Trip Reviews
Learning how to paraglide in Korea

Learning how to paraglide in Korea

For the past year and a half, I’ve wanted to go paragliding. I signed up for two trips at separate times, with romantic visions of myself floating over Korea’s mountainous terrain, but unfortunately, due to the finicky nature of the sport, both trips were canceled because the wind velocity was not quite perfect. Luckily, I seized...
Spring festivals in Korea: the Jindo Sea Parting and Butterflies

Spring festivals in Korea: the Jindo Sea Parting and Butterflies

Last weekend, I walked across a parted sea wearing thigh-high rubber boots, chewed on wiggling octopus tentacles, and saw a baby wild boar poop on a guy’s t-shirt–all within 24 hours. With Adventure Korea, a budget travel company catered to foreigners, I traveled to Jeollanam-do, Korea’s southwestern province, to attend two annual spring festivals. On...
Biking around Upo Wetland, strawberry picking, and experiencing my own funeral

Biking around Upo Wetland, strawberry picking, and experiencing my own funeral

Last Saturday, I embarked on a weekend trip to the southeast province of Gyeongsangnam-do to bike around a famous wetland, mingle with other travelers and teachers, pick fresh strawberries and visit a festival celebrating the Daegaya Kingdom. Once again, I traveled with Adventure Korea, a well-established tour company catered to foreigners and travelers in Korea....
4 memoirs portraying the realities of present-day North Korea

4 memoirs portraying the realities of present-day North Korea

With North Korea flooding the news with “threats” and strange photos of Kim Jong-Eun bonding with Dennis Rodman, it’s hard not to think about what life is really like for our northern neighbors. We often hear about nuclear weapons, missile testings and famines, but throughout the past four years, I’ve been curious about what daily...
Skiing in the Year of the Snake

Skiing in the Year of the Snake

Last weekend, Koreans celebrated Seollal, the Lunar New Year. On Monday, everyone officially turned one year older, and on top of an extra year for being in my mother’s womb, I’m now 27 years old in Korea. Damn. I think I’ll stick to my Western age of 25. Koreans welcomed the Year of the Snake...
Ice Fishing in Hwacheon: embracing Korea's sub-zero temperatures

Ice Fishing in Hwacheon: embracing Korea’s sub-zero temperatures

The stressful holidays have passed, and now it’s January and time to relax. In Korea, we are currently living in frigid, sub-zero temperatures. Everyday I bundle up in my thick winter coat and Uggs, which I refused to wear in the past because they are so hideous-looking, but now I wear them with pride. Sometimes...
Celebrating the New Year on Jeju Island: part II

Celebrating the New Year on Jeju Island: part II

As I wrote in my last post, Celebrating the New Year on Jeju Island: part I, I spent four days with Adventure Korea in Jeju Island over my New Year’s vacation. On the third full day, after losing my voice from belting out too many songs in the noraebang the night before (namely “I Will Always...
Celebrating the New Year on Jeju Island: part I

Celebrating the New Year on Jeju Island: part I

Rather than wasting away in Hongdae over my short New Year’s vacation, I traveled to Jeju Island with Adventure Korea, a budget travel company catered to foreigners. I spent four days exploring the “Hawaii of Korea,” and although the temperature wasn’t quite Hawaiian-like, I thoroughly enjoyed walking along the coast, partying in Jeju’s biggest nightclub...
Gyotaku: printmaking with dead fish at Jankura Artspace

Gyotaku: printmaking with dead fish at Jankura Artspace

I was ten years old. Before following my classmates outside, I grabbed some sheets of white paper and a thick crayon—the homemade kind, comprised of old, leftover pieces of Crayola crayons, the colors swirled together, molded by cupcake wrappers. Outside, I pressed my paper against bark, leaves, bricks and chain-link fences, boldly rubbing my cupcake-shaped...
Rising before dawn in the mountains: a Buddhist templestay at Geumsansa

Rising before dawn in the mountains: a Buddhist templestay at Geumsansa

Geumsansa, one of the largest Buddhist temple complexes in Korea, lies in the quiet, western foothills of Moak Mountain, located in North Jeolla province. “Moaksan, the so-called ‘Mother Mountain’, is the cradle of many different indigenous religions. The mountain’s shape looks like a mother cradling her baby, just as Moaksan embraces Geumsansa,” says the Templestay program. The...
Climbing in the mi(d)st of Seoraksan National Park

Climbing in the mi(d)st of Seoraksan National Park

In Seoraksan National Park, towering, jagged peaks jut into layers of clouds overhead. Waterfalls pour off the rocky cliffs, and clear waters flow, carving paths through the valleys. Encompassing 373 km of land, Seoraksan has, throughout history, been a sacred place for Buddhist pilgrimages and monastic life, as well as a muse for artists who have...
Hiking, Gochujang and Buddhists with swords

Hiking, Gochujang and Buddhists with swords

With the vibrant fall foliage currently dotting the Korean countryside in shades of gold, crimson and burnt orange, I embarked on a weekend getaway with Adventure Korea to the county of Sunchang, located in North Jeolla province. A number of traditional Korean foods originated in North Jeolla province, including bibimbap, mixed vegetables with rice, and...