SOUTH KOREA: Glossary of Cities
• Busan (Pusan)
• DMZ (Panmunjom)
• Jeju (Cheju) Island
• Mt Sorak National Park
Busan has been Korea's principal international port city since 1878. It is a natural port with modern harbour facilities and a population of 3.8 million. In addition, it has excellent beaches, natural scenery, resorts and other tourist attractions.
Yongdusan Park: Yongdusan Park provides a pleasant touch of greenery on a hill in the heart of the city. It is also the site of Busan Tower, whose observation deck affords a spectacular view over the city and on clear days you may see the coast of Japan.
Jagalchi Fishery Market: Jagalchi Fishery Market is situated right at dockside and it comes alive early each morning when the fishermen bring in their catch. The colourful spectacle is a great attraction for tourists and camera buffs.
Taejongdae Park: Taejongdae Park is on the tip of Youngdo Island south of the downtown area. It is a very hilly area, heavily forested with rugged cliffs dropping straight down to the sea.
UN Memorial Cemetery: The Korean War (19501-53) dead from the sixteen UN allies rest in honoured serenity and it is unique in the world.
Beomosa Temple: One of the largest temples in Korea, Beomeosa was originally founded by Great Monk Uisang in A.D.678. There are many ancient relics in the temple and it has a grand view as well.
Haeinsa Temple: Haeinsa Temple located in Mt. Kayasan, the fifth national park, houses the world famous collection of more than 80,000 wooden printing blocks which compose the Tripitaka Koreana (Buddhism Scripture).
In the middle of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), and one hour and a half by bus to the north of Seoul, is Panmunjom where the armistice was signed in 1953 ending the 3 year long Korean war. Visitors are escorted safely by a military tour guide around the south half of the village to Freedom House for a view of North Korea.
Gwangju lies four hours south of Seoul by car or train. Songgwangsa Temple: One of the largest temples in Korea, Songgwangsa was built during the late Shilla Kingdom and became a centre for Zen Buddhism in the 12th century.
Chonghakdong Confucius Village: A visit to Chonghak-dong is like a trip back into the past. The townspeople live in the old Confucian style and wear traditional Korean clothes.
Jeju (Cheju) Island
Jeju Island is one of the premier tourist destinations in Korea because of the stunning natural scenery and superior tourist amenities. Scenic beaches, waterfalls, cliffs and caves lie in harmony, and the mild weather makes Jeju Island an even more ideal tourist destination. Mt. Hallasan in Jeju Island has flora and fauna of both temperate and tropical varieties, coexisting on the mountain.
Mt. Hallasan National Park: Mt. Hallasan stands tall in the middle of Jeju Island. It is also called Mt. Yeongjusan, meaning a mountain high enough to pull the galaxy. Mt. Hallasan is widely acknowledged by scholars for its research values. Designated as a National Park in 1970, there are 368 parasitic mountains called "Ohreum(peaks)" around Mt. Hallasan. From its warm climate to the cold climate areas, Mt. Hallasan is famous for its vertical ecosystem of plants. 1,800 kinds of plants and 4,000 species of animals (3,300 species of insects) inhabit here, and due to the well-developed climbing paths, you can carefully observe the surroundings. Mt. Hallasan is a short climbing course. Less than 10km in length, it is possible to reach the peak and come back down in one day. (Mr Asia suggests) - The weather conditions often change and there is a lot of wind, so you must be well prepared before going up the mountain.
Seongeup Folk Village: Located at the foot of Mt. Hallasan, Seongeup Folk village has perfectly preserved Korean tradition. It has been designated a Folk Village because of the vast amount of cultural property here. There are many cultural properties such as residential houses, Confucian shrines and schools, ancient government offices, stone statues, millstones (run by horse or ox), fortress ruins, stone monuments, and cultural assets such as folk plays, native foods, local folk craftsmanship, and the local dialect are handed down to this day.
Manjanggul Cave: Manjanggul Cave is one of the finest lava tunnels in the world, and is a designated natural monument. The cave has a variety of interesting structures inside including 70cm lava stalagmites and the lava tube tunnels. Only 1km of the 3,422m Manjanggul Cave is open to the tourists.
