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Korea

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© Lonely Planet Publications
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© Lonely Planet Publications
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Korea
Asian Tiger, a seriously wired country or the world’s most heavily fortified border? All are
accurate descriptions of South Korea though none fully captures the essence of this fascinating, complex nation. Social relations may be grounded in ancient Confucianism but South
Korea is most decidedly a forward thinking country thanks to its hurry-hurry approach to
everything, an insatiable appetite for technological advancement and an indomitable cando attitude. No one knows where the country is headed, but it’s fast-forward all the way.
That’s what makes South Korea so exiting and at times unnerving; it’s a country of endless
possibilities with limits imposed only by you.
New York might be the city that never sleeps, but Seoul is the city that never stops. Late
night traditional markets, early morning cinemas and 24-hour public baths are all available
before and after you’ve visited the galleries and toured the palaces. There’s an infectious
energy in Seoul and it’s easy to get caught up in the Korean joie de vivre, one best experienced with a group over a barbecue dinner and several bottles of soju (the local, distilled
brew) to bridge cultural gaps, nullify language barriers and build a spirit of conviviality that
could last well into the morning, and perhaps a lifetime.
Few international travellers explore the countryside, which is a tragedy and a blessing. Serene temples, picturesque mountains, lush rice paddies, unspoiled fishing villages and endless
hiking opportunities are so far off the beaten track, it’s unlikely you’ll meet any Westerners
on the road less travelled. English-language services are rare in the countryside, but that’s
part of the charm. Come as an explorer, seek out adventure, cut your own trail. Challenge
yourself and you may develop an appreciation for South Korea’s rich cultural tapestry and
a newfound sense of personal freedom, the hallmarks of any truly great journey.

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© Lonely Planet Publications
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Getting Started
Squashed onto its small patch of hilly peninsula, South Korea is a compact
nation, just an hour by plane from north to south, so it’s easy to tour around
the country’s bundle of delights. Hike through green forested mountains and
national parks, listen to shaven-headed monks chanting in remote, colourful Buddhist temples, and step ashore onto unspoiled islands populated by
bronzed fisher folk who turn into chef...
Asian Tiger, a seriously wired country or the world’s most heavily fortified border? All are
accurate descriptions of South Korea though none fully captures the essence of this fascinat-
ing, complex nation. Social relations may be grounded in ancient Confucianism but South
Korea is most decidedly a forward thinking country thanks to its hurry-hurry approach to
everything, an insatiable appetite for technological advancement and an indomitable can-
do attitude. No one knows where the country is headed, but it’s fast-forward all the way.
That’s what makes South Korea so exiting and at times unnerving; it’s a country of endless
possibilities with limits imposed only by you.
New York might be the city that never sleeps, but Seoul is the city that never stops. Late
night traditional markets, early morning cinemas and 24-hour public baths are all available
before and after you’ve visited the galleries and toured the palaces. There’s an infectious
energy in Seoul and it’s easy to get caught up in the Korean
joie de vivre, one best experi-
enced with a group over a barbecue dinner and several bottles of soju (the local, distilled
brew) to bridge cultural gaps, nullify language barriers and build a spirit of conviviality that
could last well into the morning, and perhaps a lifetime.
Few international travellers explore the countryside, which is a tragedy and a blessing. Se-
rene temples, picturesque mountains, lush rice paddies, unspoiled fishing villages and endless
hiking opportunities are so far off the beaten track, it’s unlikely you’ll meet any Westerners
on the road less travelled. English-language services are rare in the countryside, but that’s
part of the charm. Come as an explorer, seek out adventure, cut your own trail. Challenge
yourself and you may develop an appreciation for South Korea’s rich cultural tapestry and
a newfound sense of personal freedom, the hallmarks of any truly great journey.
Ko re a
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