Finally~ I’ve decided to dedicate a full entry just on the locations Pornsak and Lee Teng traveled for this Channel 8 documentary 铁路次文化 which was aired in 2011.
*I hope that I won’t give up halfway* I haven’t been to most places yet but I will try to google and google and google and provide links and hopefully someday I will have the chance to cover all the places!
Episode 1: Part 1 of 9
This episode starts off at Seoul Station, the biggest station in Korea. The trains in Korea announces the stations in 4 major languages and there are more than 10 platforms within this 3-stories complex, catering to a wide network of connections to all over Korea.
The next place they visited is Hongdae (Hongik University Street). This is a artsy-fartsy hangout for undergrads with streets donned with trendy fashion, food and of course a good place to hang out with friends or sit in a uniquely-themed cafe to people-watch.
The Noraebang (Karaoke) Shop they visited with glass windows is Luxury Soo Noraebang in Hongdae. It is a very popular chain for Noraebang and it is also a familiar backdrop in dramas/variety shows.
Then, they proceeded to Insadong, a place where you can find korean traditional items, cafes and shops. It is also a popular place for art galleries, tea houses etc.
In the show, they walked along the street of Pima-gil and visited a traditional Korean Teahouse.
And Yes, I found the exact teahouse they visited: 옛찻집, Address: 서울 종로구 관훈동 164번지
You can visit this korean blog for more pictures of this place: http://junglemap.tistory.com/34
***** OUT OF SEOUL *****
After which, they boarded a luxury rail cruise, Haerang. This 8 carriage train has 23 rooms and it only caters up to a maximum of 54 passengers. You can click on the link above for the detailed itinerary and pricing.
Episode 1: Part 2 of 9
The next location they went to was Wonju Station (approx 140km east of Seoul), a station along the Junggang line, in the Gangwon Province. This city is a major oak producer.
First up, they visited a charcoal village (원주참숯마을) where they had pork belly and suana. It took me forever to try to google for this place =/
Finally found a korean blog which has more information and pictures about this place: http://blog.naver.com/PostView.nhn?blogId=kimrg&logNo=90063729370
Next they went to Chestnut Village (Bamduduk Village) and did fishing. They had nice spicy fish soup there. Also, they feast on pumpkin noodles.
Then, they proceeded eastwards to Taebaek City. It is a highland resort city.
They have a signature water festival to welcome summer, similar to the one in Thailand. It is a relatively new festival which started only in 2009. It’s quite cool because the fire engines will be station on the streets, providing the water supply =/
I can’t find much information about it but I presume it usually takes place at the last sunday of July.
Episode 1: Part 3 of 9
The next destination they traveled to is Mukho City (Between Donghae and Jeongdongjin), which was the busiest trading port of the country back in the 60s.
Within a 5 minutes walk fro the train station, you can visit a wholesale fish market which specializes in squid! At the market, you can have squid sashimi, and this is only one of the many cooking options available.
And yes, if you want to dine in the same restaurant as them, this family business with 40 years of experience, you can search for this place: 40년전통부흥횟집,
Address: 강원도 동해시 묵호진동2
Korean blogs that visited this place:
Next, they proceeded up up up up up north to Sok-Cho for the Annual Squid Catching Day (early august, sunday)
If i’m not wrong, it cost about 20,000W to take part in this event. and after catching the squid, you can eat it at the festival with your desired cooking style!
Sokcho is not exactly accessible via train. The nearest train station is Gangneung and it takes an hour by bus to get to Sokcho.
Next up, they visited Abai Fishing Village which is also part of Sok-cho city. This place is made famous as it holds the filming location for the famous drama, autumn in my heart (which i stopped watching after episode 3 because i cried).
In this village, they ate a special dish, cuttlefish glutinous rice (I haven’t tried it yet).
If you watch the drama, the female lead mother’s shop or house is located here in this village. If you are interested in the exact address and location and pictures, this link provides a good guide in korean.
Blog entry about Abai Village: http://happydalki.blogspot.sg/2012/11/13-oct-2012-wondering-around-abai.html
After Sokcho, they made a detour and went back to Taebaek City, Chujeon Station. I guess the reason for this detour was because they had to catch all the festivals.. What’s special about this station is that it is the highest train station in Korea! It also has the highest snowfall and lowest temperatue during winter.
Near the station, about a 5 minutes car ride would be the famous Yongyeon Cave.
You will be greeted by the highest cave in Korea, 920m above sea level? You can see the cave formations and there’s also a musical fountain within the cave!
After which, they proceeded to this place called Guwawu Village, a 10 minute walk from Taebaek Station. Within Guwawu village, there’s a huge sunflower plantation!!
Every summer, there will be a Taebaek Sunflower Festival. In 2013, the festival is held from July 27-August 17; costing only 5,000W for adults. There’s approximately 1 million sunflowers planted in the fields!
Episode 2: Part 4 of 9
Ahh, finally I’ve reached Episode 2. There’s 3 episodes in total by the way.
