Aigoo Adventures: Sokcho 2016

Aigoo Adventures

Last year, I visited Sokcho and fell in love with the area. However, last year’s trip was plagued with rain, so I didn’t quite get to see the East Sea on a clear day. I decided earlier this year to do a return trip to Sokcho, but this time for a shorter duration — two nights instead of four nights. I’m glad I made this trip because I really needed to get away from Seoul and Songtan. With all the stress from my new job, I wanted nothing more than to escape for a few days, and this trip was it. It was a short getaway, but I’ve regained my sanity, and I saw the East Sea again, so that made me happy.

Day 1: Returning to Sokcho

Bongpo Beach Bongpo Beach

I returned to Sokcho from Gangnam Express Bus Terminal. I took the 10:40am bus and arrived at Sokcho by 1:25pm. Then I took the city bus to my pension, which is about five minutes north of the city. As soon as I stepped off the bus, I was greeted to the beautiful East Sea. I’m not kidding. Seeing that sea made me grin like a maniac.

Room at Seasketch Pension TC's Skincare Lineup

After I admired the sea, I checked into my room at Seasketch Pension. I think this is the same room I stayed in last year, but it was remodelled. Interior design differences aside, I still think this is a great room. It’s clean, cosy, and comfortable. I unpacked and made myself at home. As you can see, I brought my skincare regime with me from home. I really cannot pack light, haha!

Blueberry Bagel and Latte at Cafe A to Z

I didn’t stay in my room long because I wanted to walk along the sea, and I did! As I walked, I listened to the waves crash the shores, I watched the seagulls fly and gather around on the beach, and I re-acquainted myself to the sea smells. My walk led me to Cafe A to Z, a cafe I visited last year. I was stoked to see that this was still in business. I bought myself some blueberry bagel, latte, and a sweet potato latte. I didn’t relax much in there because I was too busy following the U.S. election.

Sunset at Bongpo Beach Tteokguk -- Korean Rice Cake Soup

Eventually, I left Cafe A to Z because I saw that it was almost time for sunset! I eagerly headed to the shores, hoping I’d get a fabulous sunset, but . . . it wasn’t great. It was still pretty, but nothing amazing. I stayed at the beach for a while, until it grew too cold. Thankfully, I managed to find a restaurant that serves food I like! This is a big deal because most of the restaurant in this area is all about seafood, and I am not a seafood fan at all. Anyway, because I was half-frozen, I ordered some tteokguk (Korean rice cake soup) — this warm dish really hit the spot! When I finished my meal, I returned to the pension.

Day 2: Visiting Naksan Temple

Iljumun at Naksansa Pathway from Iljumun to Hongyemun Hongyemun at Naksansa Seven-story Stone Pagoda and Wontongbojeon at Naksansa View of Wontongbojeon and a Pond

I came to Sokcho without a set itinerary. But while here, I looked up on Naksansa (Naksan Temple), a Buddhist temple that’s set on a hill and overlooks the East Sea. This place required me to ride two buses that took about 35 minutes. Because it was nearby, I decided to visit here, and I found myself really liking the place. For 3,000 won ($2.80 USD), it was worth venturing out here to this beautiful spot! Okay, I wasn’t fond of the hills, but I was lucky in that the pathway was safe and didn’t require too much of a hike! I walked through the two gates, and I came upon the seven-story pagoda, several buildings, and a pond in the area.

Uisangdae (Uisang Pavilion) at Naksansa The View at Uisangdae The View at Uisangdae The View at Uisangdae The View at Uisangdae The View at Uisangdae The View at Uisangdae The View at Uisangdae

However, my main goal at this place was to visit Uisangdae (Uisang Pavilion). This pavilion overlooks the East Sea, and it was said that Uisang, a Great Monk, built the pavilion there because it was his favourite place to meditate. After seeing this place myself, I can see why he meditated here. This is a great spot to watch the East Sea, and I felt a sense of calm washing over me. I really enjoyed the view here! I even got a shot of the summit — there’s a gigantic Buddha statue there — because I wasn’t in the mood to climb any more hills that day.

Kimchi Fried Rice Donkkaseu -- Korean Pork Cutlet

After Naksansa, I returned to my current neighbourhood and returned to the restaurant I went the night before to try their kimchi fried rice. I hadn’t eaten anything when I went to the temple, so I was super hungry when I had this. I devoured this meal! Afterwards, I just chilled at Cafe A to Z. It started sprinkling, so I had no desire to explore any further. I ended my night with Korean pork cutlet at the same restaurant I had lunch. It was super delicious!

Day 3: Catching the Sunrise

Sunrise at Bongpo Harbour Sunrise at Bongpo Harbour Sunrise at Bongpo Harbour Sunrise at Bongpo Harbour

I had meant to do this yesterday, but my body didn’t want to cooperate. My second attempt at waking up super early to catch the sunrise went a lot better. I walked to Bongpo Harbour, and there I watched the gorgeous sky being painted by the sun. I’ve seen plenty of sunrises, but never at the sea, so this was a truly remarkable experience for me.

Sun Coming Up at Bongpo Harbour Sun Coming Up at Bongpo Harbour Sun Coming Up at Bongpo Harbour

Thank goodness I waited a bit because I saw the sun pop out in the sky! It was so cool! I’ve only seen this happen in movies and documentaries, so seeing it in person was a billion times more amazing. What a fantastic ending to my trip.

