As you traverse the diverse landscapes of South Korea, the bustling cosmopolitan cityscapes and ancient temples might steal most of the limelight.
However, nestled in the tranquil coastal city of Samcheok lies an unsung marvel, the Chuam Chotdae Bawi Rock Formation tourist attraction. To the uninitiated, Chotdae Bawi may seem like just another picturesque rock formation, but delve a little deeper, and you'll discover the magic it holds.
I found this attraction during my hiking adventure along the beautiful coastlines of the east coast. I enjoyed Chuam Chotdae Bawi and spent more time here than in other places nearby.
Alright, let me share with you the legend I heard regarding this fantastic attraction in the Samcheok area.
Entering Chotdae Bawi Rock Formation attraction is free of charge. Fantastic! The entrance area and the bridge for viewing the rock formations is well-built and very comfortable for visitors even for with disabilities.
The aerial shot photo above shows the rock formations and other attractions you can enjoy. Let me enumerate them as follow:
Long ago, in the coastal village of Chuam, there lived a man torn between two loves. He was married but also had a concubine, a practice not uncommon at the time. However, this arrangement brewed a storm of jealousy and rivalry between the two women, their disputes echoing throughout the village.
The heavens, disturbed by their unending strife, decided to intervene. In a moment of divine fury, a lightning bolt was sent down, ending their quarrels forever and sealing their fates.
Overwhelmed by grief and guilt, the heartbroken man could not move on. As days turned into years, his sorrow was so deep that it transformed him, turning his once warm heart into cold stone.
Today, that stone stands as a silent sentinel by the sea, known to all as Chotdaebawi Rock, a poignant reminder of love, loss, and the consequences of jealousy.
While the rock is a sight to behold, the surrounding areas are equally mesmerizing. Soft sandy beaches cushion your feet, and when you're not gazing in awe at Chotdae Bawi, you can lay back and watch the endless horizon.
The waters are clear, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling. As you dive beneath the waves, you'll be greeted by a vibrant marine life that adds another layer of beauty to this already splendid location.
For those of you with an adventurous streak, renting a kayak and paddling out towards the rock is a thrilling experience. The waves, the wind, and the open sea, with Chotdae Bawi as your beacon, are something you'll cherish forever.
When it comes to food, Samcheok City is known for its seafood. You can find fresh seafood caught right from the waters you were admiring at the nearby stalls and quaint cafes.
A must-try dish is the grilled mackerel, seasoned with salt and pepper, which will melt in your mouth, leaving you craving more.
Another popular dish is the raw sea urchin, which is served fresh and considered a delicacy in Samcheok. It has a unique flavor that you won't find anywhere else. You can also try the abalone, a type of sea snail that is known for its tender and flavorful meat.
If you're not a fan of seafood, don't worry! There are plenty of other options to choose from. Samcheok is also famous for its buckwheat noodles, known as memil guksu. These noodles are made from buckwheat flour and are served in a savory broth with vegetables and meat.
For those with a sweet tooth, be sure to try the local rice cake, called songpyeon. It's a type of rice cake that is filled with sweet ingredients such as honey, sesame seeds, or chestnuts.
And as you enjoy your meal, let the rhythmic sounds of the waves serenade you, making the experience even more enjoyable.
Now, let's talk logistics. Reaching Chotdae Bawi Rock Formation from Seoul is a journey as memorable as the destination itself.
Your best bet is to take the KTX (Korea Train Express) from Seoul to Gangneung. From Gangneung, you can take a local bus or a taxi to Samcheok City. The train journey offers scenic views of the Korean countryside and is comfortable and efficient.
The closest train station (KTX) to Samcheok City is Donghae Station. Get off here, then take a local bus (about 30 minutes to Samcheok) or hire a taxi, which takes only 15 minutes to Samcheok City.
Direct express buses from Seoul's Express Bus Terminal to Samcheok Intercity Bus Terminal are available if you prefer the road. Once in Samcheok, local buses or taxis can take you to the Chotdae Bawi attraction.
Don't worry! Once you're in Samcheok City, you can easily find transport guides from travel brochures at terminals, and you can directly ask locals who would kindly give you the correct details.
For those who fancy a road trip, renting a car is a great option. The drive from Seoul to Samcheok is around four hours, and the roads are well-maintained. Along the way, you can make pit stops at charming villages, making the journey even more enchanting.
Chotdae Bawi, with its regal stance, is not just a rock formation; it's a testament to the beauty nature crafts over millennia. Its existence is a gentle reminder of the wonders that lie off the beaten path.
So the next time you're in South Korea, make it a point to visit Samcheok City and let Chotdae Bawi captivate your soul. And as you stand there, with the wind tousling your hair and the vast sea before you, you'll realize that some of the most magical moments in life are the ones we least expect.
Let's explore more treasures around Chotdae Bawi. The Samcheok area, apart from its famous candlestick rock, offers a blend of cultural, natural, and historical attractions.
Here are four nearby attractions that you should definitely consider adding to your itinerary:
1. Hwanseon Cave
Nestled amidst the Daei Mountains, Hwanseon Cave is one of the largest limestone caves in Asia. It's a subterranean wonderland boasting majestic stalactites and stalagmites, with underground streams adding to its enigmatic ambiance.
Venturing inside, you'll feel like you've entered another realm. The cave has well-lit walkways, making exploration comfortable even for beginners. It's not just about the stunning formations but the entire journey through the winding paths that leaves visitors in awe.
2. Isabu Lion Park
A short distance from Chotdae Bawi, the Isabu Lion Park is a tribute to the legendary general Isabu from the Silla dynasty. The park features grand statues of lions, symbolizing General Isabu's tale of taming wild lions.
As you wander through the park, you're treated to stories of heroism and stunning views of the East Sea. The park also has beautiful trails and picnic spots, making it ideal for a family outing.
3. Samcheok Ocean Railbike
If you're looking for a unique way to experience the coastal beauty of Samcheok, the Ocean Railbike is your answer. Visitors can pedal along old railway tracks, which have been transformed into biking paths.
As you bike, the sparkling sea flanks you on one side and lush greenery on the other. The journey also takes you through tunnels where colorful lights create a magical ambiance. It's a delightful blend of exercise, sightseeing, and sheer fun!
4. Samcheok Culture & Art Center
Dive deep into the region's cultural tapestry at the Samcheok Culture & Art Center. This modern establishment hosts various events, exhibitions, and performances that showcase the rich artistic heritage of Samcheok.
From traditional dances to contemporary art exhibitions, something captivating always happens here. It's a beautiful place to understand the city's heartbeat and evolving art scene.
While Chotdae Bawi is undoubtedly the crowning jewel of Samcheok City, the surrounding attractions ensure that your visit becomes a treasure trove of memories.
Whether you're a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a cultural aficionado, Samcheok has a little bit of everything to satiate your wanderlust. So, when you plan your trip, ensure you spare enough time to soak in all the wonders this coastal city offers.