How to Explore Korea’s 12 UNESCO Sites Like a Pro

How to Explore Korea’s 12 UNESCO Sites Like a Pro

When thinking of a cultural getaway, South Korea is often overlooked. As of late though, UNESCO has taken notice and in this year’s meeting, it has been granted yet another World Heritage Site to this tiny country. This bumps its total count to 12, making it one of the most World Heritage Site dense countries in the world. Yeah, I made that term up, but its true! Let’s take a brief look at all of them and hopefully it will convince you to leap ahead of the tourism bandwagon and book your flight to Seoul. As a bonus, I also added some pro tips to maximize your experience at each one.

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Te Wahipounamu

Te Wahipounamu

Milford SoundLocation: Fiordland, South Island, New Zealand

Visited: April 17 – 24, 2015

Site Type: Natural

Inscribed: 1990

Background and Opinion:

Te Wahipounamu includes the four national parks of Fiordland (home of Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound), Mt. Cook, Mt. Aspiring, and Westland. Spanning 26,000 square kilometers, it is 1/10th the size of New Zealand, or roughly the size of Vermont. Calling it ‘massive’ is a bit of an understatement, and declaring it to be ‘impressive’ does not even begin to describe what a National Geographesque spectacle it is to your unprepared eyes. Call it the Angkor or Machu Picchu of nature. Yes, it is THAT good… and I never thought I’d say it… maybe even better. Read more

Hospicio Cabañas, Guadalajara

Hospicio Cabañas, Guadalajara

Patio Hospicio CabanasLocation: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

Visited: December 22, 2010

Site Type: Cultural

Inscribed: 1997

Background and Opinion:
Built in the later 18th century, Hospicio Cabañas was one of the first hospices in the world to provide care for orphans, the mentally ill, and the physically disabled. At a time when many governments around the world simply tossed their less fortunate aside to fend for themselves, Guadalajara decided to do things differently. This great leap forward in social welfare is one of the main reasons for the UNESCO World Heritage nod. The second reason lies in the main chamber where Jose Orozco, considered to be one of the grand masters of Mexican art, painted some of the most beautiful murals in the world. The examples here, along with his other murals are credited as having sparked an artistic renaissance in the country, inspiring artists across the country. Read more

Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines

Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines

SONY DSCLocation: Guanajuato, Mexico

Visited: December 26th, 2010

Site Type: Cultural

Inscribed: 1988

Background and Opinion:

 

Guanajuato’s history starts in the 1540s when huge deposits of silver were found in the region. Mines were quickly built and thousands came to collect the precious metal. Both the mines and the colonial era buildings still remain.

Going down to a silver mine
Going down to a silver mine

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Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex

Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex

PythonLocation: (Mostly) Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand

Visited: July 15-19, 2014

Site Type: Natural

Inscribed: 2005

 

This is one huge rolly polly!
This is one huge rolly polly!

Background and Opinion:

The ranges of Dong Phayayen and Khao Yai National Park make up one of the largest expanses of protected natural land in all of Thailand. They are home to hundreds of different species, including the endangered asian elephant, Vogel’s pit viper, and the pig-tailed macaque. While there are many places in Thailand where you can see these animals performing for the amusement of tourists, this is the eco-friendly way to go about it. Read more