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On Walkabout In: Samcheok, South Korea

One of the most enjoyable things my wife and I do when we are in Korea is that we like to spend weekends in small Korean towns. One of the towns that we spent a weekend in during one of our trips to Korea was the small port city of Samcheok on the East Coast of Gangwon province. As this Google Earth image shows Samcheok is a small town built around hills and its fishing port:

samcheok

On the various hillsides in the city the old Korean style homes can still be seen:

Picture from Samcheok, South Korea

These old homes are becoming a rarity in Korea as many of them are being demolished and replaced by apartments, but such development for the time being seems to have bypassed Samcheok.

My wife and I got a hotel room on the outskirts of town that had a great view over the Sea of Japan:

Picture from Samcheok, South Korea

We had the most expensive room in the hotel and it only cost us 45,000 won which we were pretty happy about. After getting settled into the hotel we then walked to downtown area near the port in search of sashimi. Along the way we saw plenty of shops selling fish and other items caught out at sea:

Picture from Samcheok, South Korea

However, we didn’t want any fish bought at a store; we wanted something fresh from the sea and that is why we continued to walk over to the port. The center of life in Samcheok is definitely its port where many of the towns residents earn their living in the fishing industry:

Picture from Samcheok, South Korea

The weekend we were in Samcheok the rain hardly ever stopped, so it made taking pictures very difficult. Here is how the port area looks like on a clear day:

At the market place seen above my wife and I began our search for some fresh sashimi:

Picture from Samcheok, South Korea

The people who work at the marketplace are mostly the wives of the fishermen that bring in the fresh catch of fish every morning for their wives to sell during the day. They sell the fish out of plastic bins to mostly restaurant owners and the few tourists that make it to this off the beaten path city:

Picture from Samcheok, South Korea

My wife and I had plenty of fish to choose from but here are the two fish we decided to purchase:

Picture from Samcheok, South Korea

Picture from Samcheok, South Korea

The fisherman had just brought his catch of fish in when we bought these two. While the fisherman’s wife chopped up the fish for us, my wife and I spoke to the fisherman who was by far the youngest fishermen at the wharf. He told us he was 30 years old and only started fishing this year because he got married and was working his father in laws boat. Much like Korea’s agricultural sector the age of Korea’s fishermen seems like it could be an issue of concern in the future if young people like the fisherman we spoke with choose to not work in the industry.

Anyway the fisherman’s wife did a great job preparing our fish and for the rest of our weekend in Samcheok we were eating fresh sashimi with every meal and it was quite good:

Picture from Samcheok, South Korea

A visit to Samcheok is definitely not for everyone because it is a very slow moving provincial city, but for those looking to see what a time capsule of what much of Korea was like 20 years ago, Samcheok is definitely the place. However, my wife and I were more interested in the fish which any fans of fresh sashimi can appreciate during a trip to Samcheok.

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