Sokcho is a city in Gangwon-do province, situated about 2 hours from Seoul. One of its most prominent roles is to become a “bridging” city to the famous Seoraksan National Park.
When we booked the bus ticket to Seoraksan National Park at Seoul Station, the man behind the counter immediately said, “Ah, yes. Sokcho!”
At first, we thought that Sokcho is a Korean vocabulary, until he told us in very limited English that to go to Seoraksan National Park, we have to transit at Sokcho Express Bus Terminal in Sokcho for transfer to another local bus.
However, it’s not really the city itself that we had a chance to explore. Having completed our visit to Seoraksan National Park, we arrived at the terminal about an hour earlier than scheduled. The huge Sokcho Beach sign facing the station intrigued us to find out more what the beach offers, especially the distance was only 500 meters from the beach.
We had an hour left before the bus came. In fact, crossing the street and walking straight to the beach took about 10 minutes from the station. Therefore, if it took 20 minutes to the beach and back (to the station) and let’s stretch it into 30 minutes max, we would have 30 minutes to kill the time at the beach without missing the bus back to Seoul. Fair enough, as long as we stick to to the plan without any delay.
Walking on an empty street in late afternoon, nearly all restaurants were closed and it seemed that the only place to get some drinks and snacks was a mini market nearby. I really wish we could have some seafood barbecue or something, but that would be impossible. We didn’t only have enough time, but also those restaurants were not in operational hours.
Little did we have information about the beach, but there are things I know for sure. Not being a superfan of sunbathing, I found the weather was great. It was not too hot although the sun was still at the peak of its burning heat, thanks to the breeze that cooled it down. There was no crowds making noises, no blushing and striking each other’s shoulders while walking down the street or along the shore. The sound of waves was apparently the only element that broke the silence. At the same time, hearing it gave us and everybody else some peace of mind.
A group of friends, families, lovers and even nuns completely enjoyed privacy that the beach delivered to its visitors, from taking panoramic pictures with a smartphone, picnicking in the tent, napping on the rug by the beach until hugging each other at the pier. All of them had their own way of celebrating solitude moments.
And how about us? We had a lot of fun capturing landscape and candids, as well as doing nothing but to feel the wind that gently blew our face, caressing and greeting us with pleasure.
The love theme at the pier managed to grab our attention by the appearance of a love tree and love-related Hangeul inscriptions carved on heart-shaped rocks. Since none of us speaks Korean, we wondered what it said and whether the pier was called “The Love Pier”. Speaking of which, I think the fish statues simply represented the creatures living under the sea.
The clock was ticking. Ready or not, we had to return to our base – the station. Despite limited time, it was a perfect day in every way. Perfect timing, perfect weather, and it didn’t require long hours to enjoy the serenity and refreshing breeze along the coast.
When we got in the bus, we realized that the seats we booked were in front of those of the nuns, whom we saw at the pier. We were not the only ones who decided to go there before the bus came. They seemed to have the same thought as ours and it was the right decision.
Now, Seoul, here we come!