It’s time for the fourth entry in my series of itinerary ideas for my potential trip to Japan and Korea later this year. Today I’m focusing on the Korean mainland, which I’ve colored red in the Google Maps screenshot below. Back in 2017 I visited Seoul and then took a train down to Busan (thankfully without seeing any zombies) but otherwise didn’t see much else of the Korean peninsula. For this trip I’ll again be in Seoul and Busan but I’m going to try to also visit at least two or three other places to get a fuller picture of Korea.
In all likelihood I’ll be starting my time in Korea by flying from Hokkaido to Seoul. In 2017 I saw a decent amount of the city and for this trip I’ll be doing a mix of revisiting some favorite spots from the former trip while also checking out new parts of the city, such as the Hongdae region. The main thing I need to do, however, is experience at least one eSports event. I meant to do this in 2017 but missed out so this time I will make certain that it happens. It doesn’t matter what game is being played—I just want to see what it’s like to be in the audience of the eSport capital of the world. While I’m in Seoul I might also do a day trip to somewhere nearby. On my last trip I visited the DMZ, and while that was a cool thing to do I’m not sure if I feel the need to do it again. Perhaps I should day trip to Incheon.
Suwon isn’t far from Seoul and might work better as a day trip but it might also be worth spending the night there. The big attractions of Suwon are the old city walls and the Hwaesong Fortress. Suwon’s old fortifications are a UNESCO world heritage site and the city almost became Korea’s capital but the king who built the walls died before the royal court was relocated.
Down in the southwestern part of Korea, Jeonju has a number of historic and cultural sites that have caught my eye, such as the Jeonju Hanok Village. Jeonju is also known for its food and might be a good place for me to try to expand my culinary horizons. People that know me know that I have a fairly small food palate but I’ll try to take some chances while in Korea to taste what the country has to offer.
I’m not much of a tea person but the Boseong tea fields look pretty spectacular from the photos I’ve seen online. Hiking around Boseong might also be interesting since it’s not as urban as some other parts of Korea. What could throw a wrench into this travel idea is the time of year I’ll be visiting. I don’t know if the tea fields will be worth visiting in late September/early October and it may turn out that I’m just in Korea at the wrong time to see them at their best.
The city of Gyeongju was the capital of the old Silla dynasty that ruled Korea from about 57 BC to 935 AD. Though the city has been damaged multiple times by war it is still one of the best places to see ancient Korean art and architecture. Gyeongju is about an hour north of Busan, so perhaps I’d visit it as a day trip, but like Suwon I might spend a single night there.
Just like 2017, Busan will probably be my last stop on the Korea mainland. Since I should be there earlier than I was in 2017 I’ll hopefully get to enjoy Busan’s beaches a bit more this time and like Seoul I’ll probably be revisiting some old spots while also checking out new ones. What I’m really hoping for is clear skies and a bright sun so that I can get some better photos of the Gamcheon Cultural Village and Headong Yonggungsa Temple. Maybe I’ll also go up Busan Tower this time.