Kumgang Mountains



On the eastern coast just north of the 38th parallel, the Geumgang Mountains (Diamond Mountains) are a beautiful, impressive range. Within the bounds of the Geumgangs is the largest national park in the country, covering 75 sq mi/194 sq km. Majestic waterfalls, beautiful vistas, birds, morning and evening mist, and Buddhist rock carvings (including a 60-ft-/18-m-high, 10th-century Bodhisattva) are among its attractions. Plan to stay at least a full day or two. Accommodations aren't the world's best, but nature lovers won't care.

You can also visit a different part of the mountain range on special tours originating from South Korea. You arrive by boat or by coach and have a choice of a few hiking trails to take. Visitors should not try to talk to the North Korean guards or workers. For more information, check with a travel agency in Seoul, South Korea, such as Hyundai Dream Tour (02-723-2233) or KTB (02-729-9680).

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