Looking for an interesting place to visit? Korea really is a ‘cute’ country a lot of the time. There are cartoon characters everywhere, the kids are the cutest in the world and the police force are even getting in to the ‘cute’ scene.

I was having dinner in Daegu the other evening and I saw a performance of Psy’s latest single ‘Gentleman’.

This is what I saw. It was brilliant!

Jinhae Cherry blossoms

Cherry Blossoms in Jinhae.

As spring is felt all across the Korean peninsula, excitement is building for the many spring time festivals that will be held around the country. The Korean Meteorological Administration (KMA) has released the much awaited information about this year’s cherry blossom forecast dates. As the blooming of the cherry trees depends on the warmer spring time temperatures, this year’s warmer February and March temperatures have brought the expected dates forward by a few days (from last year). Please note that the cherry blossoms should look their best about one week after blooming, but rain or strong winds can change this very easily.

The predicted dates are as follows:

Seoul April 9
Chuncheon April 12
Incheon April 13
Gangneung April 5
Cheongju April 7
Daejeon April 2
Pohang March 26
Jeonju April 1
Daegu March 25
Gwangju March 28
Busan March 23
Tongyeong March 28
Yoesu March 17
Seogwipo March 17

2013 Cherry Blossom Forecasts at Popular Cherry Blossom Sites

Seoul Yeouido Park Yunjungno April 8
Gyeongju Bomun Lake Resort April 4
Cheongju Musimcheon Stream April 2
Hadong Ssanggyesa Temple Simni Cherry Blossom Path March 27
Jinhae Yeojwacheon Stream March 28

Thanks to the KTO for releasing this information. If you are in Korea please visit their site!

 

Jinhae, Cherry blossom, cherry blossom tree, cherry tree, festivals, South Korea, Korea, Romance Bridge, Travel in Korea;

Cherry Blossoms in Jinhae, Korea.

 

Spring is one of the best seasons in Korea, and they have many spring festivals to prove it. The cherry blossoms are all out and people start to shed those winter layers. Spring here in Korea is brilliant, because it means that those cold winter days are over!   As I mentioned above, there are many different things to see and do in the spring months in Korea. You can see millions of blossoms all over the country, you can ride your bike again or you could even do one of Korea’s many marathons. This post will be about some of the upcoming cherry blossom festivals that you can attend in the next month or so.

Here are the festivals, in no particular order:

Jinhae Gunhangje Festival    April 1st – April 10th 2013

This is one of Korea’s more popular festivals, and is one that I have been to myself. Jinhae is a small coastal city close to Busan, and it is a fantastic place to spend some time. There is a famous bridge near to the train station (“Romance Bridge”) where you will no doubt see thousands of visitors walking alongside the small stream and taking photos of the blossoms. Further along this road there is a small lake that you can walk around and take in the view. Apart from the actual cherry blossoms, there are other things to do. There is a main stage based in the center of town, and it is here that you can see a military parade, fireworks show as well as live music.

 Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival  April 5 – April 7, 2013

This year, the Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival will be held in the citizen welfare town area. According to the KTO (Korean Tourism Organization) this year’s festival will feature a cherry blossom photo zone as well as an exhibition of indigenous wild flowers and orchids. Lights have now been installed around the cherry blossom trees, so they blossoms can still be enjoyed once the sun goes down. 

Hwagae Cherry Blossoms Festival  Early April, 2013 (planned)

Venue: Hwagae Market area, Hadong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do Description: Organized in 1993, the cherry blossom festival is held in Hwagae Market, a traditional open-air market situated in the border between Hadong in Gyeongsangnam-do Province and Gurye in Jeollanam-do Province. During the festival, the cherry tree blossoms along the 6 kilometer-long road from the market to Ssanggyesa Temple are a fantastic sight.  