Traveling along the Jeongseon line, they arrived at the Jeongseon Station at Gangwon-do. This place is a nature beauty, along the Taebaek mountains.
For the first stop (5 mins taxi ride from Jeongseon Station), they visited the Jeongseon 5 day market, a korean traditional market, with a history of 100 years. Just like the name, the market opens every 5 days, on the 2nd, 7th, 12th, 17th, 22nd, 27th of every month, and this had been a tradition passed down since the Joseon days. In fact, you might think that the hawkers are leading a chillax life by only working 1/5 of the time but this is not true!! On the other 4 days, they are in fact selling at 4 other different locations!! Seems like they have to work 365 days a year.. without rest..
They tried the Chinese-Cabbage pancake, buckwheat pancake and of course kimchi pancake! If I’m not wrong, it is 5,000W per serving. They also tried something uniquely found in Jeongseon only, the corn wine, tasting sweeter than my favourite rice wine makkoli.
Next up, they visited a small railway station (looking like a grasshopper – it is actually a cafe) in the Jeongseon Country. The main attraction in this area is non other than the famous Jeongseon Auraji Rail Bike! This sport makes use of abandoned railway tracks and transform them into an amazing leisure activity. Apparently the terrain is sloped, so it isn’t tiring to peddle on at all! This railway tracks was once used to transport coal (before 1999) and after an amazing makeover by korail and korean tourism organization, it became a magical activity for people to enjoy the nature, the greenery, the lake, the valleys, the farmland, the tunnels; with the wind bristling through your hair. This is indeed a unique rail experience of 7,2km (approx 60 minutes)!
It costs 22,000W for 2-pax bike and 32,000W for 4-pax bike. Ideally, if you understand Korean or manage to seek some help, you should make a reservation for this adventure: http://www.railbike.co.kr/
During popular periods e.g. summer, all time slots can be sold out! (happened for me for another rail bike at samcheok)
At the end of the rail tracks, it is a rest station (shaped as 2 fishes, 1 male, 1 female), allowing you to fill your stomach. After resting, you can take a small train back to the starting point.
Episode 2: Part 5 of 9
Beside Gujeol-ri Station (boarding area for Auraji Rail Bike), there’s a railway inn aka Train Pension (정선 기차펜션). Address: 290-82, Gujeol-ri, Yeoryang-myeon, Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea
This is made up of old train carriages, which have been converted into rooms for accommodation.
Finally found some booking information for this pension if you wish to stay: http://www.visitkorea.or.kr/kor/inut/w_stay/w_stay_view.jsp?cid=732457&out_service=Y#none
There are only 9 rooms available so.. good luck!
Next up, they took an eastbound train for Gangneung, the easternmost city of South Korea. The traveling time via rail is about 2.5 hours from Jeongseon to Gangneung. Do try out the Bento sets on the train, it looks delicious!!
It seems like a really scenic rail route as you are able to see the scenery change from mountains and greenery to the coastal blue ocean!
From Gangneung station, they traveled for about 30 minutes (i assume its car), to Songcheon Rice Cake Village. (This place looks like it is nearer to this city called Yang Yang, according to google maps.) To make these rice cakes (tteokbokki), they use the natural water from Songcheon stream which provides crystal clear and cold water.
Episode 2: Part 6 of 9
Returning back to Gangneung station, the boarded a nicely decorated blue train aka Sea(side) Train! If you’re interested, you can have a read at my own experience here. I visited east coast korea back in Aug 2013 and it was really amazing! Btw, it was because of this show that I know about this train and the beauty of east coast korea. Thank You Pornsak and Lee Teng. heh.
Through this 80 minutes journey, you will get an eye-feast of the sea as all the seats faces the direction of the sea. Furthermore, the train’s windows are also enlarged, to provide an even better view! There’s also a special proposal carriage (only 50,000W/room).
And of course, please try to book your tickets in advance: http://www.seatrain.co.kr/ (Troublesome korean website which requires payment but foreign credit card can’t be used..)
The first stop for the sea train is Jeongdongjin Station. It has a world record for being the closest railway station to the beach and it is also the place to be if you would like to catch the first light of dawn. This place gets extremely crowded on the 1st of January every year..
If I’m not wrong, approximately 10 to 15 mins walk from Jeongdongjin station, they visited Jeongdongjin Sunrise Park to see the iconic hourglass.
Next up, they proceeded to Southern Seorak to try the five colour medicinal water. With a lot of googling, I found that this place is (Osaek mineral Spring 오색약수터) is located 20km from Yangyang; 1 hour car journey from Gangneung. Only 1,500 litres of water is produced by the spring on a daily average and people from all over would just travel here specially just to drink the water D:
and wow i found an english blog with directions: http://bctosk.blogspot.sg/2013/08/an-english-guide-to-osaek-hot-springs.html
(Alright I don’t know why they suddenly spring back to Taebaek Station again)
Following a 10 minute car journey from Taebaek Station, it will bring you to Hwangji Pond. This pond is actually the source of water for the longest river in Korea, the Nakdonggang, spanning a whopping 525km!
