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South Korea, nestled between China, Japan, and - of course - North Korea, is a mountainous country featuring scenic hills and valleys. The Danyang region in particular is the home to bamboo forests and 8 famous named rock formations, hotsprings, saunas known as jjimjilbang, as well as an extensive network of caves.  Gosu cave is the most famous.Namhae island in the south has terraced rice paddies and even a German village. .Gyeongu is the ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom, where ancient buildings, temples and burial mounds from the time have been preserved. The more adventurous can try motorized hang gliding or parasailing. The island of Ulleungdo is another famous region, from which the Taeha Lighthouse gives you stunning views of the coast. Back in Seoul, visit the royal palace grounds in the Gangbuk area, particularly Changdeokgung Palace, a tranquil and harmonious complex situated at the foot of a mountain, featuring 300 year old trees. See the Geumcheon Bridge, one of the oldest remaining stone bridges of its kind. For something more contemporary, head to Apgujeong-dong and Cheongdam-dong for some shopping and to catch the latest fashion trends.

 

Korean culture, is also extremely fascinating. Kimchi, a preserved vegetable that is traditionally prepared as a family in the fall months as a staple for the winter months, is synonymous with Korea. Likewise, banchan, an assortment of side dishes, also traditionally accompanies every meal. The food is generally spicy but inexpensive and delicious - newcomers may want to sample bimbimbap - a rice and vegetable and meat mix with a dash of red pepper served cold with an egg on top or in a hot stone pot still sizzling when it reaches your table. BBQ Meats such as samgypsal, galbi and bulgogi wrapped in banchan and lettuce also makes a good meal. More courageous types may want to try the kimchijigae, a stew of spicy vegetables and meat served with rice; or sundubu, a spicy stew of tofu and seafood.

Traditional Korean performances of pansori, gayageum, and daegeum are a treat as well as admiring the intricate and colourful traditional garb, known as the hanbok. Be sure to spend at least some time in a traditional guest house, that place an emphasis on natural materials. While not a popular tourist destination, there is a lot of hidden beauty to appreciate in this country.Indeed, Korea is a hidden gem in Asia, with the vibrant nightlife of Tokyo in Seoul areas like Hongdae, Itaewon and Gangnam; ancient wonders of Suwon an Gyeongju; and foods such as sambap and palsam.


Learning English is very important to Koreans, so you may find alot of helpful young Koreans eager to help you out and even invite you for dinner and drinks in order to make foreign friends or practise their English. They are more delighted if you are willing to learn a few words in Korean.
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Questions answered about visiting South Korea
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Travel Tips from people who've been to South Korea
Jeonju, or Chonju as it was known before the Revised Romanization changes a few years ago, is the home to most Korean food. As the seat of the Joseon (Chosun)Dynasty, Korean royal dishes such as Bibimbap were invented here and the food continues to be the best available in all of Korea. This is not overstating the situation and even Koreans will concede this truth. The cheapest, and arguably best, food can be found in front of Jeonbuk National University in Deokjin Dong. Just tell the taxi driver "John book day, jeon moon ah pay" and you will be let off in front of the university gate and food can be found in its many wondrous forms down any of the streets running parallel to the front of the university from the main street running perpendicular to it. To have an experience that you will not forget, you should also go to the Makkoli (a fermented rice drink with the consistency and general ambiance of a nice British ale) House on a road called Paek Jae. To get there, you can say to the taxi driver, "peck jay ro, mockoli (like broccoli)jib ka joo say yo." Go into one of them (look like old adobes in a sense), order "mockoli" and "chon" ("mockoli han gay ha go yo, chon hana joo say yo" (repeat as necessary) and you are in for a treat!!! Also, downtown near Gaek Sa there is a "foreigner" friendly bar known as "Deep In." Any Friday night will reveal the foreigners in town and any would be happy to help a traveller. This bar was first popularized by yours truly and company in 1997/8 and has been popular ever since. You may still find my pic on the wall of shame! Overall, Chonju (as it was spelled then) holds a place in my heart as my first cultural experience and the start of my cultural learning. The museums, palaces, and churches hold appeal, but it is the food, the people, and the Makkoli Jibs on Paek Jae Ro that will forever separate Jeonju from other Korean cities!
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Jeju is where Koreans go for their honeymoons, bride & groom wearing matching t-shirts.  So when you see such a thing you can tell them congrats.   The highest mountain in Korea is on the island, and it's actually a Volcano called Hallasan.  This is the thing to climb on the island, it's just breathtaking... but if you plan to climb over the summit and catch a bus back to the hotel from the other side of the mountain (signs will map the trails for you), take care to get an earlier start than afternoon, or you WILL find yourself descending in waning light, the busses will have finished, and you'll have to hitchike back to town.  Never worry though, there's plenty of tourists out driving and they'll find room in the back for your party.  Luckily.   ps.  still, when the humans make themselves scarce and the sun starts to go down, loads of  animals come out that were nowhere near the trail earlier.  So, you know, choices.
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So many fun things to do and see.  Go to a palace, eat the food and go to Seoul tower.  You can also google the US military USO for a really good tour of the DMZ (anyone can take the tour).  You'll need your passport.  If you are hungry eat Bulgo-gi or Bi Bim Bap.  Shopping on Dongdaemun or Itaewan will net you some good finds.  You can almost always bargain.  Never take the first price.  Take the #3 bus up to Seoul Tower and see the view.  Also building 63 has a great view.  Using the subway is really easy.  It's all in English and cheap!
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