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Beyond Seoul – a traveler’s guide

Bulguksa Temple Gyeongyu
Beyond Seoul – a traveler’s guide

Seoul is a round-the-clock powerhouse city whose inhabitants have a firm work hard, play hard mentality. With that much energy propelling the city forward, it’s not surprising that South Korea is Asia’s 3rd largest economy.  Away from the city, however, tranquility is within easy reach. Here are our recommendations for those who revel in elegance and a slower pace.


Gyeongju was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Silla (57 BC – 935 AD) and the fourth largest city in the world.  It is now home to some of the best Buddhist art in the Far East. Often compared to Kyoto, Gyeongju is a museum without walls where visitors time travel back a thousand years and get a sense of Korean court life. Cherry blossom viewing in Gyeongju is spectacular.

Darangee is a small well-preserved village in the southernmost area of west Namhae-gun, and features the extraordinary sight of over one hundred tiny fields terraced on a steep mountain slope against the open sea.

Uleung Island, or, as it is nicknamed “Mysterious Island,” is easily accessible from Seoul.  Unusual rock formations, dramatic shore cliffs and spectacular waterfalls adorn the island’s famous Seaside Road. Visitors who walk or bike their way around Uleung Island are richly rewarded in natural beauty and splendid vistas.

Damyang is another ‘slow city’ and home of a dense bamboo forest. Eight trails around the forest offer eight different themes to saunter through. If you peer closely between the bamboo plants, you may spot green tea shoots that grow from the dew that drips off the bamboo leaves, known as Jukro tea. The Juknokwon observatory in the middle of the thicket occasionally hosts Jukro tea tasting events.

Boseong   Almost half of Korea’s tea is produced in the rolling fields of Boseong, which is so scenic it has also provided the backdrop of many Korean television shows and movies.  Green tea-inclusive specialties such as fresh green tea ice cream and green tea pork belly are popular treats, but it is the spectacular views of the tea fields that draw visitors.  A green tea festival is held every May.

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