Wonju is a nice little town with no great claim to fame and lots of things to charm.

It's about 1 1/2 hours from Seoul by bus or train.

IT has a population of about 250,000.

There are a couple of markets, and lots of little shops along the main street. There are absolutely no tourist goods at all. This is all real local stuff.
buying cabbage for kimchee In the fall ladies buy cabbage, turnips and big radishes to make the winter supply of kimchee.

Wonju is paired with Edmonton, in Canada, as a friendship city.

Each October, there is an International Walking Festival, weekend, when people from all over the world come and walk between 10 and 50 kilometres each day. Korea is at its best in October and the walk is through wonderful little country roads.

country About 15 minutes by bike outside of Wonju.

Wonju also has a yearly fair which happens in early October. Its a standard country fair, with lots of food and games and people selling wonderfully exotic stuff.

opening of wonju fall fair The fall fair opening ceremonies. Each lady is carrying a sign from a different neighbourhood. They are wearing the lovely flowing Hambok.

There are dancers in front of the ladies.

A fortune teller at the Chiak Art Fair fortune teller

buying a winnowing tray A woman checking out a winnowing tray. With this tray she will separate grain from chaff and other stuff. Alot of farmers who only have small fields will do alot of work by hand. In the fall you can see lots of people beating grain plants with sticks to separate the grain.
Wonju is only a few Kilometres from Chiak mountain and its really easy to take local bus 41 to go see it. Chiak San is about 1280 metres high and a good hike. It takes about 5-6 hours to walk to the top and back down. There are temples, forts and stunning views.

I've been up 4 times, and reached various summits. There are a number of routes and peaks. I love it. You dont have to be able to drive. The city bus will drop you off at the base of the path. The fare is 600 wons.

There is a basketball team, The Narea (I think it means bluebirds) and they are very active and popular.

Any day of the week you can see ladies going travelling at the train station, wearing their Hambok in all its splendour!

In the summer there are hordes of little boys racing their minicars in little tracks outside the variety stores.

There are a few military bases in Wonju and there are quite a few Americans on base but I dont think I have seen more than half a dozen in all my stay here. They seem to stay on base or at least not go where I go.

bridge sign This is a sign on a small bridge just out of Wonju. Its hard to forget that there is a possibility of war here if trouble with North Korea should start. Yooung men have to do a 2 years and 2 months military service.

Wonju has some really great traditional restaurant. There are nice little places hidden away behind main street. You go in take off your shoes, and go into a nice little room with sliding papered doors. You sit on the floor (which is heated in winter, you have no idea of how cozy that is) and eat off of small tables.

E mail me, I love to get mail.

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