Itinerary

Day 1: Friday ,5 May 2019

  • Receive Journalsthis is where you will write everything and anything, this is the one true friend you really wish you had. Please do write about your concerns, your beliefs,your pains, your goals and dreams,your fantasies and fears. Feel free to share anything and treat this is one of the places in your life where you can be yourself. This is where your Retreat journey begins, your journey with God ,your journey with remarkable women and most importantly, a healing journey with yourself.
  • FRIDAY
  • 3PM – CHECK-IN
  • 6PM – Dinner
  • 9PM – REST WELL…SINCE WE HAVE AN EARLY MORNING ❤️

Jeonju Hanbok Village

A must see for any expat, or local, is the Jeonju Hanbok village. The experience is magical and is constantly buzzing with tourists and Koreans- it is a photographer’s and a travel blogger’s dream. The area of the actual village is small and does get crowded but it is a manageable crowd because people do not stick around, lingering in one spot. The best time to visit this village is early in the morning because it gives you time to enjoy your hired Hanbok gear without any pressure. Jeonju is a city in the North Jeolla Province, which is about 265km from Busan. The main attraction for this city is the Hanbok. Various stores in the area hire out their Hanbok from an hour to 3 hours max. There are probably stores that hire out for longer that 3 hours but that will increase the hiring price.

Be prepared to be stopped by Koreans who want a picture with a  ‘Waygook” (foreigner) because they cannot believe their eyes when they see a person who is not their own wear their traditional clothing- Koreans are extremely patriotic so anything Korean that a foreigner does makes them beam with national pride. The ajumma that dressed me up in my Hanbok could not give me details about the items of clothing and what each colour represents because she only speaks Korean, however, there are tons of layers that are involved which will make it a hassle when you have to use the loo- LADIES! The best time to go would be during Autumn but I went now in winter.

This is a bird’s eye view of the village. The roof tiling on the Hanok (the name for Korean traditional homes) is an architectural masterpiece and is a style Koreans call their own. It fascinates me how it maintains that village look without making it look dull.

The Jeondong Cathedral offers a European style-building to it. It is also the oldest  western-style structure seen in this province. This has to be one of the most outstanding buildings I have set my eyes on in Korea.

How to get there: From Busan, you go to the Seobu Bus terminal in Sasang. Purchase the ticket for Jeonju. It costs 17 000KRW. The bus ride is 3 hours with a stop after 1,5 hours. At the bus terminal, take a cab to the village- it is a 5 minutes cab drive because we all know that Korean public transport travel at the speed of roller coasters.

Do not leave South Korea without seeing this beaut!

Peace,

Puleng.

Gamcheon Culture Village-Busan

It is that gloomy time  of the year- WINTER. In Korea it is constant shivers and frost bites. All we can wish for is to survive this dreaded time. In search of some bright colours, vibrant energy and something that will save you from hibernation and packing on those winter-comfort-food-calories, I decided to take a trip to the Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan. It is one of those highly recommended places on any travel platform (when you visit Korea).

The houses are built like a staircase, and are located at a very mountains regions, a lot of steep slopes and congested . It is indeed a unique ,artistic, dilapidated but well-maintained structure  and will definitely excite you as you navigate through the village. The different colours and nurals do make it worth every picture you capture. There are vast cafes and street vendors before you enter the village. You might immediately rush in and start feeling the hunger as you have reached your 2kms point. What now? Fear not,there are more spots for food and snacks in the centre of the village.

This place carries a rich history for the Koreans- it is one of the poorest areas in Korea and it was a place of safety for people during the Korean war in 1950. The population grew dramatically and resulted in the style of houses we, tourists, see today. What makes it truly enthralling is how this village has maintained an old look to it- a refreshing sight because the whole of Korea has the same buildings;understandably so though.

 

 

The background is a landscape-shot of the village and this picture does not bring out the bright colours but every house has its different design too.

 

After lining up to get my shot with the wings.

 

 

The girls are wearing Korean traditional clothing called Hanbok. This is the Korean ultimate pose.The peace sign near the face to make the face look smaller- apparently a small face is deemed as beautiful in Asia. 

A visit to this village is mandatory. You cannot say you travelled, or have lived in south Korea without experiencing the narrow  alleys of Gamcheon Culture village. Charge your phone, carry your power bank and smile- so that people can take decent pictures of you; unless you travel with a personal photographer of course.

Peace,

Puleng.

Cheongdo Gamwine tunnel.

South Korea will drain the love you have for wine because of it extortionate prices as well as the limited options they offer. We have been taught that wine is made from grapes, right? (But I stand to be corrected). Koreans decided to experiment a bit with how intoxicated one can get by producing wine out of persimmons. known as Gam wine in Korea. Gam is the Korean word for persimmon. My verdict is that it is delectable wine, nothing too bitter or sweet- I do apologise for my lacy of wine tasting jargon. I do believe for a fact that it will get a big nod from our wine experts.

