Cheonan Travel Guide
From a museum that chronicles the Korean independence movement to beautiful temples, visitors will have an enjoyable stay here.
Start your time in Cheonan by exploring The Independence Hall of Korea. Built to honour Korean resistance to Japanese colonial rule, its exhibits shed light on the struggle for freedom during those times. They also highlight the history of Korea from prehistoric times to the late Joseon Dynasty.
This gallery gives context to the struggle faced by resistance members, who started operations in the early 20th century. From the Uibyeong Movement to actions taken during World War II, it took tremendous sacrifice to liberate Korea.
The Cheonan area is home to a pair of notable temples. Make Gakwonsa Temple your first stop, as it is home to one of the more massive bronze Buddhas in Korea. The bronze Buddha has considerable prominence, as it stands 15 metres tall and weighs over 60 tons.
This temple sits above the city of Cheonan at the foot of Mount Taejosan. A public desire for Korean re-unification motivated its construction in 1977, with many visitors praying for that specific purpose. However, you must climb 203 steps to reach the temple – remember this if you decide to visit during the summer months.
Next, make your way toward Seongbulsa Temple. A hermitage situated in the hills, this temple has existed since the days of the Goryeo Dynasty. Despite its seclusion, it has had a rich history, including its destruction by the Japanese in the 16th century.
From here, the sight of Cheonan’s sprawl will stand in stark contrast to the peacefulness of this temple. Soak it in – it isn’t often you’re free from crowds in South Korea.
The period spent under Japanese colonial rule was a painful and embarrassing one for Koreans. Learn about one of the greatest folk heroes of that time by visiting Yu Gwan-sun Memorial Hall. Born in 1902, she grew up in a Korea that quickly found itself subjugated by the empire of Japan.
Aghast at the loss of her country’s sovereignty, she organized protests that became known as The March 1st Movement. It drew thousands of people, but the Japanese authorities were ruthless in their response – they opened fire on the crowds, killing 19.
Arrested in the aftermath of the protest, Yu Gwan-sun refused to name her co-conspirators. As a result, she endured intense torture, eventually passing away from her injuries. The courage of her convictions led to her lionization, with some dubbing her Korea’s Joan D’ Arc.
The hall contains exhibits and a commemorative statue – a worthy tribute to one of Korea’s bravest citizens.
If you’re in the mood to check out some contemporary art, make room in your Cheonan itinerary for the Arario Gallery. Built in 2002 in response to President Chang-il Kim’s passion for the arts, it promotes contemporary culture in Korea.
In addition to displaying Korean works, it hosts international exhibitions by creatives like Keith Haring and Jorg Immendorff. A clean, evocative place amidst the bustle of downtown Cheonan, spending time here is a must for cultural travellers.
As mentioned earlier, there are plentiful hiking opportunities in the Cheonan area. With peaks in every direction, you are never far from trails where you can get away from it all. If you want to get active after visiting Independence Hall, head up Heukseong Mountain.
With easily accessible trailheads, you can use this peak to seek peace quickly. With a round trip distance of three kilometres, it is easy to fit this walk into a jam-packed schedule. From this peak, you can enjoy a stunning view of Independence Hall, Cheonan, and the surrounding area.
After a tiring hike in the mountains of Cheonan, soak your cares away at Tedin Water Park. Tapping into natural hot spring waters, it contains minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Meanwhile, there are water features that will allow your kids to get the most out of their time here.
Before moving on, see if there is a local football game happening by dropping by the Cheonan Sports Complex. If there isn’t anything going on, no worries – there are plenty of facilities that will help you entertain yourself.
With an Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis courts, and basketball facilities, athletically-minded visitors will find plenty to do here.