Saturday, January 11, 2014

South Korea, the Seoul of Asia

After I picked up my boyfriend from the airport, we spent a week in Okinawa visiting the tourist sites before heading to what has easily become my favorite city in East Asia, Seoul, South Korea. I could also be slightly biased towards South Korea because I have an affinity of Korean music, dramas, and makeup. However, in general, Seoul is a fabulous city that creates the perfect balance of internationalization while retaining it's culture. 

DMZ Tour

In the past, friends have expressed their concern over my decisions to live in Japan, a nation fairly close to North Korea. Therefore, I was unfazed when my boyfriend's friends and family also expressed their concern that I had booked a tour to the DMZ (the boarder between North and South Korea), knowing that last year Kim Jeoung Un threaten the U.S. Unless you visit South Korea or the DMZ you'll never gain first-hand knowledge of the situation in South Korea and see how people in Seoul are unfazed to the craziness that goes on up North. 

We woke up early and walked to the Lotte Hotel, to check in for the tour. Although this was the same tour company from my trip last year, they included an additional trip to the War Memorial of Korea. The memorial/museum was immense, but we only had an hour to explore. Therefore, my boyfriend and I quickly separated from the tour group, ran around the museum and back outside to see the display of airplanes, ships, tanks, and helicopters that were used during the Korean War. 

After the museum, we traveled north to eat lunch. During our trip up, our tour guide (the same one I had before), spoke about the war and several defenses that South Korea has in place to prevent invasions. The most interesting were the tank walls, which are walls that are stratigically placed on various roads to block tanks invading from the North. 

This is a tank wall. The legs blast away, dropping this ridiculously thick wall down
Lunch was held at a quaint little restaurant where I was served bipimbap (veggie options FTW) and my boyfriend was served a bulgogi stew. After lunch, we had a short stop at Imjingak Park. The park has many statues and monuments regarding the Korean War. There is also a Popeye's (I know, the heck?), an observation deck, a pool in the shape of the Korean peninsula, and even a mini amusement park. This might have been my favorite part of the tour as snow beautifully blanketed the park. I had not seen snow since I was 18, so this was very exciting for me. 

Once inside the DMZ, we watched a brief history of the Joint Security Area and signed waivers. We were guided by U.S. (United Nations) soldiers to visit the boarder between North Korea and South Korea. I don't want to go into too much detail, but we were fortunate to see North Korean soldiers as well as visit the JSA building and figuratively cross into North Korea. On a loca note, I personally got a lot of joy while waving goodbye to the U.S. and South Korean soldiers. Our bus would stop by a check point, and as we passed I would smile and wave goodbye to the soldiers. They would look slightly surprised for a moment, smile and wave back. When you have a stressful job, wouldn't you like a smile and wave from an attractive member of the opposite sex? 

They say traveling is like knowledge; the more you see, the more you know you haven't seen. Also, that you shouldn't break in new shoes when traveling. Unfortunately, there are those who have no interest in seeing the world outside of their comfort zone and will never know the terrible mistake of breaking in shoes while traveling. Don't be that person. Here are some more pictures of my trip to inspire you to get out there and see the world!

Shopping in Myeongdong
N Seoul Tower
Padlock Love Wall
Temple in Seoul

1 comment:

  1. 먹튀사이트 완전분석-먹튀해부학-먹튀검증 의 새로운 패러다임을 제시합니다 먹튀사이트 검증 피해공유사이트