Seoraksan 살억산

I was dying to see fall colors. I’m stuck inside M-F until sunset, so I haven’t experienced as much of Korea’s famous fall colors as I have wanted. But, the first weekend of November, M and I took a little trip to the small town of Sokchowhich serves as the gateway to Seoraksan National Park, home of the Taebaek mountain range, considered by some to be the backbone of Korea. Our trip to the east coast of Korea is easily now my favorite memory so far in Korea.

We arrived in Sokcho on Saturday afternoon. We checked in early at Seoraksan Tourist Hotel and then went to the hotel restaurant for some Korean food and makgeolli 막걸리, since it was raining. After that, we walked around the beautiful mountain trails and got cappuccinos at the park coffee house; which was so artsy and cute and atmospheric that it felt a bit like a magazine picture or a drama setting. And then I fell in the river…. But I was fine.

The next day we did more walking around the park, and then we taxied back into Sokcho so that we could visit Abai village and get squid sundae for M. I should note here that the promise of strange seafood was how I convinced M to take part in my autumn trip in the first place. We also got to stand briefly on the coast of the East sea, which was really cool since just two months ago, I was in Northern Japan standing on the opposite side of the very same sea. Life is crazy. Traveling is the best.

If you go to Sokcho, and I think you should, I strongly suggest staying at Seoraksan Tourist Hotel because the staff there really took care of us.

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Candles at the Buddhist temple. It was rainy and dark when we arrived on Saturday afternoon.

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Great Unification Buddha Tongil Daebul.14.6-meter/48-foot, 108 ton gilt-bronze Buddha statue. Sinheungsa (신흥사).

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Really breathtaking mountain mist.

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Seoraksan National Park even has an amazing coffee house INSIDE the park at the foot of all the hiking trails. As a barista, I was both impressed and a little jealous of the baristas who get to work in such a beautiful location with a river and some of Korea’s most beautiful mountains right outside their door. It was also really wonderful to have excellent coffee close at hand.

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막걸리 or rice wine. Having 막걸리 when it’s raining is a thing here, so of course we had 막걸리…

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