Monday, 24 October 2011

Seoul trip – 24 Oct 2011

We had breakfast which we bought from the convenience shop yesterday night as we have to leave for Dong Seoul Terminal early. Then we left our luggage in the storage room and took the subway to Gangbyeon Station (Line 2).

There are 2 bus terminals serving Sokcho i.e. intercity and express bus terminals and bus from Seoul departs from Dong Seoul Terminal and Seoul Express Bus Terminal respectively. As we will be staying at Sokcho, the intercity terminal is nearer to the hotel.
Dong Seoul Terminal

We bought the bus ticket for Sokcho and the next available earliest timing is 8.15am. The seat number and bus platform were printed on the ticket.
Ticket counters & Our tickets to Sokcho
Shops inside Dong Seoul Terminal
Boarding Bays

We re-confirmed with the bus driver that the bus is heading for Socko before we search for our seats. The bus is full of Ajumma (Auntie in Korean) and we guessed that they should be going to Seoraksan for trekking.
Bus to Sokcho
Hangang river

After 2 hours of bus ride, the bus stopped for a short break at Pyeongchang and we refreshed ourselves with a toilet break.
 Short break at Pyeongchang service centre

Finally, we reached Sokcho intercity terminal after 3.5 hours. There is a tourist information centre outside the terminal and there were many tourists queuing to get a map or asking for direction.
Tourist information centre

The House Hotel is about 15min walk from intercity bus terminal and I have printed the hotel map beforehand so we managed to reach the House Hotel successfully.
Along the way to The House Hotel

The owner of House Hotel, Yoo greeted us warmly and spoke reasonable good English. He gave us a map of Sokcho and recommended us the attractions and good food. Yoo operates the hotel together with his mum. The hotel reception gives the guests a homely feeling as it is decorated with many photos, books and even currencies from different countries. As the check in time is 3pm, we left our bags at the hotel and went out.
The House Hostel

The temperature here is colder than Seoul as Sokcho is facing the East Sea. From House Hotel, we could take a bus to the jetty but we chose to walk since the weather is ideal for strolling. It took us 20min to walk to the jetty.
On the way to Abai village

Abai village is made famous by the drama "Autumn of my heart" and this is where the lead actor and actress reunited. Abai village consist mainly of refugess originally hailing from Hamgyeong Province in North Korea who escaped south during the Korean War. The name "Abai" comes from the Hamgyeong Province dialect and means "Uncle" or "Aged Person". The nickname became attached to the village due to a large percentage of the refugees being of elderly age.

We took the Gaetbae across the river to Abai village. Payment for the ticket is at Abai village and it only cost ₩200 ~ S$0.20 each way.
Pulling the rope to maneuver Gaetbae
 Ticket counter at Abai village

Abai village is famous for Sundae (pronounce as Soon Day) which is not the ice cream sundae which we ate. We saw one eatery which is crowded with customer so we decided to try out the food here. We ordered Ojingeo (squid) Sundae (오징어순대) which is squid stuffed with a mixture of clear noodles, tofu, vegetables, Abai Sundae (아바이순대) which is cow or pork intestine stuffed with glass noodles and vegetables, and Korean cold noodle Naengmyeon (냉면). The Ojingeo Sundae is extremely delicious as it tasted similar to the Korean pancake but we dislike the Abai Sundae as it tasted kind of weird to us.  The cold noodle which is made of buckwheat is very refreshing but the soup broth is cold hence making us even colder in this weather. Naengmyeon is one of the popular dish during the summer season. This meal cost us ₩28,000 ~ S$31 which is rather expensive.

Previously, Abai village is only accessible by Gaetbae but now it is also accessible by car with the completion of Chonghodaegyo bridge.
Cheonghodaegyo bridge
Abai village

Sokcho beach is only "open" in Jul & Aug in the sense that people are allowed to swim in the sea during this period. It was relatively empty when we visited and the wind here is extremely strong.
Autumn in my heart filming location
Cute puffer fish drawings

We left Abai village and walked to Sokcho lighthouse which is near Dongmyeong-hang port. It's relatively far as it took us more than 30min. However we don't feel that we are walking for so long due to the cold weather and interesting sights along the way.
These cabbage are huge
It look like a skeleton of fish from afar
On the way to Sokcho lighthouse observatory

We had to climb a staircase of more than 50 steps before we could reach the lighthouse. We were rewarded with a panoramic view of Sokcho and East Sea when we reached the base of the lighthouse.
Climbing the long flight of stairs 

The lighthouse is open all year round and no admission fee is required. It is a functional lighthouse and there is an exhibition room inside the lighthouse displaying the navigation aids.
Sokcho lighthouse observatory
Lighthouses in the area

Yeonggeumjeong is a popular pavilion built on the shores of Sokcho. It is not only popular for its magnificent views of the sunrise, but also for the sound of the sea which is thought to be particularly nice at this site. It is thought that the pavilion was built at this location for sonic reasons. Indeed we heard the waves splashing sounds which is smoothing like a lullaby.
Yeonggeumjeong pavilion

Our last stop for today is Dongmyeong-hang. Dongmyeong-hang is a commercial seaport and we saw many fish boats docking here. We walked all the way to the extreme end where this is a red lighthouse. It's extremely cold here as we were blasted by the winds from all directions.

Panorama view from the lighthouse

Yoo, the House Hostel owner has recommended few eateries at Sokcho which offer delicious food. We decided to try out Wangshiprigoi Hanmadang (왕십리구이한마당) which offers Korea BBQ for ₩9,000  ~ S$10. It is located on Jungang-ro which we passed by when we walked from Dongmyeong-hang back to House Hostel.

There is a variety of meat ranging from fish to chicken, pork and beef. The owner even taught us how to wrap with lettuce and eat it with the sauce. We had a filling dinner as we had many rounds of BBQ meat.
Korean BBQ
Variety of meat and seafood

We did a detour to the bus terminal to check on the bus timing to Seoul and purchased the ticket for the day after.
Timing of buses to Seoul

The room was ready by the time we return to the House Hostel. When we opened the door, there are 2 more doors, one leading to the bathroom and the other one leading to the bedroom itself. This is the first time that I'm staying in such a room where there is a common corridor between the toilet and bedroom!
Double bedroom

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