FIND ME AT GANGNEUNG : SEASIDE TRAIN

As promised, an entry for seaside train. the main attraction here!! 🙂 The train is a special train making a trip along the seaside at Gangneung. It’s a special train modified to have a the seats facing the outside unlike normal train. The window is bigger to allow a better view. The round trip take around 1 hour and 20 minutes and you can stop at any station and hop on again to continue your trip. I decided to make a round trip and off at Jeongdongjin Station on my way back.   To set foot at Jeongdonjin Station means that you are at the most nearest train station to sea in the world!!! and it was a location for several koreans drama such as Beethoven virus. The view, Subhanallah. i had lunch at the station and took my lazy walk at the beach and bracing the windy and cold winter.

Now, i know how to upload slideshow..yehaaaa….please find the pictures taken during Seaside Train ride and at Jeondonjin Station.

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HERE AND THERE AT GANGNEUNG

Lazy is my middle name!!! hahahah … too lazy to put my story in words…but eager to make it in black and white .. so, i will try  my utmost best…

Chodang Dubu Village

ok..my late lunch .. i need to blog this as this is one of Gangneung attraction ..you have to try Gangneung  dubu (bean curd) .. dedicated village called Chodang Dubu Village is where you can eat the famous dubu dish….i just asked the taxi driver to bring me there and on his recommendation he dropped me infront of a restaurant which has lots of banner stated that SBS, KBS, MBC (Major tv broadcasting) already cover their restaurant … hheheh ..you never go wrong if you choose a restaurant like this… 🙂 (my personal opinion)…but i’m the one who made a mistake by ordering something that i never tasted it before (i’m an adventures person) ..hahahah …but at least i learned that i should not order the same dubu dish ever again!!! it’s was a set of dubu dish .. plain dubu dish, salty, etc… which i can’t help but trying my best to taste all but i give up … i should stick to sundubu  jigae instead or dubu with kimchi.

House of Hae Gyun

From the village i walked to house of Hae Gyun which supposed to be nearby. But i lost!! i met a young couple who happen to have the same intention as mine. and 3 of us on foot searching for the house. the couple came from Daegu and spent their first trip as a couple at Gangneung. The boyfriend giggle and the girlfriend smile shyly while explaining it to me. hahaha… i forgot how love can be that innocent and beautiful… Ok, i should stop. We managed to find the house finally and made a tour for about 10 – 15 minutes. Hae Gyun is well known for his novel Hong Gil Dong aka Robin Hood. He wrote it back at 15 century. Now i wonder, on what basis he wrote the novel? Maybe each country has their own version of “Robin Hood”  or he heard it from the business traveller and wrote it. And which one is the original?

I bid goodbye to the couple and heading to the city of Gangneung for my another favourite place, market!!!

I found this cute coffee shop on top of a tree on my way back

Jung Ang Market

Jung Ang market located in the middle of Gangneung town. I love to be in a market coz simply it shows the real people activity, need, color of each place. And the best food, view always come from here. I come across with a unique ritual where a group of people wearing a traditional costume and play traditional instrument visit each shop in the market. I guess it’s a ritual to pray for the prosperous of the business.

From the market, i crossed the main road for my 3rd cup of coffee for the day. A hello from a young lady who is curious of my nationality… oh, she is majoring in english at her university and i felt forever since my last conversation last this long at Gangneung.. 🙂 .. i ended my long day with dinner i bought at shopping mall, watching 2days 1night at my motel room and tomorrow another day at Gangneung will come.

FINDING ME AT GANGNEUNG : UJUKHEON & ANMOK BEACH

Ujukheon
I’m walking about 2KM or more coz I think I was a little bit lost that day on my way to Ujukheon from Seongyojang. When my friends and WWOOF hosts asked me what I want to do at Gangneung, my first answer is to go to Ujukheon!!! When Mr Lee Seun Gun (one of 2Days 1Night member) explained about Ujukheon, I told myself that I’m not going to miss that spot! Why should I coz that is the place where the picture of Ujukheon was pictured on 5,000 korean won note!!! And it’s the place where Yil I’s mother, Lady Shin who pictured in 50,000 korean won note lived. I want to make sure how big the 3 trees in front of the house now growing after the picture taken…. Heheheh  … Oh,ya …you can find lots of black bamboo at the back of the house which where the house was name of. And, basically this house is an outdoor museum!!!  
 
