Things to see and do in Korea

King Sejong the Great's Royal Tomb

My in-laws were keen to take me to the far eastern part of Korea to see the east sea. The traffic was pretty bad most of the way (being a public holiday), but on the way we stopped to stretch our legs at the Royal Tomb of King Sejong the Great. King Sejong the Great was, as his title suggests, one of the greatest and most loved kings in Korean history. He is credited with... <read more>

Lotus Lilly Garden - Taean City

I've seen pictures of the lotus gardens in Korea and, being a keen gardener, wanted to check them out. The closest city I was able to find with a nice lotus garden was Taean, about 2 hours by express bus west of Daejeon. The name of the lotus garden is "Green Reach Farm" (그린리치팜). <read more>

The fortress and palace were built in 1794 by King Jeongjo to house and honor the remains of his father Prince Sado, who had been murdered by being locked alive inside a rice chest by his own father King Yeongjo after failing to obey the command to commit suicide. <read more>

Bukchon Hanok Village, between Gyeongbukgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace, is a collection of hundreds of traditional houses called ‘hanok’ that date back to the Joseon Dynasty. I imagine much of it has been rebuilt since the Korean War and many of the buildings look like they are new constructions built with traditional methods, but the area is meant to be a preservation of an urban environment in Korea 600 years ago. <read more>

Even though the prison was used after the Japanese occupation ended, the displays mainly focus on the harsh treatment Koreans suffered under Japanese rule. As a result it has an anti Japanese vibe, but I'm not sure how you could tell the story in a way that honors the thousands of Koreans who died without sounding a little anti Japanese. <read more>

A lot of the traditional Korean market places have given way to supermarket chains owned by the monstrous Korean chaebol’s (south Korean business conglomerates) like Samsung or LG. Luckily, a few of the traditional market places still survive and thrive to this day. One such traditional market place is Namdaemun Market<read more>

Everland is a theme park owned by Samsung in a mountainous region south east of Seoul. It's got a zoo, rides, gardens and various live entertainment. The main draw-card, for me, is the T-express. The T-express is 6th longest wooden roller coaster in the world (1779 meters), the steepest wooden roller coaster (77degree drop) and has a max speed of 104km/h making it the fastest in Asia. Around 6.5 million people visit Everland every year. <read more>

Last Friday was Buddha's birthday and a public holiday (thanks Buddha). Jihyeon and I traveled to Gyeongju national park and Gyeongju city where there is a heavy concentration of historical sites such as tombs, temples, statues and various other relics of the past. <read more>

We got up early Saturday morning (truth be told, I got a terrible nights sleep because a noisy family arrived around midnight and the owner was busy clanging and banging pots and pans in the kitchen from around 6am) and caught the bus back into Gyeongju City <read more>

Geumsansa (literally translates to "Golden Mountain Temple") is the head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. It stands on the slopes of Moaksan in Gimje city. The initial Geumsan temple was built in 599AD during the reign of King Beop of Baekje. About 100 years later the temple was rebuilt and greatly expanded under the direction of the Master Jinpyo<read more>

There were three palaces within walking distance of where we were staying. Changdeokgung, Gyeongbokgung and Deoksugung. First stop was Deoksugung (also known as Gyeongun-gung) which is right next to city hall. <read more>

My mum was really keen to visit the Korean Folk Village in Yongin (east of Suwon). I went to the Korean Folk Village on my EPIK orientation (Blog post here), but it was good to go back when it was warmer and the trees had leaves. <read more>

The first stop for today was Haedong Yonggungsa Temple which is situated on the coast of the north-eastern portion of Busan. Most temples in Korea are located in the mountains making this one a rare find. As you can see in the pictures below it has been built on the rocks right next to the ocean. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple was first built in 1376 by the great Buddhist teacher known as Naong. Like many of the temples in Korea, this one was destroyed by fire when the Japanese invaded Korea. It was reconstructed in 1970. <read more>