Conclusion

Bongpori, South Korea

Here’s a final shot of the seaside village I stayed at for two years in a row. This place has been a great place for a getaway. With all the changes in the past couple of months, I desperately needed this to unwind and heal my weary body and mind. Coming here has soothed my soul, and I enjoyed escaping from the faster-paced lifestyle I have in Seoul and Songtan. I even enjoyed the fact that I came here without a set itinerary. I went with the flow, more or less, and it felt good. Outside of Korea, Japan’s my happy place, but in Korea, this place, with the East Sea and the peaceful village, is and will always be my happy place.

Comments

  1. I was wondering why the pictures are blurry but then when I clicked them, it’s not. is this on purpose or is my browser acting up? Lol.

    Anyway, onto the topic.

    I’ve never been to korea so i don’t know about sokcho. still, it’s so nice that you were able to go to the sea! i’m so jealous of you because it’s been years ever since i’ve watched the sea and i’d love to go on a beach trip (just for the sea, never the heat).

    haha don’t worry about packing light. i can’t pack lightly too! be it my skincare regime or my makeup, i feel like i’m such a hoarder even during packing. i just want to bring everything, afraid that i might need the stuff that i left at home :P

    this is such a nice place for a vacation, away from the busy hubbubs of urban life and to have a peaceful, soothing getaway for the mind :D

  2. Ahh, thank you for sharing your trip with us! I really enjoyed reading what you got up to there. Your photos are fantastic, they’ve instantly made me much calmer! 😊 I love walking besides the beach, makes me miss Barcelona already! Those were my favourite moments I think, walking by the beach early morning to evenings. I’m glad you managed to find Cafe A to Z and that its still in business! I am often like that at my hometown, since Ive been here so long, I’m always surprised when places I used to love are still there ha!

    I’m so glad you had a fun time, its eased my mind to know that youre okay (especially after the work stress) you deserved it! Lots of love Tara! ❤

  3. Welcome back from the trip! I can imagine how great it must’ve felt being able to wake up near the East Sea. It looks so beautiful!! I love how light the curtains are and your skincare lineup looks awesome ;). When I’m out on trips, I can’t bring my whole skincare lineup because of TSA regulations D:.

    I haven’t tried Korean rice cake soup before but it sounds delicious (especially when you’re cold).

    For the price you paid, it’s definitely worth the cost for that amazing view of the temple. I love the filters you used in your photos ;). I would definitely meditate at the temple considering how you can listen to nature speak through the water waves. I’m glad to see that you enjoyed your time out in Sokcho. It’s good to take some time out of work to rejuvenate your energy!

  4. Wowwwwww, that’s beautiful! The colors are all so perfect, exactly what the seaside should be! I wholly support getaways during times of stress, especially if it’s to someplace pretty close!

    Glad you had a good trip and feel refreshed after it!

  5. Haha, I totally relate to the packing-your-whole-skincare-routine woes, 1/4 of my luggage usually ends up being all my skincare/makeup/hair products xD

    I’ve only been to Seoul, but I really like how quaint and relaxed Sokcho seems. The sunrise over the sea is especially beautiful – that’s something I need to cross off my bucket list!

  6. Looks like you had better weather this time! The East Sea looks beautiful, and that sounds so relaxing to take a walk by it :) I love just listening to ocean waves. It makes me wish I lived closer to the sea.

    I also love visiting Buddhist temples, and Naksansa looks like a pretty place! The view from the pavilion is great. I could totally see why someone would meditate there too.

    Aahh, sunrises over the sea are so beautiful. I woke up for it once in Hawaii, and those are still some of my favorite photos. That definitely looks like a nice end to the trip! I’m glad you had a good time in Sokcho again!

  7. I’m so jealous you get to visit such a quiet town via the bus! Here in WA state, it’s really hard to get anywhere without a car. The bus system is nice but you can only ride it to cities/large towns – not seaside villages such as Sokcho.

    I really love all the pictures you took. It makes me want to visit S. Korea even more, haha. Sokcho seems like a really pretty village and a nice to place relax, while still be able to enjoy all the sights. I also think it’s very cool you travel to different places on your own. It offers a different experience then traveling with someone!

  8. I had another friend who visited Sokcho over the week. I must say, I’ve done so much research on places to go in Korea but I’ve never read about Sokcho before. Seems like somewhere I would visit! Love the view from the Pavilion!

  9. It sounds like you had a wonderful peaceful time there. I understand the need to wind down and get away from life. This is why I like walking around my neighborhood. It’s nice just to listen to the sounds around you and not think about life’s woes.

  10. The sea looks beautiful and I think it’s amazing that you came to visit the same place once again. Some places have a special place in our hearts and they just make us totally breathless – or grin like a maniac 😄 I’m glad the sea gave you that feeling, though, that is definitely an amazing feeling to have.

    I like that you didn’t have a set itinerary! :) After visiting Perth with only a really rough itinerary, I enjoyed my time there. I think that for short trips, especially ones where you want to take a break (just like you did), it’s a great thing to not make too many plans and to just plan each day as it comes. 💖

  11. Wow how beautiful! I remember your trip last time to Sokcho too. :) I’m really keen to visit seaside places right now because I agree with you, they are stress-relieving for those of us who live in big cities. My mom doesn’t understand why I want to visit Cheung Chau this year when I go to Hong Kong (“it’s a little fishing village”). If I were Uisang I would sit in that little pavilion and meditate as well, or in my case pray. I hope you enjoyed getting some rest!

  12. Your pictures are just so beautiful. I can definitely see why you like to go here for a retreat. It’s so serene and calming. I can imagine myself mediating or doing tai chi or painting or writing or reading here. It’s just so awe inspiring.

    (Oh my gosh, yes, I was definitely freaking out as I was watching the election night results. It was definitely an undesired and stressful outcome.)

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