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Every every now and then, anyone asks me if I’ve ever been to South Korea. “Yes, I have,” I inform them. “I spent three weeks in Korea.”

“Then why is there so little of it on your blog?”

Well.

That go back and forth used to be taken in 2013, in the course of a yearlong RTW go back and forth. It used to be sandwiched between two weeks in Japan, the place I attempted to see as a lot of the rustic as conceivable whilst suffering with the searing warmth; after Korea, I can be heading at once to the Northern Territory of Australia, the place I can be busy on a press go back and forth, tenting out underneath the celebs in Kakadu National Park.

I had 3 weeks in Korea. I would use this time to take it simple and get paintings achieved.

I visited Seoul, Korea’s capital and biggest town; Busan, Korea’s southern seashore city; and Yeosu, a smaller town within the south of the rustic the place my buddy used to be instructing on the time. And whilst it looks like I didn’t get a lot achieved, I have such a lot of magical Korean moments in my reminiscences.

I attempted out over a dozen cafes within the stylish Hongdae community of Seoul, and burst into a smile when a barista casually drew me a great Marge Simpson within the foam on most sensible.

I ate highly spiced, gochujang-drenched fried hen in Seoul and watched a complete eating place be captivated via Ok-pop band Exo’s tune video for “Growl.” The 9 males danced flawlessly in unison and the entire video used to be filmed in one shot — you couldn’t glance away.

I watched a trio of tipsy males stroll down the road in Busan and one among them unintentionally stroll into a pitcher door with a noisy THWONK, his two pals just about falling to the bottom in laughter.

I spent an afternoon in my buddy’s college in Yeosu and were given to know her candy, inquisitive scholars. I marveled at how they became “toothbrush time” right into a social duration, at their picture poses for Instagram (to this point forward in their time!) and the way they cheerfully wiped clean the college on the finish of on a daily basis.

I snuggled with tiny doggies at a canine cafe in Seoul, taking their want for meals as an indication in their affection for me.

I ate kimchijigae that warmed my soul up to my frame, and grew to love streetside servings of tteokbokki, stir-fried rice truffles in a fiery sauce that appeared somewhat like Korea’s resolution to gnocchi. I smiled as dozens of banjan aspect dishes clattered onto the desk ahead of the primary dish used to be introduced out. Oh, and I as soon as unintentionally ordered naengmyeon, a soup served chilly with ice cubes in it — no longer precisely the steaming sizzling soup I anticipated!

I wove a number of of those studies into my lone put up concerning the nation: Korea: A Tough Cultural Nut to Crack.

Even so, I know that I skilled some distance lower than what a regular traveler would on a three-week go back and forth.

One factor’s evidently — my spark for Korea has been lit as soon as once more. I need to return to Korea and do it a lot better this time.

This #SeeKoreaSubsequent put up is introduced to you via the Korean Tourism Organization, appearing you why you must believe Korea as your subsequent vacation spot as soon as it’s protected to commute once more. And frankly, that sounds fabulous to me — as soon as the sector begins touring en masse once more, it’s exhausting to suppose of a higher position to move!

Strips of sizzling steak on a Korean barbecue.Strips of sizzling steak on a Korean barbecue.

Finally Splurging in Korea

So what would I maximum glance ahead to on a go back go back and forth to Korea? Well, to be utterly fair, being in a position to spend extra money. Back in 2013 I used to be residing off my weblog, however simplest making sufficient to commute on a backpacker funds. I stored it moderately reasonable.

These days, I believe myself extra of a mid-range traveler who likes to splurge on a couple of particular issues. This time in Korea, I would without a doubt splurge on a high-end meal — I’ve by no means skilled tremendous eating in Korea!

That, and I’d love to move equipment buying groceries, do a meals excursion, or possibly even revel in a Ok-Pop live performance.

You can without a doubt experience Korea on a bare-bones funds like I did — Korea is so other and visible that one among its largest delights is solely strolling round and exploring. But I want I hadn’t spent such a lot of my go back and forth being concerned about how a lot I used to be spending.

