If Seoul is known as the capital city of South Korea, Busan is known as the Summer Capital of South Korea. The city is located on the Southeastern coast of the country and consists with a population of over 3.5 million people. As well as Seoul, Busan gives you the nightlife, the noise, and the liveliness. They are known for its beaches, hot springs, events and nature reserves. If you are seeking for more laid back mood than Seoul, Busan is about the right place to go!
Gamcheon Culture Village
Gamcheon Cultural Village is called the “Santorini of the East” or the “Lego Village”. You get the idea right? This place was known as homes for the City’s poorest residents a long time ago however it’s now one of the most famous tourist places in Busan. They are the combination of beauty and chaos formed into one. The ‘Lego-like’ houses are jumbled with different kinds of pastelcolors and they will lure you up the steep slopes and through its tiny alleys. Don’t forget to bring your camera because every corner you take, you will find a wonderful different views. One more thing! There is something else that is more than just looking at the nice pastel houses. Do you fancy a game? You will get to have adventurous fun as well!. Head to Haneul Maru Tourist Information center located at the entrance of the village. There, you can buys a map for 2,000won ($1.75USD) that will give you preferred routes and highlights of Gamcheon. They will give you eight designated attractions including a café, art shops and galleries where you can collect stamps on the map. Once you’ve received all the stamps, you can receive a prize back at the information center. So are you in?
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is one of the most impressive Buddhist temples in South Korea. The best thing is that the temple is nestled on the seaside location for people to enjoy the sea view as well. It’s also a hot spot for watching the first sunrise on the first day of the year but of course, you could go on any day to see the sunrise. Spring is the best time to go because you will get to see the cherry blossoms bloomed everywhere near the temple. Moreover, on Buddha’s birthday, it is decorated with hundreds of paper lanterns brightly queued along the path guiding you beautifully towards the temple. Of course, it’s a free open place for everybody as well. If you are lucky enough to visit the temple on a foggy day, you will be surrounded by the cloudy fogs, feeling mysterious and magical with the bell ringing around the temple which is melodic. To enjoy the great view, to enjoy the sea and to enjoy Korean temple architecture all in one, is totally worth a visit. Don’t you think?
Well, if it’s Busan, you can’t miss the beach. The beach is 1.4 Kilometers long and it is known for its fine white powdery sand. There is not only the sea view but there are other things to do as well; take a walk along the white sand, watch the sunset, watch the light of Gwangandaegyo Bridge during the night, visit the Suyeong Sajeok Park nearby and go to the Milak waterfront park where you can find a seat and savor the fresh local caught raw fish with a little bit of soju making this a true Busan beach experience. Also if you visit Busan in November, you better visit the Beach because the fireworks show is amazing! If you cannot wait until November, just stop by a convenience store near the beachfront and buy some fireworks so you can enjoy yourself. Although the beach is lined with busy places, the best spots are usually hidden on the back streets in Gwangalli. So why don’t you take your time to wander around and find some hidden gems!
Jeonju, the name itself literally means “Perfect Region” and it is both urban and rural places in Korea. It’s one of the most famous tourist places for their food, historic buildings, festivals and sport activities. There are local mountains and parks due to its rural location but there are also modern complexes due to its urban location. Considering the rise of fast paced, fast food and fast convenience life, Jeonju cherishes the slowness that a traditional heritage of cuisine and music. So do you think Jeonju is really a “Perfect Region”? Why don’t you go and find out yourself!
Jeonju Hanok Village
Why don’t you give a day to actually blend in and become Korean?
Jeonju Hanok Village is a village in the city of Jeonju and it contains over 800 Korean traditional houses called ‘Hanok’. You can also lend a Korean traditional dress and have a stroll through block upon block of hundreds of elegant Hanok which has been converted to museums, guesthouses, galleries, tea houses and street food vendors. Moreover, the best thing is they have a long street food where you can try out different Korean snacks as much as you like. Did that catch your attention? Then what are you waiting for?
One more thing! There is also a place called Gyeongijjeon shrine near the Jeonju Hanok Village. It was built in 1410 and now it’s a national portrait museum. It contains the originals and replicates of the portraits of the past kings and emperors of Korea, along with some history of their lives. There is also a little bamboo-forest around the shrine which is pretty famous to take pictures. Just relax, take a walk and take in the atmosphere!
Jeonju Hanok Railbike
Well, Hanok Village is just not the end of the trip. Jeonju Hanok Rail Bike runs along the abandoned section of the railroad on the Ajung Line near Jeonju Hanok Village, where you can ride the bike and see the nature of Jeonju. Before riding the bike there are photo zones for family and friendship photos. While you get to ride the bike for 50 minutes, you will be able to experience different feelings as you can also go through a tunnel that has been beautifully decorated with colorful lights. Not only the colorful lights, but while you are paddling they also provide a quiz about Jeonju (Unfortunately, there are no prices it’s just to get you know more about Jeonju). The railbikes are available to enjoy all year round. On your way to the Hanok village why not also stop by the hanok railbike to have some more fun and burn a few calories!
