Stopping along the coastline in the Samecheok region with the fams.
Long and awaited the second chapter has arrived. Busan, Samecheok, and Seoul the capital city of the Republic of Korea. The parentals enjoyed some raw rockfish, temples, endless beaches, a land locked cruise liner converted to a hotel and more. Get ready people we're going to the finish line. Cheers and as always great travels.
-Larry CEO/ Founder of Buftravels.com
The Samecheok region has an array of fascinating places to offer including the 2014 TripAdvisor Most Interesting Hotel of the year, largest caves in the country and of course the numerous penis parks, leave it to the Asians. You have to ask them why. So off with the parentals and the wife to explore the people, places, and oddities that make Korea so unique. But first, we will start with Busan.
Getting Cultured, Gimcheon Village, Busan
Therefore walking through this place you are walking through people's homes. There are children and generations living in some places the size of a trailer home by very traditional means. I say this to emphasize that this is a intimate and personal experience and requires a certain level of maturity and respect to understand that these are peoples homes. It was an interesting experience as we quietly moved through narrow corridors through the village. If you ever find yourself in Busan you owe it to yourself to go here and walk down the narrowest of corridors and back alleys.
Jagalchi Fish Market- The Food is Still Alive, As in Breathing, Hungry?
This may be one of the most extreme things you can do in Korea but it is a point of fact to say that the Jalgachi Fish Market offers a plethora of very much alive seafood for you to browse and eat at your leisure. It is no different that what most people do everyday expect having the realization that if you eat any form of meat you are eating a living animal. Unfortunately, most westerns have become disillusioned to this simple reality. While it is uncomfortable for some, those who are willing to step out of their comfort zone and play the game of semantics this places provides the opportunity. The parentals got lucky and my stepdad didn't have to endure the reality due to my mothers discern but again a strong recommendation to give this place a whirl. If you are going to travel halfway around the planet you might as well take the opportunity to push yourself. But most would have some serious reservations I presume, lol. Nothing to cap of Busan like live octopus.
Next Stop Samecheok and a one of a kind hotel
Hotels are hotels right? I mean we've all been to a nice hotel and if were lucky even one with an interesting lobby or rooms but the Sun Cruise Resort and Yacht Hotel in Samecheok, Korea is truly a one of a kind experience. If you have ever wanted to be on a cruise ship walk out on your balcony and behold beautiful sunrises of the ocean but can't deal with the rock of a boat then the solution to all your reservations are put at ease here. Enter exhibit A. (the land based cruise ship/hotel Sun Cruise)
These Koreans have some crazy ideas but hey sometimes they end up being awesome. This is one of those cases. Besides the boat hotel we went drove along the coast and even enjoyed some rockfish in a small coastal port town. Unfortunately, we sort of forgot the fact that many Korean seafood dishes are served raw. And raw rockfish did not have the same taste or texture of the cooked variety but it was quite the experience nonetheless.
The last leg of the trip through the Samecheok region consisted of hitting the largest caves in South Korea. These caves are known as the Hwanseongul Caves. Fortunately this time around I was able to get some spectacular shots while weaving through cavern after cavern. This place has waterfalls rope bridges cross deep drop offs, think Indiana Jones Temple of Doom, etc.
Ok that last one was a bit of an exaggeration. But you get the idea, I wish I had a machete to hold up and say "prepare to meet Kali...in hell!"
And then there was Seoul
Included on our trip to the capital city was Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul Tower, Insadong, and Gwangjang Market.
We will start with Gyeongbokgung Palace. The palace was expansive and seemingly endless with square after square of painstakingly detailed architectural work. It is common for young Korean girls to dress in traditional Korean clothing and visit such places. This makes the experience even more immersive as you can see the clothing worn during that period of time as well. This clothing is still worn today as part of Korean culture but usually only for holidays and ceremonies.
From the roofs to the steps everything has been done by hand.
Next was a evening visit to Seoul Tower. Many of the large Korean cities have a city tower, Seoul's being the most prominent. Another interesting anecdote of Korean culture is the locks that you will notice in the picture. Couples write love messages and leave them attached to railings and fences as good luck tokens. This can be see at many public sites across Korea.
Although it was a bit hazy it still offered some nice views of the city and a place to relax.
The final location to highlight was the Gwangjang Market. This market has been active for over 100yrs and has little sign of letting up. The best way to describe walking through this market can be summed up in two words; sensory overload. It can be fascinating, disgusting, exciting, and even a bit frightening at times but it is a crime to visit Korea and not immerse yourself into a market at least once while you are there.
My only warning is for those who are very claustrophobic. Don't even think about it because you will have a panic attack. Pictured above is a very light day. Many times you will find yourself shoulder to shoulder squeezing through people, bicycles, and even motorcycles and scooters all shuffling with reckless abandon. And as you can see below it is close quarters dining if you are brave enough to try the cuisine.
I could go and and on about the endless cultural opportunities that Seoul has to offer but for that you will have to check out my Korea page here. And as always, Great Travels! -Larry