Destinations - Korea
Many who move to Korea are terrified that, unless they find a job in Seoul, they’ll be stuck in the middle of nowhere, miles from the nearest bar, burger or foreigner. What they don’t know is that there are great options outside Seoul; cities where you might not see a foreigner for days, but will know exactly which bar to visit to be surrounded by them.
We can tell we are the last bus to come in tonight, arriving as the temple and adjacent town quietly wash off after a busy day of tourism. A few dogs run in the street outside while groups of people laugh inaudibly behind glass windows over dinner. It’s fall, and the air is cold enough to see steam rising from the buildings in the distance. We’re hopeful as we walk toward Gayasan National Park, but the campground is closed down for the season and we’re forced to create our own campsite next to a stream.
So you’ve reached that point in your hotel-planning career in which you concede that your dignity is less important to you than your money. While love motels serve as a discreet hanky-panky rendezvous for young Korean couples living with parents or older folks having extramarital flings, there’s no law against weary travelers using them for a more G-rated night’s sleep.
Whatever series of mistakes and misfortunes brought you down this dark, love-stained path, rest assured that you can do far worse than Korea’s nooky huts.
Down to the dirty facts
Nestled along the shores of the East Sea a three-hour drive from Seoul, Sokcho is a popular coastal city in Gangwon Province. Koreans often visit this place to sample its unique cuisine. In a country where food-themed travel is commonplace, Sokcho seemed like the perfect place for us to try out some local dishes.
If you think Jeonju is too distant from Seoul for a day trip, think again. The KTX can get you there in two hours flat, leaving plenty of time to take in one of Korea’s most beautiful and well-preserved cities.
Groove Korea recently teamed up with the folks at HiTok, a popular smartphone app, to take a day trip to Jeonju. Highlights included bibimbap, Hanok Village and sundae.
Here’s what a few of the participants had to say.
Samuel Okyere, Ghana
Looking to get away for summer but don’t want to break the bank? Well, you are in luck.
Airlines such as Cebu Pacific Air, Jin Air, etc. have ongoing deals and seat sales for those travelers looking to further explore Asia. While these low-cost carriers may not have the comforts of an up-scale airline, they can get you to and from your destination for a fraction of the cost.
The following is this month’s selection of the top 12 flights for $300 or less. Just remember to watch for deals, be flexible with times and dates and book quickly to avoid missing out.
The tide was out, and the old man plodded through the mud, stopping to poke and dig every few feet. From our campsite a few hundred meters away, we guessed at what he was doing. Curiosity prodded us to walk down and investigate.
As we got closer we could see the trail of holes he’d left in the mud behind him. We finally caught up. He went along digging, and we peeked into his red bucket. Octopuses! Little purple ones, fresh from the sucking mud.
Strolling through an electronics market in Dongdaemun on a Sunday afternoon, we suddenly find ourselves thrust into a sea of plastic chairs by a cheeky old ajosshi turned self-professed taekwondo champion, who later threatened to fight us. We find ourselves immersed amid old, red-faced stallholders in a makgeolli tent, with seemingly nothing better to do than to eat ddeokbokki and lecture us about marriage and employment.
Seoul is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Flashing neon signs, 24-hour shops, and the deafening buzz of constant traffic make it difficult to find solitude in this sprawling metropolis. Even the peaks of Seoul’s mountains offer no relief from the incessant bustle.
So where can you go to escape the commotion of city life?
Jeremy Giroir, owner of Intrepid Foreign eXcursions (IFX) – a travel group based in Incheon – says he has a trip that will satisfy those seeking solitude, as well as those looking for a weekend of entertainment.