Friday, March 13, 2009

1박2일 - 속초

The Expo Tower, the landmark of Sokcho, standing beside Cheongcho Lake.

I left for the east coast of Korea Peninsula on Wednesday morning and was back in Seoul yesterday evening.

My planned itinerary was to stay a night at Sokcho (속초, 束草) and then travel to Gangneung (강릉, 江陵) the next day to take the seaside train (바다열차) to Samcheok (삼척, 三陟) where I will join the 3-hour Samcheok city tour before returning to Seoul. However, thing did not go as planned because coincidentally, the seaside train is also under maintenance this week. Since I had time to spare, I visited two of Gangneung's more popular places of interest - Ojukheon and Gyeongpo Beach before departing Gangneung for Seoul. I shall write about these places later.

Back to talking about Sokcho. I took the 11am bus to Sokcho at Dong Seoul Bus Terminal. The bus ticket costs 20,000 won and the trip was 3 hours long. The bus travelled along the Yeongdong Expressway which cut through the Baedudaegan (백두대간-白頭大幹) to reach the eastern coast. The scenery along the way was nothing short of picturesque. It was mountains after mountains, rivers after rivers. I was so engrossed in the scenery that I hardly fell asleep. The halfway-point rest stop was at Pyeongchang (평창, 平昌). Shortly after leaving Pyeongchang rest stop, I saw from afar, the gigantic wind turbines of Dagwallyeong. I shall visit Dagwallyeong this summer to show you how beautiful this place is. Anyway, the bus ride terminated at the Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal and the time then was 2pm.

Upon arrival, I walked towards the direction of Cheongcho Lake and it turned out to be quite a long walk. Along the way, I passed by the Abai Village which was the filiming location for 가을동화. I did not take any photos of the place because I thought I would be back later but I never did. So no photo to show.

I stayed in a hotel by the Cheongcho Lake. Except for the lack of internet, the room was rather comfortable. After settling down, it was sight-seeing until nightfall. I visited Cheongcho Lake, Sokcho Beach and Daepohang Port because all I want to do at Sokcho was just to see the beach and the East Sea.

Cheongcho Lake (청초호)

The Chengcho Lake is quite big. It will probably take hours to complete one round on foot. The landmark of Sokcho, the Expo Tower, is by the side of the lake. Flock of seagulls, cormorants, geese and other migratory birds rest and feed at the lake and they can be watched from a close distance.

Seagulls and migratory birds can be seen at close distance at the Cheongcho Lake.

Another filming site of 가을동화 by the Cheongcho Lake. The drama is like so long ago.

The pink Chengho Bridge which spans across the Cheongcho Lake.

Sokcho Beach (속초해수욕장)

The Sokcho Beach is much smaller than I expect but this is understandable because Sokcho is quite near to North Korea, as such much of its beach area is fenced off and guarded against North Korea's infiltration and refugees.

Low benches are provided at the beach. Quite thoughtful.

The "Coral and Love" point where couples are encouraged to make promise.

Jodo (조도, 鳥島) or Bird's Island is just in front of Sokcho Beach.

Daepohang (대포항)

The port is not very big but it is a very busy place. Restaurants, stalls and shops selling live and dried seafood line the road around the port. The place is quite well-lit at night and it actually looks quite beautiful from the park opposite of it.

Fishing vessels berthing at Daepohang with shops behind them.

Night view of the well-lit Daepohang from the park opposite of it.

Back to Hotel

My night time at Sokcho was spent watching TV programme in the hotel since there is no internet to surf. That's all for a very short day.

Cheongcho Lake and Expo Tower as seen from my hotel room.

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