Gangnam Style, Gwiyomi, kimchi… ring a bell?
South Korea has been making a lot of noise in the music industry and the whole world lately (dubbed as Korean Wave) due to the lively and wacky dance craze that took YouTube by storm. Aside from that, kimchi, South Korea’s national dish has been hailed as one of the top healthiest food around the world by many reputable websites and magazines.
It is no wonder then that tourists from the Western hemisphere and all over the world are curious about what South Korea can offer, and if you are thinking of the same, then check out these five famous places of interest in the Land of the Morning Calm.
This island south of the Korean peninsula is heralded as one of the New Seven Wonders of the Natural World, and rightly so because of the natural beauty and charm of the place. There exist the powerful Jeongbang Waterfalls, where an encryption on the falls wall made by the servant of the Chinese emperor Jin in the year 200 BC can still be read today. There is also the majestic Hallasan Mountain, a dormant volcano which is the tallest peak in Korea. Of course, not to be missed would be the fort-like Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, once a lone volcanic Island which is now connected by sand and gravel from the past eruptions to the mainland. Another natural wonder here is the longest lava tube in the world – over 13 kilometres long! There are of course more modern infrastructures like the Seven Nymphs Bridge and Teddy Bear Museum that you can visit, too.
Naganeupseong Folk Village
The site is one historical place in Korea and reflects the ancient rural living of the place. The site is so well preserved that the surrounding areas of the more than 50,000 square meters town castle is still liveable today. Walking around the village, you will get to see hordes of straw-roofed huts and acquire a better understanding of Korean lifestyle in the past. If you happen to drop by on the first full moon of the New Year, you will witness the annual celebration held in honour of the local hero General Im Kyeong-Eop where traditional folk games like seesaw jumping and swings are played.
South Korea is also home to three important Buddhist holy grounds collectively known as the Three Jewel Temples. The term jewel represents the unique treasures and symbolism of each of the beautiful places of worship. The Tongdosa Temple stands Buddha himself, the Haeinsa Temple represents Buddha’s teachings, while the Songgwangsa Temple is the representation of the Buddhist community. What makes visiting these temples worthwhile, aside from its calming and peaceful atmosphere, are the relics they hold. The Haeinsa Temple for example, houses the oldest Buddhist canon, the oldest wooden Buddha statue, and the Janggyeong Panjeon (a UNESO world heritage) which is like a hall of Buddhist Sutras.
The cultural heritage of South Korea is truly unique and rich – full of so many wonderful places that will surely make every trip to this ginseng tea drinking country a charming experience.