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Let’s Play Pokemon Go in Sokcho!

We did it! We drove all the way to Sokcho from Camp Humphreys just to play Pokemon Go! Why you ask? We were due for a summer vacation and what’s better than hiking in a national park with Eevee, swimming at the beach with Magicarp, and riding scooters to Pokestops?

Pokemon Go South Korea

Where to play Pokemon Go in South Korea

Why Sokcho? Sokcho is the only place in South Korea where Pokemon Go is unlocked (Since our trip, the server has gone live in Ulsan and Yeosu. Thanks to the Pokemon Go Korea FB page for the fast updates). The city is full of Pokestops and Pokegyms and there is a map available showing trainers the best places to go to catch Pokemon. The best areas are Rodeo Street, the Expo Tower, the DaePoHang harbor and on top of Seorak Mountain near the Cable Cars.

Click here for the map of the best places to catch Pokemon in Sokcho. It’s a big file so there may be slow load times.

Our first night, we went to the Expo Tower and I couldn’t believe how many people were playing Pokemon Go in the dark. The place was packed on a Tuesday evening and every shoulder I looked over (creepy Sig, looking over shoulders >.>), someone was catching a Pokemon or battling a gym. The Expo Tower had an area to rent little motor bikes for adults and mini four wheelers for kids for 10,000won an hour, give or take. My youngest wasn’t ready to drive one by himself so I got on the back to help him and my big butt flipped it backwards and I fell on my ass. The poor guy who rented it to us was more embarrassed than I was! Lesson learned: Snorlax shouldn’t drive kiddie wheelers!

I was so sad that we missed the mayor of Sokcho dressing up as Professor Oak who gave away Pokeballs but he’s only around on weekends. He won’t be around for much longer though, go see him before August 20th when he officially retires as the professor.

Seorak Mountain had the best of both worlds, breath taking views, restaurants, hiking for all skill levels and lots of Pokestops and Gyms in the main plaza. We took the very safe cable car ride to the top and my panic attack had us back down within 30 minutes. All of the trails had railings and ropes but it was still the top of a mountain; one slip and my 6 year old would go over the edge. My friend, Katie, says there is a medal at the summit for whoever finishes the hike but I wasn’t doing it. Nuh uh, no way. Those with small children, who have random panic attacks for no good reason or are justifiably scared of tall death cliffs (don’t be ashamed) should skip the cable car and explore the plaza and trails. There probably wasn’t even a Dragonite up there, anyway.

Moon Bear on Seoraksan as a Pokestop

Pokestop with a Moon Bear

Sokcho is a city worth visiting, Pokemon or not.

Anyone interested in enjoying Korea should do themselves a favor and take a weekend in Sokcho. Go to SokchoTour to learn more about Festivals, important dates and hours of attractions. The following links are from VisitKorea.or.kr and it includes Hangul addresses.

  • Seoraksan National Park – Lots of hiking trails for every skill level to hatch those eggs. Pokegyms and Pokestops are in the main plaza. Restaurants available. Do not miss visiting this mountain, it is a once in a lifetime trip.
    • Parking 5,000won
    • Entrance fee
      • Adults: 3,500
      • Age: 14-19 1000
      • Age: 8-13 500
      • 7 and below: Free
    • Cable Car: Separate Fee – I didn’t take a picture but I believe it was around 10,000 per
  • Sinheungsa Temple – A mountainside temple with a large Buddha and a footbridge crossing a ravine. I wish we had had time to visit!
  • Seorak Sunrise Park – A must for photographers and Sunrise lovers.
  • Naksan Beach – There are miles upon miles of beaches but this one is the closest to Sokcho. There are plenty of beach side hotels available.
  • Expo Tower Park – Odd looking tower but plenty of Pokemon activities including scooters for the whole family to drive to Pokestops.
  • Crab, Squid, Raw Fish – I hope you like seafood because it is Crabs Crabs Crabs here.
  • Scuba Diving – I didn’t scuba dive but a friend recommended 장호항 harbor for finding underwater activities.
Asia Exclusive Pokemon Farfetch'd

Collect a lot of these guys! Farfetch’d

Tips for the new Korean Pokemon Go player:

  • The app must stay open on the phone in order to track kilometers for hatching eggs. Getting an external battery for each phone is a must. Rodeo Street is the market area of Sokcho with plenty of electronics stores where we bought extra charging cords for our batteries and phones. When leaving Sokcho, walking is no longer recorded for hatching eggs. I was so sad!
  • Players who are holding Pokegyms in Sokcho are often high level, probably residents. Every gym has a huge Snorlax or Dragonite guarding it but that shouldn’t stop anyone from trying to fight them. A team of Pokemon with CP’s in the hundreds have a good chance of beating any gym. Get in there and try it!
  • There is a cafe near rodeo street with a Pokegym bronze bull and a Pokestop nearby. Find places like this and enjoy the AC and drinks while playing.
  • The region exclusive Pokemon for Asia is Farfetch’d. Be sure to catch a lot of these guys before heading back to the states. Region exclusive Pokemon will be a hot ticket item and great for trading back home.
  • Need an excuse to visit to Australia? For die hard fans, plane tickets to Australia are much cheaper from Korea than the US so go get the region exclusive Kangaskhan before heading back to the states. Go to Eurogamer.net to learn more!
  • The game froze for the Iphone5 constantly. It’s a known problem that affects all devices for whatever reason. Powering the phone off or cooling it down didn’t fix the problem and uninstalling and reinstalling the app was a waste of time. The best method is to shut the game off (swipe it away) and then restart it until it works. Sometimes it took 15+restarts before the app kicked back in.
  • Pokeballs cost MONEY! It’s possible to never need to buy Pokemon but if you have small children, expect them to miss a lot and burn through hundreds of Pokeballs in just a few days. And when they start crying because they missed catching their 50th Zubat, you’re going to start dropping real dollars on the game. We didn’t mind spending money and supporting Niantic but we were blindsided at how bad our 6 year old was at aiming his Pokeballs. Talk to kids beforehand and set the rules early before things get expensive.
  • On the topic of kids, create rules about walking and playing. It took a few scraped knees before the kids learned to not play and walk.
  • Pokemon Go is incredibly addicting, super fun and was the perfect way for us to explore Sokcho. We would have never gone to the Expo Tower or down a side street full of crab restaurants if it wasn’t for Pokemon Go. This game has to be the small business owner’s dream come true.

How to get to Sokcho:

  • Don’t miss any turns! The drive is about 4 hours long but a missed exit (I blame the husband!) turned our first day into an 8 hour road trip with stops.
  • There are two routes, each with their positives and negatives. The 45-55-50-44 route is shorter but that’s where the missed turn can ruin the day.
  • Waze got us to and back from Sokcho with little trouble. When trying to find local sites, it’s best to use Naver or Daum with Hangul addresses/ names. Google Maps wasn’t even sure we were in the right city. I miss Google maps.

Sokcho45_50_55_44
Drive to Sokcho

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have any stories about visiting Sokcho or Playing Pokemon Go? Let me know in the comments, I want to hear them! All hype trains are welcome.

~Sig

 

 

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