Author’s note: Coming to Korea posts are written with the newer expats in mind. If you have a more experienced perspective to offer, please share in the comments!
EDIT 9 May 2013 to add some more information.
As I’ve been making the transition to Thailand and the next chapter in life, some of the more basic questions began to crop up: where are some good neighborhoods to live? Which foods are worth trying? Where are the best places to get a drink? Sure, some of this can be done through the internet, but the best source of information remains the person on the street that knows the area. If More >
LIKE the other Joseon Dynasty tombs in and around Seoul, Wonjong Jangneung (김포 장릉) honors the royalty in a way that UNESCO considers a World Heritage Site. As usual, there’s more court intrigue and drama than the signs on site indicate – the man who we call King Wonjong, for example, was little more than a prince who inherited a posthumous title from his son. More on that in a minute.
One design element you’ll see at every Joseon Dynasty tomb – the hongsalmun (홍살문), or the red spiky gate signifying this to be the beginning of the sacred area. As usual, the tombs rest behind the next More >
The chicken returns! What was once the Seoul Chicken Art Museum in the central neighborhood of Hahoe-dong is now the Maniker Museum of Chicken Art (마니커) in northern Gyeonggi-do. The story and reasons why they moved is unclear, and probably has to do more with financial realities than any lack of art about fowls. In any case, the museum opened late January 2012, and while some distance from Seoul is still quite easy to reach.
Plenty of chicken art exhibits hail from other countries, including China, Japan, Germany, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, and the USA. What’s remarkable is that there’s More >
HAVING seen Dongguk-sa, one of the main reasons to come to Gunsan, we then took the rest of the day to look for anything else worthy of taking in.
We didn’t find much.
Our first intended stop was the Jinpo Marine Theme Park, within walking distance of Dongguksa and a fast-fading food street that only had a handful of places open on a Saturday afternoon. The sculpture above marks the entrance.
Gunsan’s history of being a port town necessitated plenty of railroads to connect the city to the rest of the country. There’s quite a few abandoned rail lines, however, now overgrown and relegated to More >
Author’s note: ‘Revisited’ posts are intended to be a fresh look at a place I’ve visited before. In many cases, it will have been years between visits, and offers a chance to see a place with a fresh set of eyes (and more than likely, a much better camera than I had before!). While the old post will remain online, directions and information for visitors will always be included.
I didn’t know the Korean words for “Programs, programs, get your programs”, but I didn’t need to. You’ll hear the titles called out as you walk up the stairs towards the street level. If you take the subway to the More >
Revisited: Ilsan Lake Park, Greenhouse Cactus Garden, and Toilet Exhibit Hall (Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do)1
Author’s note: ‘Revisited’ posts are intended to be a fresh look at a place I’ve visited before. In many cases, it will have been years between visits, and offers a chance to see a place with a fresh set of eyes (and more than likely, a much better camera than I had before!). While they won’t replace the old post, directions and information for visitors will always be included.
It’s a cool, breezy day, and the sun is shining – the perfect day to visit a lake park. And the cactus garden. And a toilet museum. Wait, what?
The last time I was here, the flowers and public art got more of the More >
Let the record show that I don’t have the need to bash a place – if it’s open, if it’s trying to make something interesting or understandable, cool. Having been to enough places where there’s little to no English around, I understand English speakers aren’t exactly the primary target. I’m also fully aware of how one’s mood affects how you see places. In general, I really do aim to give a place the best chance or the benefit of the doubt in cases where something is new.
With those caveats in place, the Gimpo Tea Etiquette Museum (김포다도박물관) sucked. It’s not worth the time or effort to reach, More >
Somewhat remote from the mainland, the Modo Sculpture Park (모도조각공원 or 배미꾸미 조각공원) sits on an island that requires at least four different forms of transportation to reach from Seoul – train to bus to ferry, back to bus, then a walk. The reward, however, is to see some of Lee Il-ho’s unusual – and adult-oriented – sculptures.
Born in 1946, Lee Il-ho’s sculptures have spanned the decades. His sculptures were exhibited in New York and Miami in the late 1990′s, although he’s been busy since the 1970′s. This site seems the final resting place for many of these pieces – several dozen in all – More >
AT less than a quarter of a square kilometer and with no human population to speak of, Silmido doesn’t appear to be worth the hours of journeying to arrive. At first, there’s little indication you’ve even arrived, much less found what you’re looking for. Silmido represents an fascinating destination, mainly because it’s well off the beaten path and has an interesting history.
Set the time machine for 1968 – South Korea had been raided by North Korean commandos in what history calls the Blue House Raid. In retaliation for the strike that left over 130 South Koreans killed or wounded, the More >
IT’S not every day you get this far off the tourist trail.
Hundreds of exhibits document some of the fancier lights, while others show a more historical perspective. While not incredibly bizarre yet, it is a museum about lighting – and as you can see above, it starts with a historical overview of lights.
Some of the earlier lights in the modern era.
Something you probably won’t see commonly throughout Korea.
While I can’t see many of these hanging in houses around Korea, part of me wonders what an mid-twentieth-century Korean house would have been lit by.
Once you’ve exited from the More >