Destination: Cheonggwonsa - a shrine, a tomb, and a forest to boot

Like most shrines located in Seoul, Cheonggwonsa (sa can mean either temple or shrine, thus Cheonggwon Shrine) preserves memories of the past so as to be understood for the present and future. While not precisely a tourist site - and definitely not touristy in one area - it's a quiet and peaceful place to get away from city life.

Destination: Hullyeonwan Park - a skater's dream

Just a quick afternoon trip to a new place while passing through a part of downtown I hadn't been to before. While probably well-known to the trick skateboarders and rollerbladers, it's not someplace that makes a lot of tourist publications (though the local maps on the street do show it).

Destination: Ppuri Park (Daejeon)

Offering a look into the origins of Korean family names, Ppuri Park (뿌리 공원) combines history and beauty in Daejeon. With 136 statues recognizing as many family names and origins across the Korean peninsula, it's a chance for the locals to learn more about where their family names come from. For us foreign visitors, it's a chance to learn more about how much Korean family names mean to them.

Destination: the NEW Yeouido Han River Park

After being closed for nearly a year, the Yeouido Han River Park is back and better than ever - mostly. Yesterday was considered the grand opening of the park to the public, and unbeknownest to me, there was to be a fairly grand ceremony to go with it.

Since the ceremonies were still a couple hours away, I had time to walk about the renovated areas. Gone are the stairs leading down to the water's edge and that angled wall with blocks sticking out. Instead, you now have this:

Destination: Yuldong Park (Bundang / Seongnam)

Yuldong Park is somewhat known for being the only place to bungee jump in the area - but there's plenty more to do beyond jumping off with a giant rubber band attached to your body. Opened in 1999, the park offers a large lake, a 4km walking trail around said lake, and a few surprises up the hill.

Destination: Korea International Art Fair (ends today)

Updated slightly to include link to the KIAF website and a fellow bloggers report on the event.

The Costume of Painter - Phantom of Museum Au Bouguereau little thief - Oil and Lenticular on canvas by Bae Joon Sung.

Destination: Seoul Forest, part 2

Author's note: Note a new feature starting with Destination posts at the bottom!

Destination: the quieter side of Cheonggyecheon

While the more urban side of Cheonggyecheon is well-positioned in the heart of downtown Seoul, the stream continues for kilometers more outside of the urban jungle. Even though the overhead roads remind you that you're still in the city, it's still a unexpected pleasure. How many major metropolitan cities can boast a stream and a quiet place to reflect in just minutes from a subway station?

Start by taking in the clear, mostly still water. Once you're safely away from the commuters on the roads overhead, you'll have a little less on your mind. Also consider taking some self-portraits from one of several docks that dot the stream.

Destination: Bomunsa

Correction: The Bomun order is Korea's only order of Buddhist nuns (HT to Gomushin Girl), not Asia's. See the comments for more.

Destination: Paris Park / Omok Park

Parc de Paris in French, Pah-ree gong-won in Korean, or Paris Park - anyway you say it, it's still a beautiful park. Originally built in 1987 inside an area with many apartment buildings, it serves as a symbol of friendship between France and Korea. Leave it to Korea for getting the gesture right - it was built only a couple years after Seorae Village got its start (Frenchtown, if you will) - albeit on the other side of Seoul. In any case, the sentiment seems to have been appreciated.

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