Sokcho: mountain and sea, here you can have both

Have you ever been asked, “What do you prefer between sea and mountain?”? I have heard that question many times. So I haven’t imagined that there is a place like Sokcho, where you don’t have to choose between the two.

When Fall approaches, people in Korea often travel to Sokcho to see the changing colors of the leaves in Seoraksan National Park. This year, I am among those tourists. Our Ewha student group, consisting of three Thais and one Bulgarian, booked a bus to Sokcho, the Eastern coastal city of South Korea.

We woke up so early to catch a subway train to the bus station. But we were too late to take the subway when re-calculating the transferring time (and yes, the subway timetable here is very reliable.) So we needed to hail a taxi. We arrived at the station just 4 minutes before the departure time.

I saw that my Bulgarian friend held a trekking pole, so I could guess that the way to Seoraksan’s peak must be very tough.

When we arrived at Sokcho, we went to the guesthouse first to drop our bags there and have breakfast. However, we discovered later that we shouldn’t have done that because….

The road to Sokcho had heavy traffic jam! Like I said, everybody is coming here in Fall season.

We spent the time sitting on a bus for more than an hour until the passengers decided to get off the bus and walked to the park’s entrance gate.

But the walk was quite pleasant, actually. Because the natural scenery was so beautiful and relaxing. We took a lot of photos even before we reached the trekking track. The colorful leaves in Seoul are also beautiful, but here, they are marvelous.

Maybe we spent too much time capturing the beautiful nature with our camera, we later found that our trekking path had been closed since 3 pm, to prevent the people who came here too late to go back before the last light of the sun disappears.

So… we couldn’t have a chance to go to the high altitude of Seoraksan. My friend was holding a trekking pole with a disappointed face. We should have planned the time better.

Our guesthouse in Sokcho is well decorated, even though the building is quite old. It also has a rooftop with a nice view. But because it was so windy and cold, we sit there drinking beer just for a short time.

On the second day of the trip, we compensated for our disappointment on the first day with the savourous seafood. The place we chose is located in a big seafood market in Sokcho, Sokcho Jungang Market (속초 중앙시장). Some of the sellers here put their portraits as unique trademarks on big banners, distinguishing their products from the others. I found this element quite similar to Thai markets.

We ordered Red crab and Snow crab (50,000 won/kg and 80,000 won/kg, respectively). The waitress let us choose the crab we like in the tanks and put them on the scale, calculating the price. Once we were ok with it, she then put the crabs into the steamer. The cooked crabs were so delicious. The meat was so fresh and naturally sweet.

When we finished the crabs, the waiter put the watery part to fry with rice, sesame, and seaweed.

After our pleasant meal, we strolled around the city.

Since this is a perfect place for a lover of both mountains and seas, I will come back here for sure, Sokcho.

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