Sokcho & National Foundation Day

Monday, October 3 marked Korea’s National Foundation Day, which is typically referred to as “Gaecheonjeol” in Korean. It specifically refers to the creation of the Chosun Dynasty in 2333 BCE, known as the official beginning of Korean society. The day is usually celebrated by having ceremonies to commemorate Korean society as well as speeches by government leaders that reflect on Korea. Coming from Canada, I figured the day would be something akin to our Canada Day on July 1st. However, despite the importance of this day, I witnessed little to no acknowledgement of this day. Granted, I spent the day with foreigners, mostly on the bus back to Taebaek, but I was surprised by how little the day seemed to be celebrated (from my perspective anyway). In Canada you see flags and everything under the sun with our flag or other symbols in every store for an entire month leading up to the day. July 1st is celebrated with copious amounts of fireworks and booze and seas of red and white.

Thanks to National Foundation Day, we had the day off on Monday. After putting it off for weeks, I finally had a chance to meet up with my EPIK orientation friends in the beautiful city of Sokcho. Situated on the North-East coast of Korea, Sokcho has a little bit of everything: ocean and beaches, spectacular mountains, tourist attractions, and all the amenities of the city. We spent the first day exploring the city, hitting the beach, and belting out all sorts of songs at Norabong.

There were lots of these bronze statues all over the city, depicting different scenes like people fishing or kids playing.

Hanging fish out to dry on the beach.

Pagoda on the beach.

Shopping in the market!

We had to get some Korean facemasks!


Sokcho observatory in the background and a sculpture in the park.

After exploring the city for a day, we decided to take on Seoraksan National Park on Sunday.

My friend pointed out this looked like the fake mountain at Canada’s Wonderland. I can’t see anything else now.

Beautiful temple carved right into a giant boulder.

Inside the temple. You can see the boulder sloping at the top.

View from the temple.

Dessert after a long day of hiking!

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