7 Terrific Places I Visited in South Korea

To live will be an awfully big adventure– Peter Pan

IMG_2868 (Edited).JPG

As my time living in Korea for a year has come to a close, I decided to make a list of all the great places I visited in South Korea. In case any of my readers are planning to visit Korea and want another person’s opinion on some great places in Korea, here is mine.

South Korea has many unique and beautiful places to visit. There was rarely a time when I was visiting a new city in Korea that I disliked my experience there. I have highlights, of course, but there are many awesome places to see in South Korea! Therefore, this is only a short list of many terrific places to see in South Korea. They are not in any particular order except for the first one being my favorite place that I visited in Korea.

  1. Seoraksan National Park

IMG_7157

This is by far my favorite place that I visited while I was in South Korea even though it was one of the first places I visited. As I think back on all my trips, I have no doubts this was by far my favorite. The view of the mountains surrounding the park are so majestic, I cannot describe them in any other way than breathtaking. I did not visit Seoraksan any other time of the year, so I may be biased, but I think the time I went might have been the best time to go. In mid-October, the air was cool and fresh and the trees were in full fall colors, which added to the magnificent beauty of the mountains. If I were to choose one place I’d visit again and again, I’d choose Seoraksan.

Seoraksan National Park has many different hiking paths to take of varying difficulty. Many paths will lead to the top of the mountain for those eager and daring enough to pursue (I was not in the intense hiking mood at the time of my visit). I hear those views are phenomenal even if the hike is hard.

There are several places to eat and grab great souvenirs as well. There are temples and also a giant Buddha.

IMG_7009
When I was visiting Seoraksan, I was with a travel group so I had a limited amount of time to explore the park and feel like I barely saw a fraction of what was there. But the parts I did see have caused it to be one of my favorite places I’ve ever been in my entire life so far. So please, check it out!

 

  1. DMZ Tour

The same weekend I visited Seoraksan, I also did a brief DMZ tour the day before. I recommend this experience because it was very unique and also very sobering. Seeing the memorials, the war artillery, the Fourth Tunnel, the explosive warnings, and the leftovers of war really caused the reality of the war between North and South Korea to sink in. It’s one thing to hear that there was a war, and another to see the battle grounds where some of the war took place and still see the evidence of it. Also seeing how careful the South Korean soldiers were about us being so close to the border of North Korea, it reminded me the threat has never left them.

If you would like to step into some of Korean history, I highly recommend doing the DMZ tour!

 

  1. Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

If you are in Korea during the cherry blossom season, I highly recommend visiting Jinhae for its Cherry Blossom Festival. It’s a beautiful festival with wonderful views of the cherry blossoms! I tried some delicious cherry blossom ice cream, bought some flower teas and a flower crown, walked through cherry blossom trees, listened to Korean traditional music, watched some traditional dances, and did some shopping in some markets nearby.

IMG_0764IMG_0768

It was a blast and definitely a highlight of my time in Korea!

 

  1. Gamcheon Cultural Village

I am not 100% sure how I found out about this place, but somehow, I did, and I knew it was a place I wanted to visit. Getting there was a bit tricky for my friend and I our first time visiting, which at first left us wondering if going to the village would be worth it or not. But once we finally made it there, it was totally worth it. Gamcheon Village was refurnished by painting the buildings and houses in the village to many different colors. It was such a cute place with many cute souvenirs and many places to snap pictures. They had murals throughout the village and you will find more if you wander off the main street. If the line is short enough, take advantage and get a pic with the famous statue of the Little Prince while you are there! There are also a lot of fun street foods and cafes to check out!

This is one of the few places I visited twice, so I definitely recommend!

 

  1. Gyeongju

Speaking of great cultural places, Gyeongju is an awesome city to visit for Korean culture. It’s a small city and one can see most of it after only a few visits (maybe even one visit if you are proactive). I visited only twice, but enjoyed my time there both times I have gone. Most of the buildings are in the traditional Korean style and there are so many cool nooks and crannies. It’s a fun place to just wander around! Some places I saw were Bulguksa Temple, Tumuli Park (tombs), some museums and artisan places, and the World Culture Expo Park.

I know there are many other great places in Gyeongju to see that I failed to catch, but it’s a cool city to check out!

 

  1. Jeju Island

Jeju is probably the most popular Korean island in Korea. It’s a beautiful place to visit and has beautiful beaches! Hiking Mt. Halla was definitely one of the harder things I did in Korea, but might be worth it if you are not afraid of long hikes. I recommend bringing lots of snacks and water and the reminder that walking down feels longer than the walk up. The hardest part of the hike up was the top, and it’s definitely a muscle-burner. But the views are nice. Bring a jacket for the top because it’s quite chilly up there!

 

  1. Seoul

I feel Seoul has so many great places to visit but it’s obviously one of the more popular places. I visited Seoul many times and always had a great time. I recommend renting a hanbok (Korean traditional clothes) and visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village. It’s a magical experience and makes you feel like you are walking in a different time. Also, you get great photos!

