The second 3-day weekend, for Buddha’s birthday, was also my friend’s Ginger and Kelly’s birthday. Saturday morning we went on a bus to Mt. Seoraksan National Park, reportedly one of the most beautiful places here, with about 20 party guests.
Vacations are rare-Korea just switiched from a 6 day work week to 5, people work when they’re sick and do not take personal vacations. So, everyone has the same national holidays and the roads were packed-what should be a two hour ride, was five.
We got off at the “Waterpia” waterpark and were shuttled to restaurant. After eating, we hit the park until dark-its lazy river, slides, wave pool and multiple hot tubs.
Then it was off to downtown. Mt. Seorakson is in a beach town on the ocean called Sokcho. I got street food while my friends haggled for seafood, the town specialty. The small street was lined with tanks full of a variety of fish and things like seaurchins, crab and octopus. Nearby, fisherman pulled in the day’s catch next to diners at outdoor table-top grills.
Everyone decided on the restaurant that threw in beer, raw fish and crab for $20 per a person. After dinner we went to a Noribang and I got “Paint in Black” by the Stones stuck in my head for days.
The next morning we went to the mountain, stopping at a super delicious Korean restaurant for breakfast. It’s amazing how Korean restaurants serve the same food but it varies so much because everywhere has their special way of making things.
At the mountain, we all went to buy tickets for a cable car to Gwongeumseong peak. The wait turned out to be four hours so a coule of us went hiking up Mt. Seoraksan. The first sight is a giant Buddha with an impressive stone on it’s ‘third eye’. On the back side you can enter a temple underneath Buddha.
The hike was awesome despite crowds, it was a crisp, bright day-not too hot or cold, so sunny and green. The rock forms were remniscent of the Black Hills in South Dakota.
Before the last big push, 800 stairs up rock face, we rested on a large rock enjoying the amazing view. Then we didn’t spend much time at the summit as we had to get back for the cable car.
After the car brought us up we hiked to the very top and hungout as the sun set before going back to the Hostel, then to town for dinner. This time we ate outside at the table top grills and-again-went to Noribang.
Monday was spent relaxing and taking the bus to Seoul. We had been told it might take 12 hours! Luckily it was only 5. Some of us, on my urging hit up my favorite Mexican place, Dos Tacos, before going home full and sleepy.