Our departure from Korea is coming up faster than I can believe. I’ve been meaning to make a list of everything we need to do (or do again) before we go, and now I feel like I’ve put it too late to squeeze everything in before summer comes. After living in Korea for two years, these are the things that we loved doing so much I feel like we have to go again, or sound so alluring that I want to ensure we make it before we leave. Here’s our leaving list:
1. Camping on Muui Island (Muuido)
Last summer we took an impromptu trip with some friends to Muuido, an island on the west coast of Korea just a fifteen minute bus ride and a five-minute ferry from Incheon airport. Now that we live so close to the airport, we’ve been meaning to go back but still haven’t gone.
This was the first time we saw Koreans really camping – like, putting up a tent and staying overnight, not packing it up in the evening once they’re done picnicking. Still, it’s not rural camping – there were restaurants on the island that deliver meat and a hot grill for you to bbq at your own tent – but there are a few beautiful walks and hikes and I loved waking up to the ocean right outside of our tent.
Directions to Muuido: Visit Korea Website
Yes, I want to go to Seoraksan again. I’ve been three times in the two years I’ve been in Korea, but all were in autumn or winter. I’d love to see Seoraksan when everything is green. The hiking is beautiful and near some gorgeous beaches on the east coast.
3. Boseong Tea Fields
This is one we haven’t seen at all. I really want to head south to wander through the tea fields. We missed a trip over a long weekend last spring, but friends said it was beautiful. Looking at this list, our weekends are almost all filled up already. Maybe we’ll swing by the tea fields on a drive down south?
4. Street Food
I have been inhaling street food when we see it because I’m just not sure when the last time will be. In the winter there’s hotteok, a deep-fried pancake with brown sugar and nuts in the center. It appears to be a cold-weather food; the hotteok stands shut down in the spring and summer. So every time we’ve passed a hotteok stand, I’ve insisted on picking one up. Now that our time here is coming to a close, I’ll have to do the same with all the rest of our favorites.
The only time we have spent in Busan was in the first three weeks of arriving to Korea. We loved the hikes around the city and the different feel from Seoul, but haven’t managed to make it back since. I’m hoping to wander the cliffs and visit a few of the seaside temples.
6. Gyeongbokgung Palace
Yeah, we’ve been to Gyeongbokgung Palace a few times, at pretty much every time of the year. But it’s so beautiful and full of great photo ops, and is simply a nice walk. I would like one more stroll through the palace.
7. Baseball Game
We’ve only made it to one Korean baseball game since moving here, but it was so much fun. Chants and songs and lots of yelling made this such different experience from American baseball. Our closest team (the Heroes) has a game next weekend so we’re off to politely ask one of our Korean friends to help book us tickets.
8. Bukhansan National Park
It still boggles my mind that there’s this much nature in Seoul. The mountains in Bukhansan National Park are gorgeous, and Ryan has been spending his weekends exploring and running the trails more and more frequently. I might die if I were to run with him (20+ miles. AHH) but I would love to go take a few more hikes and gaze down at the city.
This is one I’m really torn on. We’ve gone this long without going, and it seems a strange sort of voyeuristic trip to stare over at the space between us and horrific human rights violations. At the same time, so many people who have gone (including our family) found it to be interesting, educational, and oddly beautiful. It’s certainly a one-of-a-kind experience. We should probably go.
10. War Memorial of Korea
We’ve tried to make it to the War Memorial of Korea (which is also a museum), but they’re closed on Mondays which was oddly always the time we attempted to go. I love meandering museums and wish I had made it to more while in Korea, but this is at the top of my list.