering skiing in South Korea when the winter months hit. The area is also known as Mount Sinbul, with Mount Gajisan also being mentioned on other sites I’ve researched, but we found that Paraeso Falls was in our GPS and worked well for us!