The same view as captured on 5,000 won. Only that the tree now bigger than before
Lady Shin on 50,000 won – Yi I’s mother

 
 
 
More info and how to get to: Ujukheon
 
 
Anmok Beach where the Coffee Story Lies
 
I went to this place simply because Lee Seung Gi was here during his mission in 2Days 1Night. His mission was to taste 10 different coffees and describe it with a poem!!! When he drank his espresso and described it like this ““If love melts,and the heart melts, and sadness melts, and the whole world melts, it becomes one cup of espresso.”Hahahah… this mission is simply made me think that Gangneung is a poem city!!! With poems from scholars dated 500 years ago and Lee Seung Gi, me myself while having ice Americano during the cold winter while facing the sea at Anmok beach decided to wrote a poem …. Ahaks
I am here
With the blue sea wide infront my eyes
The comforting sound of wave and seagulls
And the sea wind pleasantly touching my face 
I feel relieved coz I an here at the place I love the most
Beach, Pantai,해변
Sea, Laut, 바다
As always to be here at this kind of place
I wish forever
Coz I am here where my heart at peace
Place where I am who I am
Let’s move to what actually you can find here at Anmok beach. I’m planning actually to have a special entry about drinking coffee culture at South Korea later. But I guessed I will try to cover it first with Coffee Street phenomena at Anmok beach. It was winter when I visited the beach so you can expect not much people there strolling at the beach except me especially it almost lunch time. You can imagine how strong the wind can be and how cold it becomes but I love the salty smell of the beach. Facing the sea, there are a long stretch of 20 -30 shop building which mostly dominated by coffee shops; small, big,oversea brand, local brand, corporate look interior,cute interior, traditional interior, name it. And long list of menu you can choose from. 
 
My stomach was empty to start with coffee but I badly want to be inside the warm building so I just randomly choose my first coffee shop..emhhh, randomly choose the want without Lee Seung Gi banner outside!!! Hhahah.. all the “chosen” shop owner was so eager to tell the visitor that Lee Seung Gi was there but I don’t blame them as the power of public figure marketing is so important in South Korea. Everything and anything can be sold here as long as someone popular endorsing it. The first coffee shop has a romantic interior with small table with colorful cushion and detail decor. It gives you the feeling of having your coffee at your own living room. I spent around 20 minutes there sipping my hot latte while reading my e-book.
 
I left the first coffee shop and moved to bigger, double storey coffee shop. I decided to try Ice Americano which is loved by Koreans and a slice of strawberry cake. Americano = Kopi O which basically will never be in my list. I wonder why Korean love Americano so much? Maybe because it’s the cheapest one? Or because it has no milk and cream? It just doesn’t suit my test!!! But I took my own sweet time staying there for about 2 hours as they provide wifi and I really engrossed in finishing one of the story in my e-book. And this is the only word that will be suitable to describe my feeling “this is how life supposed to be” … J
 
I left Anmok beach and already missing it when my eyes can’t see the sight of the beach anymore. I rode my taxi to find the place where a must to go if you are hungry!!! Let’s find my late lunch!!!
 

