Yangyang Traditional Market

Across Korea traditional markets are still a common feature. Taking place every five days in towns and even cities, the markets give a brief insight into an older part of Korea. For the most part these markets are straightforward occasions and possibly a bit like you could imagine in the so-called olden days, drawing in all the local populace for not only business but also social reasons.

Throughout you can see people meeting and doing business, while at the same time there is a good quantity of back slapping and hearty laughing by the stalls. There are rows and rows of people, mostly old women it has to be said, selling what is clearly the excess from their small gardens, and for them it seems to be as much a chance to get out and meet people, with the added benefit of actually making some money.

Walking Around Jumunjin – June 15, 2012

My Second Home in Korea – Jumunjin, Gangwon-do

I’ve been coming to Jumunjin in Gangwon-do as long as I’ve known Herself. She’s a local, but she hasn’t lived here since she finished highschool and moved to Seoul to go to university. Not long after we started hanging out together she sneaked me down here and we hung out at the beach in between the time she would spend with her family. It wasn’t long before we started to make regular trips here and these trips increased in frequency once I was formally introduced to her parents. Now I’d almost say I’m a local here. I don’t think too many of the real locals feel that way.

Destination: Taean-gun (Chungcheongnam-do)

You won’t confuse this area of Chungcheongnam-do with an active, happening getaway. That said, a night in a pension may be the cure for what ails you. The word pension implies a retiree’s monthly income, but can also refer to a family-owned guest houses not unlike a summer cottage or a bed-and-breakfast (without the breakfast, however). They’re a pleasant shift from a cheap love motel, albeit at a significantly higher price point. Thanks goes to an unnamed friend of Kiwi’s who had a reservation they ended up passing on to us.

Rural Korea on the Jirisan Trail

Click to view slideshow.

This article has gotten quite a few downloads so I’ve decided to write a post about it here. The Jirisan Trail in this article is not the same trail that runs up Jirisan Mtn. It is a newer trail that runs through the villages around the national park.

You can read the online version of this article I wrote and photographed for the NOV 2009 issue of 10 Magazine, or take a look at the tear sheets and PDF version below.

Question from a reader: travel via a rental car?

UPDATED 29 March 2010 11:35pm - The reader wrote back with a follow-up - look below my original answer for her response.

A reader writes in asking about rental cars:

Hi Chris,

I was wondering if I could get your advice. My husband and I will be in South Korea next week for a total of three days. We live in Japan right now.... [We] will be arriving at Busan port and would really like to explore the natural sites of the country. We do have to make one stop in Seoul to meet my husband's sister for dinner but other than that, we're not much interested in the city.

Do you think it is practical to rent a car for the three days? Is this something you would recommend? Would love to hear your take as someone who is clearly familiar with the country. Much thanks,


Life in Korea: getting around rural Korea by bus

Author's note: 'Life in Korea' posts are aimed at the newer expats among us. If you have a more experienced perspective, comments are open!

Whoever had "half the fun is getting there" hasn't yet had the pleasure of getting around the smaller towns and cities of Korea. The good news is that all but the tiniest areas around Korea will have a bus terminal (and quite a few have train stations as well), it's up to you to make sense of the bus schedules. It doesn't help that the schedules - and prices - are written almost entirely in Korean, and sometimes updated by hand. You can get from point A to point B - just expect it to take a bit longer than it might if you were going to one of Korea's larger cities. The reward is getting to see the off-the-beaten-path places that few other foreigners get to see.

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