Date & Time: Saturday-Sunday, May 12-13, 2018 - 8:00am,
Saturday, to 8:30pm, Sunday (estimated)
Departure: Yongsan Post Office by bus (Shin Yongsan subway
station stop #429, Blue Line, Exit #1)
Cost: W215,000 for RASKB members;
W235,000 for non-members
Tour Leader: Brother Anthony, RAS-KB president
This annual visit to an individual tea-maker offers a unique opportunity to participate in the processes by which tea is made, and to taste freshly-dried tea in the beautiful surroundings of Jiri-san mountain, as well as sampling some delicious local food.
We leave Seoul by bus and arrive near Hwaeom-sa temple (Gurye-gun, South Jeolla province) in time for a simple lunch of Taseulgi (marsh snail) sujaebi (or a very simple bibimbap for non-snail-eaters). Then we will check in at our inn close to Hwaeom-sa temple, at the foot of Nogodan (1500 meters) in the westernmost corner of Jiri Mountain. This is one of the oldest temples in Korea, founded in 544. It is one of several temples that claim to be the place where tea (sent by the Chinese emperor) was planted in Korea. It is surrounded by groves of wild tea growing on the hillsides amidst bamboo.
We will then go to meet tea master Hyoam in his small tea garden. After arriving we will first drink some tea, then learn briefly how the fresh shoots used for tea-making are picked. It takes most people a day to pick a couple of hundred grams. Time being limited, we will then work to process (by hand) tea leaves that have been picked for us in advance, under the guidance of experienced tea makers. This is not just hard work, it takes great care. The leaves for green tea are softened in a heated cauldron, then taken to a table and rubbed, then returned to a gentler fire, rubbed again . . . the main thing is to ensure that they do not scorch. Truly a hands-on experience. Several layers of gloves will be provided! Alternatively, depending on the tea-making schedule, there is ‘yellow’ (‘fermented’) tea, which follows a very different process. Each participant will receive packets of the tea we make, once the processing is complete.
At the end of the Saturday afternoon, we will go up to tour Hwaeom-sa temple and then watch the beating of the drum, the ringing of the bell etc followed by the evening chanting in the great hall, which you are invited to attend. After that we will go down for a special supper in a family restaurant near our hotel and spend the evening relaxing together.
The next morning, after a copious Korean breakfast, we will drive to Seonam-sa temple, about 40 minutes away, one of the most beautiful temples in Korea, where there are also tea-fields, drink tea with a learned monk-artist (if he is available) then enjoy a scenic drive above a lake to enjoy a special lunch, before returning to Seoul.
The cost of this tour covers the bus rental, four tasty meals including a special Saturday supper spread, an equally special Sunday lunch, accommodation in double-bed or Korean-style ondol rooms holding 2 people each, and the tea-making experience. Anyone wishing to sleep alone, or needing to sleep alone in a bed, should indicate that when registering, there may be an extra charge. Please tell us if you are vegetarian, or have other dietary requirements.
We will leave from Yongsan Post Office by bus (Sin Yongsan subway station stop #429, Blue Line, Exit #1) at 8:00 a.m. Our return time will be approximately 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.
To register, email the below RSVP go to https://goo.gl/forms/S0qwWOUNDaCAmR5d2
by Wednesday May 9.