Alvin In The Room: Journal

Highlights of my trip in Korea, 2016

Domestic flight from Jeju to Busan by Jeju Air

Domestic flight from Jeju to Busan by Jeju Air

Hey guys, I have been back from my 31-day trip to South Korea. This was the first time to travel in cities besides Seoul, the capital I have been to already; and the first time to stay in the country for so long (usually 4 to 5 days). Let me highlight some about my trip.

31天的韓國之旅結束了,這是第一次遊覽首爾以外的城市,也是首次在韓國待這麼久(通常只是4到5天),現在就概括一下行程的重點。

 

Busan (부산,釜山)

City view of Busan - sea, bridges, hills and more...

City view of Busan - sea, bridges, hills and more...

Busan is the first stop in my trip. What impress me in the city is its geographical characteristics. You can easily reach the ocean through beaches and national parks which are not far from the urban area. If you wander around the streets, just tend to walk upwards through the steps all around the city and I'm sure you will have a great city view, which can be as nice as seen in Busan Tower.

釜山是我行程中的首站,這個城市最讓我印象深刻是地形,要看海洋附近有海攤和國家公園,在街上亂晃,沿樓梯而上不難爬上高處看到很美的城市景色,甚至可媲美在釜山塔所看到的。

 

Jeju (제주,濟州)

Jeju, 2016

Jeju, 2016

I thought if I should go to Jeju before starting my trip, but finally ended up with reasonable air ticket prices which gave me a try. Jeju is actually one of the most popular traveling places in Korea. If you have a hostel you will have so many guests from both overseas and locals, compared to other cities in Korea. Although there are so many tourists on the island, it's still comfortable to stay there.

From climbing the highest mountain to reach the sea, Jeju is more than you think and every guide books can't tell you all. Just notice the unique architecture of the house near to the guesthouse or hotel you are staying is already interesting, and going to some places not well known while missing the so-called must-go places are not losses. Most importantly, you have to make sure that you are relax on this island.

出發前曾想過是否要去濟州,但最後還是因為機票價格合理,而藉此給自己一次嘗試。濟州是韓國其中一個最受歡迎的旅遊勝地,在旅館可以遇上來自外地和本地的遊客,而這個情況比在韓國其他城市還多。雖然真的有不少遊客前往,但在島上不會感到太擁擠。

從爬上島上最高峰到海岸,濟州比你想像中和旅遊書中所介紹的更多更多,單是留意旅遊附近的獨特建築已經蠻有趣,沒去某些所謂必去景點,而去了很少人知道的地方,並不是損失或錯過。比起去了什麼地方,更重要的是你需要輕輕鬆鬆的待在島上。

 

Gyeongju (경주,慶州)

Biking in the old city, Gyeongju

Biking in the old city, Gyeongju

Gyeongju is a city which has long history. You will find a lot of tombs, temples and palaces. Bike is a good idea to travel in it although bus is accessible to most part of the city. Wander around the street on foot and you can still see a lot of Korean houses. Will go there again since I didn't climb up the small mountain Namsan.

慶州是一座古城,有不少古墓、寺廟和皇宮。在城內十分適合騎單車,雖然有很完善的巴士網絡。此外,隨意在街上步行,會發現韓屋到處。相信我會再到訪這個城市,尤其南山我還未到過。

 

Jeonju (전주,全州)

Slow down in Jeonju

Slow down in Jeonju

Didn't think about going there until I saw a series of pictures taken by an Instagrammer I am following. The Hanok village is a nice place not only the history but also with great public space so that people can take a rest and even nap almost everywhere. Do recommend to spend a few days to experience the slow and walkable city.

看了一位Instagram用者的照片,才想到去全州看看。韓屋村不只在呈現歷史,而它很多地方已經是很好的公共空間,休息甚至午睡。看似細小的可以用走的慢城,我會建議留數天的時間去感受。

 

Seoul (서울,首爾)

Gwanghwamun, Seoul

Gwanghwamun, Seoul

I have been to Seoul only in the past, and this was the fourth time I visited it, including following tours. There are actually so many things to do and many places to go in the big city even you don't plan before going there. I stayed in a hostel near to Hongji University, with so many cafes and parks there. The only thing I need to plan is to look for independent bookstores which is my area of interest, since it's not easy to be found when wandering around the streets. The suggestion from Instagram did help me a lot. Seoul, like other cities such as Tokyo and New York, is the place that you never find an end when traveling.

這是第四次到訪首爾,是我以前唯一到訪過的韓國地方,包括了跟團前往。一個大城市即使完全沒有計劃,都容易找到很多事情可做和想去的地方。這次我住在弘益大學附近,有很多咖啡店也有公園。唯一要事先找的是當地的獨立書店,因為獨立書店是我比較喜歡逛的地方,且在街上似乎不容易隨意看到其中一間。Instagram的提議幫了我不少。首爾,就像其他大城市如東京和紐約,是沒法逛得完的地方!

 

After the trip, I can't tell which city I like the most, as they are so unique, and I hope I can visit them again.

There are so many ways to travel in Korea. When I met a French who had a three-week trip, he focused on the east part of the country except Jeju Island which is on the west, since he loves nature so much. After visiting Seoul, I regard staying ONLY in any one city for the whole trip as a good and even the best idea also. When we talk about how many days we should spend on each city, we usually think only from the perspective of a tourist, and ignore how people who stay a year or more think. Why don't we live like a local besides being a tourist? If we only have five days to live, will we regret if we don't go to the so-called must-go places?

Before and during the journey, I didn't plan too much and I didn't know much about each city before going there. But what I did there since arriving hostels was to walk around and see - to observe the building, the street, the sign, the people, and if it was the safe place to travel. I do not say travel guides are not good but sometimes we may rely too much on them, and ignore the importance of making all kinds of observations including having interesting findings. The art of travel, for me, is to look for and experience something other than the normal lifestyle we are marrying to.

I will talk more about this, and hope you will look forward to my future sharing.

旅程結束以後,我很難說哪個或哪些城市我比較喜歡,因為每個城市都有自己的特色,且我希望有一天可以再訪它們。

有很多方式遊覽這個國家。在釜山遇上的一位法國人,他利用三星期的時間專注在富有自然特色的東部,除了濟州屬西部外。而我自遊過首爾後,覺得如果整個行程只待在同一座城市其實也不錯。當我們在討論應該花多少天在某個城市,我們通常站在遊客的角度,而忽略了那些待在一個地方一年或以上的人的想法。除了作為遊客,我們能否嘗試代入本地人的視野?如果我們只有五天的時間,我們沒去所謂必去的地方,就真的會十分後悔嗎?

出發前後,我沒有計劃太多,對城市的了解也不算多,最主要是一抵埗旅館後,在附近走走,以及觀察身邊的建築、街道、指示、人,甚至分析這個城市是否安全。我並非要否定旅遊指南,但有很多時間我們也許太過依賴這些工具,反而忽略了去探索,得出一些有趣的發現。也許旅行的藝術,為我來說,就是要尋找和感受一些日常生活方式以外的事情。

稍後會再分享更多,請期待!

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