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 →
Korea is a curious place. Sometimes, things that go on here just can’t be explained logically or rationally; sometimes, they’re a bit too logical. Living on Jeju-do allows me to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful nature that Korea has to offer, making it a typical tourist hotspot for Koreans and foreigners alike. However, there is more to Jeju than awesome hiking and strange museums, and I was completely unaware of it until a few weeks ago. On my birthday, I wanted to do something out of the ordinary. A few co-workers and I read some rumors about several eerie abandoned places on the island so, naturally, we hopped into a friend’s minivan and decided to search for them.
My first experience at the Busan Fireworks festival was back in 2011. I remember thinking we had really lucked out with the weather. The temperature was nice during the day and even though it was cloudy, it wasn’t raining. I must have been feeling really optimistic when I left my apartment because I didn’t even bring an umbrella. 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.
Happy Hangeul Day! October 9th is the day Koreans celebrate their alphabet. It’s one of the best in the world and it’s definitely something to be proud of. Each letter has only one sound so if you really want to learn to read Korean, it only takes a few hours. I learned to read Korean in about 6 months, with practically no studying. I just kind of absorbed it.
I celebrated Hangeul Daywith my awesome Korean tutor. We went to 5 different temples. I learned a lot about the places we visited and a few new Korean words and phrases. One of the highlights of the day was seeing a flock of peacocks at one of the temples. They were so cute and it was such a nice surprise!
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!