FINDING ME AT GANGNEUNG: GYEONGPODAE & SEONGYOJANG

Gyeongpodae
 
After a failed attempt to buy the Seasidetrain ticket, I made my walked again to the taxi stand in front of the train station. I first saw Gyeongpodae pavilion in 2Days 1Night (2Days 1Night is a popular travel variety show in South Korea). Basically most of my places to go at Gangneung was featured in 2Days 1Night. Gyeongpodae is a pavilion overlooking a Gyeongpo lake. In the show, I fall in love with how beautiful the scenery been seen from the pavilion.
After a small talk with the taxi driver on the way to Gyeongpodae, we arrived! No other car or public transportation was there and as explained by the taxi driver when he made an offer to wait for me there before taking me to my next location. Of course I said yes and hurriedly climb to Gyeongpodae. Nothing there except the pavilion but in front of me, looking from the pavilion is really beautiful scenery of Gyeongpo Lake.  It is said that one can see the moon five times when at Gyeongpodae. One sees the moon once in the sky, once reflected in the lake, once reflected in the sea, once reflected in the drinking glass, and once more in the eyes of a lover. Huks, suddenly I featured myself back to 500 years ago when a famous scholarYi I, wrote his poems while he is there when he is still 10 years old. The poem is now written on 28 pillars of Gyeongpodae. I guess anybody who are here and see the beautiful scenery will definitely would like to capture the beauty in a poem. As my taxi driver is waiting for me, I just managed to capture the beauty in the pictures. Please have a look at the scenery from the eyes of Yil I, 500 years ago.
Gyeongpodae the Pavillion
Gyeongpo Lake view from Gyeongpodae
 
Seongyojang
 
On the taxi driver recommendation, I was dropped off at Seongyojang. According to the taxi driver,UJukheon which my actual planned to go is only a walking distance from Seongyojang. Hence, he urged me not to miss Seongyojang. Without any idea on what is Seongyojang is all about, I paid 3000 won for my ticket fee and a pamphlet about Seongyojang.  After passing by the ticket counter, I am now standing at a big courtyard. 

 Seongyojang is actually a house for yangban(noble person) dated 300 years ago.If anybody watched a historical drama about Hwangjini (played by Ha Ji Won and Jang Gu Seok), the drama was filmed here. It’s a beautiful house with a peaceful environment (erkss..maybe because nobody was there except me and the workers).

 
But I am more attracted to a small pavilion at the right side of the courtyard. The pavilion is actually built on a small pond that being connected by a small bridge. I bet that when I closed my eyes for a while, I can see a handsome Yangban wearing hanbok at the pavilion veranda facing the lake full with white lotus.  Hahahaha …but the reality is a closed-no entry pavilion with frozen pond and only me.  After half an hour walking by myself touring the whole house while enjoying the scenery and taking my own sweet time, I left the house and my imaginary handsome Yangban and made my way to Ujukheon. 
 
My imaginary Yangban ..ahaks
More info and how to get to: 
 Gyeongpodae and Seongyojang

FINDING ME AT GANGNEUNG : FIRST STEPS

My Korean friends never have been to Gangneung before so they can’t give me any advice of that place. And I can’t find much info; I mean “budget” info of that place. Without having my accommodation booked earlier or have no idea on how should I move around, but I’m more than thrill looking at the long list of things to do at Gangneung.
Info ..info and info … the first thing I looking for at the bus station is a tourist info counter. I’m glad that South Korea is really well prepared regards to tourism info and I am glad that the tourist guy is a nice guy that willing to help me find my accommodation. It sounds weird for me at the first place to ask where I should find an accommodation here at Gangneung coz I never done it before. But lucky me, opposite of the bus terminal 4 – 5 motels was there. So, I walked to the furthest motel in hoping that I can get a room for less than 50,000 won pernight. And thank god that at last I managed to settled down with 40,000 won pernight (room with internet and desktop)…..hehehehe…I am happy. It was 5.00 pm when I looking at Gangneung bus terminal from my motel window, tomorrow I will explore Gangneung ..murmuring to myself. No town, no beach nearby like I expected so I kinda nervous thinking that how far the places I planned to go will be from the bus terminal. But tomorrow I will think about it, tomorrow ..not tonight coz tonight I need to sleep.
My motel room – resting while watching 2Days 1Night 
Gangneung bus terminal from my motel room window