Halla Arboretum: Halla Arboretum was established for the study and the preservation of the natural environment. Opened in December 1993, Gwangioreum there are 909 kinds of native trees and subtropical plants exhibited here. In the gardens there are 506 kinds of trees and 90 kinds of plants, and in the greenhouse there is the Subtropical Plant Hall (105 kinds) and the Native Plant Hall (103 kinds) with a total of 208 types of plants. There are 2,722 stumps of endangered and rare plants such as the Michelia Compressa and Euchresta Japonica, and the Chloranthus Glaber that only grows at Cheonjiyeon. At Halla Arboretum you can meet the four-season flower forest, colourful forests, and the beautiful seasons of mother nature at Halla.
Jeju Folk Museum: Jeju Folk Museum is a public museum which carries many folk treasures of Jeju island's inhabitants. The museum preserves about 10,000 artefacts, and those we can actually see on display are about 3,000, such as folk instruments made of bamboo, dry rice-straws, and rocks. You can see fascinating items related to local religions, preserved from the old times, or ones involving old traditions of the area, and visit straw-roofed houses. Especially eye-catching sights are the traditional Jeju costume Galot, and Aegigudeok (baby's cradle), the musical instrument "Ulsoe", made up of five kinds of mirrors, and "Dorongi", rain coat made of straw.
Kongju was the capital of the ancient Paekche Kingdom for 60 years before it was moved south to Puyo in the sixth century. Kongju is now a small town but there are still many of Paekche's treasures in evidence.
Kongju National Museum: Kongju National Museum was built to house the treasure of King Munyong's Tomb. The displays of gold jewelry crowns and bronze mirrors show the distinctive features of Paekche art.
King Munyong's Tomb: Although most Paekche tombs were robbed over the centuries, King Munyong tomb was left undisturbed until its excavation in 1971, which unearthed thousands of articles such as gold crowns and bronze mirrors. A model shows visitors what the real tomb looked like when it was excavated.
Kongsansong Fortress: Kongsansong Fortress was wall-of-earth during the Paekche Kingdom and was rebuilt as a stone wall during the Choson Dynasty. Within the fortress, there is still a small village and the pavillions of Chinnamru, Ssangsujong, Kongbukru and Kwangbukru.
Kyongju was once the capital of the Shilla Kingdom and subsequently the centre of Korea when Shilla unified the peninsula in 676. It was designated by UNESCO as one of the world's ten most historically significant sites. It is no wonder that this area is called the "Museum Without Walls".
Chomsongdae Observatory: The world's earliest known existing observatory, this 7th century bottle-shaped stone structure, probably built during the reign of Queen Sondok, is admired by archaeologists worldwide. Its diameter at its base is 5.17m(17ft.) and it stands 9.4m(31ft.) high.
Anapchi Pond: The Shilla royal family relaxed and enjoyed themselves and entertained important guests at Anapchi Pond. Surrounded by trees, ponds and natural stones, it is a harmonious royal garden.
Pulguksa (Bulguksa) Temple: One of Korea's best known temples, Pulguksa, on the western slopes of Mt. Tohamsan, is a monument to both the skill of the Shilla architects and the depth of Buddhist faith at the time. While most of the wooden buildings have been rebuilt over the centuries, all the stone bridge, stairways and pagodas are original. In 1995, Pulguksa Temple was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List.
Seokuram (Sokkuram) Grotto: Dating back to the same era as Pulguksa, Seokuram Grotto is one of Asia's greatest Buddhist shrines. The building of the granite dome of Seokuram was a truly amazing architectural feat. In 1995, it was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List.
Tumuli Park: Tumuli Park is a collection of royal Shilla tombs located in the middle of Kyongju City. The tombs are shaped like grassy hillocks. The park contains 20 tombs, of which Chonmachong (Flying Horse Tomb) is the most famous. The Chonmachong was excavated in 1974, and yielded more than 10,000 treasures. These treasures including a golden crown and girdle are all placed in the Kyongju National Museum. The tomb itself is open for viewing and provides visitors with an opportunity to see how the huge tombs were constructed and how items were arranged in them.
