Enjoying strawberries, festivals and nature: Jeongseon

by - April 24, 2018

When most people think of Gangwon-do, they think of Gapyeong and Chuncheon, but further east is Jeongseon, another gorgeous country in the province, which is in fact famous for the "Arirang" song, which originated here. Arirang is a Korean folk song, often considered the unofficial national anthem of Korea.

Galati, aka myself, was visiting this place for a Longboarding Festival, which was certainly an interesting sport. The festival was at "Arirang Hill". Our first stop was Yangpyeong. It's a small city that, east of Seoul that lies on the land between the North Han River and South Han River at their confluence. Its a popular day trip for Seoul residents looking for a respite from the busy city life and has some great treks. 

In Yangpyeong, we had made our way to one of the strawberry farms that came along the way. When we first arrived, we were given a short briefing about the life cycle of a strawberry plant, the parts of the plant and some other fun facts about strawberries. Then we moved on to the indoor field itself where the auntie shared with us how to pick strawberries. 
Because it was at the end of the season, almost all of the strawberries were ripe but they were small sized. one in every bunch. According to the owner of the farm, most of the strawberries will ripen in February to April, i.e. the end of winter to the start of spring period.

Now, I am not one of those people who is into fruit picking immensely, but this trip was divine. I realized that the strawberries in Korea, especially those coming from outside of Seoul are divine. They may not be so large, but their taste and sweetness are unmatched.

Our next stop was to Jeongseon, where we crossed the state boundary, and left Gyeonggi and arrived at the far east end of Gangwon. Now, Jeongseon, back during the Three Kingdoms period, was ruled by the Goguryeo Dynasty and most of the archaeological artifacts you'll find will be from that time. Moreover, the area is well-known for gambling. There is a South Korean casino and resort company there, and supposedly, its one of the only ones where South Koreans can gamble.

The area has a large Karst zone, formed from the dissolution of the limestone rocks, and thus, this area is well-known for some of its caves. Some of the karst zones in this area were designated Natural Monuments of South Korea. Moreover, there is a really popular coral cave there, though we haven't as yet seen it though I plan to some day!

In Jeongseon, we were staying at Gaemidul village where we were greeted with beautiful views, a lovely hanok hall and then some trout fishing. Gaemidul actually means Ants village (I am not sure why!) and the village has a variety of experiences and entertainment. This includes trout fishing, which is also a popular activity. The place is really quite interesting geographically, as it has many karst features. In fact, the area also has some interesting choral caves. We spent a night at the Ants Village and enjoyed a great buffet breakfast with lots of veggies.

Then, we went for a hike near Byeongbangchi Skywalk. Sadly, the skywalk was closed, due to rain and fog, though it offers a grand view of the stunning surroundings from 583 meters in the air. It has a nice glass floor,  so you can see the hill falling away below your feet. Moreover, there was a zipline there, but in our case, that was closed as it disappeared into the fog. Instead, we are and hiked onwards.

After the hike, we were back at "Arirang Hill" where the longboarding festival continued, and I decided to hit up the traditional village and a museum there.

Even though it was rainy, the area reminded me of this place in Pakistan, Nathia Gali, which is a series of hills buried in the clouds and fog. I've written a blog on that too.

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