Why foodies, shopaholics and lovers will have a gala time in South Korea
If you are planning to visit South Korea, don't forget to try the meals prepared by monks and re-live the history of the country.
1. WALKING IN THE MANJANGGUL CAVES: Manjanggul Caves are located in Gimnyeong-ri, Gujwaeup, Jeju City and is 23 m in breadth and 30 m in height.
Jeju Island is created entirely from volcanic eruptions approximately 2 million years ago and it is really exciting to walk in a tube from which lava used to flow millions of years ago. A UNESCO world heritage site they are one the finest lava tunnels of the world.
In photo: Take a walk in the Manjanggul Caves
2. SHOPPING IN SEOUL: Be it the international brands at Itawon or the markets of Namdaemun the option to shop just don't seem to run out. If you fancy earthenware, souvenirs, calligraphy materials, accessories, antique furniture then Insadong is the place to head to. A narrow street is also known for its antique stores, traditional teahouses and art galleries.
The largest market is the Dongdaemun Market, which supplies to thousands of retail fashion shops around the whole of Korea. Near Dongdaemun market are several large mall complexes that are a shoppers paradise. The best part of these complexes is that they are open till 4am.
In photo: Visit the markets of Namdaemun
3. BARU GONGYANG -FORMAL MONASTIC MEALS IN SEOUL: Some people may say that having a complete vegetarian meal in Seoul is very difficult but we were pleasantly surprised when our guide informed that we would be having a full 10 course vegetarian meal at Balwoo Gongyang, a restaurant across the street of Jogyesa Temple where monks cook your meal.
Baru Gongyang is radically ecofriendly. Each dish oozed with flavour. The salads, soup, pancakes, kimchi everything was ultra delicious. A typical 10 course meal would include brown rice porridge, soft buns jeoljip & chilli sauce, Lotus Leaf Rice, Seaweed in miso gold noma water and Fruit chips and sweet potato chips.
In photo: Indulge in 10 course meals at Balwoo Gongyang
4. GYEONGBOKGUNG PALACE: Gyeongbokgung Palace was the first royal palace built by the Joseon Dynasty, three years after the Joseon Dynasty was founded. Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace was located at the heart of newly appointed capital of Seoul.
An effort by the Korean government has been ongoing since 1990 to rebuild and restore the buildings that were destroyed during the Japanese occupation. Be there to witness the Change of guards Ceremony. The reenactment of the Changing of the Royal Guard and the patrol ritual are performed every day between 10am and 3pm in front of Heungnyemun (Gate).
In photo: Enjoy a leisurely walk at Gyeongbokgung Palace
5. SUNRISE POINT @JEJU ISLAND: Jeju to South Korea is what Hawaii is to USA. The weather on Jeju Island remains significantly warmer than the mainland even during the cold winter months.
Before the invention of modern means of Jeju's phenomenal natural beauty, historical legacies, quirky museums, and array of water sports make it one of the best vacation spots in Korea. Probably the most famous among them is Jeju Island's Seongsan Ilchulbong, which is also known as Sunrise Peak.
The striking archetypal tuff cone was formed by hydrovolcanic eruptions about 5,000 years ago. It can take around 25 mins to climb and reach to the top of it. The view from top is truly breathtaking — on one side clear is blue sea and the quaint Jeju town landscape on the other. Don't forget to buy orange flavoured chocolates at the foot of the hill. Yum!
In photo: Watch a beautiful sunrise at Jeju Island