Hambaek (함백) Gangwon-do
Near the boys Middle School in Winter

Hambaek(함백) is a village (population c.1000) situated about halfway between Yeongwol and Sabuk in Jeongseon County, Gangwon-do. The closest town is Yeongwol (about 20 minutes by car). Hambaek is a former mining community and although there is still evidence of working mines to be found in the trains full of coal rumbling past the village; most mines are now closed.

The weather in Hambaek is typical of Gangwon-do: very hot in June, July, August and September, and very cold and snowy in December, January, February and March (sometimes even until April). But buildings and services are cut out for the weather, with buses and trains continuing to run, even in heavy snow!

The main piece of advice to give people living in Hambaek, is make friends with Mrs Shin, the secretary at the Elementary School! She speaks good English, is great fun, will take you to the station in time for that crucial Friday-straight-after-school-train, and will also take you on days out or for dinner at her home in Yemi. In addition, if you want to learn some Korean it’s a great idea to suggest a language exchange. As well as giving you the opportunity to get to know some of the teachers better and practice some Korean, it is something to do in the evening once a week!

See the Jeongseon County website for more information on the area.