A Solo Day Trip to Sokcho on Korea's East Coast
I grew up next to the ocean and there are days when I still feel the need to be at the beach. Not that I ever go swimming in the water! I'm more of a admire-from-the-shore take-in-the-salty-air kind of beach-goer.
The country had the day off for Buddha's birthday, so I booked myself a bus ticket and headed east to the beaches I had heard so much about. I chose Sokcho because there was a direct bus there and settled in for what would be a 4 hour ride (due to holiday traffic...normally its less than 3)
When I arrived I immediately hopped on the city bus and headed south to get some lunch, and I knew exactly what I wanted.
Allow me to introduce Shrimp Box. This little food truck is now found all over Korean coastal cities. They serve either lemon garlic or spicy shrimp over rice and let me tell you, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect meal. It's a bit expensive with each box at 9,000won, but I indulged. This food truck is at the Donghae location, in this parking lot with a great view of the ocean!
I sat there for about 30 minutes just enjoying the view and my meal, sketched a bit, and then hopped back on the bus to head even further south to a temple I had been wanting to visit for ages!
My friend Kayla had visited Sokcho once before and told me about this temple on a cliff that gave out free rice cakes and water every day. That was enough to convince me to go, and that is how I ended up at Naksan Temple. Just as she said, the temple offered rice cake to visitors who made it up the trail through pine trees into the main grounds. I didn't expect this place to be as big as it was, so be sure to set aside time to really explore it! The views from the cliff area were stunning, and I was shocked to see so many bird watchers in their full camo gear trying to take photos of a apparently famous family of owls.
After exploring for a bit, I headed to the tea house located in a huge building and garden overlooking the water. I sat there for hours just drawing and reading, and eventually a small group of kids came over and talked to me, which was great because their Korean was exactly my level (lol!) I talk more about it in my video, but they were the highlight of the trip!
I got an iced pear tea and a table outside. I can't recommend this place enough!
Because of the traffic taking about 2 hours out of my plans, I started to slowly head back to the bus station. After taking a moment to sit on the beach in a giant rocking chair, I stopped in a small harbor called Daepohang with little cafes and eateries, and watched the sunset from a cafe window. From there I grabbed a snack at a convenience store and hopped on my bus home.
There is definitely more you can do here if you don't take the bus on a holiday morning like I did, so I really encourage you to explore the area and maybe bring a picnic for the beach!