The skies brightened on the second day of our Suncheon trip. We decided to visit Boseong’s Green Tea Gardens and end the day — by observing the sun set over Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve. Buses for Boseong depart from Suncheon Bus Terminal at regular intervals. We booked tickets 15 minutes prior to our departure and didn’t have any trouble making a reservation. Travel sites erroneously report the travel time, between the two cities, to be an hour or two. We covered the distance in about half an hour. The scenery outside the window is beautiful, though it’s hard to click pictures whilst the bus is in motion.
At Boseong, you can use your T-Money Card (it’s incredible how convenient this travel card is) to board the next bus to Daehan Dawon Tourist Tea Plantation (Boseong Green Tea Plantation) (보성녹차밭 대한다원). There was a little confusion at this bus terminal. None of the signages were in English and there was no tourist information centre. We asked a driver, of another bus, to help us out. He pointed to the green sign (pic above) and showed us the timing for the bus. A helpful granny said she was going there and would tell us when to get down. This is why I love small towns.
It took us 15 minutes to reach the tea gardens. Our cute granny was alert and ensured we (along with the rest of the bus) heard her signal to get down at the correct stop. From here, there are two routes: one leads towards the Boseong Green Tea Festival and the second — towards the gardens. We were hesitant and a young girl asked us to follow her. I’m glad, we had helpful locals guide us at every step. Most of the other foreign tourists or expats had come with a tour group from Seoul.
The path takes you through a dense wooded forest. Up ahead, you get the first glimpse of the gardens, though you cannot enter this part. We continued walking to the main entrance. Again, there’s nothing printed in English and it would have been nice to have brochures or an information map. We bought tickets from the booth, made a mental note of the map, and continued walking. There’s a small trail (detour to the left) that leads to a bamboo grove, but we continued walking forward.
When you set foot inside — it’s love at first sight. Located on a small mountain of sorts; a carpet of green engulfs every visible curve. Heads were popping in-between rows of green. Once again, there are two trails (left and right) leading to the top. With no signages in English, we followed the other tourists and took the trail lined with steps. The sun was shining brightly at noon and each leaf — reflected the rays of the sun — to add to the glittering sea of green.
As you conintue walking further, you’d hit a dirt trail leading to the top. It’s a little steep and may take a couple more gulps of air — but the views are worth every pant or drop of sweat lost. The wide expanse of the green fields is truly appreciated from the top. You could also try tracing your path (like Basil above) of ascent.
And if you can’t get enough; you can keep climbing a stony, slippery (because of the rain on the previous day) path to the top. The views are stunning.
To descend, we chose a simpler path that cut through the woods. Initially, it seemed like a gentle dirt road with nobody — everyone chose the same path they had climbed up. As we got deeper into the trail — we were in for a surprise.
The trail transformed into a narrow curved path — dotted with stones. The trail was slippery and a group of young kids burst into shouts at the narrow spots. Basil almost slipped twice. And I, had flashes from my childhood memory of slipping and breaking my two front teeth. Few anxious moments later, we had made safely, without broken teeth or bones, to the base.
As a reward for the short hike — we indulged in green tea icecream.
On our way back, we made a small detour to the bamboo grove. It was quiet, silent, and cold. After waiting patiently for the other tourists to leave, we had the grove to ourselves. Moments like these are priceless and hard to come by.
Occasionally, the wind would stir the the sleeping shoots of bamboo and make them sway from one side to another. Each leaf would make a soft crackling sound with the wind gently howling. Light struggled to enter the empty spaces in-between the leaves and created bright spots in the green sky above. We tried to ignore our rumbling stomachs and stayed for a good half hour; before other tourists spoiled our silent sanctuary.
We finally made it to the stalls and had a Korean meal for lunch. During the tea festival, there are interesting programmes lined over the first week of May. We decided to skip them, and boarded the free shuttle bus to Boseong Bus Terminal. We still had a sunset to catch.