Kyeongju Folk Handicraft Village: A place where descendants of Shilla's master artisans work. The village consists of an exhibition hall, a shop and 17 workshops producing metallic wares, ceramics, woodcraft, jewellery, embroidery and bamboo works. The village is open all year round.
Kyongju National Museum: Numerous precious relics of Shilla are here. The main hall displays an extensive collection including those from prehistoric times, Ancient Tomb Hall has treasures excavated from Shilla tombs and Anapji Hall contains the relics found at the Shilla's palace pond, Anapji. In the museum garden is another famous symbol of Shilla people's artistic and religious spirit, the Divine Bell of the Great King Seongdeok, which is also named Emile Bell after its mysterious resonant sound.
Mt Sorak National Park
A vast range of craggy, basalt peaks - jutting fingers into the sky. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the countryside and is a 'reflection' of a similar National Park region in North Korea (Mt. Kumgang). There is very good accommodation on the very edge of the park. The hiking paths in the park are very clearly marked making it a delight to wander the region. A cable car whisks people to the top of one peak, on another there is as 'Hermit's cave' and Balancing Rock. The park is scattered with various very attractive temples and shrines.
Situated 20 miles south of Konju, Puyo was the last capital of the Paekche Kingdom and is a place rich in legends. There are many remains dating back to the kingdom's final struggle against the forces of the Shilla Kingdom and its ally Tang China in 660A.D. A steep hill in Puyo's city centre is the site of the Pusosansong Fortress.
Pusosansong Fortress: Mt. Pusosan sits along the Paengmagang River, just north of Puyo. It was the main fortress of the Paekche Kingdom when its capital was in Puyo. The bird's eye-view of the Paengmagang River from the top of Mt. Pusosan makes a splendid scene.
Nak'waam Rock: Nak'waam Rock is the site of a tragic event. Some 3,000 women of the Paekche court leapt to their deaths here to avoid dishonour at the hands of their enemies during the fall of the Paekche Kingdom. The image of the women plummeting down in their colourful dresses gave the place its name, "The Rock of Falling Flowers".
Mt. Songnisan National Park: Mt. Songnisan National Park located to the northeast of Taejon and is one of the most popular tourist spots in central part of the Korean Peninsula. The park's Beopjusa Temple, established in 553AD was home to 30,000 Shilla monks with many famous artworks including a 108 foot high bronze statue of Buddha.
Seoul is the Capital, containing about 11 million of the nation's 46 million people. Seoul was a seat of government in the Paekche Kingdom, more than 1,500 years ago, but the city's true genesis occurred in 1394, when it became the capital of the new Choson Dynasty (1392-1910).
Kyongbok Palace: The 40 acre Kyongbok Palace was built in 1394, the third year of the Choson Dynasty. It comprises of several large pavilions, halls & attractive gardens. (Mr Asia suggests) - The buildings are not furnished or open to the public.
National Folk Museum: The National Folk Museum is in the Kyongbok Palace complex. It explains the religious rituals, housing customs, household tools and implements, food and social dynamics of traditional Korean life.
Blue House: Blue House contains the residence and offices of the president of the Republic of Korea. Blue House is open to the general public for tours.
Insadong: A short walk from Tapkol Park brings you to Insadong, a narrow street lined with antique stores, art galleries and second hand book stores, where visitors can wander and browse at leisure. Dubbed as ‘Mary's Alley' by foreign residents in Seoul, Insadong is the most reliable place to purchase antiques and reproductions in the city, particularly the different types of Choson Dynasty chests. There are also bargains in calligraphy, paintings and a wide variety of implements and articles from Korea's past.
Chogyesa Temple: Chogyesa Temple is one of the largest Buddhist temples within the city limits and is the headquarters of the Chogyejong Sect. It is famous for its Lantern Festival held every spring to commemorate Buddha's birthday.
