South Korea – A Small Step Outside your Comfort Zone

A destination that is becoming more and more popular for travellers is South Korea, this very safe and clean country has so much to offer. From mega shopping centres to ski fields to incredible architecture to K-Pop to the DMZ there is truly something for everyone in South Korea. Korea is a country with such a strong rich history and cultural roots that has been pushed headfirst into this technological world, which they excel at, but there is a constant pull of old and new in Korea that makes this destination so interesting. What is really intriguing about South Korea is its ability to push you out of your comfort zone and experience something truly unique.

Haeinsa Temple Stay:

A temple stay in South Korea is a wonderful opportunity to become immersed into Buddhist culture. For westerners with little experience in a disciplined routine the 2 days/1 night temple stay can push you to the borders of your comfort zone. The silence that you expected to maintain throughout your stay is the first hurdle for many. In a world where we constantly are fighting to be heard and always told to express our feelings the total silence can be a real challenge. The next test to your discipline is a 3am wake up call to take part in chores and followed by prayer time. During Morning Prayer you must take part in 108 full bows all the way to the ground. The physical movement is a challenge for those who are not used to much physical activity. The Temple Stay will push you to stop talking, listen, reflect, go to bed early and take part in meditation as well as physical activity. While it may push your boundaries it is exactly what we need in this modern world.

Korean Bathhouse:

Korean people often visit Bathhouses where they can have some relaxation time and down time from the fast paced lives that they live. While western society has many spas and saunas the difference in Korea is that you must be naked in these Bathhouses. In a society where it feels like the only people who should be naked are models, our own naked bodies being viewed by others can be extremely confronting. However when you do partake in a Korea Bathhouse surrounded by locals who do not bat an eyelash at your body, as this is just part of their culture, a wonderful thing happens. Being naked in front of total strangers makes you realise that all of our bodies are the same and we all have lumps and bumps. This realisation can be incredibly empowering. Once you get beyond the nakedness the spa experience is fantastic with baths of different temperatures, saunas, steam rooms, masseurs and areas to put your robes on and participate in some light yoga. Korean Bathhouses are a wonderful way to switch off from a stressful busy day.

Food:

Whenever you travel to any destination trying the local food is a necessity to understand about the people and the lives they live. There is no better place to try local food than a local market and Seoul has an abundance of markets to choose from. The oldest and most famous market in Seoul is Namdaemun Market which is a bustling exciting place with materials, ginseng, souvenirs and food. While South Korea has some amazing food that goes way beyond Korea BBQ there are also some traditional dishes that are a little harder to swallow. A dish that locals say is a must eat is a Sundae, which feels like a delightful play on words when you think of a sundae in western culture consisting of ice cream and sticky delicious sauce. The Korean version is made by boiling or steaming cow or pig’s intestines and stuffing it like a sausage with various other ingredients. The market also has Silkworm Larvae as well as roasted crickets and chicken feet.  While these foods can really push you out of your comfort zone the act of sitting and eating traditional food with the locals is very rewarding and will help you build a connection with them.

 

 

 

 

For information on Korea or any other destination call us on 1300 360 809 or email travel@traveldesignint.com.au for a no obligation chat with one of our friendly consultants.