Sokcho is the #2 favorite on the list!!! I really wanted to get to the nearby Seoraksan Park since I had read about it being a popular place for hiking.
We got to the hostel – GREAT atmosphere! How a hostel should be (should take ideas for the one I work at haha) – the owner was super friendly and explained lots of places on the map, almost too much information to really take it all in, and they have a book with a map and pictures of good restaurants for food nearby.
We tried out the Korean BBQ restaurant that does all-you-can-eat for 11,000 KRW, which is around $10! Delicious. Then we took a walk down to the port where there is a huge fresh seafood market.
The next day it was Chuseok, the Korean Thanksgiving when they make a ton of food and feed it to their ancestors. I assumed people would be closed up in their homes for this, but WRONG! They still went to the mountains, and on our very full bus to Seoraksan, there was also a taffic jam going to the park! Fortunately most people seemed to do some other trails and the even bigger flow of hikers came later in the afternoon when we were on our way out.
there is a long trek along Dinosaur Ridge, which takes about12 hours. I am going back to attempt it next weekend, but with Nick we opted for something less intense- Ulsan Bawi. It took about 2 1/2 hours up and down and mostly consisted of stairs as always.
At the top we took some fantastic photos of the view since we were lucky that we beat the larger crowd and it was a clear day. They have a Korean flag at the top and after posing together with it, proud of our accomplishment, the Korean man offering to take pictures kicked Nick out so it was just me for a few snaps – poor Nick.
However, all of this was lost because I dropped my camera down the toilet on the way back down! Fortunately, some nice girls that were at the top with us were staying in the same hostel so they shared some of their photos. Same pictures as mine really, even with the same tree shots I loved, just with a better camera. As for my messy mistake, I like to think of it as an act of Buddhism practice of non-attachment to cameras, photos and selfies. Or just bad luck and stupidity for having the camera in my pocket over a poo pit!!!
On that note, enjoy the pics!!!
On the way up…
These are actually mine…. Back at the bottom.
After Ulsan Bawi and finally getting some bibimbap, I was feeling ambitious and wanted to do another hike in the valley. There was cable car to cheat and go up some of the way but it was a bit pricey (10,000KRW when entrance to the park was 3,000!), so while we were mulling over whether our legs and knees could take it or if it was worth going, a Dip N Dots stand caught my eye and we opted for some ice cream and a busride back to Sokcho.
I didn’t have enough small bills and coins for the fare, so the driver so kindly said discount and just let us on anyway! Thanksgiving spirit maybe. Back in town, we got off early to check out Sokcho beach and walk along the coast, going over two big bridves and passing through Abai village, a neighorhood where many North Koreans settled. Noticeably difference? Not really, but they say it is in the dialect and we didn’t/couldn’t speak to anyone. On the way out, we stumbled upon a small alley with some fun, funky cartoons there.
In the evening, we went to the Central Market to sample food of course! Dumplings, kimbap, teriyaki chicken, shrimp tempura… We wanted one last thing and finally found just the thing whch turned out to be our favorite food out of them all – hotteok! It is a warm and toasty sweet bread filled with gooey sweetness and they also stuffed it with some kind of seeds/nuts and what I think was cinnamon sugar. I have tried a few others in Seoul since ten but that place still beats them by a landslide. We even went back for seconds and were tempted to get a third!
And that’s it! Next up…. Chuncheon and the under par hotel but yummy spicy chicken stir-fry dakkgalbi.