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Archive for the ‘Korea’ Category

Top 10 South Korea Must-Dos

April 27th, 2011 by


Busy Seoul street – Photo credit

South Korea’s mad, feverish capital competes with Tokyo for the title of the most populous (and addictively chaotic) metropolis on the planet. Wildly frenetic Seoul is home to 25 million people – a few million more than all of Australia – and is a mega alpha city par excellence.

While here, visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeokgung, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. Shop in Dongdaemun Market, Namdaemun Market, Insadong, COEX Mall and the Yongsan Electronics Market. Culture hop between the city’s over 100 museums and chill out in massive urban parks.

Discover the best, affordable Seoul hotels. Read the rest of this entry »

Quirky International Places To Spend Valentines Day

January 31st, 2011 by

While roses, candy and a romantic dinner are the staples of a Valentine’s Day celebration, more adventurous couples can make this romantic moment more unforgettable by spending it in an unusual or even outrageous location.

Here are six quirky places to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Loveland, Jeju Island

Photo courtesy of steveslep.

Jeju Loveland, South Korea

This sex-themed park was developed by businessmen in Jeju Island, a popular getaway for honeymooners. By displaying all sorts of erotic statues all over the park grounds, newlyweds and other lovers can get ideas on how to spice up their own love lives. Visitors can choose among several hotels in Jeju and visit many other sights that enthrall both lovers and families alike.

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Delicious Korean Desserts

August 16th, 2010 by

Hangwa is the Korean term for sweets and husik is the term for dessert. Remember these words well on your next visit to South Korea because undoubtedly, you will want to partake in what the country has to offer in terms of after-dinner treats.

Photo courtesy by AndrewEick.


A traditional Korean rice cake made from glutinous rice flour, Tteok has been around since the Three Kingdoms Period from two millennia ago. Tteok can be boiled or steamed, while gangjeong more specifically refers to rice cakes that are fried and coated. Tteok is a favorite during celebrations, and is commonly served during weddings and birthdays. Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy of Jjimjilbang

August 9th, 2010 by

If you’re looking for budget South Korea hotels or a remarkable, traditional experience, you can’t do better than an overnight stay at a jjimjilbang. These public spas have the usual facilities such as his and her showers, hot tubs and saunas, but they also have unisex common rooms equipped with TV sets, heated floors, food bars, PC areas and sleeping sections. For complete, affordable comfort after a day’s sightseeing, the jjimjilbang is a sure bet.

Jjimjilbang Photo courtesy by Kuruman.

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Korea’s Must-Visit Summer Festivals

June 24th, 2010 by

Summer means lots of festivals for Korea, and with the outdoor-friendly weather and peak season for visitors both local and foreign, lots of people will be sharing fun, food and fascination in different settings and activities. From shamanistic rituals to martial arts events, festivals are some of the best ways to learn about Korea’s traditions and culture.

Here are some of Korea’s must-visit summer festivals:

Haeundae Sand Festival

Haeundae Sand Festival. Begun in 2005 as part of an APEC summit activity, this sand festival in Busan is a collection of exhibits and activities featuring the beach’s powdery white wonder. Every June, Replicas of famous monuments throughout the world are formed with astounding detail by international teams for a chance to win prizes, while people are buried in hot sand as part of a health regimen. Afterwards, you can wait for the nighttime fireworks display and performances, or just enjoy the rest of the 1.55-kilometer beach, regarded as one of Korea’s eight scenic wonders. To get to Haeundae Beach, exit Haeundae Station at #3 or #5.

Gangneung Dano Festival. A day of spiritual rites, this shaman festival occurs during the 4th day of the 5th lunar month and is dedicated to a bountiful harvest, peaceful times and dispelling misfortune. The locals believe that spirits descend from the mountains into the festival grounds beside Namdaecheon River during the first day of the festivities. Lantern-bearing townsfolk walk alongside the spirits towards the festival, and release the lanterns on the river afterwards, offering prayers. The spirits linger in the altar for five days then return to the mountain on the last day.

A huge market also springs up during festival time and all sorts of merchandise and souvenirs are for sale, from DVDs to native cuisine. To get to Gangneung Dano Festival, take a bus for Gangneung at the Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, get off at Gangneung Intercity Bus Terminal then ride a taxi to the Dano Cultural Center.

World Taekwondo Culture Expo. More than 2,000 competitors from 50 countries will descend in Jeonju and Muju for a series of matches, seminars and exhibits. Cultural activities, participatory programs and international exchanges all strive to promote the excellence of Taekwondo and Korea, as a whole. The Expo will occur from July 2 to 7 at the Muju Dome Stadium and Muju Resort.

Boryeong Mud Festival

Boryeong Mud Festival. Originally an event meant to promote the town’s therapeutic mud, this festival now draws more than a million people to the messy activities of this festival. To read more about the mud festival, click here.

The Great Battle of Hansan Festival. Celebrated in Gyeongsangnam-do from August 12 to 16, this four-day festival is dedicated to Admiral Lee Sun Shin’s great naval victory in 1592, one of the country’s proudest historical events. The highlight features replicas of Geobukseons (Korea’s turtle-shaped warships) engaging Japanese vessels in artillery fire. There is also a parade, dramatic performances, dance exhibits and plenty of seafood, all within the lovely port city of Tongyeong, the so-called “Naples of Asia”.

To get to the festival from Seoul, take a bus from Nambu Terminal, then get off at Tongyeong Terminal after a 4-hour trip. Afterwards, ride a taxi to the festival grounds. The festival occurs in August.

Seven Sacred Sites In Korea

May 27th, 2010 by

Bulguksa - meaning “Temple of the Buddha Land”, this temple in the North Gyeongsang province of the country is a fine example of Silla architecture and houses no less than seven sacred objects. Bulguksa has been restored several times in its history and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A double-sectioned staircase acts as entrance to the temple complex, built with 33 steps to correspond to the 33 steps to enlightenment.

Bulguksa Temple

Photo courtesy by Larry Johnson:

To get to Bulguksa, take a temple-bound bus from Gyeongju Intercity Bus Terminal and ride for 40 minutes.

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Itaewon: Seoul’s Bustling Shopping District

April 21st, 2010 by

Let’s be realistic. A vacation isn’t a real vacation if you can’t spend at least one day exploring the area’s locals shops, restaurants, and vendors.

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Nothing as Fresh: The Noryangjin Fish Market

April 14th, 2010 by

Seoul has a reputation for being one of the best places in South Korea to visit for fresh seafood. The problem is that most of us, average restaurant diners and grocery store shoppers, have no idea what process really happens behind the scenes when it comes to getting fish from the ocean to the table.

Noryangjin Fish Market

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10 Popular Korean Side Dishes

April 8th, 2010 by

Banchan (pronounced “bon-chon”) is the term for Korean side dishes, a feature in Korean dining that is sure to delightfully surprise a visitor to the peninsula, whether in a restaurant or a home setting. Apart from the main course, there are at least a half dozen of these gracing the table in small portions, enhancing the meal with different tastes and textures. Diners may choose as many or as few dishes as they like, and they are refilled immediately once the serving bowl is empty. Whether they are spicy vegetables or stir-fried noodles, these side dishes provide a taste that is distinctly Korean, giving the mouth a sensation of visiting different regions at the same time. And best of all, many restaurants serve them for free!

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Things To Do In Suwon

April 1st, 2010 by

Known as “The City of Filial Piety”, Suwon is the provincial capital of Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. The city lies 30 kilometers south of Seoul and is one of the most prosperous of the capital’s satellite cities, as well as a major educational center.

Here are several things you can do while visiting Suwon:
Hwaseong Fortress

Photo courtesy of Ray_from_LA:

Defend against invaders in Hwaseong Fortress – built by King Jeongjo during the Joseon Dynasty between 1794 to 1796, this fortress is the most advanced during its time and was supposed to cement the city’s position as the new capital. It is made of bricks unlike other Korean fortresses made of stone, with the help of the first Korean crane. There are 4 gates:  Paldalmun, Changganmun, Hwasomun, and Changnyongmun. A wall was also built around the city especially to protect the tomb of Jeongjo’s father; travelers can traverse the length of this wall and enjoy a view of the surroundings at the highest points, such as Seonamgangnu. Hwaseong Fortress has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

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Japanese TempleFrom castles to shopping malls and business districts, Sendai is vibrant and fast paced but this bustling city also boasts the name of “City of Trees” for its tranquil parks, the Hirose-gawa River and the beautiful zelkova trees that border the city’s streets. Bellhop Picks: Read more about other attractions in our Japan guide. See what fellow travellers have to say in the Japan tales section.
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