Yangpyeong County (양평군) sits on the South Han River (남한강; Namhangang) near the middle-north of South Korea. Its borders touch the bottom of Hanam City (하남시) in the north and the top of Yeoju City (여주시) in the south.
The region thrives on farming and the droves of big city citizens who visit for the rural atmosphere.
The Hangang Bicycle Path follows the South Han River from Namyangju City (남양주시; Namyangju-si) in the northwest. It continues through the center of the county before draining south into Yeoju City (여주시; Yeoju-si).
Technically, Yangpyeong County borders only the east banks of the North Han. The official bike path travels along the western banks. However, bike paths straddle both sides.
- To the West: Namyangju City (남양주시; Namyangju-si).
- To the North: Gapyeong County (가평군; Gapyeong-gun) & Gangwon Province’s Hongcheon County (홍천군; Hongcheon-gun).
- To the East: Namyangju City (남양주시; Namyangju-si) & Gwangju City (광주시; Gwangju-si)
- To the South: Yeoju City (여주시; Yeoju-si) & Gwangju City (광주시; Gwangju-si)
Yangpyeong County straddles both the North (Bukhangang; 북한강) and South Han Rivers. Two imposing mountains — Yongmun (용문산; Yongmunsan) and Yumyeong (유명산; Yumyeongsan) — separate the northern towns from the southern.
Winters in Yangpyeong County are famous for their frigid depths. How cold are we talking? Think exploding soju bottles. Dump trucks driving over the frozen rivers.
Adding to the extreme brew, because of global warming, Yanpyeong recorded a record high of 40.1°C (104.2°F) on August 1st, 2018. This 72.7°C (130.9°F) between record highs and lows marks the greatest variation in the country.
The land seeds Yangpyeong’s economy. Farming, logging, and fishing create the largest share of jobs in the county.
Because the district sits upstream on the South Han River, the government restricts development. Why? In days past, cornering cutting farmers let runoff flow into the waterway. This choked downstream wetlands to near extinction.
In recent years, Yangpyeong’s housing and land prices spiraled upwards. Why? The county is the closest morsel of rural earthiness outside of Seoul.
An assortment of retirees and families with itchy disposable incomes migrate down the South Han and snatch up second homes or green pastures for when they escape their cubicle purgatory.
Yangpyeong County has given birth to two nationally known dishes: Yangpyeong Haejangguk (양평해장국) and Okcheon Naengmyeon (옥천냉면).
The dish arrives in a boiling earthen bowl. Thick slithers of beef, oxblood, and other vegetables roil around in a soupy broth.
Those who partied past their tolerance imbibe one of these suckers to cure their hangovers. This earned haejangguk (해장국) the nickname “hangover soup.”
Yangpyeong is the most populous county in South Korea. Impressive, right? Not so fast.
Remember, Gyeonggi is the most populous province in Korea. Twenty-eight (28) of its thirty-one (31) administrative districts are cities. The other three? Counties.
So, compared to its siblings, Yangpyeong County is the largest runt of the litter.
Towns & Areas
Quaint towns and villages settle throughout Yangpyeong Country. Let’s take a quick tour.
(The Hangang Bicycle Path passes by the settlement.)
The town’s attractions include:
- Yangpyeong Museum of Art (양평군립미술관) is a three-story museum with four (4) exhibition halls on the northeast of downtown. (A certification center sits outside.)
- A lively downtown highlighted by Yeonggeun Stream (양근천).
- Yangpyeong Wildflower Arboretum (양평들꽃수목원) holds a few hundred endangered plant species, sculpture park, and well-kept gardens.
- Yanggang Island (양강섬) sits in the South Han River and holds a recreational park..
It’s famous for sunrises and sunsets. Many photographers flock to the scenic spot to capture nature and wildlife pics.
Seojong Village (서종면; Seojong-myeon) lies on the northern border of the county, on the North Han River (Bukhangang; 북한강). It holds a literary museum, a congregation of coffee shops, and a monthly market.