Gangwon-do: Daegwallyeong Sheep Farm
You often see this place in Korean dramas and movies and you tell yourself that you must go there when you visit Korea. On a trip to Pyeongchang, the site of the Winter Olympics 2018, I made sure to include “Daegwallyeong Yangtte Mokjang” (Hangeul: 대괄령 양떼 목장 or Daegwallyeong Sheep Farm) in our itinerary. “Daegwallyeong” is the name of a mountain pass in the province of Gangwon-do that runs along the Taebaek mountain range. “Yangtte” simply means a flock of sheep and “mokjang” is the Korean word for stock farm or pasture.
We went there early. The sheep farm is open from 9am to 5pm. I knew we were near when I saw several windmills. I never expected the weekend crowd. The drive is about 3 hours from Seoul. It took us some time to find parking and there was a long line at the ticket booth. I paid 4,000 won each for the adults and 3,500 won for my third grade son. What greeted us a few meters from the ticket booth is a vast expanse of hilly green and a 1.2 kilometer uphill trail.
It was a little foggy that day at Daegwallyeong but the fog only added to the beauty of the scenery. Along the way is a shack that has been featured in several CF (commercial film). When we reached the place where the sheep are grazing, I just realized that I have never seen a real live sheep until that time. One of them approached us and although I usually feel icky touching an animal, I had to make an exception. It was like touching a thick soft carpet. I guess the other sheep got quite envious of the attention that this one is getting as I saw a bunch of them rushing to our side.
Alas! The shepherd saw them and he tried to make them go back to the middle of the field.
When the shepherd is gone to attend to the flock at the other side, the sheep would come again to enjoy being pet by the crowd. And when the man comes, they go back to the middle again. They go back and forth.
It was time to go when my father-in-law called. He couldn’t make it to the top of the hill as he’s disabled and has a hard time walking uphill. He told us to go down to the “Sheep Hay Feeding” area. The walk downhill is even more interesting seeing the mountains and hills of Pyeongchang.
At the feeding area, We showed our tickets and exchanged them for a small basket of hay ~ a basket for each. Feeding the animals is one of my son’s favorite things to do ~ as far as I could remember. Whenever we go to Seoul Forest in Ttukseom or the Seoul Children’s Grand Park, he always asks if he could feed the animals. He took all three baskets and set them near the sheep.
As we walked out of the area, I was even more surprised to see that the line at the ticket booth is even longer. My father-in-law bought us sticks of lamb skewers ~ but how could I eat after petting them? I chose to eat the steamed corn ~ a specialty of the province of Gangwon-do.
Daegwallyeong is only one of the many tourist areas in Pyeongchang. There is more to see in this county ~ and we’ll definitely be back!
While it’s not easy to go to Daegwallyeong Sheep Farm using public transportation, it’s not really impossible. Just take the bus to Hoenggye from East Seoul Bus Terminal near Gangbyeon Station on subway line 2. From Hoenggye Bus Terminal, take a taxi to Daegwallyeong Yangtte Mokjang. It’s about 6.5 km and will cost approximately 11,000 won.