On a Friday night in February, I hopped on a bus from the WinK Taphouse and headed down to the middle of Korea. WinK has definitely stepped up their food menu game. I really enjoyed the spicy mac and cheese, which had a real kick to it and plenty of bacon. The ooey-gooey cheese is what I crave most Friday nights! You might remember WinK from my tour to Jindo for the Sea-Parting Festival.
We arrived in Daejeon around 1 AM. The group slept at a jimjilbang (bath house and sauna) overnight. We were up, at ’em, and on the road by 7:20 AM. After about an hour of driving we made it to Daedun Mountain which has stunning snow-capped mountains, beautiful views, and plenty of tasty Korean food and Makgeolli. The Daedun Cloud Bridge is a must-see when visiting Korea. We then went on to visit Chateau Mani. Young Dong is an area well-known for its grape growing and wine-making. Some say it’s like the Napa Valley of Korea.
Daedun Mountain and Daedun Cloud Bridge
There are two ways to reach the cloud bridge and vertical stairway. The tough way is to take the hiking trail which is pretty steep and can take experienced hikers about an hour to an hour and a half. The easy way (which we took) was the cable car. I had been hoping to hike, but once we started the trek I thought it would be safer to take the cable car. The walk from the bus to the cable car was already pretty steep, and with the cold, ice, and about 28 other group members I thought it best to save the hike for another time. The cable car itself takes you almost right up to the top where there are stairs to the Daedun Cloud Bridge and two lookout points. After another set of slippery stairs you get to the cloud bridge!
Daedun Cloud Bridge Cable Car Pricing:
Round Trip = 9,000 won (8,500 won if in a group of 30 + people)
One Way = 6,000 won (5,500 won if 30 or more)
Once you cross Daedun cloud bridge you’ll have to go down to make your way back up to the vertical bridge. From the top of that bridge to the peak is about 30 minutes. I actually had to slide on my bum to get down from a particularly steep and slippery section, so I avoided that area too this round. The people who went up to the peak said that it was too foggy to see very much anyway even though it was a clear day.
You can’t skip a chance to have makgeolli (rice wine) and pajeon (savoury panake) when hiking (or taking a cable car to a mountain). This area is known for it’s chestnut makgeolli. The flavour is fairly subtle, and after a couple of servings you’ll definitely get a case of the giggles! At the base of the mountain you’ll find a plethora of restaurants and food stands. Knowing we’d have lunch at the winery, we chose to just have one order of jeon and then share some tasty hotteok, too. Hotteok is fried dough filled with brown sugar and, depending on the region, different kinds of nuts or seeds. This variety had sesame seeds!
Chateau Mani Korean Winery
Apparently this is the same winery to which the wine train will take you! They make 4 different kinds of wine there and store a plethora of other bottles for people conservatory-style. The wines are made from grapes grown in the region. They had a dry white and a dry red which I still found to be quite sweet. The white wine had an interesting smoky taste that I probably wouldn’t order again. The dry red was pretty typical cheap-tasting red. We had a grand time eating, drinking, and chatting away with our new pals.
Lunch was bbq duck with plenty of side dishes. Extra wine carafes were KRW 7,000 each. At that price, everyone was having a toasty time. Later, we were able to check out Chateau Mani’s tasting room. There, we sampled some more wines (free of charge) before heading back to Seoul.
Winery Tour and Foot Bath
I actually didn’t do the foot bath this time around because I had already done it in Muju. We opted to stick around the tasting room. We joked around with other members of the tour and our lovely ahjumma hostess who was taking care of our sampling. The people who did do the foot bath loved it. They came in and out of the gift shop and tasting area to grab glasses to bring back while soaking.