Korea

안녕하세요 or otherwise  “annyeonghaseyo”! That’s “hello” in Korean (hangul) for you.


Korean Traditional Architecture

You got that right, about time we explore Korea (South Korea to be specific…wouldn’t know much ’bout their hermit neighbours up north). Damn straight, this week The Travels is going to be talking about Korea (an Asian destination, moving away from the previous Western destinations…azn pride much?).

Asian nations seem to carry a strong sense of culture and social identity which perhaps is a result of the need to be a cohesive society to fend off the impacts of foreign countries trying to colonize Asian nations for their own purposes back in the 1900s. And perhaps, the introduction of foreign influences or Western values made it more crucial for the locals to make their own culture more vibrant to counter these new values.

Korea is definitely one such Asian nation with a strong sense of cultural identity. The hype in Korean Popular (K-pop) culture may show that Koreans are modern and welcoming of global influences in popular culture (many K-pop artistes gain inspiration from Japanese Enka, American R&B, hip-hop, rap, techno), however, one cannot deny that Koreans are traditional and very patriotic.

I visited Korea back in Dec 2011 during winter and it was a great trip. Couple of days on the tour bus and couple of days free-n-easy. All good. The people there are helpful and friendly, while the food is great if you enjoy spicy (e.g. spicy preserved vegetables – kimchi, and spicy rice cakes and fishcakes – tteokbokki). Weather there is generally cold so remember to pack in a nice thick pair of socks!

I tried my luck in getting a guide in the city to travel around as Koreans would through MeteorYouths.Org. Turned out really awesome, went to check out shopping districts that local youths visited and tried Korean fried chicken and beer (nope its not a play on KFC…) all thanks to my guide and friend, Jin. These guides are really awesome cause for one you don’t pay them anything. Also, it is a pleasure to travel with them cause you know you are helping them with improving on their skills as a guide and their language skills as well. They are earnest and willing to go out of the way to suit your travel needs. Definitely a must-try experience if you are to visit Korea!

One place that I recommend is Myeongdong which is the main shopping district in the city. Not only can you find good food all around, you could shop and might have the chance to have a rare sighting of Korean celebrities (probably have better luck finding them in Gangnam district where the rich and famous live in from what I hear).

One dish that I love while I was in Korea was Japchae which is a delicious mix of chicken or beef depending on your preference, along with translucent sweet potato noodles with lots of stir-fried vegetables and a sweet-savory sauce. Definitely worth hunting down a place that serves this.

Japchae! Mhmmmm…

By far the best ski resort I’ve been to in Korea is HighOne. Beautiful lodging apartments, a busy casino, awesome skiing conditions, great snow sports school, and many more factors make HighOne a prime destination for  a weekend of skiing.

HighOne Ski Resort

The picture says it all…

Korea is definitely a place to visit for its unique culture, excellent food, shopping, theme parks like LotteWorld, beautiful landscape, winter sports and cold weather (if you’re a cold weather lover like myself…home in Singapore is always way too hot). The people are welcoming as well which is a definite draw for me, would love to head back there next year!

For more information about Korea as a holiday destination, check out their tourism site here!

Perhaps a video (My lecture slides says that Youtube always helps get the point across real quick by appealing to our visual culture so here’s a go at it!) could do the trick! From the guy who brought to the world Gangnam-Style and many related memes…PSY’s video below is all about Korea.

 

Check out these blogs on travelling Korea:

– free-lavie

about-seoul

 

Thanks for reading and see you real soon!


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