In case you missed it “Day Tripping in Rural Korea, Part 1”…….
Opening the window to fog as thick as I have ever seen I quickly dressed and headed out to have a stroll through fog shrouded downtown Punggi. I hadn’t seen fog this thick since leaving Nova Scotia 10 years ago. Korean towns are pretty much non-descript. Rows of gray buildings with neon signage. You’ll always find a couple of bakeries, several convenience stores, and a few beer hofs. “Hof” is Korean Konglish for bar. Bigger towns will throw a Lotteria, “Korean MacDonald’s) into the mix. Punggi did not disappoint:)
Then, it was back to the hotel to a delicious buffet breakfast of Korean and Western food choices. By 8:00 am we were on the road again.
Our first stop of the day was the Punggi Ginseng Market. The merchants plied us with everything ginseng including tea, candy, and honey. The Koreans are very proud of their ginseng, which they call Insam. The ginseng is farmed and can be harvested from year one through year six. The youngest ginseng sells for about $20.00 a piece, with the oldest selling at around $50.00 or $60.00 per piece. The ultimate ginseng is what grows wild in the forest. This ginseng is extremely rare, and if you can even find it, very expensive.
The ginseng tea is tasty, although a little sweet for my liking. I tried the ginseng “honey”. UGH………..not a taste I like, and I don’t think it would ever grow on me. Love the ginseng candy, both hard and jelly.
Another town famous for its Ginseng is Guemsan. Every second year they have a huge gineng festival. I attended a couple of years ago, and took loads of photos, which you can find over at Flickr in this set.
Back on the bus, we headed off down the road to Buseoksa Temple. We were there with what seemed like thousands of other weekend day trippers. Someone has been doing a great job of marketing the area. The day was perfect and the fall colors were at their height. I felt like I had stepped onto the canvas of a very talented painter.
Time for lunch. Today we were treated to Korean bibimbap, which is one of my favorites.
Our final stop of the day was Museom Village.
Taken from the “official” brochure…….
“This is a village that looks like an island because it is surrounded by Naeseongcheon (stream). Sixteen buildings of the traditional houses are typical houses of ancient noble people and are more than a century old.”
At one time this wooden footbridge was the village’s only connection to the mainland. We were told that it’s 350 years old. Now, maybe a food bridge has existed here for 350 years, but I have the feeling that this is not the original 🙂 (You can see how hazy it was that day.)
After several hours in this charming Korean village it was time to head back to Daejeon, and say goodbye to our hosts, Korea’s Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. I would like to say THANK YOU for giving me the opportunity to get off the beaten track here in Korea.