A wander in the bamboo forest: the Damyang Bamboo Festival

This was my weekend to feel like a panda.

Damyang has been on my Korea bucket list for a while, as it’s known around the country for its bamboo forests. Since its annual festival came around last weekend, two friends and I finally had a concrete excuse to go. Stalls with bamboo games, bamboo art projects, bamboo trinkets, bamboo tea and bamboo booze were lined up at the foot of the bamboo forest, and we spent lunch drinking bamboo beer and eating bamboo rice (and even bamboo shoots in red pepper sauce!!).

See? Not only pandas can have fun!

Next up, China!!

Getting there:
The easiest way to Damyang is via Gwangju, as direct buses to Damyang only run two times a day. Catch a bus to Gwangju from Seoul (Express Bus Terminal, about 4 hours one-way). The cheap buses (‘gosok,’ 고속) are 16,900 won and the nicer buses (‘udeung,’ 우등) 25,000 won, though there’s no difference in travel time. From Gwangju Bus Terminal, take bus 311 until Juknokwon Forest (죽녹원, 1 hour ride).
In Gwangju, we stayed at Garden Residence Hotel in an ensuite 3-bed room for 40k total. Pretty good deal!

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26 Responses to A wander in the bamboo forest: the Damyang Bamboo Festival

  1. Jill 10 May, 2012 at 20:17 #

    How was the ice cream?

    • na-o-mi 16 May, 2012 at 15:27 #

      The ice-cream was delicious, but tasted suspiciously like green tea. They might have just relabeled it… ;)

  2. Robert 10 May, 2012 at 22:48 #

    ….and how was the rice? it looks so good! Anyway it seems you had a great time ! Good luck for your next trip to China, look forward your posts!

    • na-o-mi 16 May, 2012 at 15:28 #

      The rice looked much better than it tasted! Really, as fun as it was to try all these bamboo-flavoured things, the novelty is really the only draw – bamboo has such a light flavour that it’s really nothing to write home about. But at least the experience is something ;)

  3. Marikee 11 May, 2012 at 05:04 #

    Never heard of it but it sounds like so much fun! :)

    • na-o-mi 16 May, 2012 at 15:30 #

      It was one of those small festivals that you might never hear of unless you live in Korea, but there you are ;)

  4. Ekua 15 May, 2012 at 12:38 #

    Looks interesting, thanks for sharing. Is that ice cream bamboo flavored as well? Very curious to know what it tasted like!

    • na-o-mi 16 May, 2012 at 15:29 #

      Yep…and it pretty much just tasted like green tea! Still delicious ;)

  5. Audrey | That Backpacker 16 May, 2012 at 12:06 #

    I still need to check this place out! I did eat bamboo rice the other day – pretty tasty!

    • na-o-mi 16 May, 2012 at 15:29 #

      I HIGHLY recommend it – try and get there now that the weather is so nice!!

  6. Daniel Dalena 17 May, 2012 at 13:26 #

    Fantastic photos! Very jealous, I’ve always wanted to visit Korea. I loved China though, as I’m sure you will too! Safe travels.

    • na-o-mi 22 May, 2012 at 13:31 #

      Korea is so much fun…and doesn’t see nearly enough tourists!!

  7. Mark Wiens 19 May, 2012 at 22:55 #

    This looks like a really fun trip Naomi – I think bamboo is one of the most amazing and highly useful plants… and eating and drinking it would be great too!

    • na-o-mi 22 May, 2012 at 13:31 #

      Yeah, it really blew me away the first time I saw it used as scaffolding in Hong Kong…apparently it’s not just panda food ;)

  8. Tee 22 May, 2012 at 11:43 #

    I had no idea there’s bamboo rice and bamboo beer! This place looks really nice.

    • na-o-mi 22 May, 2012 at 13:32 #

      I didn’t either! I think bamboo has such a neutral flavour, though, that you can essentially mix it with anything without messing it up…

  9. ashley 24 May, 2012 at 05:38 #

    That looks absolutely incredible! and the food doesn’t look half bad either :)

    • na-o-mi 16 July, 2012 at 14:58 #

      Well, even though I never identified a really bamboo-y flavour, everything was still delicious! ;)

  10. Maki | Moon River Travels 2 June, 2012 at 11:30 #

    All of the sudden I’m hungry for bamboo… it all looks delicious! I’ve had green tea ice cream before. It was… interesting. Haha.


    • na-o-mi 16 July, 2012 at 14:59 #

      And so the panda craze begins… :9

  11. Ryan 25 June, 2012 at 22:47 #

    This trip was awesome. You take really good pictures O-Nami.

    • na-o-mi 16 July, 2012 at 15:08 #

      It wouldn’t have been the same without y’all!! ;)

  12. Sarah @ Mapping Words 5 November, 2012 at 18:49 #

    Hi Naomi!

    I’m loving your blog. I don’t know why I haven’t come here sooner, seeing as how I saw that you commented on my blog last May. Wow. Anyway, I also just went to Damyang this weekend for the bamboo hot springs– which were incredible! I went to the Gochujang Festival in Sunchang, but I would love to go to the bamboo festival this spring. Thanks for the tip and great photographs!


    • na-o-mi 12 November, 2012 at 16:09 #

      Bamboo hot springs?! Sounds amazing!!

      Happy travels – Korea is always going to have a piece of my heart ^^


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