Chuncheon: Summer Farm-stay Experience

farm stay in korea. chuncheon

Travelling further away from the neon lights and the fluorescent of the metropolitan city of Seoul, patches of greeneries and the twinkling stars overhead are the common scenes in the land of morning calm. As a KTO Social Media Ambassador, I participated in a farmstay program at Won-pyeongni, Chuncheon last weekend. The scent of the woods and the fresh soil at Won-pyeongni (원평리), a small village at Chuncheon were like instant stress relievers to a city girl like me.

farm stay in korea. chuncheon

Introduction: Chuncheon 춘천

Chuncheon is the provincial capital city of Gangwon-do. It is a city surrounded by 3 lakes, namely the Uiamho Lake, Chuncheon-ho Lake, and Songyang-ho Lake. Nestling among these beautiful and calm lakes and mountains, this city is usually foggy and misty. The numerous lakes in the region make it one of the best place in the country to do fishing, wind-surfing and all kinds of water sports. It is also a popular vacation destination in Korea.

Famous Tourist Attractions: 
Jade Garden (제이드가든)
Gugok Falls (구곡폭포)
Nami-Island (남이섬)
Gangchon (강촌)

Public Transportation to Chuncheon:

There are various ways to get to Chuncheon from Seoul.
By Subway: Travel from any lines which is connect to the central line (중앙선) and alight at Chuncheon Station (춘천역).
By Bus: Buses come every 15 mins. at Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (동서울 버스터미널)  from 6am-920pm. Travel time is about 1 hr 30 mins.
By Train: Train runs daily from Seoul Cheonyangni Station to Chuncheon Station from 525am-1020pm.

Chuncheon Speciality Dishes:

Dakgalbi (spicy stir-fried chicken 닭갈비) is a must-eat if you are visiting Chuncheon.  It is a local speciality food made by stir-frying marinated diced chicken in chili paste sauce, with cabbage, rice cakes, sweet potato, perilla leaves on a hot plate. This particular dish is everywhere in Chuncheon. There is also a “dak-galbi street” in Chuncheon which has a high concentration of Dakgalbi restaurant.

collage dakgalbi

Makguksu, another local speciality and a Chuncheon-Must-eat, is a traditional Korean buckwheat noodle served in chilled broth. The dish is seasoned with sugar, mustard, sesame oil and vinegar. It is originated from Gangwon-do.

collage makguksu

Chuncheon: Summer Farm-stay Experience

Students in Korea, especially undergraduates enjoy (well, sometimes or most of the time forced to enjoy lol ) the fun helping out at the farm in the rural areas during their summer break. Sometimes the trip is made compulsory by their school or seniors. Our 2d1n trip includes activities like picking tomatoes, making tofu and injeolmi (Korean traditional rice cake), bare handed trout fishing, campfire and etc.

floral baggy pants fashion korea

First of all, let me introduce this floral patterned baggy pants, a common “fashion item” here in the rural areas of Korea. This baggy pants, the”moom-bbae baji” (몸빼바지),  often comes with gaudy floral prints, was made famous to foreigners by the reality show <2 Days 1 Night>. Comfortable and stylish (?) kkkk, it is very popular in the rural area, especially for outdoor or farming activities.

korea country side fashion. floral baggy pants

Before we proceed to the activities, floral baggy pants were distributed to all participants. So this is a picture of us posing with the countryside pride, the moombbae baji. Did we carried the Kampong fashion well? kkkk Well, we kept getting compliment from the the ajummas at the kitchen, so I guess it wasn’t that bad? ; p

farm 3

Day 1 : 10 am – Making Korean Tofu

And so we were led to the kitchen for the tofu making workshop. The grinded soy bean were already on the table. We were told to cook the grinded soy bean to produce bean milk, next pour the milk into a liner-cloth to strain the milk and add in the tofu coagulant vinegar. Finally press and shape the tofu. The procedure was pretty easy since we skipped the process of grinding and soaking of the beans. We cut the tofu and ate it right away with the dipping sauce.

collage tofu

11 am – Picking Organic Cherry Tomatoes

After eating our tofu, we then began our journey to the cherry tomato orchards. Each of us were given one ziplock bag to pick our tomatoes. We were told that it was the last batch of the cherry tomatoes in the orchard as the summer is almost over. I didn’t expect much since the plants are already began to rot until I took my first bite of the organic tomatoes, I became hooked. Such plump, sweet and juicy tomatoes!

plucking cherry tomatoes, korea farm tour

plucking cherry tomatoes, korea farm tour

plucking cherry tomatoes, korea farm tour

One of our group mission was to make a commercial video promoting the cherry tomatoes and here it is! We spent about 10 minutes to complete the whole ads.

