I love caffeine. I often imagine being chained to a hospital bed where the doctors revive me by injecting caffeine directly into my bloodstream. The increase in my awareness, heartbeat, and energy are euphoric. Then, I proceed to teach my worst middle school class. For the first time in my life, I own them. They could handle the mild-mannered and intelligent Bruce Banner, but they are no match for the energetic and raging Hulk.
While I doubt doctors will ever fulfill my fantasy, I recently experienced the next best thing. Whether I looked up, down, to the sides, or behind me; caffeine in the color of green surrounded me. Unfortunately, chewing on green tea leaves is not a wise way to ingest caffeine. Luckily, the café nearby offered green tea interpretations in the form of pork cutlets, ice cream, bibimbap, milkshakes, and noodles. The café also offered traditional hot or cold green tea. The green tea ice cream was worth a second cup.
If this is not intriguing enough, the area was stunning. In terms of sheer beauty, the Daehan Tea Plantation is the third most beautiful place I’ve visited in Korea- following only Seoraksan and Jeju Island. Endless rows of green tea gracefully wrap around the mountain and ascend to the sky. Depending on the traveler’s perspective, the columns of green tea appear to curve, bend and form patterns to a painter’s whim. From the top of the mountain, the rows of green blend into forests that border the blue ocean. The area is not lost to Koreans. Several families walked up the mountain hand-in-hand or kid-on-shoulder as younger couples posed for pictures between the colorful bushels.
I accompanied WinK Travels on this journey. Before we reached the Daehan Tea Plantation, we ventured to an undisclosed plantation where we watched workers pick and process green tea leaves. Soon enough, we labored alongside them in the tea fields, received lessons on the etiquette of drinking tea, processed our own tea leaves, and drank our own green tea. We received instructions, directions, and criticism from an authentic purveyor of South Korea’s growing green tea industry. She provided insightful information about the history of green tea in South Korea and lovingly chided us for being overweight. She possessed the unique Korean ability to bluntly criticize while maintaining a high level of likeability. Every person on the trip adored her.
While the bus transported us to different locations in the South Jeolla Province, I pressed my face against the window to appreciate the beauty of this area. Even though the area is far from Seoul, it should be added to any foreign resident’s must-see list if they live in Korea for over a year. My travel companions had a blast and I experienced one of my more memorable days in Korea. Why be the Hulk and beat up my students when I can simply enjoy my caffeine as far away from them as possible?
(If you scroll through these pictures, don’t forget to click full size to get the pictures in focus and at their best quality. Trust me, it makes a big difference as I like big pictures and upload them that way.)
To experience the smaller plantations or making your own green tea like I described, contact WinK Travels and request dates for their special tour of the area.
Buses depart for Boseong from the Seoul Express Bus Terminal. The trip takes approximately five hours as Boseong is located on the southern end of the Korean peninsula. Ask for help after arriving at the bus station, the locals are very friendly.
From Seoul, trains depart from the Yongsan Train Station (subway line 1, Sinyongsan Station, exit #4) 3 times a day. Transfer at Songjeong-ri to the Boseong-bound Mugunghwa train. The train ride is approximately four hours and expect to pay 40,000 won for fare and fees. Ask for help after arriving at the train station, the locals will point you in the right direction.
Official Website – This site offers an extended history along with several other attractions to visit in Boseoung. The article is way too good to be on a tourism site. Additionally, it includes information for accommodations.
Discovering Korea – Kimchibytes is nothing but a dirty reflection of this great blog put together by Matt and his dog. He wrote a great article and took some fantastic pictures.