Green Tea Getaway

Our first hour in Boseong was more than a little confusing. We asked a taxi driver at the bus station to take us to Nok Cha Baht which is what we thought the name of our hotel was. Everything seemed fine until our taxi driver had already dropped us off and left. We walked with our large backpacks along a crowded tree lined path to a front gate where a woman was tearing ticket stubs for what looked to be a park entrance.

When we approached, I made the universal symbol for sleep and she shook her head. I showed her our map and said pension to which she said no and then proceeded to spend what felt like ten minutes looking for a map in English as we stood at the entrance looking like lost fools with our large packs. Not that a map would have helped us that much anyway. We were off the side of a highway in the countryside with heavy-ish backpacks and it was hot. I wasn’t about to walk around looking for our hotel. We walked back to the parking lot to find another cab.

We showed our new taxi driver our map and said what we had said to the first driver. He said Nok Cha Baht and pointed at where we just came from…apparently we were mistaken. I showed him the name of the hotel on the bottom of the map. There were two locations and I figured as long as we got to one of the two locations we could figure it out from there. He took us to the fancy location up on top of a hill. We got out only to get back in five minutes later to finally be taken to the place we had actually made reservations at, which was in fact called Nok Cha Baht…Golmangtae Nok Cha Baht that is. Turns out nok cha baht means Tea Plantation/Farm. Basically we had asked the first driver to takes us to a tea plantation and he took us to the most popular one. Oopsies!

Our hotel.

Our hotel was perfect. We were in walking distance to a good restaurant and to the large tea plantation (Daehan Dawon) we had walked up to earlier. The best part was that from our bedroom window we could look out on the tea fields.

We were lucky that it didn’t rain on the one full day we had in Boseong; it’s monsoon season and rainy most days. After a breakfast of green tea and many tiny green tea cookies in our room, we walked to Daehan Dawon, the first tea plantation built in the area. We wandered through the tea fields for a while taking pictures and admiring how beautiful the scenery was. When we had taken pictures of the fields from every possible angle we grabbed some lunch. There were only a few choices and we settled on green tea bibimbap. The green tea was in the rice which we didn’t really notice at all except for the color. It was delicious and light. For dessert we had some of the most perfect green tea ice cream I’ve ever had. Yum.

Time seemed to slow down there. We would do something for what felt like hours only to look at the clock and realize less than an hour had passed by. I don’t say this in a bad way. I wish all of our days off could be like that. We first became aware of this time warp after walking around the plantation and the forest surrounding it. We went back to our hotel and realized it was still very early in the day even though it felt like we had been gone for many hours. Not sure what to do with the rest of our day, we decided to investigate a “spa” I had read about with green tea baths by the sea.

We hailed a cab on the side of the highway which happened to already be transporting two Korean girls going in the same direction as us. They picked us up and we were on our way. The spa was grimy. I don’t recommend it. It was right on the beach so you could look out at the sea from the baths, but I left feeling dirtier than when I went in. The green tea bath was a dark brown color which was off putting as were the stalactites growing on the ceiling. My feet weren’t sandy going in, but they got sandy on my way out when I stepped in a patch of sand on the ground as I was getting my shoes.

Walking around afterwards, we realized that there was another spa with the same name a little bit further down the road, which of course looked much much nicer. We went to the wrong one. So if you find yourself at Youlpo Beach don’t go to the “spa” directly on the sea, go to the one a little farther down the road in the nice building.

The food and drink in Boseong revolve around green tea. We had green tea samgyeopsol (pork grilled at the table and wrapped up in lettuce leaves), green tea bibimbap, green tea wine (incredible) and three different types of green tea ice cream. As far as goodies go, we brought home a few tea cups, green tea, green tea powder, green tea wine, and green tea caramels.

Boseong was exactly the kind of vacation we needed. It was visually pleasing, relaxing, and delicious. A must if you find yourself in Korea and you like green tea.

The view from our room.

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