Welcome to the toilet museum of Suwon, home of Mr Toilet (aka Mr. Sim Jae-duck). He built this unique home in 2007 to commemorate the establishment of the World Toilet Association. After his death, his surviving family donated this toilet bowl-shaped house to Suwon City as stated in his will. The city turned the home into the Toilet Culture Museum in 2010 and opened the Toilet Culture Park in 2012. The cities plans don't stop there. Their long term plan is to turn it into the world's first toilet theme park. <read more>

On Saturday last weekend Jihyeon and I caught the bus to Gyeryongsan National Park, a national park on the outskirts of Daejeon. The plan was to see the cherry blossoms and visit Donghaksa temple. The temple was originally built in 713, destroyed 1728 and rebuilt in 1814. <read more>

We had a long weekend up our sleeve so we went to Seoul for the weekend. Our day started at one of the inter-city bus stops in Daejeon.<read more>

The day after buying suits and Hanboks for the wedding we went on a road trip to Busan. I was originally planning on using the KTX, but Jihyeon's father insisted on joining us and driving his car. It meant we could stop at a Tapsa (at the foot of Mt Maisan aka Horse Ear Mountain) and Haeinsa Temple(a famous temple housing over 80,000 wooden printing blocks of Buddhist scriptures). <read more> 

Naejansan National Park And Jeongeup City

Naejangsan is a famous mountain in the Jeolla-do province, and is said to be the best mountain in Korea for viewing the transition trees go through in autumn. Even though it was cold and raining, it was still a nice place to visit. <read more>

It's taken 18 months, but Jihyeon and I finally started exploring the eastern part of Korea. A large proportion of South Korea's population lives on the western side of the country because it is mostly flat. The whole eastern side of the country (about 70% of the land area) is covered in mountain ranges which makes construction and transportation more difficult. The good news is that, other than a few tourist hot spots, this makes the eastern side of Korea more peaceful. We caught the ITX train from Seoul to Gapyeong, a small town 45 minutes (by ITX) east of Seoul. <read more>

After visiting the Royal Tomb of King Sejong the Great, we continued eastward in the heavy traffic. <read more>

Bugak Skyway

North of Seoul is a large mountainous region known as Bukhansan National Park. There are loads of hiking trails and even part of the Seoul fortress wall which snake their way through the mountains. We decided to (after some miscommunication between the wife and I) check out Bugak Skyway, a scenic road that overlooks downtown Seoul and passes the Bugak Pavilion and Changuimun Gate (part of the Seoul fortress wall). We were tired and short on time, so we cheated and caught a taxi up the mountain and followed the path back down again. It was well worth the 8000won ($8). <read more>

Spend any time walking around Daejeon and you will pass a free* bicycle station. There are 144 bike stations with over 1900 bikes distributed around the city. Their purpose, to provide a convenient green public transport alternative for the citizens of Daejeon. I've been wanting to use one of the bikes for a while, but the last few months have just been so cold. Now that spring is here and the weather is getting warmer, Jihyeon and I thought we would grab a couple of the bikes and cycle along the river. <read more>

Hampyeong Butterfly Festival

Last weekend I went to the Hampyeong butterfly festival with Jihyeon's whole family (including their dog, Haru). Jihyeon's mum packed a huge lunch of Korean melon, strawberries, fried chicken, Mandu andGimbap. It took about a hour and a half to drive to Hampyeong from Iksan.  <read more>

On Sunday I ventured to the Daejeon National Cemetery with Jihyeon. There is a subway station near the cemetery (conveniently called National Cemetery Station) and a free shuttle bus from the station to the cemetery every 30 minutes. <read more>

Last weekend I traveled to Nonsan for their strawberry festival. Nonsan is south west of Daejeon and takes about 30mins by train to get there. It had been raining the day before which made the ground stupidly wet and muddy in some places, but overall it was a good day. I took lots of pictures so I will let them do most of the talking. <read more>

No comments:

Post a Comment