Daejeon, South Korea, located 95 mi/150 km south of Seoul, hosted the 1993 World Expo, which has been converted to a theme park focused on science and technology. West of town is Gyeryong Mountain, where there are hiking trails, beautiful fall foliage, and the Gapsa and Donghaksa temples nestled in the hills. Southeast of town is Jikjisa Temple and its 1,000 statues of the Buddha as a baby (the entire temple complex, in a gorgeous setting in the mountains, is wondrous). The Yuseong Hot Springs are also worth a visit.
About 50 mi/80 km northeast of Daejeon is Songnisan National Park. A wonderful place to experience Korea's Buddhist culture firsthand, it houses Beopjusa Temple, home to Korea's tallest Buddha statue (109 ft/33 m high). The Korean government named its mountain peaks one of the country's eight most scenic attractions. Also not far from Daejeon is the Twin Lions Stone Lantern, the Stone Lotus water container and other national treasures, all set in a beautiful, wooded mountain setting. The park is especially beautiful during spring and fall.
Allow two days for Daejeon and the surrounding area—we recommend overnighting near one of the temples rather than in the city itself.