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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top 7 Out-of-the-Box Experiences in Korea That Are Worthwhile

By:  Brittany S

Traveling to a different country doesn't always have to mean you want to visit the tallest building, location where something was filmed, or museums (or something equally historical and/or insightful).  Why not do some of the fun stuff that the locals do?  Doesn't saying you ran with the bulls in Barcelona sound so much cooler than you watched a bullfight in your home country?  Here are a few ways to make these kind of memories in Korea.

7--Visit “Dr. Fish”  (Gangnam, S. Korea)

Although you can do this in other countries, I’ve read the best reviews about doing it in Korea.  Stick your feet in a tank with two different kinds of fish that will eat the dead skin—a natural pedicure!

Things to Do:
Wear loose clothes so you can roll them up and keep them dry.
Enjoy gelato/waffle/coffee/smoothie before you go to the tank.
Keep a tight grip on your camera so you don’t drop it in the water!

Things to Remember:
Don’t put on a lot of moisturizer the day you get ready to go.

I wouldn’t recommend coming all the way to Korea just to do this, but if you are already planning a trip there, why not take things to the next level?  The pilot is British so don’t worry about language barriers.  You will either fly a 2 or 4-seater plane with his assistance.  It’s pretty cool!

Things to Do:
Dress in layers. The temperature will vary on and off the ground.
Taxi the plane on the runway.
Take control of the plane in the air, both turning & balancing it out.
Wear a headset and communicate with Air Traffic Control and your co-pilot.

Things to Remember:
Take your time moving the controls. It only requires small adjustments.
The instructor has a set of controls, too.  You’re in good hands.
You can only take pictures in designated areas ONLY.

5--Visit the “Love Castle” (Gyeongju, S. Korea)
I couldn’t help but giggle like a schoolgirl at this museum.  From penis chairs, sex toys, and karma sutra instructional videos to fetish displays and animal porn, this museum has enough to keep you smirking.  In spite of its description, it’s not a sleezy place and you will oftentimes see timid couples going there for a date.

Things to Do:
He's such a good kisser. ;-)
Take at least one inappropriate picture with a statue (oh c’mon…you’re at a SEX MUSEUM!)
Be prepared to be shocked, embarrassed, and/or curious, etc.
Go with someone you’re dating or make it a girls’ night out
Watch the kama sutra video while sitting on penis chairs in a dimly lit room

Things to Remember:
Don’t do anything there that you wouldn’t want others to find out about (employers, etc).
This place mainly focuses on the aesthetics of sex and love.

4--Eat LIVE Octopus(Seoul, S. Korea)
Ok I’m not gon’ lie, I haven’t done this one…yet.  I have to work my way up to it! Not only is eating live octopus a little like something off “Fear Factor” for many of us (it actually was a Fear Factor challenge), but if eaten incorrectly, you could choke and die!  It is only second to blowfish as the most dangerous food to eat in the world. (Now you see why I’m not in a rush to cross this one off my list.  Maybe I’ll do a few more of these and THEN do this one…*nervous laugh*)

Things to Do:
Have a buddy record a video of you eating it.  Some people make really funny faces.

Things to Remember:
“Death By Octopus” is not something you want on your tombstone. CHEW!

3--Boryeong Mud Festival (Boryeong, South Korea)
Korea has a festival for just about EVERYTHING.  But out of all their celebrations, this one draws the largest foreign crowd.  Head down to the beach and enjoy a day covered in mud!  From mud facials/massages to colored mud body paint to mud wrestling, there is plenty of excitement for people of all ages.  You’ll leave with your skin feeling great!

Things to Do:
Encourage someone you can release your pinned-up frustration on to mud wrestle with you.
Go down the giant mud slide—try not to scream or you will get mud in your mouth!
Turn yourself in and go to “mud prison.”
Enjoy the free concerts and other performances.
Visit the mud spa.
Party on the beach!
Get your body painted in colored mud.

Things to Remember:
Book your hotel or pension rooms EARLY.  Same thing applies for transportation both ways.
Don’t pack things that you’d be devastated if they were ruined.
Wear sunscreen and swimwear that can handle you being active.
Don’t get your hair done right before you go. ;-)

2--DMZ Tour (DMZ, S. Korea)
DMZ, or Demilitarized Zone is a true misnomer.  By definition, a demilitarized zone is a place where all military presence or function has been removed and forbidden.  Then why is this place the most heavily militarized border in the world?  This area serves as the buffer zone between North and South Korea.  Not only do I recommend this as a great historical site that explains a lot of the story behind Korea’s division and current relations, but for some, it presents a unique thrill of being in a dangerous place.  Even though there are rules and agreements in place, time and time again incidents have happened from someone disobeying orders, resulting in death at times.  Depending on the current relationship between the two countries, you may even be able to go into North Korea; but be careful.

Things to Do:
Tour one of the three tunnels open to tourists (4 tunnels in total)
Take pictures with soldiers (ask permission first)
Read up/watch mini documentaries on the history of that area
Buy souvenir(s)
See “propaganda village” in N. Korea as well as the large flagpole
Go to the JSA (Joint Security Area)
Visit the Gyeongui (KORAIL) line that connects the two Koreas

Things to Remember:
Sign up to go with a tour
Have your passport and/or ARC handy
Dress conservatively and neatly (check your tour’s exact dress code)
Take pictures in designated areas ONLY

1--Do a Temple Stay (all around S. Korea)
You don’t have to be Buddhist (or be concerned that they will try to convert you) to do a temple stay.  Korea has a few world renowned temples that are foreigner/non-Buddhist friendly.  I highly recommend Haein Temple (near Daegu).

Things to Do:
Take a vow of silence.
108 Prostrations (Yup, you’ll bow 108 times!)
Wake up at 3am to begin your day as a monk.
Practice meditating.
Talk to monk(s).
Take a hike.

Things to Remember:
All your actions should be with your “mind” (it’s the heart, not the brain).
Make sure you eat all the food you put on your tray.
Adhere to the temple rules.
No cameras during official ceremonies.
Dress conservatively.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. But I definitely pass on #4!