Vegan's Chronicles + [Vegan]

Gangwon-do, Part 2
Gang Won Do Family Trip

Continuing on with my extended-family Gangwon-do trip... . After spending our first night at the dingy 'minbak' place, we wanted a little 'upgrade' in our lodging accommodations. My parents had recently been to a national recreational forest facility/resort called 'Soop Cheh Won' (숲채원) and were impressed with its lodging facilities, and so they suggested that we stay there for our second night in the Gangwon-do area. Honestly, anything would've been an improvement from the 'minbak' we previously stayed at, but this forest lodge blew all (low) expectations out of the water- it was totally awesome!

Gang Won Do Family Trip

The entire area felt like a suburban neighborhood in the US, with a community of wooden cabins nestled in the middle of the woods. The grounds were incredibly well-kept, the rooms were spacious, bright, and clean, and the blankets were crisp and fresh. And what's more is that it was all really quite affordable- infact, it was the exact same price as the 'minbak' we stayed at. Doh!

Gang Won Do Family Trip

Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of the inside of our rooms... I was too busy admiring the houses themselves.

Gang Won Do Family Trip

A picnic area overlooking the valleys and mountains in the distance.

The night that we got there, we tried to go star-gazing, but the moon was too bright and it was slightly overcast so we only saw a few. My parents said that on their first visit, they saw an impressive sky completely studded with stars, which is a rare sight in Korea! Oh well, next time... . :P

Gang Won Do Family Trip

After a very restful night, my dad, sister, and cousin started our day with an early a hike in the mountains directly behind the compounds. All of these photos were taken at around 6am hence the grey morning mist.

Gang Won Do Family Trip

The air was foggy and the ground was wet, but that didn't dampen any spirits.

Gang Won Do Family Trip

I love hiking through moody forests.

Gang Won Do Family Trip
Gang Won Do Family Trip

That's me at the end of the hiking trail.

Gang Won Do Family Trip

The hike was really short (around 30 minutes), so I ran for a little bit on the paths alongside the cabins. Aren't the houses so gorgeous? Can you believe a place like this exists in Korea?

Gang Won Do Family Trip

Check out this bizzare flower (?) we spotted along one of the hiking trails.

Gang Won Do Family Trip

After the whole family got some outdoor morning exercise, we returned to our cabin and enjoyed a simple breakfast of random foods that we had brought with us.

Gang Won Do Family Trip

Here's just a very small fraction of all the food I ate for breakfast. I feasted on all the vegan options which included ice-cold watermelon, plums, and tomato chunks, Carr's water crackers, peanut butter, and soymilk. I had so many servings of fresh fruit that I think I surprised my family with how much I could eat!

Gang Won Do Family Trip

The view as seen from our condo window.

I really fell in love with this forest lodge and would most definitely go back if I ever returned to Gangwon-do. As much as I wanted to just live there forever, soon after breakfast, we all had to pack up, say our goodbyes, and return to our respective cities. My parents dropped my sister and I off at Suwon station and we all had lunch together before they continued on their way to Cheonan.

Gang Won Do Family Trip

For lunch, we found a Korean restaurant in the shopping plaza next to Suwon Station. Upon my mom's recommendation, I had my very first bowl of Kong Guksu (cold bean noodle soup)! This Korean dish is usually just made with soy beans, but this one was a lil' special because it was made of black beans instead. Oh myyy, why have I not had this before? The soup was creamy (vegan creaminess!), savory, mild, refreshing, satisfying... kinda perfect. Even though it was a cold dish, this warmed the cockles of my heart. The soup wasn't strong in flavor, but with just a little salt, the flavor of the blended beans came through in such an amazing way.

Gang Won Do Family Trip

I slurped up every drop of the soup. If you haven't tried this yet, I highly recommend it- don't wait as long as I did!

Anywayyyy~ So that concluded my family's random Gangwon-do trip. I'm so thankful that I got to see this beautiful part of Korea, and also that I got to spend time with my extended family. I enjoyed every bit and made some great memories that I know I will hold onto for a long time to come.