Our train travels have continued and this time we journeyed to Boseong. To get there from Yeosu, we had to transfer briefly in Suncheon, but the entire trip took only an hour and a half and cost us 5,000 won (~$5) each! What a bargain!
Boseong is famous in Korea for it’s beautiful rolling tea fields perched atop the mountains that overlook the sea. These tea plantations have been around since the Japanese occupation and so it is also steeped in tradition. Many tourists come to see these jaw dropping green fields and you can spend hours wandering through the rows taking pictures. No matter which way you look, there is beauty all around. If you visit earlier in the spring, you can see women out in the fields harvesting the leaves. As each season has its special palatial qualities, the harvest of each season provides different flavors of green tea.
After slowly meandering our way through the rows and rows of tea, we worked up quite the appetite. The plantation has a few restaurants where you can enjoy a special version of green tea naengmyeon. The noodles inside this ice cold spicy soup are made from buckwheat, but at the Daehan Dawon plantation, they make them with green tea added to the dough. This was by far, the spiciest and most delicious naengmyeon we have ever had! For dessert, we decided to try the green tea ice cream treats that were being served underneath the cedar trees.
Near the entrance to the plantation there is a ticket booth where you can choose to go left or right. To your left is a bamboo forest and to the right is the path leading into the tea fields. The bamboo was impressive, sporting carved graffiti from love struck teenagers unaware of their impact. Many people have carved their initials or names into trees; and while I actually hate to see this vandalism, it is awesome to know that the bamboo graffiti will climb and climb as the plants (technically a type of grass) grow toward the sky instead of out like in normal trees. Carving your initials (again: don’t do it) will lead to your inscription climbing ever upward.
This tea plantation was astoundingly beautiful. As anyone who has visited before can attest, it is spectacularly green and impressive. We meandered around for some time before deciding that departure was required. The sun’s heat, along with the incessant shrieking of children shouting “엄마, 외국인!” (“Mom! Look, a foreigner!”) made us realize that cooler pastures were needed away from crowds. We set our sights on Yulpo Beach in south Boseong to spend the rest of our day. We waited for the VERY intermittent bus before taking a taxi to the beach. Once there we walked about, got some sand between our toes, and took a nice nap on the sandy beach atop a newly bought beach blanket with a pair of Coronas from a nearby convenience store. Stephanie getting a tad bit burnt, we woke up and started looking for a bus stop that would take us away from our secluded beach.
We waited for almost an hour at the bus stop and finally boarded the bus which hurtled us around the mountain bends and dropped us off in front of the train station. While waiting for our train we decided to try a small restaurant for some kimchi jjigae and a beer. After a while, the ITX train arrived and we hurtled off toward Yeosu and home. We hadn’t ridden an ITX train before and we were surprised by how comfortable it was. We saw many things and had enjoyed ourselves immensely on this trip, reaffirming our love for easy jaunts on Korea’s railroad system.