 Yeouido Spring Flower Festival  Dates: April 12 – April 18, 2013 

Once of the most popular flower festivals in Korea, the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival is planned to take place every April during the peak flowering period (for the cherry blossoms). There are  1400 cherry trees along the street behind the National Assembly Building, called Yunjungno, and is one of the most famous cherry blossom streets in Korea. Visitors can also enjoy different street cultural arts performances, a flower decoration exhibition (if the cherry blossoms aren’t enough for you), and a photo exhibition.

Cheongpunghoban Cherry Blossom Festival  Dates: April 19 – April 21, 2013

The Cheongpunghoban Cherry Blossom Festival will take place alongside the 1300 meter road by Cheongpungho Lake, there are thousands of cherry trees that are expected to be in bloom. Visitors can enjoy various shows and performances, including a cherry blossom street concert (seems to be the one thing all festivals have in Korea!), a magic show(!), and a dance parade. On an interesting side note, visitors can also sample herbal medicinal teas and food made of wild herbs.  If you tire of the cherry blossoms and feel like doing something different, there are bunjee jump sites close by, as well as the Cheongpung Cultural Property Complex (a TV drama filming location).

Thanks to the KTO for releasing this information. If you are in Korea please visit their site!

The Daegu Bangjja Yugi Museum is quite an interesting place to visit if you are in or around Daegu. It is a Korean brassware museum, and there are at least 1 489 pieces in the museum. It’s located north of Daegu in the foothills of Palgongsan and is surrounded by forest and it really is a beautiful place to go to.

Here’s a bit more info about the museum: The museum in Daegu is Korea’s one and only Bangjja Yugi Museum. This is quite special as brassware plays a very special role in most Koreans lives. The museum was founded in 2007, and Lee Bong-ju (a Bangjja Yugi master) donated a collection of over 1 489 items of Bangjja Yugi and different production tools to the museum.

Yugi is brassware, and Bangjja Yugi differs in that it is “shaped into a vessel by striking a heated alloy of 78% copper and 22% tin”. You can see many different pieces in the museum, ranging from everyday eating utensils to musical gongs and Kwenggwari.

The museum is quite large, and if you are lucky you might meet an English guide as you enter. This museum covers just under 4 000 square meters so be sure to have enough time to really walk around and enjoy all that there is to see. Typical of most Korean museums, you can find many different rooms including a culture room, a brassware factory (made to look as it did in the 1930’s) and a video presentation room.

I think that some of my favorite items on display were the musical instruments. I especially liked the “bell”, as it has a distinctly beautiful sound. It was quite fascinating to see how much brassware has influenced Korean life and to be able to see all of this in one museum is fantastic.

An important note – The museum is closed on Mondays, so be sure to plan your trip out there on another day. If the Monday is a national holiday, the museum will be closed on following Tuesday.

They are open from

10a.m. – 7p.m. (April through to October) and from

10a.m. – 6p.m. (November through to March)

It is relatively easy to get to the Daegu Bangjja Yugi Museum.

If you are using public transport you have three options. You can take the subway to Ayanggyo station on the red line. From here you will need to get the Geupheng (급행) 1 bus at exit 2.
If you take the bus then you have two options – use the Geupheng (급행) 1 or alternatively you can use the Palgong 1 bus. If you do take the bus be sure to get off at the right stop. These rapid line buses go quite fast once they are out of the city and you need to be on your toes if you want to get off at the right stop (which is “Bangjja Yugi Museum”). I might be mistaken but they do announce in English that the stop is imminent. If in doubt at all show the bus driver where you are going as you enter the bus as he might tell you to get off at the right stop. Korean bus drivers are generally very friendly people.
You can also take a taxi. If you are going to go this route I would suggest getting a bus/subway to the north side of town before getting the taxi. The taxi fare will be quite steep as the museum is quite isolated.

