Korea’s mountainous landscape provides a scenic backdrop of flowing hills, with the spectacular Taebaek Mountains running along the east coast. Thousands of islands in various sizes can be found scattered off the southern coast, providing a breathtaking scenery that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. A destination steeped in culture and history, Korea offers a myriad of attractions for visitors wishing to taste a piece of exotic heaven on earth.
Leisurely Walk in Seoul
The capital city of South Korea, Seoul, hides many treasures for visitors who want to experience a taste of Korea’s culture from different eras. From theatres to traditional houses, these are but a few highlights that you may be able to experience during your stay:
Daehangno – A street filled with the youth of Seoul and countless theatres, bustling with the exuberance of the young. Neon lights light up the evening one after another and it is filled with people visiting all kinds of places of interests. What Daehangno is most famous for, however, is the transformation of the Maronnier Park and its surroundings into a performance stage. This is where budding young talents, and maybe a future Korean idol in the making, perform. If you are planning to go and experience it yourself, you need not worry too much for the Maronnier Park holds performances throughout the year in the 40 small and large theaters it houses, catering to different interests.
Insadong Art Street – Insadong has been at the heart of the nations’ capital for 600 years and is where the Ministry of Art was once situated. Over the years, Insadong has been primarily known as ‘Merry’s Area,’ the reason being, it is a favourite spot for foreigners. Antique stores located in Insadong make up over forty percent for the whole entire nation. Most of these stores sell old books, pictures, calligraphy, wooden containers, pottery and jewelry. A variety of art works are on display, ranging from earthenware of the Unified Silla Era to white pottery of the Chosun Era. The prices range from 10,000 won to some hundred million won.
The main art collection in Insadong, however, is traditional Korean ceramic ware, which is also the most popular item for tourists to bring back home as souvenirs. Even though it is essentially a decoration item, you could also improvise and use the ceramic ware in your everyday life. A shopping tip for those planning to buy one of these ceramic ware, check if the colour is clear and when you tap the ceramic with your fingernails it has a clear resonant sound. That is a sure sign that you will get your money’s worth.
Namsangol Hanok Village – The first thing you will notice about this village is that it is situated in between tall modern buildings. Five traditional houses have been restored, with a pavilion, a pond and a time capsule which makes it a perfect spot to take a walk in. The houses were rebuilt and designed after the traditional houses of the Joseon Dynasty (also known as Chosun Dynasty, 1392 – 1910). Each house represents the various social ranks of the society, from peasants to kings. You are also able to try and play the Korean traditional games. During the weekends, the main stage area holds a performance of the traditional marriage ceremony, a must-watch performance for every tourist. They would also get the opportunity to wear the traditional wedding attire for photo shoots.
Itaewon – There is a popular saying among the local Koreans, “You may not know Seoul, but you should know Itaewon,” showing how renowned the shopping district Itaewon is. This place is almost always filled with tourists making you feel as if you are not in Korea. Even the signage is written in English. It was during the independence of Korea that the locals opened small-scale shops selling souvenirs to the American army personnel. Later on, it turned into South Korea’s main shopping area, where its popularity grew during the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Here is where you get the chance to see exotic and traditional Korean fashion and culture, with festivals held every now and then.
Articles About Republic of Korea