Highlights of my trip in Korea, 2016
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.