The Best Known Waterfalls in South Korea

From magnificent mountain cataracts to twisting and turning tiered cascades, discover why South Korea's best waterfalls are worth chasing.

Travel and Exploration
1 June 2023

With its overwhelmingly hilly and mountainous terrain adorned with broad coastal plains to the west and south, South Korea’s landscape is the perfect stage for some truly dramatic waterfalls.

These South Korean waterfalls, or “pokpo″, unfurl their splendour with undeniable flair. Like silver threads woven through the fabric of the wilderness, these cascades seize the stage with dramatic effect. They tumble, twist and turn, each drop of water a dancer in this spectacular ballet of nature. Journey with us as we unravel the stories of South Korea’s best waterfalls.

Jeongbang Falls

A waterfall in Jeju Island, South Korea (Credit: thianchai sitthikongsak via Getty Images)

For some of the best known waterfalls in South Korea, the island of Jeju is the place to look. And three in particular are considered the stars of the show. The first of these is Jeongbang Falls, which is also often classed as one of Jeju’s ten greatest scenic treasures. One of the rare waterfalls of South Korea, and indeed the world, to plunge directly into the ocean, this 75-foot wonder is the stuff of many a myth and legend. They say a dragon lived under it. And that an emissary of a great Qin Dynasty emperor marked his name on its wall whilst on a mission in search of the key to immortality. But whatever the reality of these legends, there’s no denying that the Jeongbang Falls are certainly a sight to behold.

Cheonjiyeon Waterfall

Cheonjiyeon Waterfall in Jeju island. (Credit: IronHeart via Getty Images)

The second of Jeju’s trio of great cataracts resides in a UNESCO GeoPark brimming with biodiversity. There, Cheonjiyeon Waterfall or ″Cheonjiyeonpokpo″ seems to tumble from the sky. In fact its name roughly translates to ″land meets sky″. At the end of its 72-foot descent, it rushes into an artificial pool where rare marbled Mutae eels swim.

Cheonjeyeon Waterfall

Cheonjeyeonpokpo Falls in Jeju Island, South Korea. (Credit: Vivian Yeong via Getty Images)

Rounding off the cascades of Jeju Island is the so-called ″pond of god″, Cheonjeyeonpokpo. There is certainly something celestial about the emerald pools and lush greenery around this, one of the best South Korean waterfalls. People once believed its waters had healing powers. Even its source from the ceiling of a cave brings to mind something otherworldly. From there, it tumbles down three tiers, the first two 72 and 98 feet high respectively.

Biryong Waterfall

Biryong Falls Waterfall in Seoraksan National Park, South Korea. (Credit: f9photos via Getty Images)

In the heart of the Seoraksan mountains is the mighty Biryong Waterfall or Biryongpokpo. Its name means the “dragon’s ascent,″ an allusion to the shape of the waters as they thunder down some 52 feet into the clear pool below. In the autumn, bright red leaves on many of the surrounding trees add a blaze of colour to the rocky, narrow valley in which it is burrowed, while in the winter, the waters freeze, forming it into a magnificent icefall. Whatever the season, this is certainly one of South Korea’s best waterfalls.

Towangseong Waterfall

Towangseong Waterfall in South Korea (Credit: sonamoo / Imazins via Getty Images)

In Towanggol Valley amid the Seoraksan Mountains, one finds what is possibly the tallest waterfall in South Korea. It’s here that water originating from the peak of Hwachaebong flows down an astonishing 1,050 feet. The result is Towangseong Falls, thought to be named after a stone fortress that once stood in the area, built by King Toseong. Towangseongpokpo drops in three steps of roughly 492 feet, 262 feet, and 295 feet respectively before its waters join Biryong Falls and Yudang Mokpo, then flow into Ssangcheon.

Guryong Falls

Guryong waterfalls in Odaesan. (Credit: AaronChoi via Getty Images)

The waterfalls of South Korea take an exceptional turn at Guryong Falls in Odaesan National Park, home to not one but nine cascades. Each is said to be occupied by a dragon, giving rise to its name, “nine dragons.”

Sambuyeon Falls

Sambuyeon Falls during winter. (Credit: memoriesarecaptured via Getty Images)

Carved in the Cretaceous period, Sambuyeon Falls, gracefully zigzagging down a 65-foot slope of Mount Myeongseongsan, adds a dash of prehistoric allure to the South Korean waterfalls.

Eongtto Waterfall

Eongtto Falls, Jeju Island. (Credit: laram / Imazins via Getty Images)

They say that when it rains it pours. And in this case the “it″ is Eongttopokpo, which only appears after rainfall. That’s when the waters of the river Akgeuncheon flow over the cliffs and thunder down some 160 feet in a cacophonous torrent.

Wibong Waterfall

Wibong Falls, Jeonbuk Wanju. (Credit: getwindy / Imazins via Getty Images)

Nestled in the eastern forests of Wibongsanseong Fortress in Wansan, Wibong Waterfall artfully meanders down nearly 200 feet over two stages, adding another feather to the diverse cap of waterfalls in South Korea.

Jikso Waterfall

Jikso Falls, Buan. (Credit: Greg Timlin Photography via Getty Images)

Jikso Waterfall or “Jiksopokpo″ is the tallest one in Byeonsanbando National Park. Thundering down 100 feet in Bongnaegugok Valley, it’s one of the park’s star attractions.

Bongnae Falls

Landscape of Bongnae Falls, Ulleungdo Island, South Korea. (Credit: gohjs225 / Imazins via Getty Images)

Bongnae Falls, the pride of Bongnae Falls National Geopark, is a standout among South Korean waterfalls. Its unique 100-foot drop unfolds over three tiers, showcasing the shift from trachyte to agglomerate rocks, resulting in a freefalling plunge followed by successive cascades.

Bidulginang Waterfall

Bidulginang Falls, Pocheon, Korea. (Credit: kdreams / Imazins via Getty Images)

As it travels through the northeastern province of Gyeonggi, the Hantangang River descends into a basalt gorge that it carved into a lava plateau. The result is one of the most extraordinary waterfalls in South Korea, the spectacular mix of the rough-hewn rocks and the vivid blue-green waters known as Bidulginang Waterfall.

Yongma Falls

Yongma falls during very hot summer north of Seoul, South Korea. (Credit: Matt MacDonald via Getty Images)

The artificially formed trio at Yongma Falls Park in Jungnang are worth a mention, not only as the largest manmade waterfalls of South Korea, but the entire continent of Asia. Created on Yongmasan Mountain in Seoul, they are made up of Cheongnyong, Yongma, and Baekma Falls. Yongma Falls is the highest at 165 feet.

Waterfalls of South Korea

South Korea, Jeju Island, waterfall behind Jungmon Beach. (Credit: John Seaton Callahan via Getty Images)

The waterfalls of South Korea serve as a breathtaking embodiment of the country’s spectacularly diverse and resplendent natural tapestry. Each waterfall, in its own unique rhythm and style, narrates an intriguing tale, woven from the threads of geological forces and the march of time. Together, they paint an array of sceneries that, in their combined power and variation, hold their own against the world’s most captivating spectacles. These Korean cascades remind us, with every thunderous roar and serene ripple, that in the heart of South Korea, the magic and mystery of nature are very much alive, potent, and ever-enthralling.


You May Also Like

Explore More