A Note From Greg: I’ve never been to South Korea, but every one of my friends who has can’t stop raving about the beauty, kindness, and accessibility of the country. This new guest post just makes me want to go even more! Hmmm, Thailand isn’t THAT far away…
The rugged and serene beauty of South Korea is offers a somewhat mystery to international travelers. Often overshadowed by the culture and history of China and Japan, South Korea’s neighbors lack the fascinating culture of this amazing country, leaving it an enigma to the world.
(South Korea’s Formula 1 Racetrack at Dawn — photo by Konstantinos Kazantzoglou)
As soon as you arrive in South Korea you will be amazed by the warmth and friendliness of the Korean people, who will generally go out of their way to make sure you get where you want to go and see that your every need is met. As you travel around, you get the chance to delve into a country that, although has been kicked around constantly by its East Asian neighbours, it has come out on top with its culture and heritage still intact.
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Tumuli Park in Gyeongju is a staggeringly interesting place to go. More than 24 tombs can be located inside the park itself, with only one being open to the public. Although historians are not quite certain as to who is forever slumbering here, it is believed it is the resting place of a sixth or seventh century CE king.
The tomb is known as Cheonmachong which translates as ‘Heavenly Horse Tomb’, named after the amount of items found inside decorated with horses.
(Tumuli Park sign photograph taken by riNux)
Another important tomb here in Tumuli Park is of King Michu, who ruled between 262 and 284. Known for his many battles, the Korean people tell of a legend where he commanded an army of ghosts to aid in his successor’s struggles. When the fight was over and his successor victorious and celebrating, the ghosts returned to their graves, leaving behind the bamboo leaves which were hidden inside their dead enemies. Because of this, the tomb is called ‘Tomb of the Bamboo Chief’.
The tombs of the ancient dead have lain here for centuries and can be found throughout the city, but those inside the walled park were only made into a tourist attraction in the 1970s. Situated in the middle of the city, it was then that buildings were removed and a path created alongside gardens to make this a truly mesmerising place.
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West Sea Islands
The West Sea Islands are a place of spellbinding beauty and tranquillity, an ideal place to soak up the culture of the Korean people. Most of the islands here are unspoilt and lush with greenery and perfect beaches. Slow and relaxed, life here revolves around fishing and there is nowhere better to sample traditional Korean cuisine.
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Perched in the middle of perhaps the most beautiful nature spots, the powerfully atmospheric fortress is one place that shouldn’t be missed on a trip to South Korea. The trail up to Busosan allows you to imagine what it would have been like fighting for dominance centuries ago.
(Busan’s Geumjung Fortress — photo by Juan Jolostium)
There are several pavilions to visit, but you probably won’t be able to visit them all in one day but Yeonggillu is one that shouldn’t be overlooked. This is where ancient kings would meet the local nobles to discuss important matters. Head up to Nakhwa-am, where legend says 3,000 women and girls jumped to their deaths when the Silla-Chinese alliance defeated General Gyebaek.
South Korea is an endless treasure chest of tourist attractions and mesmerising natural beauty spots. With mountains soaked in mist and pine trees, cities pulsating with vibrancy and temples standing the test of time, South Korea is one travel destination guaranteed to captivate.