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Welcome to Sokcho – first meeting with South Korea

Sokcho
Sokcho

Dear readers, for a long time we haven’t been on a journey to some beautiful place in Asia. So I decided today’s trip to take us to Sokcho, South Korea.

Situated in the northeastern part of the country along the coast of the Japanese Sea, Sokcho is the city, known as the gateway to the nearby Seoraksan National Park.

Let’s not waste more time and head to one of Korea’s most beautiful and emblematic parks, namely Seoraksan National Park. It’s located about 30 minutes from Sokcho in the territory of Mount Seoraksan.

Seoraksan National Park

The park is a unique place for walks and relaxation in nature. Under the protection of UNESCO, it was declared a nature reserve in 1965 and here you can see a number of protected species, both animal and plant. While walking you can also see the extremely rare Korean musk deer, the Korean goral, Siberian flying squirrels, otters and perhaps even Asian black bear.

On the territory of the park you’ll also find two Buddhist temples, Sinheungsa and Baekdamsa, as well as a number of monuments. One of the most remarkable is the one of the Bronze Buddha, called “Tongil Daebul”, which is situated near the Sinheungsa Temple.

Bronze Buddha

High 14.6 meters, the monument contains something very curious in its interior. What is it?, you will ask, and I will answer your question. In the hollow interior of the monument, there are three parts of the Buddha’s sari, which remains collected after his cremation (donated by the Myanmar government) and Tripiṭaka (the original Buddhist scriptures).

While we are still under the influence of the Bronze Buddha, let’s take a look at the Sinheungsa Temple. Situated on the slopes of Seoraksan, it is the main temple of the Order of Korean Buddhism. It is also believed to be the oldest Zen (Seon) temple in the world.

Sinheungsa Temple, Sokcho
Sinheungsa Temple
part of the interior of the Sinheungsa Temple
Sinheungsa Temple, Sokcho
Sinheungsa Temple

Once we have enjoyed some of the nature of Sokcho, we can’t miss the opportunity to visit its beautiful beach. Located to the east of Seoraksan Park, it attracts not only locals, but also tourists with its clean water and white sand. Its proximity to the mountains and the beautiful pine forest creates for visitors tranquil feeling and light romance, complemented by the beautiful sculptures.

Sokcho Beach
Sokcho Beach
Sculptures of Sokcho Beach

And while we’re still near the sea beach, we could do two more walks to the Lighthouse Observatory and Younggeumjeong Pavilion – two wonderful places. They are perfect for walks during the day, as well as at sunset and in the evening. They have their own magic all the time.

Lighthouse Observatory, Sokcho
Lighthouse Observatory
Yeonggeumjeong pavilion

In the past, the pavilion was named Yeonggeumjeong, because of the strange-looking rocks and mysterious sounds coming from the shore, which sounded like the Korean traditional geomungo instrument. In the present we can’t see the rocks well, just like in the past, but the place is still so beautiful.

While our walk feels so enjoyable, we can’t miss checking Sokcho Expo Tower and the Statue of Peace. From the sea shore, to the west, our road will take us to the Tower, which is in a park near Lake Cheongcho, and near is the statue of peace.

After a pleasant relaxation in the park and an opportunity for children to play, we are ready to climb to the top of the tower. From there a magnificent view of the city and the lake can be enjoyed all day long.

Sokcho Expo Tower
Sokcho Expo Tower

The Statue of Peace, at first glance is a beautiful work of art, but it is also a symbol combining the memory and sadness of the victims of sexual slavery, known as comforting women, by the Japanese Imperial military during the Second World War. The statue was erected as a sign of apology and remembrance.

Statue of Peace

Before the ending our first visit to Korea, I want to take you to few more places. The first is Sokcho city museum and displaced civilians folk village. In the museum you will find many of the history and the culture of Sokcho and the village will reveal how the houses looked like in the past, as well as for you to enjoy traditional games and performances.

displaced civilians folk village

For our last stop I chose Teddy Bear Farm. The place is suitable for both old and young. A different insight into Sokcho’s unique lifestyle is provided through teddy bears. They are represented in a variety of scenes such as mountain climbing, skiing, golf games, boating in the village from Abai to the city center, fishing, sunbathing on the beach, protecting the country, etc. Visitors can buy teddy bears from the gift shop, as well as training programs for fans of the teddy bear.

Teddy Bear Farm
Teddy Bear Farm

Dear friends and readers, here our adventure ends, but we will find new and interesting places together again. Will you come with us on our next trip?

Source: lonelyplanet, trazy, this is korea and others

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