7 things to do this winter in and around Seoul – Go beyond the Capital

Posted on October 18, 2010

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5) Go Beyond the Capital

Dwarfed as it is by China to its North and Japan to its South-East, and portrayed in an old saying as being a shrimp between whales, it’s no wonder that many South Koreans think that their country is ‘small’, and I generally laugh at this considering where I come from. However, it is true that a great deal of the country can be visited as a day trip from Seoul, and this not only because of the fact that distances are not great, but also because public transport, such as buses and trains, are frequent, cheap, comfortable and efficient. Through I stayed a month in South Korea, I must say that I was so taken by Seoul that I didn’t really travel much beyond it, save for a few memorable exceptions. I long to go back though. I just can’t get enough. The following are a few ideas for great day trips, but there are many more options you can discover by yourself:

– Visit Chuncheon and take a ferry ride across Soyang lake. For a spiritual experience, hike up the mountain until you reach Cheongpyeongsa Buddhist temple. Make sure to take the unavoidable picture with the bronze statue of a lady holding a snake along the way.

Getting there – approximately 1 hour 45 min from Seoul by train

 

– Cross the country and head to seaside Sokcho for its celebrated fish market and raw fish restaurants, take a walk along Sokcho beach, wild and moody on chilly winter days and, if you have time, explore the nearby Seoraksan national park with its row of misty mountains.

Getting there – approximately 4 hours and a half by bus

        

– Spend the day at the Seoul Grand Park, which consists of very large zoo and the park land around it. You don’t necessarily have to go to the zoo, (though I personally enjoyed it – the place is very good value for money and it takes ages to explore), but can hike around the park’s hills or visit the nearby National Museum of Contemporary Art.

Getting there – approximately 45 minutes by subway from City Hall

– Go back in time with a trip to the Korean Folk Village in Suwon. This is no dusty, traditional recreation of ancient houses and objects, but is in fact a living museum, where you will find actors dressed in period clothes, going about their business as they would have done centuries ago. At set times during the day, you can also witness a traditional wedding ceremony.

Getting there – 1 hour and 30 minutes from Seoul by subway plus bus

Have you got any other day trip suggestions from Seoul which you’ve done or you want to do? Let me know by leaving a comment, and I’ll visit the next time I’m in South Korea.

-Text and Photography by Denise Pulis @ www.travelwithdenden.wordpress.com

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Posted in: Chuncheon, Seoul, Sokcho