Set out on a healing tour to Korea's Donguibogam Village
Sancheong has long been connected with noted doctors of old and oriental medicine. In particular, the medicinal herbs that grow on Jirisan Mountain around Sancheong are well-known for having great healing properties. With a history so rich in medical history, it is no wonder that Sancheong was host to the 2013 World Traditional Medicine Expo.
When the expo ended, the site was converted into a unique themed park to make use of the many facilities and exhibitions that were built and installed. Now called Donguibogam Village, Korea’s first hanbang, or Korean medicine, theme park is gaining popularity as visitors can come here for a healing experience while learning about the history of oriental medicine.
Donguibogam Village is named after the advanced medical book of the same name, published by physician Heo Jun during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The book is an important historical document, earning it the right for inclusion in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2009.
Donguibogam Village can largely be divided into three sections of Expo Theme Hall, Oriental Medicine Museum, and the Medicinal Herb Garden. To the south, visitors can also find Hanbang ‘Chi’ Experience Center and Hanbang Recreational Forest, as well as Donguibonga House. The three sections are connected by the Heo Jun Trail, with more things to see along the way such as a deer enclosure and Haebudonggul Cave.
Memory of the World Register - Donguibogam
The Hanbang ‘Chi’ Experience Center provides a space to heal one’s mind and body through the training of one’s chi, or energy force, and meditation. The first floor offers exercise experiences to improve the circulation of energy and blood flow, and the second floor has a space for thermotherapy and hanbang tea therapy. Take time to relax over a cup of tea brewed from medicinal herbs and feel your stresses and worries melt away in the thermotherapy experience.
If you want to receive good chi, simply head outside. The Three Rocks of Gwigamseok, Seokgyeong, and Bokseokjeong are treasures of Hanbang ‘Chi’ Experience Center. Gwigamseok is a 127-ton large boulder located directly behind Donguijeon Hall, and is carved with all the good works in the world. It is said that placing your hands or body on the stone is enough to renew your spiritual energy, and has become famous as a place where all wishes and dreams made in connection with the stone will come true.
Seokgyeong is a 60-ton rock “mirror” facing to the east; the stone takes in the energy of the sunrise and gives it back to those who touch the surface with their forehead. The final rock, Bokseokjeong, is a large boulder that has been placed on its side. Standing a coin up on top of the rock is said to give one good luck; try it out for yourself!
After leaving Donguijeon Hall, you can visit the Hanbang Experiential Themed Park, Medicinal Herb Hall, Oriental Medicine Museum and more. The park is decorated with sculptures and various medicinal herbs, allowing visitors to take in the fresh air while connecting the beautiful plants to their medicinal benefits. The herb hall is a greenhouse filled with various wild medicinal herbs from Jirisan Mountain and is beautiful with blooming flowers throughout the seasons.
The first floor of the Oriental Medicine Museum is dedicated to exhibitions about the Donguibogam text, while the second floor is designed as a healing experience center with a variety of fun games both electronic and physical. As you walk along the Hanbang Dulle-gil Path, you can take assessment of your state of health and learn ways to improve your wellbeing. The patio of the second floor also offers a fantastic view down to Expo Theme Hall and to the mountainside beyond.
Visitors to Donguibonga House can take part in many activities, from a learning experience on the know-how of longevity and wrapping up medicinal packages to even enjoying a medicinal herbal spa! In the longevity experience, learn which herbs can increase your lifespan and then use your new-found knowledge to create an herbal pouch suited to your own personal needs. The activity then gets very relaxing, as you lay back and meditate. The aroma fills your senses and a moxibustion warms your center, allowing your blood and chi to flow through your body with ease.
Making herbal scented pouches and learning how to properly prepare a medical package is another fun learning experience; the pouches and packages also make for great souvenirs. For a more memorable time, spend the night in the hanok houses and enjoy an oriental medicine spa experience.
If you aren’t interested in joining an experience program or you’re just short on time, taking a walk along the Heo Jun Trail or through the medicinal herb garden will prove to be just as much of a healing experience. The energy of Jirisan Mountain will enter your body, providing a clear and calm emotional state of being.
If you come all the way to Donguibogam Village, you can’t leave without trying some of the delicious and healthy foods made with medicinal herbs. Restaurants nearby specialize in medicinal herb bibimbap, medicinal herb and mushroom shabu shabu and more.
TIP. Nearby Tourist Attraction
Sancheong is also well-known for Namsayedam Village, a hanok village preserving the traditional beauty and sentiment of Korea. And of course, we cannot leave out the royal azaleas that color Hwangmaesan Mountain in shades of pink each May. Spend the night at Donguibogam Village Recreational Forest or at the Sancheong Hanbang Condominium to take in the fresh air of the region and get a deeper feeling of Sancheong.
☞ Address: 45-6, Donguibogam-ro 555beon-gil, Geumseo-myeon, Sancheong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do
☞ Directions: Take a taxi approx. 6.5km from Sancheong Intercity Bus Terminal
☞ Transportation: Seoul → Sancheong
Bus: Seoul Nambu Bus Terminal → Sancheong Intercity Bus Terminal (Fare 17,400 won / Travel time approx. 3hr 10min)
Donguibogam Village donguibogam-village.sancheong.go.kr (Korean, English)
Sancheong Tourism www.sancheong.go.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
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