Adventure Korea: Caving & Bare-Handed Fishing
Winter is coming.
Well, I guess for everyone home in Minnesota, winter is already here! Sorry about that.
I have been craving one last weekend spent outdoors before it gets too cold to leave the warmth of my apartment.
After hearing about one such trip ? a weekend of adventure caving, zip-lining, sky jumping, and bare-handed fishing ? Ben and I were sold.
The trip was led by Adventure Korea, a company that organizes trips around the country on a budget. Many of the excursions include activities, festivals and experiences you wouldn’t easily be able to plan on your own.
Two of our friends signed up as well and we eagerly awaited the excursion, unsure of what exactly to expect.
Watch a video of highlights from the weekend, and read about it below:
Our weekend started Friday night at one in the morning when we boarded a night train bound for Seoul. We got a few hours of shut-eye before arriving just after 4 a.m. and hung out in McDonald”s (since it was the only heated area in the train station).
After a couple long, cold hours of waiting for the time to pass, we finally met up with the rest of our group. After everyone piled into the bus we began the three hour journey east of Seoul to Gangwon province.
Mountains rose above us in all directions and the bus windows fogged up from the combination of biting cold air outside and body heat from within.
We arrived at a small village where we would be spending the weekend just before lunchtime. With a population of just 50 people, our group of forty nearly doubled the size of the town.
Fun Fact: The village we stayed at was in Pyeongchang county. This may sound familiar, as it is the location for the 2018 Winter Olympics!
After a delicious lunch, we changed into red jumpsuits and rubber boots, and strapped helmets on our heads. We were then ushered into a small boat that brought us to the cave entrance.
The next hour and a half was incredible. We walked, crawled, and shimmied through crevices and wide, gaping spaces in this other-worldly place.
We made our way past stalagmites and limestone formations. Our guide pointed out rocks that resembled an elephant, the Virgin Mary, and even, well… male genetalia. He also showed us tiny, almost microscopic “cave shrimp”, as well as cave flowers, crystals and sleeping bats.
It was all pretty remarkable, but my favorite part was near the end of the tour. We reached a large, open area and took a seat. It seemed almost as if we were in an auditorium and we were sitting on the stage.
Our guide instructed everyone to turn off their headlamps so we could experience complete darkness.
I”ve experienced darkness, I thought to myself as the lights flicked off one by one.
But this was an entirely different kind of darkness than that which nighttime brings.
There were no shadows or silhouettes. You could not make out any shapes. There was no difference when your eyes were open from when they were closed. I waved my hand in front of my face and saw nothing.
Complete and absolute darkness.
We sat there in silence for five minutes, but I could have stayed longer. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced.
The first thing Ben said as we emerged into the afternoon sunlight was, “I have a new favorite hobby!”
While half of the group went zip-lining, we explored the aquarium in the town. After a 3D video, we walked past tanks of freshwater fish and turtles.
The most interesting part of the aquarium was a tank full of “doctor fish” – yes, these little guys are famous in Southeast Asia for nibbling the dead skin cells off the feet of backpackers and locals alike.
There were small openings in the tank though which you could stick your fingers. The sensation of their tiny suction cup mouths snacking away on my cuticles was pretty bizarre, yet surprisingly addicting.