Trips From Seoul
Cheonan is a city of approximately 600,000 people and sits about 85 kilometers south of Seoul. Its downtown is quite developed. It is home to over ten universities and a number of businesses. Cheonan can be characterized as a commuter city, although certain elements (such as its active nightlife) tend to suggest otherwise. Cheonan is a great place to spend a weekend. It has the feel of a big city, but its pace is much less hectic that that of Seoul.
The Reason To Go -> Taejosan
Taejosan isn't well known amongst most hikers. However, it is a mountain with character. Like Bugaksan in Seoul, the goal of this mountain is not to reach the peak (421 meters) but to enjoy the hidden gems along the way.
There is a great rope suspension bridge that is tucked away close to the base of the mountain. To find this bridge, you have to wander off the trail a little. (GPS coordinates: 36.822, 127.188)
Near the top of the mountain is a man-made cave. A colony of bats has made its home here. Walk into the cave at your own risk. Be careful: there is a sudden dip about 50 meters in.
Taejosan is probably most popular for its big Buddha. It is definitely big. The Buddha itself is worth a see. A typical Buddhist temple surrounds the Buddha.
Taejosan also has a collection of military hardware such as jets and tanks at the base of the mountain. These can be found in Taejosan Park, which happens to also be an ideal place to begin your hike.
How To Get There
Buses depart from both Gangbyeong Bus Terminal (Gangbyeon Station, Line 2) and Express Bus Terminal (Express Bus Terminal Station, Line 3). The buses at Express Bus Terminal depart more frequently (every 20 minutes) and are slightly nicer. Tickets cost 5,400 won. The trip takes about an hour in normal traffic.
Trains for Cheonan depart from Yongsan Station (Line 1). Tickets for the KTX cost 15,000 won and the ride takes about 35 minutes. A normal train takes about 1 hour but only costs 5,400 won. Both trains will drop you at Asan Station. From there, take the subway to Cheonan Station or take a bus (#20 or #13) into the middle of Cheonan.
Cheonan Station is on the blue line (Line 1). Taking the subway can be a tricky affair. The express train takes approximately an hour and a half. However, the normal subway takes two and a half hours.
**As long as it is not a major holiday, taking a bus is usually the best option.
Where To Sleep
There are plenty of options. Check out the Oppane Guesthouse. It is the first of its kind in Cheonan. It is close to Cheonan Station and is foreigner friendly. (Website: www.oppazip.co.kr)
Where To Eat And Drink
Fortunately, there are a number of restaurants near the bus terminal. You can find both western food and Korean food joints. Head to Dujeong-dong if you are looking at having an evening out. It is an active area full of chicken and BBQ restaurants, noodle houses, and assorted street food vendors.
Ebony and Ivory is one of the best English bookstores in Korea. It only sells used books, but the prices and selection are amazing. When you walk out of the bus terminal, take a right and keep walking for a couple of minutes. It will appear on your right-hand side.
The book store is very cozy, and the service is great. If you are a reader, you could easily spend a good chunk of time here. Make sure you check this place out.
Check out the Cheonan photo album to see more pictures of the area.