Intro to the Beauty of South Korea
South Korea has four distinct seasons, so the best time to visit is during the autumn months (September to November). During this season you’ll have warm, sunny days and beautiful blue skies. And, let’s not forget about the beautiful foliage – that’s likely the best part. Winters (November to March) are cold and dry, but if you like winter sports (skiing/snowboarding) this is a great time to visit. During the spring (April to May) is very beautiful with the cherry blossoms, but it gets very crowded. May is also when the Monsoon season begins and many activities get cancelled because of rain.
If you are a ‘sun baby’ you will love having a wide selection of beaches to choose from. South Korea beaches are aplenty. If you are more of an ‘extreme sports’ kind of person then you’ll want to head to Jeju-do’s Jungmun beach. At Jungmun beach the clean water and very powerful current makes conditions ideal for water sports like waterskiing and windsurfing. Most beaches along the South Sea have warm, calm and shallow waters, which makes it perfect conditions for swimming. Add that to the smell of pine trees mixed with the ocean breeze – well, it’s pretty incredible. Camping in the pine woods is allowed (and free!) and you can also enjoy a freshwater river bath from the Hoiyagagn River which flows into the beach area.
Things to Do
If camping in the pine woods and bathing in rivers isn’t your idea of a relaxing vacation, you’ll be happy to know there are many beautiful South Korea resorts you can stay at. From your resort, you can head out for sightseeing that is enchantingly enlightening and filled with 2,000 years of history. While there are many South Korea activities, one must-see is Soswaewon. Soswaewon is a spectacular garden in the southern part of the country. This garden was built by Yang San-bo in the 1500s. The garden is actually a complex that have beautiful pavilions. The gardens have been renovated several times, but its original qualities still remain. You’ll find sitting in the pavilions is so relaxing and peaceful that you’ll never want to leave.
Shopping is another South Korea activity that you aren’t going to want to miss out on. Korea is a very dynamic and colourful country. They have somehow managed to find a sweet and very delicate balance between preserving the history and traditions of the ancient people, while at the same time embracing modern technology and conveniences. This dichotomy of old and new is especially noticeable in shopping. Unlike many countries in the region, most shops follow a fixed price system and really don’t appreciate bartering. Most large shops will accept credit cards, but most of the street vendors don’t, so make sure you have cash. You’ll need to head to a bank to exchange foreign currency before you can start shopping from street vendors.
There are Plenty of Comparison sites out there to find great deals, here are some of the most popular.
Eating and Drinking
At one time, Korea was a primarily agricultural country, and boiled rice was the stable food. Today, a traditional Korean meal is made up of a bowl of rice and a side dish. Koreans use meat, fish, veggies and seafood with a unique blend of spices for their dishes.
Here are five main types of food you’ll come across:
- Bap (rice). As mentioned previously, steamed or boiled rice is a staple of Korean food. There are many different kinds of Bap depending on what’s available – you could have japgokbap (rice with barley, millet and beans) or bibimbap (rice with namul and beef).
- Juk (porridge). Juk is a Korean dish that was developed in early times. Juk is often served as a main dish, but it can also be served as part of a special meal. Typically Juk is served to sick patients and eaten for health.
- Guksu (noodles). South Koreans make noodles by kneading wheat flour (sometimes they use buckwheat) and drawing the dough into long, skinny coils.
- Mandu (dumpling soup). Mandu is a dumpling that is made from a thin wheat flour wrapper and is stuffed with something (meat or vegetables) and then boiled in a soy sauce soup called jangguk. This is a specialty food in the northern area of South Korea.
- Tteokguk (sliced rice cake pasta soup). Tteokguk is made from diagonally sliced white rice cakes that are simmered in jangguk and only served on the first day of the year.