Accomodation in Boseong
My trip to Boseong coincided with the Boseong Dahyang Green Tea Festival (this year it ran from the evening of May 2nd to May 6th, yesterday). In a certain sense, this was good, since there were more frequent buses to the Daehan number 1 and 2 tea fields. On the other hand, it meant many more people were there than hotels could handle.
This could have been forseen when I talked to somebody in a Korean restaurant next to the first tea field, and he became silent after I said I hadn’t booked any accomodation yet.
After I finished with the tea field, the staffs in the information booth nearest the tea fields had already gone home. There were still police directing traffic, so I asked them where I could catch the bus back to Boseong. They claimed there was no such bus. I had read the schedule, and knew there were two more scheduled buses. However, since there wasn’t any location marking where I could catch the bus going back, I decided to walk back. It was getting dark and raining hard.
I got back to Boseong fairly quickly. I read somewhere the distance between the town and the first tea field is 12km. I walked the distance in two hours, and saw both of the buses going back to Boseong as I did so (empty no less, if there were other people wanting to go back, they certainly didn’t know where to catch those buses).
It turned out I should have simply taken the bus I knew the stop for at the tea fields, going away from Boseong. That bus stops in Yulpo, site of the Green Tea Bath. There were no rooms available I could find in Boseong, so I ended up taking a taxi to Yulpo. Of note: it costs about 8,000 won to get to the tea fields by taxi from Boseong Train Station, and nearly 15,000 won to get to Yulpo.
There was some accomodation available in Yulpo, but after all I had been to, I decided to forgo it. There was a nice looking, but expensive resort hotel. The taxi driver kindly pointed out that there were actually two green tea baths, the one in the hotel and the public one near the beach. They aren’t open 24 hours a day. The public one is open from 6am or so to 8pm.
As the beach was right by the public bath, I decided to sit there and meditate. It was too cold to just lie on one of the benches and sleep because of the strong winds coming off the ocean. For the first time in a long time, it was as easy to breathe out as it was to breathe in. I might not have slept much, but my lungs were getting a long-desired rest from pollution. Another thing hindering people wanting to sleep were tourists setting off fireworks. A certain couple came back four different times, each time with a trunkful of fireworks to set off. In the middle of the night, some Hong Kong people set off fireworks like it was Chinese New Year.
Besides the people around at night, I got to notice that the water in the area is extremely shallow. At low tide, it was possible to walk to any of the boats, despite the lack of a dock. All the boats and platforms sat on the sand.
The public green tea bath, shown below, opened about 5:40am. I was nearly the first person inside, and definitely the first foreigner. It only costs 3,500 won to enter. The outside pools are only open in the summer. The sauna nearly made me pass out. A thermometer indicated the temperature was 88 degrees Celcius. I could only do five push ups before feeling the distinct need to get out and cool off. I was amazed by a Korean guy that did dips and an entire exercise routine without leaving the sauna. One of the pools inside had green tea mixed with sea water, though the colour was red, not green. That one was 42 degrees. A non green tea bath was even hotter. Perhaps because I did the sauana first, I couldn’t soak in anything but the cold pool and feel like I would pass out from the heat.
Once I left, daylight came out and the tide was much higher.
The hotel below is the other green tea bath, if you have loads of cash you need to dispense of.
Some ways out of Yulpo, I came across the bus stop. It was made from metal and glass, but the wind visibly distorted the bus stop when it blew. Glad I didn’t stay overnight there.
There was much less traffic going from Yulpo back to the tea fields than there was the day before going from Boseong to the tea fields. Yulpo definitely seeems the place to stay if you value time and the ability to find a hotel room during the festival.