Snapshot of Korea Trip 2015

View from Jongsoo’s and Mi’s apartment—high density and high-rise are typical in Korea

Brief Summary of Our Trip in August 2015

After our last trip to Korea in 2009, which was jam-packed with so many wonderful experiences, I made a brief summary to try and tie it all together. See Road trip summary here, ).

This latest trip in August was just as memorable, just as busy, just as full of many new experiences, as our hosts delighted in sharing and showing their lives, country, history, cuisine, and culture with us. We were willing “pupils” and soaked it all up.

I will again make a summary, to try and give some structure to all the information I collected and all the photos that we took (and in preparation for the more detailed posts to come).

(a few pics of each day are after the day’s summary)

Day 1: Saturday August 1, we arrive in Seoul at Incheon Airport and spend the night at the house of Jongsoo and Mi.

Day 2:Sunday August 2, Jongsoo and Mi take us to Suwon Fortress and Palace. That evening Mi prepares a delicious bulgogi at their home and also invites Chang Hyun Kim and his wife, Geonghe. Chang will be our host for most of the remainder of the trip.

On the train up to Suwon Fortress, with Mi
Dinner at Jongsoo and Mi

Day 3: Monday August 3, we drive to Suncheon with Chang. It’s close to the south coast of Korea and the conference will be held at the National University of Sunchon. We spend 3 nights at the Guest House on the university campus. Conference starts.

Chang and I enjoying lunch at one of the huge rest areas along the highway
Conference dinner at Sunchon National University

Day 4: Tuesday August 4, conference day

Part of Sunchon University campus

Day 5: Wednesday August 5, is the conference tour day—various really interesting places close to Suncheon. They take us to Suncheon Bay, then a special Hanok (Folk) Village, then to visit the TMR Feed Mill, then to the Aquarium in Yeosu, part of the Expo complex. Of course, special meals are always factored into this too!

Rod and I are on the Korean delegation bus for the field trip
Rod at entrance to Suncheon Bay Eco Park
TMF Feed Mill


A very modern Aquarium

Day 6: Thursday August 6, we start our road trip around southwest part of Korea with Chang. We drive first to the Green Tea Garden to visit and have lunch. Then on to small town of Deungryang, associated with the famous Admiral Yi, and then to Geoje Island, linked to the mainland by a long bridge. We visit Windy Hill, have an amazing fish dinner, and sleep in Geoje City.

Chang and Rod in the Daehan Green Tea Farm
A typical home in the village of Admiral Yi in the 1500s

Day 7: Friday August 7, we do a boat trip from Geoje to a smaller island called Oedo Island, have a great lunch in Geoje of Pyongnam noodles. Drive back on the mainland to Namwon to visit Chunghyun Park and Garden (famous story/legend) and drive to the town of Damyang to sleep and have a special Galbi dinner.

Some of the rugged cliffs along the south coast of Korea
Gwanghalluwon Garden in Namwon
Chang explains the burial stele of certain government officials

Day 8: Saturday August 8, we visit Damyang Bamboo Park, then drive to the town of Jeonju. After lunch we visit the Jeongju Hanok Village, which includes the Gyeonggijeon Hall (that has the Royal Portrait Hall). Hotel in Jeongju.

Damyang Bamboo Park
Bamboo can grow very tall
At one of the entrances to Gyeongijeon Hall

Day 9: Sunday August 9, we drive to the Buansan peninsula area. We see the Komso Salt Field, Naesosa Temple, and Chaseondang Cliffs. Hotel outside the town of Gongju.

Chang and Rod in entrance courtyard to Naesosa Temple
Rod and Chang on the rocky beach by Chaseondang Cliffs

Day 10: Monday August 10, in Gongju we visit the Songsanri Burial Mounds, then drive to Buyeo to visit Jeongnimsaji (ruins and Buddhist museum). After lunch at a hanock place, we drive to the Baengmagang River for a boat trip to the Nakhwaam Rock. Drive back to Suwon, to spend the night at the house of Chang and Geonghe.

Entrance to one of the Songsan-ri Burial Mounds
Site of Jeongnim Temple
Small temple on Nakhwaam Rock

Day 11: Tuesday August 11, Rod goes to work with Chang to his university and I spend the day with Geonghe in Suwon, mostly at the Suwon market. After dinner, Change drives Rod and I into Seoul to the Acacia Hotel, where we sleep the next 3 nights.

Some of Chang’s research equipment
Rod and Chang have lunch at a restaurant that makes a lot of kimchi!
Viv and Chang’s wife go to Suwon market
part of the fish market

Day 12: Wednesday August 12, Rod and I are on our own in Seoul. We go to the Secret Garden in the Changdeokgung Palace, and then to the National Museum of Korea.

Part of Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul
The Secret Garden at Changdeokgung is a real pleasure
The National Museum of Korea really is a national treasure

Day 13: Thursday August 13, other friends, Jihye and daughter Sophia, pick us up and take us out for lunch then coffee and a visit to Jogyesa, the big Buddhist temple in Seoul. Back at the hotel Jongsoo and Mi come to say goodbye, Chang arrives, and they drive us to a special dinner in Gangnam (south Seoul) with a revered old Korean professor. Back to hotel on subway.

With Sophia at Jogyesa Temple
Final, formal dinner in Seoul

Day 14: Friday August 14, Chang picks us up and takes us to Seoul National University for a visit and lunch, then back to Incheon Airport. What an incredible variety of experiences in a few short days!

Chang, Rod, Dr Baek and 2 students at the lab in Korea National University
Saying bye to Chang at the airport

I can’t say there were any places that weren’t worth visiting, but there were certainly some that were more interesting than others, and I’ll try to cover that. All the food was memorable, as the Koreans take their food and meals very seriously: each meal is carefully thought out and is a major event.


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