Despite its comparatively puny size relative to its Korean brethren, GYERYONGSAN NATIONAL PARK (계룡산 국립 공원) is a true delight, with herons flitting along the trickling streams, wild boar rifling through the woods and bizarre long net stinkhorn mushrooms – like regular mushrooms, but with a yellow honeycombed veil – found on the forest floors. It is said to have the most gi (기; life-force) of any national park in Korea, one of several factors that haul in 1.4 million people per year, making it the most visited national park in the Chungcheong region. The main reasons for this are accessibility and manageability – it lies equidistant from Gongju to the west and Daejeon to the east, and easy day-hikes run up and over the central peaks, connecting Gapsa and Donghaksa, two sumptuous temples that flank the park, both of which date back over a thousand years.

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