If you read the last post about Less Touristy Things to do in Seoul, you get the drill. I am not saying that these alternatives are BETTER than their more touristy cousins in Korea, but I can definitely assure you that you will be one of the few foreigners experiencing these places. The last post included places within Seoul or within a short day trip, so this one will exclusively be limited to places outside of Seoul.
Historical City -> Skip Gyeongju, go to Kongju and Buyeo
The first unification of Korea was arguably accomplished by Read more →
Opinion and Background:
Towards foreigners, Mexicans seem united in their love for their country. However, amongst themselves, distinct (but friendly) battle lines are drawn showing off specific city pride, with everyone claiming that their city is the most beautiful and unique in Mexico. While its easy to brush this off as typical over aggrandizement of one’s hometown, it is actually quite remarkable how different Mexican cities can look compared to each other, and for once, the hype is justified.
Background and Opinion:
It is an understatement to say that these are “some big trees.” These behemoths tower higher than you can comfortably tilt your head up, making for a spectacular environment. There is nothing to really plan except for a camping stay near the beach, as this park is located along the northern Californian coast. The “avenue of giants” is a must as it is a side scenic route with some of the largest redwoods (you will see signs for it is you are driving up Pacific Coast Highway 1), some of which you can literally drive through! There are however two downsides.
1) This redwoods area contains the tallest known tree (and consequently, living thing) on Earth. However, due to past vandalism, its location is kept secret from the general public.
2) Accessibility on any sort of a modest budget is out of the question. Like pretty much anything worth seeing in the US, you have to drive to it (foreigners would have to rent a car). Being near the border of Oregon and California, it’s hardly “around the corner.”
Seoul is the city I currently live in, so naturally, I have a lot of great things to say about it. Here are three more things to do in Southern Seoul using the Express Bus Terminal Subway Exit as a reference point. I am using that station as a starting point because it is a good central location in the South side of Seoul, and a likely location for visitors who take the long distance buses to locations outside of Seoul to places like Yeoju (King Sejong’s Tomb). However, you can of course see these any time you are in southern Seoul. This is essentially a “part 3” post, so in case you missed the first two articles, they are here, and here.
1) Bongeunsa Temple and Temple Stay
Bongeunsa is always decorated with lanterns. (credit wikipedia)
This is the main Buddha statue in the temple (credit: Wikipedia)
While it feels calm inside, you are still in the heart of the city. The sky scrappers of Seoul are clearly visible. (credit: Wikipedia)
Many temples in Korea have stone pagodas in the front. This temple has been around for hundreds of years. (credit: Seoulistic.com)
While this is a different temple, the picture is meant to show a temple stay experience. Here, the monks are doing their afternoon prayers in Haeinsa Temple.
Bongeunsa is one of the largest Buddhist temples in Seoul. Despite what websites like tripadvisor might tell you, it is actually quite easy to find a Buddhist temple in Seoul. However, just like you wouldn’t tour just any regular church, most Buddhist temples are meant for meditating or praying, not tourism. This one however is quite impressive for its size and history given that it is in the heart of Seoul. Most of the other important temples in Korea, such as Haeinsa Temple near Daegu (article coming soon) or Bulguksa Temple near Gyeongju (also coming soon) are quite far from the city and are deserving of a trip in their own right. Bongeunsa however, is perfect for people on a “time budget” who don’t have an extra day to visit far away temples.
Three things were not enough, so here are three more things you can do in Venice. Why didn’t I just make a list of 6 things to do in Venice? Well, it is easier for me to handle three at a time, and I think it’s easier for you, the reader, to get bite sized information than an overwhelming list. I digress:
1) Visit Murano or Burano
The islands of Murano and Burano are islets near Venice. They are part of the municipality that governs Venice but maintains a unique, less crowded culture. Murano is known for its production of glass.
I must admit that I was not originally impressed with Murano. It was sold to me as a better version of Venice. In fact, it is like Venice, but smaller, who would want that? Now that I think of it though, maybe some people would (after visiting Venice enough time). Murano is famous for its continuing tradition as a glass producer. There are still plenty of shops who offer tours for 5 Euro and produce some of the finest glass in Italy. While I didn’t personally have time to visit Burano, I have been assured that it is similar, which is why I clumped them into a single entry.