CONTRIBUTED BY GILL KIM
If you have a week day vacation day or two it’s worth driving east out of Seoul on Highway 60 to Mount Seorak. It only takes 2-3 hours. (It’s soooo not worth it on a weekend. When we went on the weekend, we spent the whole day in the car with two tiny people and when we tried to get off Route 60 and find another route using B roads it was twice as bad. That’s even with a Korean speaking hubby.)
We booked our hotel on www.agoda.com the benefit for me being that it’s in English and I don’t speak much Korean (and I seem to be the vacation organizer due to hubby’s busy working schedule). Once you load your payment details in English on the site, the payment is made after your stay automatically.
We stayed at Grace Heim Pension on our trip to Seorak. The map was on the listing in agoda.com and with that on my iPhone and maps open on my hubby’s iPhone we had no trouble finding it.
It’s an odd place for decor! The owners are absolutely lovely though. They set up a BBQ for us and gave us free lettuce for wrapping and kimchi to go with our meat which we brought. They also have a pool and an infant pool in the back with love seats and showers and a tennis/basketball court. Can’t stress enough how lovely they were. I saw a pool table too and a guitar lying around. They have two boys for your kids to play with who looked like they were about eight.
I went to the church on the other side of the rice paddy from the pension. I was the only person there apart from the organist and minister. I couldn’t understand what they were saying but they gave me green tea and bounced my baby and were so inviting and kind when I had to leave early when he started to fuss.
I loved the music cafe, on the second floor accessible with a stroller, in Seorak Art Center, which was just at the intersection where we turned off for the pension. Yummy muffins. Perfect coffee smell. Beautiful view of Seorak. On the ground floor was a wonderful Korean restaurant where the owner have us a salad with ingredients from their stunningly beautiful garden.
It’s thoroughly worth getting out of Seoul. Koreans who are not overworked, busy and stressed and packed together are very friendly and kind. (It’s just like the difference in my country between Londoners and people in Scotland) The country is beautiful and the food is yummy. Go explore!
Directions: When you leave Seoul go out past Olympic stadium to Namyang Junction to get on the 60. When you are on the 44 you need to follow the signs to Sokcho. You’ll get off the 44 just at Sokcho but it’s all in English 🙂
Grace Heim Pension Address: 1000-77 Nohak-dong (24-29 Baramkkonmaeul 1-gil), Seorak Mountain National Park, Sokcho-si, South Korea
Grace Heim Pension website: (in Korean) http://www.graceheim.co.kr/