This is the second part of the Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival, and I know what you’re thinking. What will you possibly post on this part 2 post that wasn’t already covered in the first Jindo post. Well, given that I did take some video on this trip, I thought this would be the perfect time start the youtube channel I talked about in the first website update. It is my first try at video, so I apologize in advance for the quality. While my camera is supposed to shoot in true HD, the format is sometimes difficult to work with.

Video #1: A parade of people carry banners across the sea road.

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Panoramic picture of people walking across the water from Jindo to Modo
Panoramic picture of people walking across the water.

Korea seems to have a festival for everything. There is a butterfly festival, a lantern festival, about seven cherry blossom festivals, and that is just in April and May. Much like visiting too many temples in a short time, you can also get festival-ed out! The Jindo “Miracle Sea Road Festival” however, is truly unique. Every year around late April [This year, on April 25-28], when the tide is at its lowest, a magical road appears that connects Jindo Island with Modo Island. Compare this map provided  by google, with this one the day of the festival.

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This is the 2013 OUTDATED version of the top things to do in Seoul (maintained for sentimental value). Follow the link to the new TOP 50 Things to do in Seoul.

#30 Old Seoul Station

Old Seoul Station #30
The beautiful Old Seoul Station building from the early 1900s.

The Old Seoul Station started operation more than 100 years ago. It has recently been reopened to the public after years of remodeling. It currently sits right next to the modern Seoul Station train hub, the main train station to go anywhere out of Seoul, and is quite interesting to get a good view of the two buildings simultaneously from a distance. As they were built almost a hundred years apart, you can see the development of Korean architecture from 1900 (European based) to today (almost futuristic). Unfortunately, for the time being, there is nothing really inside the old building besides a few modern art exhibitions (which isn’t my type of art) so the pretty building (and a lot of imagination) will have to do.

1) The map of #21-30

#29 The Blue House Read more

Haeinsa Temple and the Tripitaka Koreana
One of the oldest temples in Korea that has never been destroyed by invasion. Visited June, 2012
One of the oldest temples in Korea that has never been destroyed by invasion. Visited June, 2012
Visited: June, 2012
Background and Opinion:
The Temple of Haein (‘sa’ means ‘temple’) is probably the most important Buddhist temple in all of Korea. It is located within the surprisingly scenic Gayansan National Park. While very famous among Koreans, it’s lack of international prestige is appalling, since it contains the Tripitaka Koreana. It is an amazing artifact, and uncharacteristic of Korean treasures by being original and not a rebuilt replica. It is a set of over 80,000 woodblocks that are the oldest known complete and flawless  Buddhist Sutra, scriptures which serve as a guide to the Buddhist way of life. The only downside of this site is that photos of the Tripitaka Koreana itself are not allowed.
One great, additional activity to do is a “temple stay,” where you practice the customs of monks for a full day. This temple is perfect to combine that experience with visiting this UNESCO world heritage site.

One note I must make (for backpackers that travel with everything you own) is that Haeinsa is a good three km (1.6 miles) from the bus stop out of Daegu. This means you have to hike a good while uphill to even get into the temple, so be prepared to sweat a little. In my opinion, it adds to the feeling of accomplishment if you had to work for it.Haein Temple (Haeinsa) was constructed in 802 AD by followers of Korean Buddhism (Zen Buddhism). The land surrounding Haeinsa was awarded to the temple which has an additional 20 satellite temples (one of them pictured below). Currently the land is co-owned by Haeinsa and the Korean Government. In 1236, work began to make the Tripitaka to be copied and replicated for others to read. This ‘sutra‘ which is analogous to a Christian bible, was carved by hand in over eighty thousand wooden blocks, with over 50 million Chinese characters (hanja), as it predated the invention of the Korean alphabet (hangeul). Since it is the oldest known ‘sutra’ to be intact and flawless, it is essentially the oldest known version of the ‘Buddhist bible’ to again borrow the Christian comparison.

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Gyeongju Historic Areas

This pond is in the very middle of the historical center. When it was drained, so many relics were found that a museum was created to hold them all.

Location: Gyeongju, South Korea
March, 2011
September, 2010

Background and Opinion:
The Historical City of Gyeongju is a nice city, with historical sites that include the oldest observatory in Asia, an ancient ice storage, Shilla tombs, and Buddhist temples. It is one of the best places to go to if you like Korean history. With that said, it also suffers from being possibly the most overrated place in South Korea. While it’s definitely worth seeing, it’s revered as a very beautiful ancient city with ancient Shilla (the old Korean Kingdom) buildings. In reality, besides the artifacts I just mentioned, it’s just like any other Korean town. In addition, sites like the Anapji Pond are not original as they have been destroyed in past Japanese invasions.

Gyeongju was founded around the first century BC. When it unified the three major kingdoms on the Korean peninsula, it became the first, truly unified Korean state (The Shilla Kingdom) which continued to prosper well into 1000 AD. The ruling clan at the time was named “Park” (박), the source of that surname. The “Silla Kim” clan was also very powerful, which accounts for 1/3 of all people with the surname “Kim” (김) (currently distinguished as “Gyeongju Kim”).

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