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What is South Korea Known For?

- Hye Sung

South Korea was recently named third in the top countries to visit in 2013 by LonelyPlanet.com for its “untapped potential in golfing, hiking and fishing”. My experiences of South Korea are mostly in the Taebaek Mountain range and I could testify to having some of the most relaxing, enjoyable experiences on the lake fishing and gaining killer calves from hiking up mountains. I cannot say I spent too much time to golfing, but I do not doubt that South Korea is becoming known for their golf courses, as some of the best courses in the world are apparently there. Though I do love the natural resources of South Korea, I cannot say that is all that it should be known for.

As you may know, I have written on Korea twice, once on shopping in the subways and another time on some unique Korean ice creams (such as red bean and melon flavor). Though I have spent a majority of my time in the mountains of Korea, most of my favorite things about this nation were experienced in the city, primarily Seoul, Cheonan, and Asan. From the delicious treats sold by the street vendors to the noraebangs (Korean karaoke rooms), there is an unlimited number of opportunities to enjoy something authentically Korean in the cities.

In Seoul, you can experience true Gangnam-style on Sinsa & Garosu-gil Street for brunch and coffee or eating at a traditional Korean restaurant, like Philkyungjae, which once housed Korean royalty. In fact, Abroad101 named Seoul the friendliest city, and their culture of hospitality is revealed often in their restaurants, where food is abundant.

For parents and those who can legally enjoy such a thing, there is the wine train, which is a train that departs from Seoul to Korea’s wine country, Yeongdong. Acoustic music is played and samples of various wines are given throughout the trip, as well as the ability to order a glass of your wine of choice.

Also, throughout Korea, there are dozens of Buddhist temples that were built hundreds of years ago that are still actively being used. These spiritual monuments stand strong and the Buddhist monastic life is very much alive within them, with monks rising every morning at 4 AM to bang on their iron-gongs.

All throughout Korea, there is much to enjoy, from the ancient remnants that still make it into the cuisine and spirituality of Koreans, to the modern cities that brag of vivacious night-lives, resorts, and plenty to do. There is something for everybody in “the land of the morning calm”.

For more on things to do in South Korea, and places to visit, go to: http://koreatourismny.com/

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