Gyeongju is my absolute favorite city in Korea. It was the ancient capital of Korea so it’s extremely rich in history. There are tons of things to do in Gyeongju so I recommend taking at least a few days to explore as much of this amazing city as possible.
When I’m in Gyeongju, I always love driving by the Gyeongju Tower. It’s a 30-story tower with a giant pagoda cut right out of the middle. It’s really impressive, and it’s an observation tower so you can go up inside of it! Continue reading →
This past weekend Dave and I didn’t have any plans so my Korean tutor recommended we go to a two places: Jusanji (주산지) and Juwangsan (주왕산). She said she goes every autumn and it’s really amazing. She couldn’t have been more right!
We woke up at 3:00am and drove 3 hours to get there. I knew it was up in the mountains so I took a motion sickness pill before we left. During the drive I tried to stay awake as long as possible, but around the halfway mark, I just couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer and I slept for the rest of the drive. I felt terribly guilty, but Dave was such a good sport about driving while I snoozed. Continue reading →
Namhae is a beautiful island off the southern coast of Korea. It is known as the Treasure Island of Korea and is famous for farming so don’t be surprised if you get stuck driving behind a tractor or two.
Here are a few of my tips on what to do if you spend a weekend in Namhae.
Namhae is such a great place to escape bustle of the city. Driving along the winding roads wasn’t my favorite thing, but I still really enjoyed the beautiful scenery even though I was a little bit nauseous! If you’re prone to motion sickness like I am, I highly recommend taking some medicine before driving around the island.
We set out to find Darangee Village because they are supposed to be some incredibly beautiful rice terraces there. I learned about the rice terraces from an article by CNN Travel called “50 Beautiful Places to Visit in Korea.” The rice terraces are number 3 on the list and the featured photo is of a group of tourists watching and helping a farmer plant the rice, with the help of a ox. Really cool, right?
We had some difficulty finding the village. Initially, The address listed on the CNN Travel article was missing some information that our navigation system required. Thankfully, there were some signs along the way.
After our stay at the Hi Class Pension in Namhae, we had breakfast at the Hilton and then set out for some sightseeing. If we hadn’t been going to the Hilton, we might have never noticed the art village, but we are so glad that we stumbled across it.
Can you spot the Hilton in the background?
Namhae Island is a really rural area full of rice and garlic fields. As we pulled out of the Hilton, we spotted a mural of The Simpsons.
I decided I wanted to explore further so we drove up the narrow street through the village.
We went to the mask festival in Andong on Saturday and had a really great time. The festival has a few different sites and it was tough to pick just one. We chose to go to the smaller festival at the Hahoe Folk Village. It’s a village full of Korean traditional homes, called hanok. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Before entering the park, we were greeted by a large group of students that were so excited to practice their English with us.
After buying tickets, we stopped off at the information booth to pick up some information about the festival. The woman spoke really great English and she marked on our map where the festival would take place. It was a 1km walk to the festival site, but we opted to take the free shuttle.
The first thing we noticed after being dropped off by the shuttle was the dried up lotus flowers. This would have been absolutely gorgeous in July!
I first heard of the Hi Class Pension (now called High Class Pool Villa) through Everyday Korea, a blog that has a section on unique accommodation in Korea (among other things). Dave and I had just come back from Phuket where we stayed in an amazing pool villa and we were craving more. We checked the prices on the Hi Class website and were really shocked by how expensive they were! In fact, at $700 a night (during high season), they were more per night than our Phuket pool villa. I was a bit hesitant about staying at Hi-Class for that price, but Dave decided that we should bite the bullet and do it, just for a night.
Dave and I took a road trip to Gyeongju after he got off work on Thursday night. I wanted to take photos of Anapji Pond at night. It was quite rainy, but we were still able to get some good shots.
Gyeongju is the same city where you can see the lotuses bloom in summer. In fact, there’s an amazing lotus pond just outside the entrance to Anapji.
Entrance fee to Anapji Pond is 1,500 won per person.
It can get really busy at night so it’s a good idea to get there a bit before the sun goes down so you can get a parking space and a good spot for photos. At least that was our experience this week, which happens to be the same week most Koreans go on vacation.