In this type of travel blog, it is a tradition to make lists of favorite places/things/activities, and I think that a favorites list is the perfect way to wrap up this blog.
My favorite post in this blog is The Remains of the Original Ancient Baekje Capital ‘Hanseong’. I really enjoyed the lead up of the preceding posts – going to the third capital of Baekje Sabi (Buyeo), then going to the second capital Ungjin (Gongju), and then finally going to the original capital Hanseong which is … well, read it for yourself. I like that was in fact the order that I visited those three places in real life, one right after the other. I also like the photos I took at the remains of the Baekje fortress in ‘Hanseong’.
But that’s my favorite blog post, not my favorite place/experience in South Korea. So what were my favorites? Here is a Top 16 list, in descending order.
16. Pansori Performance at Jeonju’s Sori Festival: this was a unique opportunity to not only see a pansori performance in a traditional Korean hanok, but to have English subtitles with it! I really enjoyed experiencing this distinctly Korean theatrical art.
15. The Gwaneum-sa trail on Hallasan: the hike up the Seongpanak trail was disappointing due to all of the fog obscuring everything, but the superb views of the Gwaneum-sa trail sure made up for it!
14. Seokguram Grotto: even though I only got a limited view, and it was only for a few minutes, it left a deeper impression on me than most works of art I have seen – and I have seen a lot of works of art in my life.
13. Suncheon Bay: It’s so vast, and so colorful, and when you get close to it (or use powerful binoculars), you can get a peek at how much is living in there.
12. The Ruins of Mireuksa: I’m surprised at how much of an impression this old temple left on me – but then again, why wouldn’t an ancient Korean temple which has not been rebuilt since the Goryeo dynasty not leave an impression on me!
11. Manisan: it’s all about the stunning visuals. And the dedication of a certain stone-piling man.
10. Hahoe Folk Village: this is one of the most beautiful villages I have ever visited, with a wonderful combination of natural scenery and historic architecture.
9. The Jeju Women’s Film Festival: this was an even more special opportunity than the pansori performance in Jeonju – an English language (albeit incomplete) documentary about Jeju shamanism combined with a Q&A session with a Jeju shaman with Korean-English interpretation, on top of the other engaging films of the festival.
8. Namsan: Hermitage of the Seven Buddhas: Namsan is still unlike anywhere else I have ever visited, and visiting this hermitage was my favorite part of my Namsan experience.
7. Changgyeonggung Palace Part 1 and Part 2: objectively, I know that Changdeokgung Palace is more beautiful, but this is a list of my favorite places, not the most beautiful places, and Changgyeonggung is definitely my favorite palace in South Korea.
6. Jeju Stone Park: this park offers an in-depth introduction to the the geology and mythology of Jeju island, while also demonstrating the beauty of natural stone and traditional Jeju culture.
5. Andong Mask Dance Festival: this is possibly my happiest memory of South Korea.
4. Beopjusa & Songisan: okay, I’m cheating a little by putting these two together, but to be fair, I did visit them both on the same day. Beopjusa is one of the most fantastic temples in South Korea, and Songnisan was one of my favorite hikes
3. The Valley of the Waterfalls in Seoraksan: Seoraksan is the most beautiful national park in South Korea, and this was most stunningly beautiful part of the park which I visited.
2. The Caverns of Hwanseongul: this is one of the very few places I’ve been which are not only beautiful, but beautiful in such a special way that I feel it expanding my imagination into something that is permanently broader
1. Guinsa, the Sanctuary in Sobaeksan: there is no doubt that this was the best experience I had in South Korea
This is it! This is the last post on this blog.
I will continue to reply to comments and make corrections to prior posts.
If you want to read more blogs about travelling in South Korea, you can look at the blogroll.
Thank you everybody for reading.