IMG_6481 (Edited).JPG
Gyeongbokgung Palace
img_8399
Bukchon Hanok Village (it was too cold for me to take many pictures) 

I also highly recommend visiting Insadong. It’s a great place to get traditional Korean souvenirs and get some yummy tea!

Namsan tower may be another known tourist spot to check out, but I enjoyed visiting so I recommend it definitely! Especially in the evening.

The last place I recommend was a place I was not really told to go visit, but I visited just because it was nearby. However, I had a blast both of the times I went and highly recommend! Lotte World Mall is a phenomenal mall with many great cuisines, random museums, a beautiful aquarium, stores, and cool architecture! Also, there is a cool tower there to check out as well. Definitely a favorite!

As I have said before, these are only seven out of many, many more great places to visit in South Korea. However, these are some of the favorite places I visited! I hope you enjoyed taking a look through my trips in Korea!

 

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, personal growth, and life in general.

Life Update: The Last Three Months

Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent. –Billy Graham

IMG_0641 (Edited)

The last life update I made was at the beginning of March, so it is about time for me to make an update for my family and friends back home. The post I made in March was before my new semester here in South Korea began. I knew I would be busy the first few weeks of the new semester since I would be getting used to new classes, new students, and new books. However, I was not quite ready enough for the length of the time it would take me to get used to the new semester. Hence, part of the reason why I have not made a life update. So here is my overdue but short update!

I knew teaching three- and four-year-olds who have never been in school and know no English would be hard, but…man, is it hard! Nothing quite like waving at a bunch of babies who have no idea what you are saying and are crying for mommies or because they need to go to the restroom (and I am unfortunately unaware because my Korean level is low). However, I really enjoyed it, despite it being hard. Well…Actually, let me rephrase that.

I am teaching two separate groups of three- and four-year old children—one group in the morning, one group in the afternoon. My morning group was hard but I thoroughly enjoyed teaching them. They listened, and, even though they cried a lot, seemed to picking up what I was teaching them rather quickly. As the weeks and months went on, they became so sweet to me and began joking a lot more like my classes last semester did (which I had been missing). However, my afternoon group was another story.

Having taught in South Korea for about six or seven months by then, I thought teaching wouldn’t get any worse and would be just as enjoyable as it was the semester before. But, boy, was I wrong. I quickly discovered my afternoon class had a very different makeup of student personalities than my morning group did. I mean, yeah it can be pretty annoying when you are trying to teach a class but no one is listening. However, when you add that to students yelling at me for turning videos off, throwing their books and crayons across the room, screaming at the top of their high-pitched voices when they didn’t get their way, kicking me, hitting me, biting me, prodding me, yanking on my hair, throwing shoes at me, doing the same to each other, and running circles around the room, hallway, and bathrooms…I was overwhelmed. I felt abused, even if they were just three-year-olds.

I was exhausted from all the crying, screaming, and the feeling that I could not control them no matter what I did. Luckily, I think I only cried once because of them. The rest of my time was spent laughing out of incredulity. Three different teachers teach this class (including me), and all three of us are having quite the hard time. I think it says a lot about the class when the director of the school comes in multiple times (almost every day in the beginning of the semester) to help out with the class. And a handful of other teachers. Even though I do love the students individually, I must say I do not like them as a class whatsoever.

Therefore, the month of March was the longest month of my life. And then, the worst student of the class left, and I felt I could breathe just a little (though it was still a crazy hard class). I don’t remember a lot about that month other than the horrors (haha, I’m only partially kidding) that happened in that one classroom. I just remember March felt like it was never ending. But I’ve been surviving well. Just praying for more patience with them, more stamina, and for them to steadily become better.

My other classes, though, are all great and are enjoyable to teach, which I am relieved about.

However, to move on from the subject of work, I have finally found a church! I must say, I wish I could have found it much earlier, but I am glad to finally have a place I can go. It was a night and day experience from the first church I attended here in Daegu. I really am enjoying the church I’ve settled on for the duration of my time left here. The first time I attended their service, from the moment I walked into the auditorium, I immediately felt at home. The people there were so friendly and welcoming and I thoroughly enjoyed the service. Praise God for answered prayers!

Since the beginning of March, I have also had the privilege of traveling around Korea some more! I was able to visit the Cherry Blossom Festival in Jinhae in March, which was beautiful and relaxing. I even was able to taste some yummy cherry blossom ice cream (it was incredibly soft).

In April, I was able to attend a Nu’Est (k-pop) concert which was a blast. Though, I am still surprised about how silly fangirls can be.

In May, my cousin came to visit me and we went on a short trip to Jeju, where we hiked Mt. Halla (tallest mountain in South Korea). Mt. Halla was quite the adventure (a bit of a painful adventure, but we came away with a few laughs).

I am now down to my last three months in South Korea. It is definitely bittersweet. Although I am excited to see family, friends, and my boyfriend and to breathe fresh air again, I am sad at the thought of leaving Korea and the life I have been living here. However, I am already looking into plans for heading back, and, of course, into my plans for after Korea. I’m happy to say I have a plan for after Korea! God is pretty amazing and I am excited for what is to come!

This is what I have been up to the last few months! Looking forward to what God has in store for me during my last three months here!

Blessings!

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, personal growth, and life in general.