Categorized | Korea, Travel

The 5 Best Places I Got to See in Korea

So I have neglected my blog for some time.  I have been busy with the holidays and traveling, but I am finally going to try and get back into the grove of writing more. I have enjoyed my time in the States, but I am missing Korea and look forward to getting back to work.

So since its been awhile, I thought I would write about my 5 favorite spots in Korea. I spent a year in Daegu, traveled around the country quite a bit, but still didn’t see everything I wanted to see. So for those who have been to Korea, you might have your own favorites which I would love to hear about.

#1 The Demilitarized Zone or DMZ

You may or may not have heard of the DMZ, but it is a fascinating place. It is simply a strip of land that serves as a buffer between North and South Korea. It is 160 miles long and 2.5 miles wide cutting Korea in half roughly along the 38th parallel. It is also the most heavily militarized boarder in the world.

I was lucky enough to visit last October just before leaving the country. It was an amazing experience, especially since I love history. There is a lot of history here, but I will talk about that later when I write just about the DMZ. The all day tour takes you to the Joint Security Area (JSA or Panmunjeom). Here you are able to see the military on guard, see where talks are held, and if you are lucky see a North Korean soldier. You get a tour of the boarder to see some of the outposts, the 3rd infiltration tunnel built by the North, and the train station waiting for the countries to unite.

It was a great experience, and I would recommend it to anyone who visits Seoul. Sure a lot of it has been commercialized, but you can see the tension which really brings everything home for me.

Korean DMZ - Joint Strike Area

Korean DMZ - Joint Strike Area

Korean DMZ - North Korean Soldier

Korean DMZ - North Korean Soldier

#2 Bulguksa Temple

I was lucky enough to see this beautiful temple twice. The first time we were fortunate enough to have a big snow the night before. It was amazing. Everything was covered with a thick layer of snow and ice, and it was beautiful. The 2nd time we came back to see the cherry blossoms which were nice but not near as nice as when it was snow covered.

Bulguksa is a temple in Gyeongju and holds some of the countries national treasures. It is also, along with the nearby Seokguram Grotto, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

My trip here during the winter snow was simply the most beautiful, peaceful, and enjoyable temple experience while I was in Korea.

Bulguksa Temple Winter

Bulguksa Temple Winter

Bulguksa Temple Spring

Bulguksa Temple Spring

#3 Seeing the Sunrise at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan

It took us a few times to get there, but it was worth it. Our first trip down was put on hold due to a rain storm that came through the morning we were to visit the temple. So a few months later, we headed back.

The temple sits on the water, and is an amazing place to see the sunrise. We got there early one morning and were treated to an amazing sunrise at a beautiful spot. The temple itself was quite impressive having been built on the rocks. The views are stunning even after the sun has risen.

This was quite an enjoyable time, and I would recommend anyone who is in the area to get up early one day and take in the sunrise here. You will not be disappointed.

Sunrise in Korea

Sunrise in Korea

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

#4 Daegu International Bodypainting Festival

I wasn’t exactly excited to see the festival, but mainly went to get some practice with my new DSLR camera. I was glad I went. It was a really cool experience. The artists were amazing, and they really put on quite a show. Throw in some good food and good friends, and it was a great day.

If you have a chance to go to something like this, I would recommend it. We spent most of the day there watching the painting begin, but you would go later in the day and just enjoy the show.

Daegu International Bodypainting Festival

Daegu International Bodypainting Festival

Daegu International Bodypainting Festival

Daegu International Bodypainting Festival

#5 Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival

This is a festival we just stumbled upon in Busan. It is held on the first full moon of the new lunar year, and it’s quite a show. There is a huge show they put on on the beach with music and dancing and more, but the big thing to see for us was the lighting of the bonfire. We wound up with a great view of the fire which was amazing on the beach. We were lucky to have stumbled upon this on a trip to Busan. So if you are around, definately check it out. It’s a big party that is worth taking in.

Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival

Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival

Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival

Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival

These are just a few of the great things I got the chance to see in Korea during my year there. I am looking forward to going back for another year with plans to experience even more great things. Korea is a country full of great and amazing things. If you ever get the chance to visit, do it. You will find amazing places, amazing people, and amazing food.

‘Till Next Time

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About Eric Bynum
I taught ESL for three years in South Korea and now I am looking to set out on a new journey after just finishing my teaching certification in the US. I hope to continue teaching and traveling and you can follow his journeys here.

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One Response to “The 5 Best Places I Got to See in Korea”

  1. Stephen says:

    Hey Eric,
    Do you know if they’re still running the DMZ tour with the recent issues?
    Stephen

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