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Jo's Korean and Other Crazy Adventures Jo is coming back to teach in China for a second year that is sure to be filled with new crazy adventures!

Seoraksan National Park and the City of Sokcho - Wow!

SOUTH KOREA | Monday, 28 May 2007 | Views [4960] | Comments [1]

Inspiring, Breathtaking, and Mystical, are just a few words to describe Mount Seorak that is located in Gangwon-do province, 3 hours east of Seoul. Mention this name to any Korean, and they will tell you with confidence, that it is the best, and most beautiful mountain in Korea. Many school trips go to Seoraksan, as many Koreans attest to visiting this mountain at least once in their lives. 

Here is a link to the video I took when I reached the top of Seoraksan ('san' is mountain in Korean) by cable car.

I got to spend two magnificent days in the park. I took the cable car to the top of the mountain. It was too bad it was a bit cloudy and overcast that day, but nevertheless, it was awe inspiring anyway. I took a video from the top of the mountain, and I'll post it on here soon.

Here is more information on the National park that is a World heritage site.

http://seorak.knps.or.kr/Seoraksan_eng/

The mountain is fifteen minutes by bus from the eastern fishing village of Sokcho. I stayed in a classy hotel that had an ocean view with a balcony. The east sea (sea of Japan) was less than a five minute walk from my hotel.

During the day you can catch fisherman standing out on the fifty foot pier. I was quite a celebrity as I walked down the pier. A few men who were nonchalently basking in the sun, asked to take their picture with me. They seemed quite happy as they waited patiently for some kind of sea creature to bite their fishing pole bait. 

Raw fish is the delicacy in this fishing community, with a population of 89,461. In fact, they have this huge fish market, that I had a chance to discover. I took a video of this fascinating, and vibrant area by the harborfront. Me and a few friends wanted to taste some of the lesser known water species. They wanted to try, 'Squid sausage.' I did give it a go and tried it. The squid was hard to eat, because it didn't taste cooked. It was rubbery and tasteless. At least that was my opinion. I really only tried it, because after the first piece, I didn't go back for seconds. My friends seemed to like it though, with a beer chaser of course. It was cut in round pieces with some stuff inside, that looked like the insides of the squid perhaps.

At night, Sokcho beach is lit up from the bar/restaurant close to the beachside. On friday night, we had a chance to go down to the beach and see where all the noise was coming from. As we walked onto the sandy beach, we saw a few stands and two Korean girls selling fireworks. Every size and shape of firework, I may add. The sparklers were bigger than any sparkler I have ever seen. There were groups of Korean families lighting off fireworks all along the beach out into the night sky. All you could see is, 'fire in the sky.' One Korean man and his family came over to talk to us. He said that Koreans are taking fireworks to 'another level'. I laughed inside at his comment and thought no doubt about it.

Not sure what he meant about that, but I have to agree that they are as 'pirotechno crazy' as they come. It didn't matter if I was sitting on the beach, they would come up next to me and light off these loud fireworks that shoot out of a tube. There were other types of fireworks that I saw including those that are lit in a cup. Those ones are epecially fascinating to watch, as they try not to burn their hands, while lighting it, and run backwards before it shoots up into the sky. Crazy fuckers! They shoot red, green and yellow stripes, while making a crackling sound. Pretty awesome if you ask me. I was thinking that my brother would be in his glory if he was there. He is a pyromaniac himself.

The firework extravaganza was awesome to watch. I've never seen anything like it before. It went on most of the night, because I could hear it outside of my sliding door when I got back to my hotel.  I did get videos of this event, and hoped that I could post more than one video on this blog.

I had an early start to Mt. Seorak on Sunday morning. I left Sokcho and it was sunny out. As I neared the park, a huge mass of clouds started to form. I was disappointed, but still managed to get on the cable car, and hike up one of the famous hikes, called, 'Ulsanbawi.' I also visited  Sinheungsa temple, and the giant sitting Buddha. This Buddha was the second biggest statue that I've seen, apart from the gigantic standing bronze Buddha that I saw in Bangkok. The whole park felt mystical, especially on Sunday. There was mist that covered the highest peaks, and I even had a hard time seeing the top of Ulsanbawi, which was unfortunate. It took me two hours to climb to the top, which was pretty impressive considering it rained on and off the whole time. About half way up the trail was this Buddhist temple, and an awesome Buddhist statue. I stopped to pay my respects.

I plan on going back to the park and to Sokcho in a months time. I told another one of my friends that they would love to see it. I also want to do more hikes, and check out the inner and southern part of the park. It took 3 hours to get to Sokcho from Seoul, and 5 hours to get back. Many people head out of town for the long weekend, and they all want to go back at the same time. I sure got to see the many mountains and rice paddies that lie in the countryside. What a sight! Rice fields upon rice fields, at the bottom of mountains that go on and on. It is true that Korea is 80% mountainous.

  

Tags: the great outdoors

Comments

1

this was a fantastic adventure. the cable car video was good even though it was cloudy amazing like to see more pics hope you can post them later it sounds like you had a marvellous time you r amazing to see the things that you are seeing I am so proud of you
love mom

  ecairns Jun 1, 2007 9:20 AM

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