Thursday, September 11, 2008

Top 10 Lists - from the Seoul Podcast

So, as announced before, a rash of poisonings and death threats kept the normal, important bloggers from joining Joe on the Seoul Podcast, so I ended up as their guest last week. As part of the venture, we all made a top ten list of things to do and of things to see while in Korea, which I'll repost below. Ten was a difficult number to stick to, and some of my ten are so unbelievably facetious I ought to be horsewhipped. I also can't claim to have actually done all of them. I might have been a tad more serious, or a tad more thorough, but this all came at the end of may well go down as one of the most ridiculous days of my life, and my brain was not operating at full capacity. I know I missed being eloquent or enlightening, so let's hope I at least managed to be amusing:

Ten Things to Do in Korea


10. Convince an old man to give you a ride on his motorbike
9. Korean booking club *
8. Innertube down Cheonggyecheon River
7. Ruefully mock a Korean child by refusing to speak in English
6. Ride a yellow bus around Namsan Mountain
5. Eat a live octopus
4. Jjimjilbang (Sauna) and get an exfoliating skin scrub *
3. Check out or
2. Sleep in a nasty yeogwan
1. A Korean


10. Rooms (Jjimjilbang, Noraebang, DVD Bang) *
9. Go shopping at Dongdaemun Market
8. Eat all the food samples at the Lotte Department Store in Myeong-dong
7. Get kicked out of Lotte Department Store
6. Go on the psycho Chucky doll ride at Everland
5. Get into a fight with a drunk ajosshi while eating odeng
4. Climb over the tanks and planes at the Korean War Museum
3. Korean booking club
2. Steal a Korean flag from a lamppost on August 15th
1. Go fishing at the Cheonggyecheon River


10. Sunday at the Seoul Racecourse Park
9. Korean nightclub *
8. Taekwondo

How to Participate in the Taekwondo Experiential Program for Foreigners

The Taekwondo experiential program for foreigners is held three times a day (10:30, 13:30, and 15:30, except Mondays) in Gyeonghuigung Palace until December. Each 90-minute session accommodates up to 40 people.
The sessions each offer a different program: the 10:30 session covers basic taekwondo moves; the 13:30 session, self-defense techniques; and the 15:30 session, breaking techniques. Participants can choose one or more sessions or take part in all three. Everyone receives a taekwondo certificate and badge upon completion of the session.

Visitors wishing to participate can visit the website of Kukkiwon ( to reserve online. The price is 15,000 per program. Gyeonghuigung Palace can be reached via Subway Line 5, Gwanghwamun Station, exit 7. It is a 15-minute walk from the subway station.

7. All-nighter in Hongdae
6. Temple stay
Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism
5. Hike a mountain (Seoraksan) *
4. Noraebang *
3. Experience Chuseok
2. Jjimjilbang (especially charcoal sauna) *
1. Go to a country restaurant/see the countryside

Ten Things to See in Korea


10. Watch someone else eat live octopus
9. Watch a pansori
8. Dinosaur footprints in Goseong *
7. Crash a wedding at a wedding hall
6. Bomunsa Temple and Seokguram Grotto on Buddha’s Birthday *
5. Namsan Mountain in Gyeongju
4. Byeongsan Seowon Confucian Academy in Andong
3. All the national museums
2. Anapji Pond at night
1. Watch a shaman ceremony


10. Suwon’s Hwaseong Fortress
9. Seoraksan Mountain
8. The Island of Uido
7. Anywhere in Jeollanam-do
6. Bulguksa and Seokguram Grotto *
5. The DMZ
4. Seven Luck Casino
3. Dinosaur footprints *
2. Submarines at Seoguipo
1. Woljeongsa Temple


10. Yongsan Electronics Market
9. Myeong-dong on Christmas Eve or Apgujeong’s Rodeo Street
8. The DMZ *
7. Seoul from any high place (Namsan Tower, mountain)
6. Folk Village in Suji
5. Changdeokgung Palace
4. Insa-dong’s hidden alleys
3. Korea National Museum *
2. Cheonggyecheon River at night
1. The city of Gyeongju *

* Some overlap with other lists

I should also say that none of us knew the content of the others' lists until we recorded, and had I known Gyeongju was going to come up so often, I would have given my love elsewhere. S I've traveled pretty extensively around the country, so I'm kind of ashamed for not getting some other sites out there . . . but if you're a tourist coming for just a few weeks, I'd still have to say that your time is probably best served in Seoul and Gyeongju and Andong, simply because they pack the most sites and the most historically significant sites together. But for those of us who are lucky enough to have time to really get out there and explore:

Heinsa (this should have been on my top ten list!), Ulleung-do, Sogwangsa, Gangwha-do, Sogni-san, Gongju, Gimhae, Chuncheon (the best 팥빙수 I've ever had is from a little place outside the front gate of 강원대), Damyang, Namwon . . .

dang, this is starting to get out of hand.

No comments: