We travel around Korea. A lot. If I had it my way, we would go on road trips every single weekend. That’s easy for me to say because I don’t work or drive so by the weekend I am beyond anxious to get out of Ulsan and my little expat bubble. Dave is really understanding and even though he is completely exhausted by the weekend, he lets me drag him all over this amazing country. (To be honest, I think he probably prefers it to when we stay home on the weekends because then I usually get the organization bug and he still gets put to work!)
One of the big reasons why I blog is to inspire people to travel around Korea because it’s a truly beautiful country. Most of us are here for anywhere between one to three years and I can honestly say that it’s just not enough time to see all that Korea has to offer. Since we started traveling so frequently, I get asked one question repeatedly: “How do you find all of these places?!” The answer is kind of complicated. There isn’t one magical source of information. My blog will continue to be a great place to get travel ideas, but here are few of my main resources when planning adventures around South Korea:
Word of Mouth
Since I have been living and traveling in Korea for about 3.5 years now, I have gained a lot of my knowledge of the country organically. When I was teaching (and even now), I would hear friends talk about places they’d visited and it piqued my curiosity.
Make sure you’re asking friends where they’ve been and what they recommend. Some places are worth the hype and some places aren’t. Friends are one of the best ways to get information. Plus, it’s always nice to hear about someone’s experiences firsthand.
I love using facebook for travel ideas. There are a lot of really good facebook pages out there that are constantly posting about different places to visit in Korea. Here are some of my favorites:
Another tip is to go to these facebook pages and scroll down until you see “LIKED BY THIS PAGE” on the left sidebar. You can click on that and see all of the facebook pages liked by that page. Most of the tourism and city pages like other Korea related facebook pages and some of them might be of interest to you.
Pinterest is where my Korea Bucket List idea originated. If you’re not already on Pinterest, sign up (then follow me)! It’s a huge resource of information and it’s a great way to plan your travels. Simply type in “Korea” (or any other search terms) to the Pinterest search bar and you can decide if you want to search pins, boards, pinners or interests. Select pins and scan through and pin anything that you find interesting. You can search boards and then follow ones that look interesting, or select interests and choose what types of pins you want to see.
Here are my top 3 favorite Korea related pinterest boards:
- Life Outside of Texas’s Korea Bucket List board
- Korea – Things Korean, a huge group board
- South Korea by travel bloggers My Tan Feet
CNN Travel’s 50 beautiful places to visit in Korea Article
I am on a mission to visit as many of these “beautiful places” as possible before our time in Korea is over. So far I’ve been to 17 of them. This type of goal is pretty hardcore and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to everyone. I’ve actually been pretty let down by several of the places in the article. My opinion is that the article was based around beautiful photos, not necessarily beautiful places. Some of the places on the list are incredibly time sensitive. While they might be beautiful on a snowy day or while the area is lined in cherry blossom trees, some are pretty average on a normal day.
One of the places I was most disappointed with was number 7 on the list, Jeungdo Salt Farm. It was pretty awful and not beautiful at all. Plus, we didn’t really see much salt farming going on. We probably went at the wrong time of year, but there was no English information available so we weren’t able to figure out when the right time of year is.
Alternatively, the most rewarding place we have been so far is the Garden of the Morning Calm. It definitely lived up to the hype!
One thing that stands true about Korea is that there’s always some type of festival going on. We’ve been to festivals based around body painting, mask dances, lanterns, fireworks and hydrangeas, just to name a few.
The Visit Korea site has a pretty extensive list of festivals in Korea that you can see here. You can also browse through the list of festivals that I have blogged about. A lot of our trips do tend to be based around festivals. If you don’t mind the crowds, they are usually a lot of fun!
There are so many people blogging about Korea. It can be hard to filter through the people that are blogging just to keep their family and friends updated about their life abroad (nothing wrong with that!) and the ones that are posting quality material written for people wanting to travel around Korea.
Here are some of my favorite Korea-related travel blogs:
- One Weird Globe – Chris has left Korea for Thailand, but he has a lot of great content up on his site that is well worth checking out, including a guest post by me.
- Waegook Tom – Tom is currently living in Taipei (and loving it!), but he got his start into blogging while living in Korea (hence the blog name). He spent almost 4 years in Korea and during that time paid off all of his evil credit cards.
- Grrrl Traveler – Christine taught English in Korea and did a lot of traveling while she was here. She’s a big inspiration and has some really informative posts about traveling in Korea.
- Bobo and ChiChi – Scott and Megan are based in Seoul and take really amazing photos and post really great travel articles.
- Open Road Before Me – Nathan is about to leave Korea and set out on a new adventure, but he has lots of great Korea posts up on his blog. He’s a big fan of traveling around Asia and likes to hike so if that’s your thing, check out his page.
- Evan and Rachel – These two are the some of my favorite people in Korea. They have been living in Korea for 4 years and they mostly vlog about life in Korea and about teaching in Korea. They occasionally have some great videos about places to visit in Korea as well.