Having some more cash stored for a splurge will make your Korea go back and forth the entire higher.

A black and white shot of people shopping on a street in Busan, KoreaA black and white shot of people shopping on a street in Busan, Korea

Korean Skincare Products

On my first go back and forth, I wasn’t accustomed to Ok-Beauty in any respect — Korean cosmetic and skin care merchandise. Korean skin care merchandise have lengthy been lauded all the way through Asia, however in the previous couple of years, Ok-beauty has develop into a powerhouse in western international locations, too.

I followed a Korean skin care routine this previous spring — no longer moderately 10 steps when touring, however at house — and now I know that it’s absolute best to cleanse as soon as with oil and as soon as with common cleanser, that sheet mask are for on a regular basis use, and that snail serum is a mystical aspect!

What I love about Korean skin care is that the goods are so mild, they’re designed to be layered, and they’re shockingly inexpensive. Seriously, I used to spend $100 on 3 Sephora skin care merchandise, however with Ok-Beauty merchandise I can get 5 – 6 top quality pieces for $100.

Since Ok-Beauty turned into widespread in america, a couple of of my girlfriends have traveled to Korea to uncover new skin care merchandise. Because whilst you’ll order heaps of Ok-beauty merchandise on-line nowadays, probably the most state of the art merchandise are simplest present in Korea. I’d love to spend an afternoon purchasing for cool merchandise!

The Best Place to Work While Traveling

Not all over the place on the planet is a brilliant position to paintings whilst touring. (And I would know. I’m typing this whilst island-hopping in Croatia, the place the nearer you might be to a seaside, the slower the web is.)

But Koreans are very technology-oriented and feature lightning-fast web velocity. But greater than that, they if truth be told put shops in handy puts — and sufficient so that you don’t have to fight over them.

Of path, Korea is house to Samsung, and maximum locals use Samsung telephones. When I visited in 2013, maximum Koreans had massive telephones, or “phablets,” an anomaly on the time — and wouldn’t you realize, quickly the iPhone debuted its large-screen style. Tech tendencies get started in Korea.

If you’re in one among Korea’s large towns, you’ll in finding it really easy to discover a cafe with gorgeous lattes and shops constructed proper into the desk. It’s such a lot more straightforward to get your paintings achieved whilst you’ve were given quick web and a competent energy supply!

Jimjilbang Hopping

Korea is legendary for its jimjilbangs — its spa amenities. I’ve by no means visited one in Korea, however I did talk over with in Spa Castle in Queens, which is a Korean-style spa!

Jimjilbangs are segregated via gender. After locking up your assets, you get totally bare, like in a Japanese onsen, and also you spend your time playing swimming pools of more than a few temperatures, or my favourite — the frame scrub. After there are heating and leisure rooms, a cafe on website, and now and again you’ll keep at them in a single day.

Also, I love the video of Conan O’Brien’s jimjilbang revel in with Steven Yeun, posted above. It didn’t precisely move in accordance to plan…

Anyway, I’ve simplest visited a jimjilbang in america, however I’d love to get the whole revel in on Korean soil.

Jeju Island — by the use of Pixabay

Jeju Island

The #1 position I need to talk over with in Korea, definitely, is Jeju Island. This volcanic island is Korea’s resolution to Hawaii.

Jeju is absolute best identified for its nature. You can do a wide variety of loopy hikes, benefit from the wonderful seashores, waterfalls, craters, caves, mountains.

There’s even a selection of quirky museums: the Teddy Bear Museum, the Trick Art museum (about optical illusions), the Haeneyo Museum (about feminine “mermaid” divers), the Cinema Museum. I’m an enormous fan of area of interest museums.

There’s additionally Loveland, a sex-themed park. So there truly is one thing for everybody in Jeju! I hope to get there quickly.

What is on YOUR Korean bucket listing?