June 26, 2013 by travelinggrits
Perhaps South Korea now worships the divine powers of coffee, but there is one place tea will always be sacred: Boseong, a small town home to one of Korea’s finest tea fields.
Appropriately so, my visit here was one of the most relaxing tours in Korea yet. Too often, I try to cram too many sights into a short trip, often resulting in constant fretting over transportation schedules, sometimes skipping meals and ending up passed out on the bus from exhaustion on the way home.
This time, the school ethics teacher (the same age as me, which made us compatible as friends according to Korean hierarchical standards) and I planned a leisurely schedule; we stayed in Gwangju overnight and started for Boseong the next morning with two other friends in tow. Our tour of the tea fields took only a few hours; we wandered trails along the outskirts of the rolling slopes, inhaling the tea-scented air with appreciation and slowly savoring cups of fresh green tea ice cream.
There isn’t much in the nearby sleepy seaside village of Yulpo, but what is there pays homage to that famed local leaf. The few restaurants tout everything from cold green tea noodles to parbecued meat from pigs fed only with tea leaves. On such a hot day, we chose the noodles, which didn’t disappoint.
While digesting, we lounged on a pier jutting into the sea for nearly an hour, talking about our life plans, world travel and politics. As we were leaving, I convinced everyone to stop at the haesu nokchatang, a waterfront jjimjilbang (public bathhouse) I had read about featuring special green tea and seawater soaks. We emerged from its soothing waters relaxed and content.
The tea certainly worked its magic.