Tag: Korean History

Fun Outside of Seoul! Chuncheon: Dak Galbi and Hanbok (닭갈비 & 한복)

It is easy to get distracted from visiting other smaller cities in South Korea due to all of Seoul’s magnificence, endless activities, glitter, and glam. Seoul is a city with over several millions of people. Who wouldn’t want a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle? Do not get caught up in the mirage. Seoul is a city where there are bottomless things to discover, yet you must take the time to visit various other smaller Korean cities that hold so much history and tradition. Chuncheon is a city of the old-fashioned; with traditional Korean houses, temples, tea houses, Hanbok, and DakGalbi.

Dak Galbi: The food of Chuncheon

Chuncheon (춘천 ) is located in the north-east section of South Korea. It is the largest city in the Gangwon province and it rests at dip that was created by the Han and Soyang river. This peaceful city is widely recognized in South Korea for it’s Korean dish called DakGalbi. Dakglabi is a delicious dish (my personal favorite Korean dish hands down) that is made on a large type of open-faced skillet and consists of chicken, onions, cabbage, sweet potatoes, carrots, dok (rice cake), gochujang (red pepper paste), and other seasonings.

spicy Korean chicken-galbi

Usually, perilla leaves, lettuce wraps, grilled garlic, and rice are eaten alongside this lip-smackingly good dish. If you love this dish as much as I do, you must go to Dakgalbi street in Chucheon. Yes, a street. It is said that the DakGalbi restaurants on this street make the best Dakgalbi in all of Korea and I must say that my stomach agrees.

To make this dish at home follow Holly’s recipe! It is as tasty as the restaurants in Chucheon! Dak Galbi Recipe

Hanbok Rentals!

In Chucheon, you can also live out your Joseon Dynasty fantasy. By renting beautiful handcrafted traditional Korean Hanbok clothing for a day! Hanbok is the traditional Korean attire that was worn by every citizen, about 100 years ago. These days, Hanbok is still very much a part of Korean Culture and it is still worn today for more traditional events such as a wedding or holidays, such as Budda’s Birthday (check out my post about the Lotus Blossom festival). Not only are these stunning clothes pieces of wearable artwork, but were also symbolic of a person’s social status, marital status, and age.

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Hanbok attire

For example, Hanbok with light and bright colors, for example, were usually worn by children and girls, yet more dull colors were worn by middle-aged men and women. Upperclass citizens wore a wide variety of colors, while the lower-class were required to wear white. As seen in the picture above, I wore a yellow chima (치마: skirt), white and blue jokki (조끼: vest)! In this Hanbok, I felt like I was born in Korea during the reign of King Sejong.

There are various Hanbok rental shops in Chucheon! Almost too many to chose from. Sadly I do not remember which shop that I rented from but for about 4-5 hours the rental price of about 30,000 won($27).  That might seem like a high amount, but the particular shop that I went to had other rentable accessories such as hats, fans, purses, and shoes (I am wearing the hat and purse).

Beautiful Hanok Villages

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Hanok village

If you are looking to spend little money, but still have a good time, have no worries. Chuncheon is full of iconic traditional architecture. Hanok (한억)  are traditional Korean buildings/architecture that is very iconic to the Korean culture. Hanok’s are heavily recognized by and crisp liner lines thier pointed cornered roofs. Often times they have beautiful painted designs that cover the upper edges and ceilings of the buildings. Be sure to take a stroll through these streets and soak up the culture!

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Small garden in hanok home

Other attractions outside of Seoul: The Coastal City of Wando: Beaches, Seafood, Good Vibes

More posts: Sky Park (하늘 공원): Korea’s MOST BEAUTIFUL Park!

The Coolest Museum in HONGDAE (SEOUL): TRICKEYE Museum

Check out my personal story: About Me

 

Exploring Gwanghwamun Square at Night

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Gyeongbokgung Palace

When you first visit Gwanghwamun Square you will definitely feel the unique and highly valued history and tradition of Korea. Gwanghwamun Square is comprised of the breath-taking Gyeongbokgung Palace (one of my favorite places in Korea), the statue of King Sejong and the statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin. All three landmarks are very important to the history and development of Korea, not to mention that they are beautiful to look at! The large golden statues, unique and bold designs, this place is heaven for those who love history. This was my first “trip” into the heart of Seoul. My friend (in the picture) was so kind as to show me around this plaza and he gave me a bit of history about each statue and the palace.

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King Sejong Statue

Here is a glance into each them; Admiral Yi Sun-sin, a Korean naval commander became famous for his victories against the Japanese navy during the Imjin war in the Joseon Dynasty. The mighty King Sejong the Great, was the creator of Hangeul (the Korean alphabet), and ruler during the Joseon Dynasty.  Lastly, Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1395 and was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. The largest of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon dynasty, Gyeongbokgung served as the home of Kings of the Joseon dynasty, the Kings’ households, as well as the government of Joseon. Gyeongbokgung Palace is normally open everyday of the week for Korean Nationals and tourists to explore the inside, which can take up to 3 hours.

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Gwanghwamun Square is a must see for all who are visiting Korea! It is a great place to learn about the history of Korea and to take memorable pictures. It was and still is one of my favorite places in Korea.

How to get there:

Directions 
[Subway]
1) City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1 & 2), Exit 3.
2) Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6 & 7.
3) Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 1, 2 & 8.
* Connected to the underground exit.

For more information about Gwanghwamun Square please visit:

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/ATR/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=929909