I woke up early offering my Subuh prayer and open up again Gangneung map given by the tourist guy and the inter-bus time table. After a long ponder, I decided to take taxi instead to save my time. And knowing that no English announcement inside the bus, I really want to minimize the attention I will get as a foreigner when I rode the bus and need to ask around. I bet in this place, the number of foreigner will be less and after 2 weeks being the “center of attention” back at countryside, I just want to go low.
My target travel place:
1st Day:
  1. To ride Sea Side Train and stop at Jeongdonjin Station (The nearest Station to the sea in the world)
  2. Sandglass Park
2nd Day:
  1. Gyeongpodae Pavillion
  2. Ujukheon House
3rd Day:
  1. Cho-Dang Bean Curd Village
  2. Anmuk Beach
  3. Jungang Market
“Ahjussi, Gicha Yok Kaseyo” I rode my taxi and asked the driver to take me to train station where i should buy my Seaside Train ticket today. I can’t miss the 10 am ride as there are only 2 times a day train in operation. When i arrived, nobody at the counter selling the Seaside train tickets. I’ve been standing there about 5 minutes till a women staff came and entertained me. “Gicha Pyo Obsoyo”. What? no tickets? Why? I can’t understand half of her words explaining why no tickets sold today which i don’t really care. “Kerom, naeil ottaeyo? How about tomorrow? hehehe.. tomorrow i will come again…. Ticket will be available tomorrow!!!
There goes my plan .. huh..what should i do? my second day itinerary is now ON for 1st day!!!Gyeongpodae Pavillion wait for me!!!
Seaside Train : A special train (how special it is??? wait for my next entry) 


How to get to Train Station: Taxi : Ride a taxi near to Bus station for around 2,700 won.. Cheap!!! around 5 – 10 min Bus : uhuksss..lost my bus time table..but you can get it at tourist ingo kiosk outside the bus terminal.

FINDING ME AT GANGNEUNG: INTRO

I had 3 weeks to travel at South Korea last Jan 2012. My schedule was packed with 2 WWOOF programs at Geochang,Gyeongsanam-do (southern part of South Korea) and at Joam, Hwaseong,Gyeonggi-do (northern part of South Korea). In between I was at Seoul spending my birthday with Miss Han, Miss Jungju and DoKyung. So, I decided to have a “solo” trip as a leisure traveler for the remaining 1 week of my stay.

But where to go? I need to be out from Seoul. The place must be near to Gyeonggi-do as my last stop before this “solo” leisure trip is at Gyeonggi-do. I’m missing the sea and the wind so badly, so the place must be near to the sea. And to see the sea during winter, that is a good idea!! And suddenly I watched my 5 favorite guys from 2Days 1Night went to a place called Gangneung located at Gangwon-do which is next to Gyeonggi-do. It just perfect as Gangneung is located at the east sea which popular for beautiful beaches and traditional culture. And guess what, Gangneung marked their name in the World Guinness book of record to have the nearest train station to the sea. Rusiha, we are going to Gangneung for 4 days 3 nights!!!!! Deal!!!

I packed my heavy haversack on the early morning at Joam. Mr Keum my WWOOF host will send me to Joam bus terminal to catch the bus to Suwon city. After listening to his last fruitful talk and a cup of coffee at Mr Keum’s beauty saloon friend’s shop, he left me at the small and shabby Joam bus terminal (it looks more shabby today). We shake hands and bidding goodbye. It was a melancholy morning. Gangneung will wait for me, so I decided to have brunch at my favorite Chongguk restaurant by having sundubu jigae and kimbab before taking 1 hour bus to Suwon and change to another 3 hours express bus ride to Gangneung.

Bye – bye Joam. My Gangneung journey begins!!!


How to get to Gangneung:
Bus
* Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (Subway Line 2, Gangbyeon St) -> Gangneung Bus Terminal
* Seoul Express Bus Terminal (Seoul Subway Line 3, 7 and 9, Express Bus Terminal Station,
Gyeongbu Line) -> Gangneung Bus Terminal
….Around 3 hours ride