Two weeks in South Korea

Jul 16th, 2015, 06:06 PM
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Join Date: May 2004
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Two weeks in South Korea

After reading the excellent trip reports by kja and Thursdaysd we were inspired to include a couple of weeks in the country during our year long trip through Asia. For anyone that is interested I have just started posting on our blog with some greater detail and photos of our time there but here is a brief rundown.

Neither of us were in great shape for our time in Korea as we both picked up some sort of virus during our last few days in Thailand and arrived in Korea coughing and sneezing. A month later and I am sure they would have quarantined us as MERS suspects!

Due to the aforesaid bug we didn't do as much as we originally planned but still had a great time in this fascinating country and left wanting more which is always a good sign.

Our first few days were spent in Seoul, a great, if somewhat strange city. A little daunting at first but we soon got the hang of the transport system. Some amazing palaces, markets and we were blown away by the food ( even if we didn't know what we were getting half the time!)

One of our days was spent on a tour to the Demilitarised Zone. A fascinating if somewhat worrying place to visit when one considers the reality of what could happen there.

After Seoul we took the train all the way down to Busan - what a great way to get around the country! Quick ( up to 300km per hour), comfortable and cheap. Far better than flying. We liked Busan a lot, even if the weather was awful. Must be wonderful in the summer!

We checked in to our accommodation near the station. Our first experience of a "love motel". It wasn't the most salubrious area of the city so we did wonder what we were getting into when they handed us a pack of condoms along with our room key!! Turned out ok though, although it was a little weird sleeping in a bedroom that was decorated floor to ceiling with voluptuous female cartoon characters!

The rest of our time we spent in Gyeongju, a really lovely city with lots to see and do but probably best known for its Silla dynasty tombs/ burial mounds and Bulguksa Temple. Well worth a few days.

We left Gyeongju on the fantastic KTX train and three hours later we were at Incheon Airport for our flight out. We left Korea wishing we had allocated more time. A fascinating country with great food and really friendly people.

There is some more info and photos on our blog @
crellston is offline  
Jul 16th, 2015, 06:49 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Thanks for your kind words about my report, crellston, and thanks for posting yours!

I, too, was awed by the food in Korea -- so much, so many options, and so very tasty!

I thought Korea much more similar in architecture and style to China (and in particularly, northern China) than Japan. And if you thought Gyeongbokgung grand and imposing (it is!), you might someday try to visit Beijing's Forbidden Palace. That place really redefines the terms, IMO!

The "love motels" in which I stayed all had solid-colored walls. I remember becoming weary of the cartoon images that seem prevalent throughout Korea; facing walls of cartoon women while trying to sleep ... well, I'm glad you and your wife survived it. ;-)

I'm glad you made it to Busan and Gyeongju and look forward to hearing more about your experiences there. And seeing more of your great photos!
kja is offline  
Jul 19th, 2015, 11:53 PM
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Glad Korea worked out for you, and thanks for the kind words! My love motel, too, was less, er, exciting than yours. Pictures were knock-off Klees. But lots of mirrors, and free condoms, although only one power point, under the bathroom sink!
thursdaysd is offline  
Jul 20th, 2015, 01:57 AM
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It took me a moment to understand what you were referring to, thursdayd -- I'm trying to imagine what a powerpoint would be about in a love motel!

I think work has definitely gotten me........

Nice report, crellston, on So. Korea. It sounds like a great place to visit - another "someday" destination.
progol is online now  
Jul 20th, 2015, 10:31 AM
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Yes great report Crellston, I'm going to check out your blog, it's been ages since I last read it so a timely reminder!
South Korea on my wish list too!
Smeagol is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2015, 03:09 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Thanks for the update on your adventures. I hope you two are feeling better. Look forward to find out where you're headed next. Let me know if you plan to get to Japan at the end of your journeys.
internetwiz is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2015, 04:20 AM
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Thank you for the report and blog! I am hungry now!

My son and daughter in law live in Seoul so I am interested in hearing what people think of Korea. My first impressions were not great but after seeing more than a brief glimpse of Seoul and Gwangju, it has grown on me.
SeeHag is offline  
Jul 24th, 2015, 04:30 AM
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Thanks all!

Seehag, I know exactly what you mean re first impressions of Korea, ours were similar but it only took a few hours before the place grew on us - even with the lanhpguage barriers we found the people to be incredibly friendly and welcoming.

Internetwiz, will certainly let you know if we do make it to Japan. It would be great to meet up again. At the moment our intention is to spend our last weeks in Laos ( but that changes almost weekly!). Japan is one of of the alternatives along with Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia ...!

At the moment we are in central Vietnam and boy, is it hot! 43 c ( 105f). We fly back to KL briefly before a complete change of plan which is to spend a couple of months in New Zealand in a campervan before meeting up with our son in Sydney.

Off now to have a look at your Penang TR to find out the name of the Guesthouse you stayed ( as I recall your really enjoyed it?) as we may well spend a few days there. I know the weather won't be great but the food is!
crellston is offline  
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