Korea’s Five Best Festivals, Period

Korea’s Five Best Festivals, Period

If I am quite honest, most Korean festivals are two steps short of being great or even good for that matter. They are either too crowded (Seoul’s International Fireworks Festival), completely lost objectivity (Boseong Green Tea Festival), or a foreign drunk-fest (Boryeong Mud Festival). If you’re looking for something worthy of traveling half way across the world, the following festivals will not disappoint.

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Gunung Mulu National Park – Evaluation

Gunung Mulu National Park – Evaluation

Deer Cave Mulu National ParkLocation: Mulu, Sarawak, Malaysia

Visited: July 28-31

Site Type: Natural

Inscribed: 2000

Background and Opinion:

Gunung Mulu is one of two National Parks in Malaysia that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with the other being the far more traveled Kinabalu National Park. It contains dozens of caves comprising one of the top ten longest cave systems in the world (215 km long) and possibly the largest by volume. On top of its impressive caves is a forest (530 square kms) with enough flora (3,500 species) and fauna (21,000 species) to keep nature lovers (especially insect lovers) pleased for days on end.

Bat Exodus Gunung Mulu NP

The 2.5 million strong “bat exodus” every night is as fantastic as it sounds and even if you’re expecting it, nothing quite prepares you for an hour long stream of bats of over a dozen species gushing out of Deer Cave to consume 30,000 kilos of bugs a night.

Clearwater Cave Mulu
A river flows through Clearwater Cave.

Enough with the numbers though, here is my not so technical evaluation: It is freakin’ mind-blowing. The best time to go is yesterday, but the second best time is now!

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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