Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Road Less Traveled: Boseong Green Tea Plantation

To wrap up our Jeolla adventure, we went to Boseong, the major hub of the green tea culture in Korea, on our last day. Tickets to Boseong (₩8,900 or $9) are available at the green or Inter-City bus counter of the Gwangju U-square bus terminal. It was an hour and 40 minute curvy ride. Upon arrival in Boseong bus terminal, wait for the bus going to Nok Cha Pat or look for the sign that says 녹차밭 at the end opposite that of the Gwangju bus you've alighted from. The Nok Cha Pat bus schedule is posted on that side of the wall and the schedule of the bus back to Gwangju is posted in the small room in front of the Gwangju bus. If you want to make sure, just ask the ajusshi in the small room.

When riding the bus, tell the driver that your destination is Nok Cha Pat. The bus ride was ₩1200 or $1 per person. After about 10 to 15 minutes, the driver will stop at the Nok Cha Pat bus stop where you'll see a big parking lot. Walk to the slope on the left of the parking lot and you'll see stalls of green tea ice cream go straight for about 5 minutes until you see the pine tree lined road on the way to the first green tea plantation, the "Daehan Dawon Tourist Tea Plantation".

view on the right side of the parking lot
view on the right side of the parking lot
pine trees lining the road leading to the green tea plantation
green tea goodness
traces of autumn in sight
view from the top
My friend and I left the green tea plantation at 1:40 pm to ride the 2 pm bus. To reach the bus stop going back to the Boseong bus terminal, you should cross the road from the first bus stop where you alighted from the bus going to the plantation, go into the tunnel shown below then cross the road again to reach the bus stop going back.
bus stop for buses bound to Boseong bus terminal
cool Boseong ahjummas :)
without the tteokgalbi
full meal
After that wonderful last meal, we went to the Gwangju Songjeong KTX station with full stomachs and heavy hearts. We couldn't believe that our days in Jeolla came to an end like a blink of an eye. Looking back, we were more than satisfied of our Jeolla trip. The warm and hospitable people who broke the wall and reached out to us even though we were foreigners, the astonishing and breathtaking sights, the convenient and timely modes of transportation, the luscious meals we had, and the thought of simply being away from the city brought comforts to our hearts even for that short period of time.

The entrance ticket to the green tea plantation costs ₩4000 or $4. You will be given a map and you're free to explore the plantation. There is a part of the plantation filled with Cherry Blossom trees; however, they bloom only during the end of March to early April. The green the bushes seem to emit a gush of fresh air. Going around the place will give you the feeling that you're part of a Korean drama or that you're shooting your very own tea or skin care product commercial. There are green tea goodies and food items you can avail and enjoy inside. Just be mindful of the bus schedules and make it fit your own time table. If not for the KTX train that we wouldn't want to miss, we could have stayed there longer, had a cup of green tea paired with green tea noodles.

After 10 minutes, we were at the Boseong bus terminal. We then booked the 2:40 bus bound to Gwangju and reached Gwangju a little over 4 pm. We went to our hostel to get some of our things and went straight to the Nongseong train station to ride a train to the Gwangju-Songjeong station for our 6:15pm KTX train to Seoul.

Good thing time was on our side. We still had more than an hour to spare that we asked the tourist information center where the Tteokgalbi (Korean Short Rib Patties) street was. We battled through the cold drizzling rain and chose one restaurant in the street. It was definitely worth the hype! For just ₩12000 or $12 per person, you will be served with this sumptuous and delectable meal which includes a variety of side dishes, a warm pork bone soup and of course, the main dish, the Tteokgalbi (sweet, tasty and chewy beef patty which you wrap in lettuce and/or perilla leaves with banchan, somewhat like samgyeopsal). The soup and the side dishes were refillable. Bias aside, I would say that this has been my favorite meal of our 9 day Korean trip. It was very filling, affordable and the banchan of Jeolla province stood out.