A selection of 'must-go' sites for foreign tourists
Posted : 2013-08-15 17:09
Updated : 2013-08-15 17:09
By Yun Suh-young
It's not easy for foreigners to find travel destinations in Korea that have both historical and cultural significance and are entertaining at the same time.
The nation's tourism agency has made a few selections geared toward foreign tourists. These recommended sites are places that are popular and have received good reviews.
The domestic tourism promotion team within the Korea Tourism Organization handpicked the following destinations after receiving feedback from foreign tourists about where they had traveled to.
Jagalchi Market — Busan
The lively, bustling city of Busan is known for a myriad of exciting places to visit, among them being the Jagalchi Market in Nampo-dong, Busan. The market is the largest fish market in the country and a must-see destination.
The market is the most representative market of the city — among other markets that are also quite well known is the Gukje Market.
The Jagalchi Market has a unique atmosphere where vendors in strong South Gyeongsang Province dialects in rubber boots shout the prices of fish and other products. The place provides a whole new experience even for Koreans.
The market has become a global tourist destination recently after it was introduced on CNN International's travel channel, CNN Go.
At the market, visitors can also experience eating fresh fish taken right from a tank. There are restaurants that serve fried or grilled fish dishes with produce caught fresh from the sea that day.
Mulle-gil — Chuncheon, Gangwon Province
The up and coming tourist destination in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, is the newly-created Mulle-gil.
Unlike the walkways usually created along a stream or a lake, this is a waterway that tourists can enjoy riding along in a boat. And that boat is not just any boat, but a wooden canoe which can only be experienced there.
The Mulle-gil is created along the Uiam Lake which stretches over 40 kilometers. There are three different courses that visitors can choose from to tour along the Mulle-gil in a canoe. The basic course is 4 kilometers, and takes one hour to complete. The other two are a 6 km course (2 hours) and a 5 km course.
The wooden canoe used at Mulle-gil is a classic Canadian style canoe which weighs 20 kilograms and can carry up to 400 kilograms.
There are also other outdoor activities that can be enjoyed using canoes such as canoe camping and fishing. The most popular option is canoe camping where people take the canoe with all their belongings and camp on a nearby island.
For more information, visit www.mullegil.org or call 070-4150-9463.
Hahoe, Gunja villages — Andong, North Gyeongsang Province
The Hahoe Village in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, is an already popular tourist destination well known to both Koreans and foreigners.
It's a traditional village that retains its original structure and is designated as an important folk asset.
The village has been a one-clan village of the Pungsan Ryu family since the 16th century. There are about 100 "hanok" or traditional houses clustered together. The houses are organized into different quarters for men, women and servants. The Yangjin Manor is the oldest house in the village.
A hanok stay program is operated here and "Hahoe Byeolsin-gut Tal-nori" or hahoe mask dance performance is held regularly at 3 p.m. on the weekends. A mask dance festival is also held every year in autumn.
Traditional tea drinking and pottery making programs are also offered at the village.
Then there's Gunja Village, also in Andong, which has 20 traditional houses of the Kim family of Gwangsan, on the top of a hill surrounded by a lake and other small hills.
The village, which was inhabited by the Kim family for 600 years, used to be located at the foot of the hills but was moved higher up to prevent flooding during the construction of the Andong Dam in 1974.
For more information, visit www.hahoe.or.kr or call 054-853-0109 for information on Hahoe Village, and www.gunjari.net for information on Gunja Village. The Gunja Village website does not provide an English website.
Hwaeomsa — Jirisan National Park, South Jeolla Province
The Hwaeomsa Temple is located about a kilometer up from the entrance to the Jirisan National Park, which is the largest of the mountainous parks in Korea and the first to be designated as a national park. It has dozens of peaks which exceed 1,000 meters in height.
Jirisan, or Mt. Jiri, is known to have the most difficult hiking trail in Korea and is a sought-after mountain hiking range to climbers who love a challenge.
On the way up the mountain lies a beautiful temple, the Hwaeomsa, which is a popular temple stay location for foreigners.
The temple boasts the Buddhist structure, Gakhwangjeon, a two-story building designated as a national treasure.
The temple offers various types of temple stay programs ranging from meditation to relaxation. It also has programs where people can experience what it's like to live like a Buddhist monk. The programs are available for up to three nights at the temple and can be registered online.
For more information, visit hwaeomsa.org or call 061-782-7600.
Constructed in 544 during the Baekje Kingdom (A.D. 18-660) by a monk from India, many of the temple's features have survived to the present day, although most of the temple had to be reconstructed after destruction by the Japanese during the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592.