By Feature Editor Sung Jung-wook
Not many people know that Yangyeong-gun, a county some 42.6 kilometers east of Seoul, is where the First Lady of Korea, Madam Kim Keon-hee was born on Sept. 2, 1972.
Why the elaborate introduction of the First Lady Kim?
In the opinion of many people in Korea, especially the conservatively minded people, First Lady Kim is a symbol of recovery of true democracy and, through her husband (President Yoon Suk-yeol), return of the ‘Good Old Days’ when the Korean people enjoyed all the wonders and advantages of a ‘Free Economy Republic of Korea.’
Her birth place, the Yangpyeong Country of the Gyeonggi Province, is also known to teem in wonderful tourist attractions for both Koreans and the international tourists.
Here are brief remarks by Mayor Jeon Jin-sun concerning his county, Yangpyeong:
My hearty welcome to all the visitors tour country of Yangpyeong. After passing through the Paldang Tunnel, you can find a place that makes you feel refreshed with clear water and green forests. Yangpyeong boats its name as a land which is full of vitality, healthy agricultural, livestock, forest and fishery products, and where the residents are happy and full of vigor—plus plenty of smiles and laughter.
This is Yangpyeong!
A place where residents create a happy community for themselves, which becomes healthier with the nation's first health tour and the sounds of water echoing from Yangpyeong!
A place where all residents work hard and endeavor for a safe and comfortable living environment and where the local economy is thriving thanks to a 100-year-old traditional market and high-quality jobs.
The leading region of the Sixth Industry, where farm household income is maximized and abundant forest resources create greater value! This is Yangpyeong.
Yangpyeong, which is made healthier by nature and happier by people, a place that represents a sustainable self-sufficient city, a place with a bright future ahead of it, is waiting for you.
History: Yanggeun County, which was known as Hangyang-gun in the Goguryeo Period of Korea, was renamed to Binyang during the Silla period before being renamed as Yanggeun as part of Gwangju in the early Goryeo period. It was referred to as Yeonghwa during the reign of King Gojong of the Goryeo Dynasty of Korea before being restored to the county (gun) status in the 5th year of King Gongmin of the Goryeo Dynasty and was renamed as Yanggeun-gun in 1356.
Jipyeong-gun was called Jihyeonhyeon in the Goguryeo period and Jipyeong in the Silla period. It came to be known as Jipyeong-gun in the 32nd year of reign of King Gojong (1895).
In March 1910, the administrative authority over Namjong-myeon was transferred to Gwangju-gun, and in April 1942, Seorak-myeon was transferred to Gapyeong-gun. In January 1963, Gaegun-myeon, the jurisdiction of which was held by Yeoju-gun, was transferred to Gapyeong-gun. In May 1979, the status of Yangpyeong-myeon was raised to that of -eup.
There are many attractive tour programs for Yangpyeong. Here is one for a day trip from Seoul:
Escape the bustle of Seoul on a day trip to Yangpyeong where you can marvel at lotus-filled lakes, pick strawberries and enjoy a riverside stroll.
Located to the east of Seoul, the city of Yangpyeong is a popular place for Seoul residents to take a short break from the busy city life. Accessible by subway, Yangpyeong makes both an affordable and convenient getaway. Here are seven things you can see and do in Yangpyeong while on a day trip:
Semiwon Garden: This garden is famous for its beautiful lotus fields. It’s the perfect place for nature and photography lovers! The lotuses are at full bloom during spring and summer, so I’d definitely recommend that you come during those seasons. Entrance fee is 5,000 won.
Dumulmeori: Known for its beautiful landscape, this is another famous spot for photography and a great place to relax your mind and body. There are the lotus flowers and a picturesque view of the hills, river and sunset. This is known to be the filming site of the Korean Drama, “She Was Pretty” where Park Seo-Joon and Hwang Jung-eum starred.
Fresh strawberries from the farm: Yangpyeong is well-known as a spot for strawberry picking. You can taste the freshest and juiciest strawberries here! There are several places to go strawberry-picking but the one people often choose is Yangsuri Strawberry Farm
Yongmun-sa Buddhist Temple: The Yongmun-sa Temple was built during the Silla Kingdom and subsequently reconstructed during the reign of King Sejong. This is also the location of the Yongmunsa Ginkgo Tree, the oldest ginkgo tree in South Korea. This temple makes for a great stroll and looks beautiful all year round. For those interested in the Buddhist culture, they also offer temple stays.
Yangpyeong Rail Bike: Yangpyeong Rail Bike is located at Yongmun Station, a few stops after Yangsu Station. Rail biking is definitely a must-try when you’re in Korea! While the one at Yangpyeong offers decent views, I personally feel that there are better ones out there.
Dining in Yangpyeong: Just a stone-throw away from Yangsu station is a famous restaurant known as Yeonbat. As Yangpyeong is famous for anything lotus, this restaurant serves lotus-related dishes. Visitors order both the pollack and pork versions. The guests are also served lotus leaf glutinous rice and a variety of side dishes.