By the way if you are interested, it was an impromptu 28 seconds ads made possible by a smartphone app named “Snap Movie”. It comes with decent selection of background music and filters which made it a simple and convenient app for short video making.  Just follow the instructions and you’ll make short videos of reasonable quality.

plucking cherry tomatoes

12 pm – Lunch at the Korean Countryside

Lunch was served right after we picked our tomatoes. The kitchen ajummas served us with utmost hospitality and kindness, their warm gestures were inviting. We were showered with abundant side dishes. Simple, hearty and fresh, everything on the dining table were a delightful combination.

lunch at the farm

Highlight: 2pm – 4pm – Hand Fishing Trout

The highlight of the day was to catch trout bare handed. After the lunch, we embarked on the quest to catch trout at a valley nearby. The mission was to catch 5 trouts, each about 8-10 inches long. Gosh, these water creatures are so sensitive to noise and movements and any single ripple you made while moving can scare them away. After a full episodes of drama with 20 adults screaming for mama and running after the fast moving fish in the valley, we finally managed to catch all 5 of them.

P8231701e1

hand fishing trout

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fishing trout farming tour korea

fishing trout farming tour korea

Fresh in the Valley

After a round of hard work chasing after the trouts, we went to refresh ourselves at the valley nearby the farm house. Valleys make an excellent place to cool off summer heat. It is especially the case here in Korea. Here at the valley you’ll see families having barbeque party here beside the valley. Kids were really happy splashing the crystal clear water, while adults chit-chatting over a bottle of soju or makgeolli.

P8231704e1 playing by the river

6pm – Making Fusion Pizza

Soon enough we returned to the farm house and settled down at the fusion pizza workshop. The crust of the pizza is made of potatoes and the whole process does not require an oven!  Interesting enough but I still prefer pizzas from an oven.

farm 8

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7pm – Dinner at the Korean Countryside

Dinner was Bossam (Hard boiled pork) and the fusion pizza we made earlier, together with sweet potatoes, salad, sausage, zucchini pancake, Japchae (fry glass noodles with assorted vegetables), topped off with some sweet Korean rice wine (makgeolli) and soda.

farm 13

930pm – Camp Fire + Fireworks

As soon as our stomach  filled up with the sumptuous meal, we gathered at the central of the farmhouse, where a huge bonfire was already set up for the night. Sparklers were distributed and everybody seemed to enjoy the night beside the bonfire.

farming experience korea camp fire by maynard

The 2nd round party begun after dancing and playing games by the fire. Grilled trouts we caught earlier in the day were served. Surrounded by clean lakes and rivers, Chuncheon is known as a rich fishing ground for freshwater fish. The salt grilled trout did not disappoint us. It is a little milder but as flakey and tasty as salmon, and above all, the fish is extraordinarily fresh!

collage campfire 2   farming tour korea
farming tourism korea

Day 2: 10 am – Making Injeolmi (Korean Rice Cake)

After the breakfast at the dining hall, we return to the workshop to have some hands-on Injeolmi making experience. Injeolmi is a kind of Korean rice cake coated with finely grinded nuts powder, which is widely popular in the country.

making injolmi korea farming tour

Free Time Before Departure

The farmstay trip ended after the Injeolmi making workshop. Before bidding goodbye, the younger ones from the trip gather at the central of the farmhouse for some games while the older  wiser ones gather for some casual chats.

playing at the farm
chuncheon farming tour

It was a great chance  to free my mind from the anxiety and stresses from daily life, especially that the school is going to start in a week’s time! Looking at the endless line up of of the picturesque mountains and watching the morning sun rose and swiftly melting away the morning mists was a one-of-a-kind experience in the farmhouse.

chuncheon farming experience

chuncheon farming tourism korea

chuncheon farming experience

chuncheon farming experience , farm tour korea

The above farmstay program is done at Wonpyeong Farmstay and costed KRW 80,000, including 1 night pension accommodation, 3 meals, campfire,  all tofu, fusion pizza, injeolmi making fees, cherry tomato farm entrance fee, and trout fishing fees.  

Disclaimer: This trip is sponsored by Korea Tourism Organization (KTO). However opinions are my own.

IMPORTANT UPDATES ON FARMSTAY BOOKINGS
(ENGLISH AVAILABLE): 

To many of you who are interested to do a farm stay in Chuncheon, I am very sorry that the farm I went is a full Korean environment. Many of you requested a farm that speak some English for easier communication and I have been searching high and low for it … but this have been a tough one.

