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There's a five-day market in Gimcheon, right in the middle of town. It's held on days ending in 0 and 5. It's quite a bustling market. The other days there are few vendors in the market area.

Kimcheon is an odd place. Not much real old there as the war destroyed a lot in 1950. But the south side of town (in back of the shijang) is full of little yoinsuks or something similar (hasuks...), too many it seems, what are they doing there? An ajumah sidled up to me on the street and "pssst..." tried to sell me something, not sure what but sounded illegal.

If you get out at the bus station and want to go downtown, don't just follow the road running in front of the station. Instead cross the street toward the Nong Hyup, go to the right till the next cross street. Take that side street until you see the stairs to the overpass over the train tracks. Take that. You'll come out in front of the train station and close to the public market, right downtown. People in Kimcheon seem not very used to foreigners, but are quite friendly.

About the Nong Hyup across from the bus terminal. It's bigger than any I've seen - a department store basically, covering four storeys. In front of it are a lot of people selling things, a sort of shijang along the sidewalk.

There are suspicious places to stay in back of the market and along the roads going up the hill. Farther to the west are some large hotels. Still, Gimcheon seems to lack a good variety of both accomodation and restaurants for a city its size.

On the other hand, Jikjisa does it's best to make up for it. Get a city bus from the bus station, or along the main drag wherever you find a bus stop. It costs 900 won to the temple village. This maeul is chockablock filled with restaurants serving large feasts. Don't come here looking for pizza however - the food is strictly Korean. Sanchae jeongshik is available most anyplace, for 10 or 12 thousand won. You'll get a big selection, not necessarily all sanchae. Jeon and pindaeduk is freely available here too. An alternative is the dinner buffet at the big Kimcheon Park Hotel on the north side of the village. It's 13,000 won per person, all you can eat. Several kinds of raw fish, a few western or Chinese dishes, many tasty Korean items. Fruit, ddeok, sushi, salad fixins, drinks, soft ice cream, deepfried shrimp, more variety than you can eat. The buffet is right in the hotel; there's also a jjimjilbang accessed through a separate entrance from the road up to the hotel. This jjimjilbang has fairly basic (though comfortable) bath and sauna areas, but also includes a restaurant, computers, exersize gear, massage, TV, and a big plastic igloo whose function I didn't pick up on..... Cost is 6,000 won, including your orange prison suit. The hotel on the other hand, is quite expensive. There are some yeogwans in the village that are normally-priced.

Having tried a number of the Jikjisa restaurants I'll say that about the best I've found for "sanchae hangjeongshik" is the Jikjisa Songhak Shiktang, (054) 436-6303. It's at the south end of the temple village. Plenty of meat, plenty of vegetables, good panchan, and well-prepared.

Just out of the village is a new large park, full of sculptures and a big waterfall. A very attractive place except that they play radio stations through the loudspeakers. Further up the hill is Jikjisa, one of the more interesting temples of Korea. From there you can continue right on up to the top of the mountain, far away.....

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