A Day Trip from Seoul to Chuncheon, Korea
After putting this trip off for two weeks because my body was just too tired, I woke up at 6am to catch a train to a city I haven’t visited yet, Chuncheon! Chuncheon is famous for being the home of a staggering number of famous writers. This place is book lover heaven!
The city is almost perfectly due east of Seoul and can be reached by subway or the ITX - I took the subway! I arrived bright and early in Chuncheon at 8:45am and took a 15 minute walk to my first destination: caffeine.
If you’re ever riding the KTX train, do not pass up the chance to read the KTX magazine in the seat pocket in front of you. Whoever edits it does an incredible job and they have lots of info in English too! It was the February 2019 edition of this mag that let me know about Kishyaba, an adorable little green tea cafe and vintage shop. It opens at 9am, but when I arrived there at 9:10am the doors were still closed. I ended up commenting on their instagram asking if they closed unexpectedly and about 10 minutes later my answer came in the form of the shop owner jogging around the corner shouting ‘sorry!’
Since it was Saturday she said she gets a bit of a late start ;) I’m so glad she showed up because the cafe was adorable and everything I tried there was delicious. I had an einspänner coffee which is 2 shots of espresso with a thick layer of fresh cream on top. I paid the extra 500won for the green tea cream that she whipped especially for me!
After chatting with her about California, blogging, and all my plans for the day (she gave me pointers on the best spots in Chuncheon!) she brought me over a handmade chocolate that she had made the night before. It was so good and made me sad that I didn’t have someone to spilt the green tea tiramisu with because that would definitely have been amazing too.
When I was leaving I asked for the green tea dipped pretzels to go and she wouldn’t let me pay for them because she was so sorry that she made me wait for the cafe to open. She was an angel and I can’t recommend this place enough!
Next on the agenda was Demian Books, a 3 story bookstore with tons of seating and a cafe. I went there specifically for the gallery/museum they have on the 4th floor dedicated to the writers during the Japanese colonial period, specifically Cha Sangchan, but the gallery was under construction. The rest of the bookstore was pretty much just your typical modern bookstore but is still a cute stop for book lovers!
Since the mini museum was closed, I checked out the huge museum - Chuncheon’s National Museum to be exact. The gorgeous structure is totally free to explore and the docents were really friendly and helpful. I spent most of my time looking at the 500 year old Arhats (spiritual people who haven’t reached bodhisattva or buddha status yet, and thus have intense emotions written all over their faces)
I spent an hour there and didn’t see half of it!
I stopped Masil Books to see a smaller local book shop and it was filled with mostly art books, perfect for those of us who aren’t fluent enough to read an entire novel in Korean yet. They had prints and a beautiful sunroom where you could enjoy a cup of coffee and your book!
Chuncheon is famous for its dakgalbi (a sweet and spicy chicken dish) and makguksu (cold noodles) so I felt I had to find out what the hype was about. To be honest, the makguksu really wasn’t my style but the people at the restaurant were really friendly and made the experience…okay hahah
The noodles are cold and serves with a spicy sauce that tasted a little too deep for me. I’m more of a salsa fresca person and this tasted more like chipotle sauce (the real chipotle not the fast food chain) if that makes any sense at all.
I finished up my day at Croft Coffee roasters, a cafe in a charming hanok filled with vintage goodies and plants. I got the last seat at the bar and ordered a flat white based on the recommendation of the owner of Kisyaba that morning. It did not disappoint! It also seemed to be popular with the locals because the barista knew a lot of the people that came for take out orders.
I had planned to visit a candle store called Slowly, but they had sudden business come up and closed for the day. You should still totally check out their instagram though and drool over their candles.
Overall Chuncheon was a really great time and everyone was so talkative and helpful. I’ll definitely be back!