As the museum is far out of town, you will be able to enjoy Korea’s countryside, and some of the strange things that I have only seen in Korea. As you walk (or drive) up the road leading the the museum you will pass two different “statue/sculpture” type stores. One of them has your regular kind of stuff – lions, Buddhas and other Korean related things. The other one is uniquely Korean. They have many penis shaped statues all around their parking lot. Some of them are a few meters tall! So if you are looking for a bit of added on fun be sure to take a quick walk around these statues. Mighty not want to take the kids around there though…

If you are completing the Daegu Stamp trail, be sure to collect a stamp at the museum. You can get it as you enter the main building.

To visit the Bangjja Yugi museum’s website, click here.

One of Korea’s most popular spring marathons is almost here. The 2013 Gyeongju Cherry Marathon will take place on Saturday, April 13th 2013.

There are several different races that you can take part in, and they are a full marathon (42 km) a half marathon (21 km) a 10 km course as well as a 5km walk. This year they have also added a “Japanese Walking Course” in both a 5 km and 10 km format. Click this link to see the different courses available.


The different races cost between W20 000 and W30 000.  Click here to see the specific details if you need them. Either way these are some cheap races!  Everybody likes prizes, so head on over to this page to see what you can win at this year’s marathon.

The main race starts at 8am, and the other races will start afterwards.

For more information please take a look at the site linked to in this post, and if you can’t read Korean (like many people) then you can call 1330 (within Korea) to chat to the Tourist Information offices and get more information from them.

Happy running!

Here are the top 10 reasons why I think this new Korean language course is going to be excellent.

So I have started my 6 day free course on learning Korean. This is great because although I can buy the course, this 6 day free access allows me to really look at the course before thinking about paying for it.

So here’s what I have found so far:

  1. It’s really comprehensive. The site offers several different ways to learn. The offer audio options, reading options, they allow you to assess how well you are doing and they even have games! The one thing I have always thought would help my Korean language learning was more games. As an English teacher in Korea I use them all the time to teach my students, so why shouldn’t I have fun learning Korean too.
  2. Voice comparison. I think that this is great, and it should really help me get my pronunciation just right. It will also help me build my confidence up to the point where I can actually speak Korean.
  3. You can earn badges. This is another good incentive to keep on learning, and it makes me feel like I am actually getting somewhere. If you look at the “badges” page, you can also access a leaderboard and see how you are doing relative to the other Korean students on the site.
  4. They have a forum. This is great as it allows me to ask questions that have come to mind while studying. Categories include Korean grammar, Korean vocabulary and the all important culture section. I know that there have been a few occasions when I wished I knew how to handle a situation differently, because of my lack of Korean cultural understanding.
  5. This course will cover reading, writing, listening AND speaking Korean. This means that it will really set me (or you) up to become confident enough to use the language.
  6. A BRILLIANT “phrase finder”. Man, this is awesome. If you access the phrase finder (found in the toolbox section on your dashboard) you can type in a phrase in English and you get the translated sentence in Korean. Plus you can listen to the phrase,  and it’s written in Hangul (the Korean alphabet) as well as in the English alphabet.
  7.  You can create your own vocabulary list from any of the words in the course. This will allow you to go back and make sure you really know those words you want to know.
  8. They offer many useful learning tips in the “advanced learning techniques” section. These tips are great for keeping me motivated and for giving me simple ways in which I can improve my Korean.
  9. Their assessments are quite thorough. You actually need to listen to the lessons before you take the test (I tried to cheat…) but they ask you questions that you can’t know the answers to if you didn’t study the actual lesson. This is great because it means you will have to be more proactive in your studying. Awesome.
  10. Downloadable audio lessons. This means you can download them, put them on your phone and study Korean anywhere. Perfect for travelling to work and improving your Korean at the same time.

My favorite part is that all of this is online (I can study from anywhere) and it’s FREE!

Seriously, for 6 days I have access to so much information and these great tools.  I have way more than these ten reasons, but I think it’s best to just keep it short and for you to see how good they are for yourself.  You have to give it a try! I’ve included a link below if you also want to try them out.

 

Learn to speak Korean easily with Rocket Korean

Disclaimer: if you follow the above link and do eventually join Rocket Korean’s paid course I earn a portion of the sale amount.