Friday, November 26, 2010

SeorakSan Weekend

November 12-14 Seoraksan!

We had an amazing time traveling to the NE of Korea, to the coastal city of Sokcho, with our sweet friends, Em, Mike and Sally!
We traveled to Seoraksan National Park, Sokcho is on the coast next to the Park on the map. Yongin, where we live, is where the Korean Folk Village is on the map.

We took an Express Bus from the Express Bus Terminal in Seoul right after work. (To get to this terminal from our city it takes about an hour subway ride. )
The express bus cost around 40,000 won for the both of us, one way. Which is  $30-$35. Not too bad for a 3 hour trip on a comfy, comfy bus!

We arrived in Sokcho and took a very crowded (all 5 of us in one!) taxi to our Hostel.

The Hostel was amazing! Perfect for our trip! Props to Em for finding it!
The owner of the hostel gave us a 15 minute intro to Sokcho and Seoraksan. He drew on a map for us all the places we could see, told us what buses to take, told us what hikes to go on and how long they'd take. He even told us of local inexpensive restaurants to eat at and the times they were open. His help was invaluable! For two nights, we paid 50,000 won. Our room was everything we needed. It had a fridge, fresh water and even a steel bath tub. It was a great deal. There was a common kitchen and outside patio area. We recommend it to anyone staying in Sokcho!
It reminded us alot of the hostel we stayed in when Zachary, Justin and I went to Taos a few spring breaks ago. Very hospitable. We loved it! Staying there made Zachary and I really want to open a hostel, or have our dear friend Melinda open one, because she would be amazing at it! 
We got up Saturday morning, had out Toast, jam and instant coffee and were ready to hike!   

 The bus ride to the Park is only 30 minutes and just $1 to ride.
 The entrance fee into the park is also only a $2 and to ride the cable car is $7 a person.

The scenery was beautiful!

I specifically wanted us to go because I just didn't want to miss Korea's fall foliage! Coming from Texas, I just stand in awe at the foot of a painted red and gold tree!

While Zachary and everyone else stood in line to get cable car tickets,  I was able to take some pictures.

Everything was so beautiful. The weather was absolutely perfect!
We hiked for an hour or so  and then started up the cave trek. This was an intense hike! We didn't know this when we started the hike. It said it was only 6 km up but it didn't tell you it was straight up! We were hurting by the end! On the way down all of our legs were shaking! It was a good work out to say the least! But the view from the top was amazing! And well worth the hike up.
 After the cave hike, we did the cable car. From the top you can see the whole park and Sokcho. It was really beautiful. There is a temple at the top, so the whole time your up there you can hear the Buddhist prayer calls.

Zachary and I were able to sneak down to a quiet buddhist prayer building. The property it was on went to the very edge of the mountain. You could hear the waterfall near by. We hiked down to the edge where it was very quiet and had a beautiful view.
It was great to get away from the crowds.

On a personal note/reflection:
As I look at such beauty or stand in the midst of colored mountains, worship just swells in my heart. To see such spectacular creations, just beckons worship. No wonder there are so many temples in these mountains. These mountains and sights, in the stillness, just call you to something greater.
I worshiped the Lord in the mountains and praised Him for His glorious works! It was so good to just look in silence.

Seoraksan National Park is a must see for anyone who comes to Korea! Especially, in the Fall! It's beautiful! But I would suggest that you choose the more difficult hikes because there is way less person traffic. Other parts get really busy and crowded!

That night we took the bus back to Sokcho and went to a BBQ buffet for only 8,000 won. It was all you can eat chicken, beef and seafood that you grill at your table, like galbi.
It was very good!

After dinner Em, Mike, Zach and I went and got some coffee and dessert in town and talked for a few hours. Then the boys got sparklers! They enjoyed that!

Sunday morning we went to the Sokcho lighthouse. It was so windy but beautiful!

 After the light house we went to a fisherman's market. It was filled with live fish, squid, octupus and sea life you've never even seen before, or knew could be eaten! Zachary, Mike and I tried the local food, stuffed squid. It was pretty good!
 Then we headed back home on our 5 hour bus ride! It was an amazing weekend!
Zachary, excited about stuffed squid!
Look for our video "Slaughtering of an Octopus!" which should be posted soon!

(To see all of our pictures from our Seoraksan weekend see Heather's facebook!)

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Korean Fact #11: Old ladies in Korea, are called, "ajumas," and usually have feisty personalities.