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From Sokcho to Seoraksan: Part 1, The Beach

Though I’ve been kicking around Seoul for the last 5 years or so, I’ve somehow never managed to make the mere 2.5 hour trip east to Seoraksan – the mountain most loved by Koreans. For shame.

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to visit, it’s just that other trips took higher priority. I suppose the truth is that I’d much rather take a trip to a beach than to a mountain, especially when we have perfectly good mountains just a subway ride away from home.

But, when my sister-in-law’s school offered an all-expenses paid trip to Sokcho AND Seoraksan for a few days, it was an offer I really couldn’t refuse.

We started our trip bright and early from Cheongna International School in Incheon, by crowding into a little yellow school bus (yes, the one meant for students), with our bags, snacks and cameras. Fifteen adult teachers and their relatives are quite a bit heavier than a bunch of Korean students, so you can imagine the speed at which we were traveling.

There were definitely a few hills that were touch and go, but amazingly we made it through Gapyeong and Sokcho, and arrived at our final destination, the Sol Beach Hotel & Resort in Yangyang, in one piece!

Many of the teachers opted to take a trip over to the nearby Naksansa Temple and Sokcho’s Traditional Market, but all I wanted to do was relax in the huge hotel complex and explore the gorgeous beach that I’d spied on my way in. It felt great to be far from the big city lights of Seoul.

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After a super fortifying meal of black pork and mushroom kimchi jiggae, we set about discovering the many offerings of the Sol Beach Resort. Dusk was upon us, and temperatures dropping, but not before we discovered a cafe and infinity pool by the sea that could’ve been dropped there directly from the coast of Spain.

The next morning, after an amazing buffet breakfast, my only desire was to get my feet onto that perfect sand, bask in the warm sun and breathe in the salty ocean air. Pure bliss! When we discovered the hotel’s boardwalk, constructed in their best imitation of Gaudi’s Park Guell in Barcelona, and stood before the stunning seaside, I found it hard to believe we were still in Korea.

Getting to Sokcho
Located in Gangwando province, the small coastal city of Sokcho is surrounded by the lovely beaches and waters of the East Sea on one side, and the mighty Taebaek Mountain Range, on the other.

We traveled there in our little yellow school bus, but if that’s not available to you, you can take a real bus from the Dong Seoul bus terminal. There’s a bus every 30 minutes, and it should take 3 to 4 hours, depending on traffic. Of course, all bets are off on peak weekends.

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While there, try out 2 of Sokcho’s specialties – squid soondae (Korean blood sausage that has been stuffed into a squid) and soondubu (not spicy like in Seoul, but made with a mix of pure mountain water and seawater).

Where We Stayed
We stayed at Sol Beach, one of the Daemyung Resorts. The hotel has several restaurants, coffee shops, spa, karaoke and kids area. It was beautiful, but a little noisy. Bring earplugs. Oh, and large towels. Despite it’s “Spanish” setting and design, this is still Korea, and the shower towels provided were not much bigger than a hand towel. 😉

Have you visited Sokcho or the East Sea? What did you think? Are you surprised that this beach exists in Korea?

16 Comments Post a comment
  1. not yet. yeahh its look nice place. any recommended guest house to stay there?

    December 5, 2014
    • Actually that’s the first time I’ve been there! but I’m sure there are many small guesthouses in the area. In Korea, these are called minbak, and they are usually not very expensive.

      December 6, 2014
  2. Wow, what an incredible beach. It looks like the perfect getaway 🙂 That food looks pretty amazing too!

    December 5, 2014
    • It was stunning…. I was really surprised that this beach existed in Korea. It seemed so much like a beach out of the Mediterranean, and it was an amazing break from the big city. Lol, and it certainly helped that it was all expenses paid. 🙂

      December 7, 2014
  3. Sha #

    You had me at the beach and the infinity pool. Enough said. Haha…but among the beaches in Korea, the ones on the eastern side are better or at least of my preference. I’ve been to Gangneung from Seoul and it was an awesome beach! If only it had more shade by the water itself so that i can sit closer to the sea. And if only I had not fractured my finger, I would have been able to take a swim in the water..oh well, but yes, infinity pool..medicine to my soul…hahaha.:)

    December 6, 2014
    • Lol the funny thing is that they probably don’t even let people swim in that infinity pool. It’s probably just there for show. Oh Korea. 🙂 We’ve been to Gangneung too and loved it there, except for we were there the first weekend in September, and Agri went swimming and they sent the police boat after him. Haha. I guess Korean’s don’t swim in September.

      December 7, 2014
      • Sha #

        Oh no but why!! 😔 that is such a waste of infinity pool! But I LOL when reading about police chasing agri out..guess they probably think only someone crazy would do so at that time. But funnily enough, I remember watching their own navy guys training in the open sea during winter! Lol..😁

        December 7, 2014
  4. That soodubu looks so odd without any spice! I’ll have to trust you that it’s delicious. The squid sundae, on the other hand, looks really yummy. I’d love to try it.

    December 6, 2014
    • Honestly, I am not a fan of that soondubu. It’s supposed to be very fresh and natural, but after a few bites, I’ve had enough. You’d have to be a real tofu lover to enjoy that whole dish. 😉

      December 7, 2014
  5. That Asian food looks delicious.

    December 21, 2014
  6. The more I read article about Korea in your blog, the more I want to visit it 🙂 love this review!!

    January 25, 2015
    • Well, hopefully they will convince you!! Seoul has been the most popular tourist destination for Asians for a really long time, but it’s still a little under the radar for people living in Europe/Americas. Changing a bit now though… def see a lot more western tourists these days. 🙂

      January 26, 2015

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