HOWEVER, I have found one very good alternative. There is an organization arranging non-monetary exchange program between volunteers and farmers in Korea — The WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms).

Basically, you sign up on the WWOOF website as a volunteer and select an organic farm to help out, and WWOOF will help to connect you and the host that will offer food and accommodation in return. (no money exchange at all, but you need to pay USD55 to become a member to be eligible for the exchange program.) Well, treat it as accomodation/ experience payment like you would pay for Airbnb. I have yet to try theirservice but I think this is a pretty good deal. Volunteer at the same time gaining experience at a farm! Read the reviews on their site to find out more.

Also please refer to their official site to know more about how the whole thing works!

WWOOF official website (Click Me) 
WWOOF Facebook

***I am terribly sorry I missed some of your inquiries as there were some problems with the plugins I was using! ***

 

16 Comments

  • tham says:

    Hi we are interested in joining the wonpyeong farm stay but not possible for us to register in its Korean website.. is there any tour group that we can join in seoul to reach this farm?

    we are a group of 3 arriving on 11April 2015

  • Tham says:

    we are interested in farm stay experience but have been looking around for some help on this

    as wonpyeong website is in korean

    we read that Gyodong village was the first of more than 40 farmstay programs nationwide to be sponsored by the Agriculture Ministry.

    The farmstays cost 20,000 won ($21) per person, including transportation from Seoul, accommodation and food.
    Each group is accompanied by an English-speaking tour guide.
    To apply to join a farmstay, email hgea1@yahoo.com.

    i have tried emailing to him but no reply

    read in another article

    http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=2716422
    Korea Tourism Organization and National Agricultural Cooperative Federation are co-hosting Farm Stay Events for Foreigners in Korea to experience Korean rural life.
    Do you think you can help us or direct us.

    Regards
    Tham

  • joyner says:

    Hi Pheuron,

    I am really interested in the experience shared in this post. I will be going to korea this coming june and would like to take part in activities mentioned in this post. However, i do know that the websites are all in korean. Is it possible to share any third parties who can be the middleman for the booking?

  • Tham says:

    Appreciate your help Pheuron. Thanks
    I also have emailed to Adventure Korea – to enquire on farm stay tour when they can pick us up from seoul .

  • Youqian says:

    Hi Pheuron,

    Greetings from Singapore! I chanced upon your website in my search for a farmstay in korea.

    Im travelling in June 2015 and I’m really keen on the programme you just shared, but the site is in Korean. Do you know of anyone I can get in touch with for the package you took? Thanks in advance!

    • Pheuron says:

      Hi You Qian, I am terribly sorry I missed your comment. I have updated the blog content for you guys. I hope it is still in time for you to arrange for a farm stay tour for your June trip! 🙂

  • schneeeeful says:

    Hi, my friends and I are really interested in this farmstay. I tried to become a member on their website but because I am from Singapore, I could not provide certain Korea-based information like mobile phone number and thus I could not register as a member. My friends and I can understand and speak a fair amount of Korean so just wondering if there are any other contact methods to register for the farmstay. Do you know how can I register for the farmstay through other methods? We are looking at signing up for 12 June and 13 June 2015. Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks 😀

    • Pheuron says:

      Hi Schneeeful, I am so sorry I missed your comment. I have updated the blog content for you guys. I found one farm stay exchange program organization and they have every info you need in English and Korean. If you can speak Korean I am sure you can enjoy the stay even better! 🙂

  • Zi Yee says:

    Hi Pheuron, I am interested in the farmstay that you have mentioned in this post. I am going with my friends this coming June. However, do you know who can I contact with as the farmstay websites are all in Korean?

    • Pheuron says:

      Hello Zi Yee, I have updated the blog for you guys!
      I am sorry I can’t find any farm stay with English site, but I got this volunteer exchange program and they have an English site. So check the details in the content of the blog for more details!

  • Joyce says:

    Hi Pheuron, thank you for your awesome and enjoyable guide 🙂

    Would like to ask regarding the home stay – do the owners accept tourists who can’t really speak korean (but does not mind)? I only have basic understanding of some words, but am really keen on the farmstay.

    Thank you!

    • Pheuron says:

      Hi Joyce!
      I am glad you like the content.
      Have you tried contacting WWOOF Korea? As far as I know this is a contact point between the local farmers and English speaking foreign tourists who want to experience life as a farmer.
      Please check out the last part of my article? 🙂

  • Joyce says:

    Hi Pheuron,

    Yes, I have applied for WWOOF 🙂 But the farm stay you went sounds really interesting, and I would like to try that out as well! Haha. I guess I’ll just look to WWOOF then 🙂

    Thank you and have great travels!

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