Following which, they found a very special restaurant, probably with 300 years of history. (Suddenly they are at Gangneung)
(and omg after a long struggle with search engines, i managed to find the exact place of this restaurant!!!)
서지초가뜰 (Seoji Chogadduel) 端地村草家庭園
264 Nangok-dong Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do +82 33-646-4430
This place is a 20 minutes car journey away from Gangneung Station (It’s a little confusing because in the show, one moment they are in Taebaek and the next moment they are in Gangneung.. I wasted a lot of time because of this because some parts of the order of the journey doesn’t make sense at all.. it’s as if they are running in circles?
This is a place to try out korean traditional food; a heirloom food, passed down from 11 generation over 300 years D:
Episode 3: Part 7 of 9
In this episode, they continued the rail journey down south, with the first stop being Busan, the largest city in the southern region.
Despite being a century old, Busan station is an iconic landmark, catering to the needs of tens and thousands of people daily.
After an approximately 10 minutes ride, they reached the famous Jagalchi market, famous for unusual seafood such as spoon worms and sea squid (Mong-gae), flounders (100,000W) . You can try out these dishes in multiple ways and of course, the best way is still sashimi-styled. |The prices are also astonishing cheaper. A plate of abalone only costs about 30$!
You can make the selection of the seafood at the first floor and proceed to the second floor and feast on them!
Another unique adventure awaits them at Busan Station. They boarded another special train – Wine Train (93,000W) which looks really amazing! You can feast on red wine, white wine, sweet wine. They went on a 3 hour journey from Busan to Yeongdong.
You can book your tickets here: http://www.winekr.co.kr/mart7/index.php (Korean)
Upon reaching Yeongdong, you can visit Korea’s only winery. There’s a wine foot spa, vineyard, drink grape juice and other activities!
The next destination of their journey brings them to Masan Station; eastwards of Busan – a small coastal city. There, they visited the Masan Fish Market, a 10 minutes drive away from the train station. Said to be the ugliest fish by Koreans, the Monkfish ($20) proves itself to be a delicacy. There’s even a street name after the fish – Masan Monkfish Street!
Episode 3: Part 8 of 9
And yes I did manage to find out the exact restaurant which they ate their monkfish at!
Name of shop: 오동동아구할매집 마산본점
Address: 경남 창원시 마산합포구 동성동 48-2번지
Found some korean blogs which visited this place as well:
Sometimes I think my detective skills are rather amazing =p
After their sumptuous meal, they went to Darangyi Village (an hour car journey from Gwangyang Train Station). And oh gawd this place is totally damn far from where they have been =/
They did rafting at the rough sea and it looks pretty amazing. They tried out hand fishing too. (Alright this place seems rather inaccessible and unlikely to be explored on your own :/)
Next up, they were back at Gwangyang Train Station (Westwards of Busan).
They visited the largest plum-blossom village in South Korea. There’s a maehwa festival every spring and it is rather popular!
But of course, they are famous for plums and korean loves pickled plums. Plums are usually harvested during June.
Episode 3: Part 9 of 9
Then, they visited Gacheon Darangyi Village, located at Namhae Island, to visit the beautiful terraced rice fields. They tried out walking through the hilly farmland, rosemary lavender flowers etc. Due to the good natural surroundings, they even build up accommodation for people to spend a night there~
Next up, they went northwards, up to old Gokseong Train Station. They preserved the antique-ness of the 70s with a lot of wooden structures. The iconic place in this area is the famous Gokseong Train Village, which houses the last steam train of South Korea.
This is also the filming location for Korean war movie, Brothers.
Taking the steam train will bring you to Gajeong Station, a building made up entirely of logs, giving a strong Japanese feel. There’s a train villa at the station too.
Then. they proceeded to an all-natural Damyang Bamboo forest. A really beautiful and majestic nature site to visit, though, highly inconvenient =/ This place is famous for Jukro tea leaves, a tea only drank by the emperor back in ancient days. These tea leaves are harvested once a year, usually in April. A cup of this Jukro tea cost 5,000W (wow).
Damyang is situated somewhere in the south-west region of Korea, accessible via Gwangju (a larger city).
They then proceeded to a restaurant specializing in bamboo cuisine. They feasted on Korean bamboo rice, rice cake ribs. If I’m not wrong, this is the restaurant they visited: http://www.deokinkwan.com/base/index.php/
If you’re interested in Damyang and its bamboo, information here can help you with more planning: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_6.jsp?cid=764156
With that, I’ve completed the entire series for the rail travels in Korea, featured in this favourite travel show of mine.
I hope that this information will help you, whoever you are, probably an adventurous one and please do share with me your questions, queries and of course your personal experience. I would love to hear from you =)