Chungnam: the Korean province where history and future merge

If memory serves me right, my first visit to the Chungcheongnam province in Korea was in December 2015. I was then working as a photojournalist and deputy editor at the Asia Journalists Association in Seoul and our journalist organization had started a “Peace Train” program that was to go through certain cities and states.

The first place that I remember going to in Chungcheongnam (aka Chungnam) is the Independence Hall of Korea in Cheonan city. Full of massive, magnificent and majestic statues that appear to be right out of the Italian Renaissance period, the Independence Hall of Korea boasts the largest exhibition space in the country.

The Independence Hall of Korea (photo: Rahul Aijaz)

Come to think of it, that is one of my favorite things about Korea. Their museums don’t merely exhibit history, they make you experience the narrative and take you through the journey like a film. It’s visually and aesthetically impactful and you wouldn’t forget museum visits in Korea. And the Independence Hall of Korea certainly offers one of the most memorable museum experiences.

Since my visit almost five years ago, Chungnam, as a province, has also come a long way. It’s become a place where both history and the future are valued and go hand in hand – a true metaphor for South Korea where traditions are as important as adapting to modern values and technological advancements to ensure the safe and vibrant future. The rapid progress, led by governor Yang Seung-jo, has turned the province into one where you could settle and enjoy a uniquely Korean lifestyle.

The new self-sufficient Sejong City is also located in Chungnam and is supposed to be the next big city in Korea when it’s completed by 2030. There are already more than 300, 000 people living in Sejong.

Chungnam also offers some of the finest cuisine and tourist attractions in Korea. You could taste the famous walnut cakes called Hodu-gwaja in Cheonan, high-sugar strawberries in Nonsan and the Hansan Sogokju, the traditional alcoholic beverage which was enjoyed by the royal Baekje family a couple thousand years ago.

Beside the Independence Hall of Korea, you could also visit the Mysterious Sea Path of Muchangpo. It’s also known as the Miracle of Moses as the sea parts to reveal the seabed twice a month. Every July, a festival is held with multiple entertaining activities, such as performances, fireworks, arm-wrestling competitions, folk games and clam-catching contests, for locals and tourists alike.

The Mysterious Sea Path of Muchangpo where the sea parts to reveal the seabed twice a month. (photo: Official Chungnam Tour website – http://www.tour.chungnam.go.kr)

From the Onyang Hot Springs in Asan and the rock-carved Buddha Triad in Yonghyeon-ri, Seosan to the five-story stone pagoda of Jeongnimsaji Temple and the Mallipo beach, there is always something to do in Chungnam.

Onyang Hot Springs (photo: Official Chungnam Tour website – http://www.tour.chungnam.go.kr)

In fact, it’s a wonderful place to live for foreigners as well. Out of the 1.27 million (according to a consensus in 2019) registered foreigners in Korea, over 70 thousand lived in Chungnam.

So, go ahead and book that tour, or go work and live a new life in Chungnam. It definitely wouldn’t be bad seeing the pleasant sights every day and be surrounded by technological innovations as well as the historical sites in the province.

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