Looking for things to do in South Korea

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Jan 30th, 2018, 11:20 PM
  #1
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Looking for things to do in South Korea

Hi travelers,

Having recently been to North Korea (see trip report https://www.thetripgoeson.com/single...rth-Korea-DPRK) I will be visiting South Korea in two weeks to see the DMZ and JSA. I will be arriving by ferry from Qingdao in China, spending two days in Seoul, taking a train south to Busan and then taking another boat to Fukuoaka in Japan. I'll be in S.Korea for three days and aside from the DMZ have no clue what to see or do. My main interests are nature/wilderness/hiking, but I'm guessing mid-feb might not be the best time for this? Any recomendations appreciated!

Best wishes,

Steve
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Jan 30th, 2018, 11:39 PM
  #2
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Well, you might consult a good guidebook. Or, failing that, the trip report on my month in South Korea.
4 wonderful solo weeks in South Korea

Are you fully committed to visiting the DMZ? I think the choice of whether to go to the DMZ is a VERY personal one. The more I thought about it, the ONLY real reason I could identify for me to visit it would be that it is a border between two sides of an ongoing civil war, even if that war was then (largely, generally) in abeyance. I have, over the years, felt the importance of paying my respects to those who fought or died in various wars -- including visits to Auschwitz / Birkenau, Hiroshima, etc. Those visits were, for me, ways to honor those who had lived or died and ways to pay homage to the lessons we can learn about the atrocities of war and the need to find peaceful solutions to even the most intractable of dilemmas. I couldn't find a way to imagine that a visit to the DMZ would engender those feelings for me. Instead, it seemed to me like honoring a war, and it seemed voyeuristic, and it even seemed disrespectful to ask those who guard the DMZ to have to worry about tourists when they have such heavy responsibilities. I just couldn't bring myself to go. It really came down to a gut reaction for me -- it just did NOT feel right to ME. YMMV.
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Jan 31st, 2018, 12:21 AM
  #3
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Thanks for your reply KJA. I appreciate your moral objections for not going yourself, but yes, I am fully committed to going (it is the reason for visiting Seoul). I am going neither to honour the war dead, nor the war and how people pay their respects is a deeply personal thing. All war is tragedy, but even so I am interested in visiting such a unique place. I am not looking for moral guidance, simply looking for other excursions while in the country and wondered if anyone could recommend some nice wilderness areas. Best wishes, Steve
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Jan 31st, 2018, 02:18 PM
  #4
 
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You don't have much time, that's for sure. Plus it will be seriously cold.

Busan is a great city. It is where the mountains plunge directly into the sea. Korean temples have been plundered, and they don't usually have dramatic locations, but Busan has two temples that are in unusual places. One is a rare seaside temple, and the other is in a cliff, and that second one takes some hiking to get to. There is also the ruins of a mountaintop fortress there. Busan has a lively port, a big fish market, and lots of other features. Also an excellent seaside walk (brrr). Unfortunately, I don't think you have time to explore elsewhere, and I think you will enjoy it in Busan. Here is a website that is about places to go in Busan:

For 91 Days Travel Blog - Busan For 91 Days
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Feb 1st, 2018, 12:37 AM
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Thank you very much Shelemm, Busan sounds perfect. I would definitely like to see where the mountains meet the sea, and I've heard there is also a nice nature park near the city good for bird-watching (a hobby of mine). I imagine it's going to be cold, but I lived in Harbin in far northwest China so should hopefully be able to cope! I will be in Busan again on my way back so will schedule in an extra couple of days to explore. Cheers!
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Feb 1st, 2018, 12:37 AM
  #6
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Thanks for the info Florence, very useful!
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Feb 1st, 2018, 02:24 AM
  #7
 
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We spent a couple,of weeks in South Korea but mainly focussed on the cities, temples and man made attractions. We did do the DMZ trip and found it fascinating. Details on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/asia/south-korea/ . I am not sure you have time to get out of the cities. We loved Gyeongju but I think you will find plenty in Seoul and Busan to fill your time
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