Enjoy yourself in the natural surroundings of Jeonju.
Korea expressway corporation arboretum
This place is located relatively in a warm region in Jeonju. It is operated by Korea Expressway corporation and it’s a free-charge arboretum opened for everybody to come and go freely. The garden was built to restore the local environment that was damaged during the construction of an expressway in 1972. They began by collecting the plants and eventually opening the garden around 1992.. You can experience diverse Korean traditional plant species and also enjoy the spring breeze. Also there are more than 450 species of medicinal herns grown in Sanya throughout the country and are used as a practice centers for Korean medicine and pharmacy students. It is a space where nature and people coexist and not just for people. You will be able to feel once again that nature and humans live together as one. Especially, spring is the best time to go for a picnic under blossoming flowers as well as the best way to enjoy the aromas and flying petals. Come on! Let’s go enjoy the picnic.
Mokpo is located at the southwestern tip of the Korean Peninsula. It is positioned at the mouth of the Yeongsangang River, embraced by 5 mountains on all four sides of the compass and embraced by the sea.
Speaking of the sea, let me tell you a really interesting Korean folk tale that has come down through generations. It was a tale about a dragon king, a turtle and a rabbit. Deep down the sea lived a dragon king who fell really ill and the rabbit’s liver was the only way to cure him. The turtle volunteered and pledged the king that he will bring the rabbit’s liver. Once the turtle came up to the land, he found the rabbit and tricked him with all the sweetest words promising the rabbit a high post in the Sea palace. As soon as the rabbit arrived at the sea palace he was tied up and the dragon king demanded to sacrifice the liver. However, the quick-witted rabbit tricked the king and told him that he has left his liver back on the land. Persuaded by the rabbit, the king sent the turtle to escort the rabbit back to the land to bring his liver. Once on shore, the rabbit runs safely away from the turtle, telling him that they will never get his liver, that they were fools to believe him. Meanwhile the king who was waiting for the turtle and the liver died as he had to wait for a very long time. The rabbit was free again as he strolled along freely into the woods. Do you see the free running rabbit in the video(youtube)? Why don’t we go and follow him into his journey of Mokpo. Let’s see what he’s up to!
Yonhee’s supermarket (Sihwa Village)
Welcome to the small Yonhee’s supermarket with only 18m’ size that is located in Seosam-dong, Mokpo maintaining the features of the 1980’s as it became famous for the location of the film, “1987”. This “1987” film showed the June Democracy Movement against the dictator government in the 1980’s in diverse ways; revealing how this movement began by discovering the truth against the political power who tried to hide the accident of one university student of 22 years old who died due to the torture.
Inside Yonhee’s supermarket, you could see the props used for the movie “1987” during that era, such as twisted bread stick, sugarplum, chewing gum and the newspaper that was published in 1987. Also I don’t think you will miss it, but right on the opposite of Yonhee’s supermarket, there is a laundry shop that has been restored which was made 50 years ago. So check it out! When you climb uphill a little further there is Sihwa alley which is filled with poets and paintings on the wall containing old scenery with beautiful poems hung up between the pictures. You could also see the remaining of the buildings that was used for the Japanese houses that has been kept the same as 30 years ago which might give you the feeling as if you are travelling back to the past.
How about slowing down your current paste for a bit and why not spend some of your hours at the past? It’s just few hour you know?
Yudalsan is the place where the souls stop and start. Surprisingly, Yudalsan Mountain has a low x-height of only 228 meters. However this mountain still boasts a panoramic view of the entire city of Mokpo and the sea. Once reached to the top you can find Nojeokbong Peak where Admiral Yi Sun-sin stands who have bravely fought against the Japanese troops fooling them uncountably. While you are reaching to the top, there are several stops for you to rest and take a look so don’t worry! There are about 4 pavilions, April 19th Memorial tower, a Buddhist temple and a park with dozens of monumental sculptures. If you have an afternoon to spare, why don’t you stop by to have a little exercise? Be ready for lots of walking if you do go all the way up. It won’t be too easy!
Youngsanjae Hanok Hotel
Maybe this could be your most memorable place out of all destinations in Mokpo. After having a long walk and touring every people needs to have a really nice sleep or rest so that they have the energy for the next long day. Why don’t you spend your days at a place where the inside and outside are connected and the body and soul is woven together. This Younsanjae Hanok Hotel is completely a new idea of concept that utilizes the advantages of old long standing artifacts as well as interior and combines it with modern facilities. The exterior is a beautiful Hanok but the interior is equipped with facilities of a modern luxury hotel. In particular, by creating a hanok pavilion with a wall of stone, you can fully feel the beauty of hanok. It will be a space for cultural education who value history and culture as well as a special space for experiencing the traditional hanok. Why don’t you also check out the rice field walking course in front of the Youngsanjae entrance. It’s nice to have morning and evening walk. You can also lend a bicycle from the hotel and take a ride through the fields. This will be your best choice to have a proper healing! Enjoy, relax and have the foremost break in Youngsanjae Hotel of Mokpo.