Train ride to sunrise and romanceRushing to the East Sea to watch the first sunrise of the new year is more than just a romantic ritual for those in love.
Thousands of families join the courting couples on the far eastern shore every year to watch the sun rise above the horizon on the morning of New Year’s Day. It is an opportunity to wish for the happiness of loved ones in the year to come. This year will be no exception, even though the weather is forecast to be very cold.
Jeongdongjin, a tiny port with a beach in Gangneung, Gangwon province, is one of the most popular places to watch the sunrise. As usual, it expects thousands of visitors to arrive en masse on New Year’s Eve.
To help the crowd arrive on time, the Gangwon branch of Korea Railroad has organized a series of special train packages for the day. The “Sunrise Trains” will leave from major stations across the country including Seoul, Yeongdeungpo, Suwon, Dongdaegu and Daejeon. It’s about a six- and -a -half hour ride from Seoul.
“Jeongdongjin train station is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the train station located closest to the sea in the whole world and it’s the spot you can see the first sunrise in Korea,” said a Korean Railroad official promoting the special train. “Nearby,behind the train station, is the Jeongdongjin Maritime Park, from where you can get a good view of Jeongdongjin beach with its strip of fine white sand. This makes the train station an ideal destination for a romantic New Year’s trip.”
Among the highlights of the New Year’s festival is the rotation of the Jeongdongjin sand clock. This is an event in which the world’s largest sand clock ― weighing 40 tons and eight meters in diameter ― is turned over to signal that the New Year has begun. Gangneung city will also have a prize draw for visitors and will award miniature golden pigs as cell phone accessories to celebrate the “year of the pig,” which falls next year.
The train departing from Seoul Station leaves at 10 p.m., arriving at Jeongdongjin at 4:45 a.m. From Yeongdeunpo station, the train leaves at 11 p.m., and is expected to arrive in Jeongdongjin at 5:32 a.m. For more information, call (033) 640-5128.
by Lee Mina-a
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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