This is our third time to be here in Seoul for both me and my friend Fei, thus we have already been to most of the tourist attractions here. It's the rainy season in Korea from mid-Aug to early-Sept, so when the weather forecast said it would be sunny on Saturday, we immediately decided to travel outside Seoul to Paju--a countryside city with 1 hour of driving North from Seoul--for a one-day trip.
We departed from the dorm at 10:45am and it took us around two hours to get to the destined restaurant by transferring three buses. On the way, we noticed that 1) there were so many cars going out of Seoul on the roads, and 2) the buses in the countryside have really long intervals and no clear station so people must be extra careful.
Dakgalbi (stir-fried chicken, cabbages, rice cakes, cheese, etc.) with rice was our lunch. I feel it is a less well-known Korean dish but it tastes so good. Also, the food prices in the countryside are much cheaper compared to the ones in Seoul. At 2pm, we started to walk to the most famous scenic spot in Paju: Majang Hosu.
Basically, Majang Hosu is a lake in the mountains with a suspension bridge hanging above it. The lake is pretty clean and shows a special green color when there is enough sunlight. People can walk to the bridge and take pictures on the boardwalk built around the lake. There are also plenty of cafes near the lake, which have really nice views of the lake and provide the tourists with seats to have a rest.
Although the bridge is only 250 meters long and it only takes people less than 5 minutes to walk to the other end, it is quite shaking. People who cannot balance well definitely need to hold the guard bars.
Later, we went to a cafe & bakery place called "Artisan Bakers". There are another 4 branches in Seoul, but this one has a much larger space in a traditional Korean-styled house with an open garden. Guests can choose either sit inside or outside to enjoy the fresh air, green plants and architectures.
We ordered two glasses of red grapefruit sparkling soda and a cream bread, both of which were so amazing. I ordered another glass of vanilla latte because I got too thirsty and bought their best croissant and danish for take-away. 28,000 wons are not cheap, yet the quality really worths the price. After 6pm, there were finally some vacant seats in the outside, so we sat there and continued with our conversations.
The end of the trip was kind of crazy. Around 6:20pm, we started to head back. Witnessing the whole process of a gorgeous sunset in the field, we had been waiting for the bus for 1.5 hours. But none came and we could not figure out what was wrong.
As there were fewer and fewer cars driving by, we became more and more anxious. The only things that brought us calmness were the presence of each other and the 7-11 store still open across the street. At 8:15pm, I felt that we could not wait any longer so I asked a middle-aged woman who just came out from the store. After knowing we wanted to go back to Seoul, she and her husband said they could give us a ride to the nearby KTX station. Therefore, we eventually took the KTX to Hongik Station and then took the bus back to the dorm. When we arrived, it was 10pm, which was not too late.
It was so much fun to have a one-day trip outside Seoul to enjoy the sceneries and 'escape from the city' a little, though it was pretty inconvenient to go without a car. Unexpected situations did happen, but we reflected that it was a great experience to have and we learned how to find a relatively safe solution.