07 Jun - 10 Jun 2013 Sokcho

Republic of Korea aka South Korea
Dongmyeong-Dong 452-5
Clean but rather small a/c double room (no. 115) with private bathroom and fridge for a stiff KRW 30,000.- or US$ 26.85 per night (weekend rate). Including a frugal slimmer’s breakfast. Free wifi. Fully equipped communal kitchen/lounge.
Factitious and somewhat contrived “backpacker atmosphere”.
Indifferent and avaricious staff; reasonable English.

Click below for an interactive road map of The House Hostel and for directions:

Matt: Exploring the friendly and authentic fishing town of Sokcho in-between her small southern harbour, Daepohang Port, and her large northern harbour, Dongmyeonghang Port, hanging out on her clean sandy beaches and discovering the town’s rather wild and overflowing Jungang (Fish) Market in Gangwon-do.

Matt: Relating to Hannibal Lecter when, for the first time in my life, I devoured slowly and with relish a live octopus aka sannakji (cut into inch-long pieces which were still sucking, grasping and wriggling on the plate and served with fresh onions, soya sauce and green chilies; eaten with wooden chopsticks which are the key to gripping the slimy tentacles), fresh from the tank, at Dongmyeonghang’s waterfront, and feeling its squirming tentacles wrapping around themselves on my tongue - a must-do and an unforgettable culinary experience for every pescetarian worth his sea salt; all the unilateral fun for just KRW 5,000.- or US$ 4.50 per beast, excluding the necessary bottle of makgeolli (KRW 1,200.- per bottle) to flush it all down.

Matt: Visiting the nearby Abai Village, formed by refugees of the Korean War who had left their home province of Hamgyeong in North Korea and followed the republican troops of South Korea retreating to the south in January 1951, and pigging into the villagers signature food: stuffed squid or “squid sundae”, cooked Hamgyeong style with a delicious filling made from steamed rice, minced noodles, tofu, eggs, onion, carrot, seaweed, herbs and spices for KRW 5,000.- or US$ 4.50 per meal.

Matt: Pinpointing after dark the very distinctive light characteristics of Sokcho’s lighthouse as Fl.(4)W45s28m17M, noticing at daytime the lighthouse’s secondary aim as an official albeit somewhat undersized tsunami evacuation site (but avoiding, at all costs, to imagine the situation when tens of thousands of people would try to gather on top of this rather small and steep hill), nonetheless, climbing up to the observatory, keeping a sharp lookout for any monster wave on the horizon of the East Sea of Korea aka Sea of Japan and, eventually, in order to soothe my nerves, supping on a healthy platter of assorted sliced raw fish and seafood aka modeumhoe (if the fish comes from the East Sea of Korea) and sashimi  (if the fish comes from the Sea of Japan), respectively, with a couple of dancing shrimps aka odori ebi thrown in for good measure, for only KRW 6,000.- or US$ 5.30 per small plate, including unlimited soya sauce and genuine wasabi, but excluding soju - cheers or wihayeo!

Matt: Taking an express bus from Sokcho’s convenient Inter-city Bus Terminal through a meticulously landscaped model country with modern and clean crop farming and well-maintained forests to Andong’s brand-new Express Bus Terminal (c. 310 km, 4 ¼ hours, KRW 24,400.- or US$ 21.70 per person) and, thereafter, taking city bus no. 1 (KRW 1,200.- or US$ 1.10 per person) to the train station situated in Andong’s city centre and a mere 5-min walk away from my next guesthouse, the friendly GoTaYa Guesthouse.

Click below for more blog posts about lekker seafood in Asia

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From the 2013 Moral Travel Compass for our Grand Children's Journey of Life:
It’s bad to tolerate intolerance;
It’s good to sing.
Keep your bearings!