Although my Sokcho trip wasn’t exactly a trip of enlightenment, I still ended up learning quite about Sokcho and myself. Some were observations and some were realisations I made during the trip. Some reflections only reiterated what I’d already knew about myself. All in all, this solo trip has taught me some things, and the experiences I’ve gained on this trip will be cherished.
Solo Travelling Speculations
- Travelling alone is not an issue with me. The only problem is that there are certain restaurants I’d feel horribly uncomfortable eating alone at, like Korean BBQ places.
- I really enjoyed all my time alone; exploring and visiting new places at my own pace felt so lovely!
- Someone asked me how’d I get my photos taken if I were travelling alone, and I found that not to be an issue because I don’t even like getting my pictures taken!
- In fact, during all those times when I was stuck in my room, I had no problems finding things to keep myself occupied. Let’s just say I’m thankful I had my Chromebook, haha!
- Sokcho buses are not as frequent as Seoul buses, nor are they as crowded!
- I had a tendency of second guessing myself with the buses, but a part of it was because I couldn’t hear the damn announcement due to the buses going fast. The other part was that the bus stop names on Naver map didn’t match up with the ones on the actual routes!
- Sokcho buses do not use T-Money cards, so I had to resort to paying my fares the old-fashioned way!
- When in doubt, always ask for directions! And don’t always rely on a map, especially when you’re directionally-challenged.
- Going “hiking” on Seoraksan made me realise that I lack the skills of a mountain goat.
- It’s a good thing I like walking because I did a lot of that on this trip! In fact, my stubbornness really kicked in while I walked a lot. I conquered evil staircases of doom and even rebelled against the rain that wouldn’t stay away.
- However, all the walking I did in the rain made me realise one thing: I hate walking in the rain!
- Which made me glad my bags and my shoes were waterproof! Thank goodness I invested in a new bag and a pair of Columbia Sports shoes!
Food and Dining Deliberations
- Going to a coastal countryside as a non-seafood eater is quite difficult. I really missed having access to a variety of Korean food that I get in Seoul like bibimbap and kimbap.
- A lot of the restaurants here are ones where you sit on the floor and eat.
- Convenience stores are my lifesaver with comestibles. I know they aren’t as economically cheap, but when you’re out in the countryside with no car, they are definitely a convenience!
- I did discover my fondness for mountains and nature! Just didn’t realise how much I appreciated it until I reached Seoraksan.
- I finally know what that “sea/ocean” smell is. It smells really fishy, haha!
- The sound of the waves really relaxed me.
- Unfortunately, people who litter on beaches were aplenty. Some parts of the beaches in Sokcho were just nasty. Then again, there really isn’t a lot of public trash cans, which is a lot like Seoul in that aspect!
General Sokcho Observations
- Sokcho, like Tokyo, gets lighter and darker quicker than Seoul.
- Some ahjummas are loud in Sokcho as they are in Seoul. Actually, they are loud everywhere. And just as pushy, too. Even the ahjumma on the phone taking my pizza order was all bbali bbali!
- Sokcho countryside is like Gwangju countryside, where everyone is more “open and friendly” than Seoul. Kind of like living in a small town in the US.
- The city and its vicinity wasn’t crowded for this time of the year, and I really enjoyed the lack of crowds here. Going back to the crowds in Seoul did not appeal to me at all.
- Apparently I no longer need a separate camera to take photos. My cellphone was good enough and more convenient!
- I’m very glad I know Korean to get by in an area that’s not as English-friendly as Seoul.
- With that said, Sokcho is NOT ready for the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics. Even my pension hotel host agreed with me.
- Sokcho being in-between a mountain and a sea gave the city a very unique feel.
Thank you Sokcho, Seoraksan, and the East Sea for this amazing trip! If I were to ever retire and choose a place to live out my life, Sokcho is currently my number one choice.