From lotus-flavored corn dog and ice cream to lotus latte, there is a wide variety of snacks that the visitors can try. These stores are easily found around the Dumulmeori and Semiwon area.
Yangsu Station: The Yangsu Station at Yangpyeong is the nearest station to the meeting point of Bukhangang River (North Hangang River) and Namhangang River (South Hangang River). A short walk from the station, the visitors are presented with the calmness of rustic mountain and river views with the conveniences (e.g. restaurants and shops) of the town. It is a perfect place for those who want to get away from the bustle of the city life and typical tourist crowd.
Dumulmeori, a main ecotourism spot: This is the place where the Bukhangang River flowing from Geumgangsan Mountain and Namhangang River originating from Geomyongso Spring at the foot of Geumdaeboung Peak converge. A 'Top 100 Must-Visit Tourist Spots in Korea', Dumulmeori is surrounded by water, Dumulmeori offers beautiful scenery, a 26-meter-high zelkova tree of over 400 years old, a 16-meter-long traditional sailboat and a frame photo zone.
Dumulmeori is also a popular filming location for dramas like The Beauty Inside (2018), Two Cops (2017-18), The Man Living in Our House (2016), She Was Pretty (2015) and Goddess of Marriage (2013).
Semiwon Garden: Semiwon Garden is surrounded by water in Korea's traditional garden style. Over 50 kinds of lotus flowers and 60 kinds of water plants grow in the large 1,320 square meters compound. Beautiful lotus flowers bloom at the beginning of July through to the end of August. There is a pontoon bridge over Namhangang River that connects the garden to Dumulmeori.
Young Farmer Strawberry Experience Farm: From Yangsu Station: A walk to Dumulmeori-gil and turn right to Dumulmeori-gil 68-beon-gil (blue sign to 'Han River Environment Research Center'). Walk straight about 100m passing the tennis court on your right. Young Farmer Strawberry Experience Farm is on the small road on your right (there is a sign with strawberries on it). 30 mins walk from Yangsu station or 7 mins on Taxi. See map on walking path.
There are quite a number of strawberry farms along the walk to Dumulmeori, more so nearer to Dumulmeori. Of which, Young Farmer Strawberry Experience Farm ran by the husband and wife team is a popular one with their big and sweet organic strawberries and on-site facilities for visitors. The friendly farm owner will give you a brief introduction and picking instructions in English.
Every mid-November to mid-June, visitors can enjoy strawberry picking and strawberry jam making at the farm.
Yangsuri Traditional Market: Yangsuri Traditional Market is one of the three major traditional markets in Yangpyeong. Yangsuri means ‘Meeting of Two Waters’). Visitors can try a variety of local food and things to buy at the market. A folk 5-day market is held at the entrance of the market on the 1st and 6th of every month, providing more things for visitors to see and purchase.
Namhangang Bike Path: One great way to go around Yangpyeong is cycling along the scenic Namhangang River on its well-paved cycling path. The bicycle course is popular with the locals and various bicycle festivals are held throughout the year too.
Bukanganggyo Bridge (or Bukhangang Railroad Bridge) used to be a railroad bridge, now transformed into a cycling and pedestrian path. Crossing the bridge provides scenic view of the river and surrounding mountains. You may even chance across a passing train running parallel to the bridge.
There are two bicycle rental shops near Yangsu Station. The first one is located a short distance (10m) away from Yangsu Station (exit 1) and the other one just directly across the road.
Recommended Cycling Course to Dumulmeori and Semiwon: Yangsu Station to Bukanganggyo Bridge to Yangsuyo Bridge to Strawberry Farm to Dumulmeori to Semiwon, and to Yangsu Station.
Yongmun-sa Buddhist Temple: This is a temple in the Yongmunsan Mountain. Unlike other temples, this is very common temple with a tourist attraction.
Resumé of Mayor Jeon Jin-sun:
1978: Graduated from Inha University College of Education Affiliated High School
1986: Graduated from the Department of Police Administration, Dongguk University.
2003: Dongguk University Graduate School of Public Administration (Master's degree course).
2017: Graduated from Dongguk University Graduate School (Doctoral degree course).
1986: Inspector appointment, 34th class of police officer candidates (Gangneung Police Station).
2012: Chief of the Yeongdong Police Station, Chungcheongbuk-do
2014: Chief of the Incheon International Airport Police
2015: Chief of the Yangpyeong Police Station
2016: Director of the Police Affairs, Incheon Regional Office
2017: Yeoju Police Station Chief
2018: Retired from the police career.
2018: Member of the 8th-term Yangpyeong County Council
2020: Chairman of the 8th-tern Yangpyeong County Council
July 2022: Elected as Mayor of the Yangpyeong Country.
Honors and citations:
2018: Outstanding Meritorious Service Medal, Hongjogeunjeong Medal.