Seoul is not the only place to visit in South Korea. Yes, it is the capital city and there are so many things to do in Seoul but it also has a demerit. It is very difficult to find natural environment in Seoul. When you are tired of your hectic life, you want to escape to some place where you can feel the taste of nature. Not everyone is lucky to experience that but I was lucky when I applied for a volunteer program in Jeollanamdo, organized by Seoul Youth Hostel. I thought it would be same as other volunteer programs but it was different. I made some good foreign as well as Korean friends and went to places, I never imagined I would go to, while I am in Korea. I think it was the best two weeks ever. I cannot forget it.
It took almost 3 hours to reach Jeollanamdo from Seoul. It is small town but the place where we were staying, i.e Yeonggwang, is a true countryside. We stayed at a hostel, managed by the Won-Buddhist monks. Everyday except the weekends, we used to work in the farm in the morning and in the afternoon, we had to visit the children at a local child center. I had never worked in the farms, so I was really excited. First few days were exhausting but then I really enjoyed working in the farm. Also, playing with the children at the child center was fun. Everyday I had to draw pictures for them. Those kids had problems, related to their health or their family. I felt sorry for the kids and tried my best to make them happy. In the last day, they gave us letters. I was really touched and a bit sad but it was a good experience.
When we had free time, we visited the places around Jeollanamdo and Jeollabukdo. All I could see around were beautiful hills, ponds filled with lotus flowers and magnificiently carved temples. We went to a beach and caught some clamps and sea shells.
We also visited Byeonsanbando National Park in Jeollanbukdo and Bulgapsa Temple in Yeonggwang. Byeonsanbando National Park was amazingly beautiful. We trekked all the way to the Jiksopokpo Falls. They said very few foreigners visit the falls because it is very difficult to get there. I was lucky that I got this chance to see it myself. The waterfall was beautiful beyond description. The park is abundant with trees and small hills.
We were trekking when we came across Bulgapsa Temple. We did not know that Bulgapsa Temple was the very first Buddhist Temple to be built in Korea. The temple was beautiful.
In the last day of our volunteer program, we had an International Food Day. We prepared food representing our countries. There were people from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Poland and I was representing Nepal. I had never cooked before but with the help of my Korean friend, I prepared Samosa and Pakora and everyone liked it. It was fun preparing food for others.
The two weeks passed so fast. We did not want to go back to Seoul but we had to go. I will always miss Jeollanamdo. I get to experience how it feels to live in the countryside. The atmosphere is fresh, food is organic and life is simple. I would like to visit Jeollanamdo again.
Thanks to Seoul Youth Hostel for giving me this opportunity.
Here is the link to watch the video about all the things we did in Seoul and Jeollanamdo: