Wow Korea 1st Trip - Day 2

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Spent the second day of the trip around Sokcho. After we checked out in the morning from the hotel, we went to a nearby place for breakfast. I swear anything that's warm and hot with soup can just wake anyone up, since I'm not much of a coffee person. Anyhoo, the first attraction of the place was Mt Seorak! It's one of the more famous mountains with temples and a humongous Buddha statue. 

Had our breakfast at this restaurant called 설학산회관, and the food was pretty alright, usual Korean dishes. Really loved the fried egg side dish that came along though. One thing that I really like about Korea is the unlimited (if you're thick-skinned enough) side dishes that you can ask for. So if you really like that particular side dish, you can keep getting it and eating more and more, free of charge! Whereas for the rest that you don't really like, either don't ask for it, or don't take it at all because it contributes a lot to Korea's food wastage. (Incidentally, increasing more and more)

Spent the whole day walking, as per usual. I think I clocked almost twice the necessary amount of 10,000 steps a day just in that day, since we climbed the mountain as well. It was a beautiful place, and as usual I was snapping away. It seemed like we were a tourist group, but from all sorts of different countries all together. It was quite an extraordinary sight. 

As a tourist attraction, you can't expect everyone to be that fit and hike up, do you? As such! They provide a service, and also a great way to make money. Great huh? Of course there would be cable car services. Everyone wants to see the beautiful sights, but skip the tough part of climbing all the way up to the top. 

The cable car queue was pretty long at the time so we went ahead to look at the temples and the huge Buddha statue first. The place was very serene, very natural and quiet even with a lot of human interaction and urbanization, it was still a place that you could feel calm at. The greenery, the nature, and of course, the tourists. I, on the other hand, just continued snapping away on my camera. Hope the pictures appeal to you!

I kinda like taking people taking selfies; just candid

Don't the mountains just look amazing?

After we got out of the cable car, we had to walk around 10 minutes up to mountain to come to this beautiful terrain area that was simply breathtaking. Well, you could continue to go up higher to the summit but it was really steep and I didn't want to risk injuring my camera or myself. So I just stayed where it was a little flatter and took photos!

And now... for some model shots!

Of course there's time for selfies!

Then it was time to go down... back down the same way we came; via cable car.

Selfie :D

After we headed down, we continued on to the temples across the other side. Apparently they're really old, as most temples usually are, and have been preserved. One thing about bigger countries and Singapore, is that you get to see more of history and nature in other countries because of the space, whereas almost everything in Singapore is surrounded by urbanized buildings, skyscrapers and the works. 

Next up we headed to the Eunggol Strawberry Village

We sat down and listened to the man give a brief on how we were supposed to pluck the strawberries, after which we got our own boxes where we could pluck to our heart's content, and bring them home!

You may not be able to tell, but the strawberries were so sweet and delicious! On top of that, they were huge! Nothing beats fresh strawberries. You can actually tell the difference, after eating the ones in Singapore that were imported, and eating the ones that you hand-picked.

And now! It was time for the best part of the day: LUNCH!! Sokcho is really well-known for its seafood, sundae (Korean blood sausage) and octopus sundae (fried rice stuffed octopuses). And to be frank, I thought they looked a little gross from the beginning, but the moment you put them into your mouth... mhm mhmmmmm. The restaurant we went to was called Myeongcheon Sundae. I'll let the photos make you drool further.

Look at that amazing array of dishes

오징어 순대 (Octopus Sundae)

순대 (Sundae)

If you've been to Korea before, you'd know that the street shops sell a lot of these blood sausages where you can get a plate for around 3,000W. However, the ones here were totally out of the same league. They tasted so fresh, amazing and soft. Not only that, they were warm and full of flavor. Not saying that the ones sold on the streets aren't nice.... but just doesn't taste as nice.

So anyway, after lunch we were to embark on the next mission, which was to head to Sokcho Central Market to buy some food, eat it and write a review on them. In order to get to the market, we had to take this boat called the Gaetbae? I think. Anyway, apparently this place was made famous by some Korean drama from a long time ago called Autumn in my Heart. Through that drama, many people came to visit this place, locals and tourists alike. The boat was able to hold around 30-odd people, considering the people who ran the boats stopped people from entering after 30.

The interesting thing about these boats, is that they're operated manually, or in other words, by using s metal handle to pull on ropes, allowing the boat to go from one side to the other. I'll let the photos explain further.

As you can see, they had to use those metal sticks to pull on ropes. I tried it, it was pretty okay.

After more walking, we finally made it to the central market. The place was filled with food, ingredients and snacks. The central market was famous for the local delicacies and their chicken! Alike many street food markets, it was just rows upon rows of vendors selling their food, some offering samples and just many different fragrances mixed into one heavenly scent. 

We had money to spend, so we decided to purchase a few different food and then lug it over to the beach where we could sit down, eat and enjoy the scenery.

The beach.

Frankly speaking, it wasn't as amazing as we thought it would be because the winds were so strong and kept blowing sand into the food we were eating, not to mention our eyes and noses. Definitely not a place to be eating delectable chicken, if you ask me.

After which, we headed for dinner. (Seriously, is this a food trip?) We had this mushroom kimchi soup, together with rice and side dishes. Almost all the places that we went, there were fish for side dishes. Truly a city near the sea. Food was okay, not really to my liking but nevertheless ate till my heart was content (as always...)

Thereafter, we were to head to this place near the beach called Coffee Street where, as the name says, the entire street, filled with different cafes, from famous brands such as Starbucks and Cafe Bene, to startups that I can't even remember the name to. Anyway, we were supposed to try a few different coffees and then do a little video to promote the place.

The entire place was nice... really serene and quiet, perfect for studying actually.

This is the short little video that we did to promote this place. It's adapted from this drinking game that's usually played with "strawberry". But what we were saying was "I like coffee!" (커피가 좋아!) and a coffee magically appears. Every time it was repeated, another coffee appeared. 

It was a lot of fun, though tiring and we went over to a Hanok village for our night's rest. Hanok village is an olden day house that Koreans used to live in. So we got the chance to try it out, except with modern day technology. More about the place in the next post (Day 3) so stay tuned!!

All the places mentioned here are in Sokcho city, so if you'd like to go have a look and experience these things yourselves, you can take a bus (roughly around 2 hours?) Sokcho-bound from the Seoul Express Bus Terminal.

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