Paju: Where the Skies are Blue and It Smells Like Country

As I prepared to leave Korea, I tried to schedule time with all of my friends, especially the ones that I didn’t get to see very often. I had to plan two months in advance for this busy gal, but Shauna, my Irish friend and fellow AngloInfo blogger, and I settled on me coming up to Paju the last full weekend of May. For those that don’t know, Paju is about as far north as you can get without going into North Korea itself. It’s very rural, especially compared to where I lived, to the point that it smelled like country somehow!

Shauna asked me what I wanted to do and I told her I didn’t really care, so she planned the whole day for me. We started off at Samneung which is a collection of three royal tombs from the Joseon Dynasty.

Through the trees


We were very blessed that day-the weather was gorgeous, the skies were blue, and there were very few people there.

Standard Joseon-era tomb construction-the hill behind the building on the left is where the queen is actually buried.


I really need to do better about taking pictures of explanation signs…I have no idea what these two buildings are…


Some of the benefits of getting out of the city-the beautiful flora and fauna!


We encountered these gardeners while we were walking between tombs. They said “Hello!!’ in English and we both automatically replied in Korean 🙂


Since there were very few people there, it was incredibly quiet and peaceful. We ended up sitting in one of the buildings and just talking for almost an hour.

After we had seen the tombs, she told me she had a surprise for our next visit. We got into her little car and chugged along the highway until we came to these massive standing Buddhas, Yongmiri.

Part of Yongam Temple, which is at the base of the stairs that you ascend to see the Buddhas.


Look, a picture of the sign! It’s really a pretty cool story if you can follow the poor English.


Many families who want to have a baby come here to pray.



Another very peaceful area




If you have the transportation I really recommend stopping by Yongmiri.


After leaving Yongmiri, we stopped by her apartment for lunch and a catnap (no pictures, sorry!) then headed to one of my favorite places in Korea: Heyri Art Village.

Lots of little children driving lots of little cars. Brilliant.


We could smell these flowers before we could see them. It was like walking into a massive perfume cloud.


Shauna needed to get down to Seoul, so we loaded up and headed to the subway station. On the way, we spotted this little horses who were pulling carriages just down the block from Heyri.


The whole day was a great way to say goodbye to my blogging rival and friend! 보고 싶어, 쇼나공주!