Kat: Seoraksan National Park is the highlight of many itineraries in South Korea. It’s easy to see why, with the crystal clear waters splashing through enormous granite valleys. I always knew I wanted to go there during my time in Korea, and the opportunity came up with the 5 day Chuseok holiday.
Travelling to Gangneung
Kat: This October we got five days off work to celebrate Chuseok. Chuseok is Korean thanksgiving, when everyone goes back to their homes to visit family, eat lots of rice cakes and for kids to mooch money off relatives. During Chuseok the trains sell out, roads are packed with traffic and buses take a long time on major highways. We booked train tickets on the day they came out, so we got seats, but other people had to stand up on the train. We used the holiday to go right up to the northernmost corner of Korea, Gangwon province. Gangwon is a coastal area which borders the East sea and the DMZ. It is the only split province in South Korea.
Kat: It’s been an exciting week at Monkey HQ! We hosted our very first Couch Surfer. Couch Surfing is an international community of travellers who practice hospitality by putting people up in their homes for a couple of nights. It might seem somewhat scary to invite a stranger into your house, especially off the internet, but Couch Surfing has a great system of vouching and feedback (a bit like ebay). So we met Edgar, a lovely guy from the Philippines who is also a travel writer and photographer. Edgar blogs at Eazytraveler, which really captures his chilled out nature.
Meeting the folks
Justin: This week we entertained my parents, the two orangutans from Sydney, Australia. It was a welcome visit as the past couple of weeks have been kinda tough for me, with homesickness, culture shock and feeling really tired every day. I needed a fresh blast from Australia.
Kat: Having lived in Ulsan for just over three months now it was weird that we’d never travelled to Busan before. Busan is Korea’s second largest city, right on the coast, and a big shipping town. It’s only 40 minutes by bus from our place, 20 on the train. But friends of ours were having a birthday party and I was flying out from Busan airport the next day to Singapore, so it was a good excuse to go down an explore the city.
Kat: We went to Seoul for the long weekend to explore the big Korean city. On Saturday night we found our stomachs grumbling. Justin’s foot was still healing from his foot injuries which meant we couldn’t walk far. Luckily our hostel was in the middle of Sinchon near the university district, filled with restaurants and bars.