After we descended from Seoraksan a few weeks ago, we found ourselves in the spa town of 오색, Osek. Osek is well known because of a little drip of water which some people have found to have medicinal properties. This water is called 약수 (약 (yak) meaning medicine and 수 (su) meaning water) and it contains very high concentrations of minerals, particularly iron.
Folks wait in line to get some of the water that basically trickles out into a little basin. And folks get angry if you take too much since it takes such a long time to come out. We filled half a water bottle and had to move on to prevent the annoyance of the other people in line.
I'm not sure what I expected it to taste like... maybe something like water... but I was in for quite a surprise because it really tasted like pure iron. We overheard one girl saying it tasted like rusty nails, and I think that hits the nail on the head (sorry, bad pun) for how this stuff tasted like. But, despite the taste, people were talking in line about how they wanted to collect a lot and bring it home to their family members. It's got a reputation for being something like a fountain of youth.
Because of this little trickle of water, the town has become a popular spa town and various hotels in the area offer all kinds of mineral baths. We were hot and sweaty from climbing so we found a cheap bathhouse where we could sit in mineral water (not quite like what comes out of this little trickle though) and get ourselves clean.
Osek is located at the base of Seoraksan. Many local and intercity buses stop by and you can even take a bus from Seoul to here (though I can't guarantee how many stops you'll make in between).
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