Jirisan National Park (지리산국립공원), May 3-6, 2014
This year the holidays, Children’s Day and Buddha’s Birthday, occurred quite conveniently to award us in Korea with a four-day weekend. My boyfriend and I decided to camp for four days and three nights in Jirisan National Park (지리산국립공원).
One can catch a bus from the Sasang Bus Terminal in Busan to several different spots, but we decided to camp closest to the highest peak at the Jungsan-ri Camping Area (중산리야영장).
The bus that leaves directly for Jungsan (중산정류장) from Busan doesn’t leave very often, but it’s not difficult to go from Busan to Jinju (진주시외버스터미널), and then buy a ticket there to Jungsan. A one-way trip costs approximately 13,600₩ (Busan to Jungsan).
Once you arrive in Jungsan, you can hail a taxi to the camping grounds for 5,000₩. Camping costs 2,000₩ a person. Yeah, that’s right, I said 2,000₩ a person. Reservations cannot be made in advance; first come, first serve. We arrived on the Saturday afternoon of a four-day weekend and had no trouble finding ample room for our tent and hammock.
This campground is great. It has lots of trees and a creek nearby. There are clean restrooms and water facilities. There were signs warning of snakes, but I didn’t see any. There are also signs advising no campfires, but people still have campfires at night. Do it at your own risk.
There is food at short walk from the campground, but the selection is limited (e.g. samgyeopsal and kimchi jigae) and expensive. There are also marts that sell all Korean camping necessities at an inflated price, such as ramen, Pocari Sweat, and makgeolli. My boyfriend made the smart decision of bringing a lot of our own food, including bread, jam, peanut butter, pasta, hot dogs, cheese, eggs, butter, fruit, tuna, drinks, and fancy foil packets.
We had a really, really good time. If you’re comfortable without showers, one could stay for a long period of time. Or you could rent a pension (or minbak), as there are many around, but I don’t know how much they are or what they look like inside.
Once you’re ready to leave, take a taxi back down to the bus terminal for 5,000₩. You can buy bus tickets at the mart.
The bus leaves for Jinju 14 times a day, from 6:10 am - 7:40 pm. The bus leaves less frequently for Busan, during the same hours, just eight times a day.