Lately, I just feel quite lucky to have met the people that I now know in Korea. I quite enjoy the company of people my age, but I’ve also been able to widen the age-gap of my friendships. One woman I’ve met, Sunny, has become one of my closest friends here. She has her own yoga studio, nature school, and she helps out at my favorite vegan restaurant, Jack and the Beanstalk in Namcheon. Sunny is just one of those people who seems to know everyone within a 175 mile radius, and recently I had the opportunity to travel with her with a few other ladies to Boseong to experience a green tea spa and green tea fields. Below I will talk about the highlights of our trip and tell you why it's a must visit during your time teaching in Korea.
As far as prep and accommodation goes, it was really all organized by my friend. This trip was meant to be a sort of rest-and-relaxation weekend for me. We took a bus from Sasang to Boseong, about four hours southwest of Busan, where we checked in and dropped off our bags at a hotel and then met new friends and made a huge meal at the master potter’s house. Everyone contributed and the food was great and we all had a great time. There were also kittens at the house that we got to cuddle with.
Afterward, we decided to go on a long (and I mean long) walk to see the famous Daehan Dawon Green Tea Plantation. We passed so many rice patties with brilliantly white egrets speckling the landscape every so often. Finally we arrived at the fields. Not only do these fields yield a massive portion of all of South Korea’s green tea crop, but they are stunningly beautiful. The bushes are planted in enchanting, tidy, and terraced rows which ebb and flow with the natural curve and incline of the mountain. I was actually so grateful that I didn’t visit the fields during peak season. There were barely any people around which truly elevated the mysticism of the landscape. There are also different souvenir shops along the way which are impossible to miss, and you can buy as many green tea products as you wish, although prices may be a bit steeper as it’s a tourist attraction.
The following day, we woke with the sun and caught a bus down to Yulpo beach. Right on the water is a spa, but not just any spa, as spas are very common in Korea. Yulpo Haesu Nokchatang is Boseong’s only spa with a hot green tea bath. That’s right, you get to bathe in green tea and live lavishly for a few moments. The facility is well-lit, with windows surrounding the baths so that you may relax and overlook the ocean and beach. The green tea bath is said to help with high blood pressure, arterial sclerosis, and removing dead skin. Though I can’t vouch for the former, I did notice my skin to be noticeably softer. And perhaps most importantly, spas are a great way to remember a body is a body is a body. That’s something I’ve really come to appreciate about South Korea. No one cares what you look like in a changing room or yoga studio or spa. It’s quite the experience and it provides insight into some of the more unsavory things in western culture.
A trip to Boseong should definitely be on your South Korea bucket list. Its breath-taking scenes, separateness from bustling city life, and green tea spas are sure to please. The area is also home to the Boseong Green Tea Festival, which if you care to go during peak green tea season, make sure you mark your calendars in May!
Linda Gaida was raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina and graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2016 with a degree in Romance Languages. While passionate about environmental studies and conservation, her interests now lean towards education! Her curiosities and studies have taken her to Romania, Portugal, Peru, India, and now South Korea, where she works as an English teacher for ChungDahm Learning in Busan. Deciding to teach abroad was an easy decision to make for Linda: while she gets to experience a culture foreign to her own, she is able to benefit the global society by teaching children English and helping them pursue their own ambitions. Linda is also interested in yoga, climbing, hiking, backpacking (anything involving movement), cooking and writing poetry.