Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Go East!

In the short time I've been in Korea, I've visited parts of the southeast (Busan), southwest (Mokpo), north (DMZ) and central (wine tour).  So I had yet to see what the east coast of the country is like.  From what I had been told, it was quite nice.  Seoraksan mountain is famous for its hikes and spectacular views.  And the beaches and waters are supposed to be a beautiful clear blue.  So, my friend Natallia and I decided to hop on a bus and head out there to see for ourselves.

After a bit of a rough start (I went to the wrong bus terminal and had to take a rushed cab ride to make to the right station on time!  Only to then be stuck in traffic for the next 5 hours!), we finally made it to Sokcho in the early afternoon.  We checked into our charismatic hostel and then took the bus up to see Seoraksan mountain for ourselves.  In the busy summer months, there are so many visitors to this landmark that there are usually lines to hike up the mountain!  But, since it was the end of the season, there were far fewer visitors on the day that we went, which is just fine for me!  Since I had done a big hike the previous weekend in Wolchulsan National Park, I wasn't super keen to do another big hike on this particular day, so we took the cable car to the top of one of the mountains and soaked in the lovely views.

Once we had seen the view from the top, we came back down and explored the local Buddhist temple.

Once we got back to the hostel in the afternoon, we decided to wander around the famous local fish market - quite a sight to behold!  But, thankfully not as disturbing as the one I found in Busan.  After a Japanese dinner of pork cutlet, we spent the night at a really charming hostel - the only one in the city, I believe: The House Hostel.  It had quite a bit of character, lots of little knick-knacks and very helpful staff.  Definitely worth a stay if you ever decide to head out that way.

The next morning, we decided to the second thing Sokcho is famous for - its beach.  Sadly, mother nature was not on our side as the whole beach was roped off due to high winds and big waves.  I still managed to dip my feet in Korea's east coast when the waves came up high enough, but I guess I brought my swimsuit for nothing!  We still had a nice time people watching and saw a whole Korean family and tent get soaked by a big wave that came up far higher on the beach than they clearly ever expected. (hehehe)

Before we knew it, it was time to catch out bus home.  This meant, it was also time for every one else to head back to Seoul too.  So another ridiculously long and uncomfortable bus ride later, we made it home.  Another part of Korea checked off the list!

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