I may now sound like a broken record but no word can describe the euphoria I felt when I finally found myself in my first international trip. What better way to start using that very bare passport than by traveling to one of the most famous destination for Filipino travelers. For nearly two weeks last October 2017, I found myself mesmerized by the beauty of South Korea.
I have rounded up some of our best pictures to showcase the beauty of the land of the morning calm, or how Filipinos refer to it popularly: the land of KDramas, KPop and the Oppas.
After landing in Incheon International Airport, the adventure begun the next day, starting with an exploration of the sprawling and historic Gyeongbokgung Palace.
There are numerous structures in the palace compound but the centerpiece is Geunjeongjeon, the main hall, where the Joseon king used to hold court.
There were remnants of autumn in Seoul (the gingko trees) but it was in Seoraksan National Park that we finally got to see South Korean autumn in full display.
We were just in time for the peak of autumn (which, fortunately for us, came earlier than expected).
Buddhism is the primary religion in the country, and statues of Buddha, such as this one in Seoraksan National Park, are ubiquitous.
Yellow and red were the primary colors of autumn.
Ulsan Bawi is my first (and so far the only) international hike.
The Gate of Impurities greet all visitors to Korean temples. These grotesque statues represent to every visitors imperfections, which are meant to be cleansed during the temple journey.
Sokcho, on the eastern coast, is also famed for its seafood (and its seafood market). Too bad I don’t eat them. The produce of the sea, however, was fascinating.
We also took the time to visit one of the most important destinations in the country, the Demilitarized Zone. These ribbons carry the hopes of Koreans for a unified Korean Peninsula.
The sunset at Haneul Park is simply breathtaking.
The Korean street food scene is also lit!
I fell in love with South Korea instantly but Nami Island was just another level. Well, aside from the fact that it was the setting of one of my favorite Korean Dramas, Winter Sonata.
You can literally spend an entire day in Nami Island just trying to capture its beauty, in every angle.
It rained gold that day. Nami Island is literally golden.
Winter Sonata is one of the most famous, and the most successful Korean dramas of all times. It also put Nami Island into every traveler’s bucket list.
The Garden of the Morning Calm is another must-visit destination in South Korea.
The floral display in the Garden is otherworldly. It is also a must-visit place for KDrama fans. Some scenes from the famed drama Moonlight Drawn by Clouds/Love in the Moonlight were shot here.
Ponds are essential to Korean architecture.
The hills are alive with the colors of autumn. It is an art in itself.
These overgrown lettuces just shows Korean’s passion for samgyeopsal. Vegetable wraps are essential in Korean cuisine.
Koreans have an uncanny ability of establishing harmony with nature.
Changdeokgung Palace maybe less popular than its neighboring Gyeongbokgung but it does have an advantage over it: Changdeokgung is the only palace (there are four in Seoul) that was designated a UNESCO heritage site.
A tour of Seoul would never be complete without stopping by the famed Namsan/ Seoul N Tower. More than the love locks, the night view at the mountain is amazing.
Nestled in the historic city of Gyeongju (my favorite Korean city) is the famed Donggung Palace and Anapji Pond. Visitors flock to the palace at night to witness the amazing reflections. Believe me, Gyeongju is amazing.
Gyeongju is an amazing city, an oasis for historians. It is dotted with numerous historical sites such as the Cheomseongdae. It is the oldest surviving observatory in East Asia, built during the Silla Period.
Bulguksa Temple is another UNESCO Heritage site in Gyeongju (the entire city can easily earn this merit). Of course, it is not complete without a pond.
There is a tranquility that religion can only provide. Taken at Busan’s Yonggungsa Temple, famous for being the only temple on the seaside.
Gamcheon Village is a must-visit place when one drops by Busan. The story of how it transformed is amazing (nothing short of inspiring).
The village is filled with picturesque spots. I for one cannot resist having my photos be taken in ’em.
Saranghae South Korea. I am sending Seoul, Sokcho, Gyeongju, Busan, Jeonju, and the entire country countless of finger hearts and love.
Our two-week trip concluded in Jeonju, another historic city. It was a sad moment because had I the choice, I would have stayed, longer.
To close this piece, here’s a jump shot for prosperity! I am fervently hoping for another round of South Korea adventure sometime in the future.
P.S. These are just some of the amazing snaps I took of South Korea. On its own, it is a very idyllic country but it shines best during autumn. It contains an entire array of marvels, ranging from nature to architectural delights. More than the pictures, the best way to experience South Korea is to see it in person.
P.P.S. All pictures were taken through cellphone camera. My cellphone is Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
P.P.P.S. Snapseed application was used for post-capture edits.
Happy and safe travels!