Bukak Skyway: A nickname for Bukaksangil, the road running along the ridges of Mt. Bugaksan. The number of ornamental trees by the road is over one hundred thousand. Along the way one can find an octagonal pavilion called Palgakjeong which provides an ideal place for a birds eye view of downtown Seoul as well as for refreshment.
World Cup Stadium: State-of-the-art architectural engineering blends the design concepts of traditional motifs such as a shield-shaped kite for the stadium roof intended to manifest the hopes of all people to reach as high as they can.
Namdaemun Market: Namdaemun Market is named after Koreas No.1 National Treasure Namdamun (South Gate). The gate and market are only a short distance apart. The market is popular among local residents and tourists alike for its bargains in everything from clothes to flowers and foodstuffs. Its crowded streets are lined with tiny shops selling almost every product imaginable and there are buildings which specialize in a category of products such as homewares, clothing, jewelry etc.
Changdokkung Palace & Secret Garden: Changdok Palace is probably the favorite destination of most visitors. The main gate, Tonhwamun, is one of the oldest gates in Seoul. Secret Garden (Biwon) is a wooded garden tucked away in a quiet corner of Changdok Palace. It is an idyllic oasis, with its pavilions interspersed with small streams, bridges, and places of exquisite beauty. In the past the garden was reserved for the royal family.
Seoul Tower in Mt. Namsan: Commanding a fine view of Seoul, Seoul Tower is equipped with observatories and a revolving restaurant with a full-circle view.
Namsan Park: Namsan is located in the centre of Seoul and considered a symbol of Seoul. Its' peak is 265m above sea level.
Itaewon Market: This special tourism zone stretches all the way along the street. It is honeycombed with about 2,000 shops (especially clothing, souvenir and ‘copy' antiques') as well as jazz bars, nights clubs, and ethnic restaurants. This district is popular with both foreign residents and tourists. (Mr Asia suggests) - Many of the locally based US troops hold jam sessions in Itaewon's jazz bars.
Korea House: It is designed to introduce traditional Korean life and culture to foreigners. Foreigners visiting the Korea House will appreciate the beauty of traditional Korean architecture, living spaces, exquisite handicraft furniture pieces, art works and folk music and dance, all in one location.
Suwon lies about one hour's drive south of Seoul. The City is well known for the Hwasong Fortress and Korean Folk Village.
KOREA FOLK VILLAGE: Korea Folk Village situated near Suwon about 40 kilometres south of Seoul, is modeled on authentic traditional Korean way of life. Over 200 architectural relics and reconstructions of typical residences of the later Chosun Dynasty, houses of "Yangban and Nongbu", noblemen and farmers from each local Korean provinces are assembled in 700,000 square meters and offer realistic representations of village life in Korea long ago including the ancient art of utensils and toolmaking as well as the spices and flavors of traditional Korean cuisine. (Mr Asia suggests) - This is NOT a theme park, it is exceptionally well done and well worth a visit.
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress: Completed in 1796 during King Jeongjo's reign, Suwon Hwaseong Fortress has the most perfect facilities among the fortresses in Korea. Its construction was a part of a comprehensive project for building a new walled city, which is now Suwon. You can walk around this beautiful construction within several hours. Designated a "World Cultural Heritage" by UNESCO.
Taejon is one of the area's principal cities, a major express ways for the Seoul-Busan (East South) and Seoul-Kwangju-Mokpo-Yosu(West South) lines and is rapidly becoming one of Korea's major scientific centres.
Expo Science Park: The site for Taejon World EXPO 93 has been renovated and turned into a public science park. Expo Park features many state-of-the-art pavilions such as the Starquest Pavilion as well as the Hanbit (Grand Light) Tower which was constructed to commemorate the Taejon EXPO.
Mt. Kyeryongsan National Park: Only 30 minutes from Taejon by bus. Mt. Kyeryongsan National Park is spread over 60sq. kilometres with its highest peak of Chonhwangbong at 845meters. It is famous for its thick forests, unusual stone formations and two major Buddhist temples named Kapsa and Donghaksa.