The Cheongdo wine tunnel is located in a remote area called Cheongdo, which is 50minutes north of Busan. Is is one of the two tourist attractions in the area. Getting to the tunnel takes a 20kms cab ride from the train station, which will cost about 16k won. The price in small tons are quadrupled but do not let that turn you off from going, get a group of friends, or work around a budget.

A bit information about the Cheongdo wine tunnel: it played a major role during the Japanese colonial rule as one of the easiest ways to access Korea. Fast forward to Korea’s independence, the tunnel was originally a railway route. However, there were many faults with this route and it caused a lot of maintenance issues. Fast forward to 2006, the tunnel got turned into a persimmon wine cellar which is kept humid and at a moderate temperature of 15 degrees Celsius.

How to get there: take the Mugunghwa train to Cheongdo and take a cab from the train station. Indicate that you are going to the Gamwine tunnel- pronounced gum.

The persimmon fruit is taken through a wine-making process to make Gam wine. It is also enjoyed during summer and tastes juicy and sweet.

A hug lit up wine bottle and glass are found at the entrance.

“Happiness is a gigantic bottle of wine”- Puleng.

You can enjoy a wine tasting experience at the entrance. You order a glass of wine and you have an option of buying the snack they offer at the counter. TRY IT ALL.

Peace,

Puleng.

“An apple a day, keeps the Dr. away”- well, does it?

Moving to a foreign country will definitely come with its health issues. From anything as less severe as gaining weight, to allergies you never knew you had, to breaking a few bones because you tripped trying to run for the bus or train. However, or unfortunately rather, things might get severe and it will not be fun and games no more. Worst case- there are no English medical staff members at most medical centres, you are on the verge of death, ears have welled up in your eyes, your family is on level 100 panic mode, or maybe you will survive and get your ninth life, but whatever the case, there is nothing as relieving as getting assistance in English; as basic as it may be.

I have a list of medical centres for foreigners, those residing in Busan. It will come in handy:

  1. Green Doctors. Location: Busanjin-gu,Danggam2-dong.
  2. Solidarity With Migrants. Location: Busanjin-gu,Jeonpo2-dong.
  3. Korean National TB Association Double-cross Clinic. Location: Daeyong, Nam-gu.
  4. Busan Metropolitan City Medical Centre. Location: Yeonje-gu.
  5. Busan National University Hospital. Location: Seo-gu #. (I have personally been to this hospital and they have outstanding interpreters)
  6. Kosin University Gospel Hospital. Location: Amnam-dong.
  7. Dongeui Medical Centre. Location: Yangjeong 2-dong.
  8. Wallace Memorial Baptist Hospital Foreigner Clinic. Locaton: Namsan-dong, Geumjeong-gu.

This list has been taken from the A Guide for Foreign Residents booklet. Grab a copy at the immigration office and at Gimhae International airport and thoroughly go through the information.

Peace,

Puleng.

 

Seoul… the soul of Korea 

The person who came up with the saying “New York, the city that never sleeps”, had never set foot in Seoul. It literally comes alive from 11pm but do not think there is nothing happening before then, there are just swarms of people going about their shopping and then come evening time, everyone is dressed to the nines or looking rather retro or anything but the common Korean fashion. This is one city where you will hear more Koreans speaking English than anywhere in the country. They are more outgoing and aren’t as shy about their English ability as the rest of the Koreans living outside Seoul.

I was my second trip to Seoul this year (I live down south so my trips to Seoul have not been as frequent as I would have loved them to be). It is extremely difficult to p pin-point Seoul highlights because it is as enormous and offers a range of various tastes regarding the atmosphere, food, culture and transport. If you want a youthful and vibrant feel, then you should definitely stay in Hongdae. However, this time I stayed in the famous area called Itaewon. There are foreigners galore there and it offers more options regarding entertainment and fashion.

Seoul still remains a favourite of mine but it needs a hectic budget. Do not go unprepared. Sleep late and wake up early – yeah, I know it sounds absurd but that is the true Seoul; or Korean, experience.

Peace,

Puleng.

 

This is in Myeong-dong, which is a minutes bus trip from Itaewon subway station. You could also opt for the subway. It is dubbed a shopping haven in Seoul and it indeed lives to its title. You will find your usual Korean outlets but it has the biggest Uniqlo located nect to the subway and a lot of street food options that had Koreans’ attention.

 

I keep going back to a restuarant called Braai Republic… you guessed it, it is owned by a South African and it live up to pure South African Braai standards. Their Sunday brunch is highly recommended because they add bacon and cheese to the pap!!! Imagine that combination?!  That is a big, fat YES from me! The ambiance of this place gets 100 gold stars from me. Koreans also swear by it so, I do recommend you make reservations because it is constantly full and you do not want to be turn away or wait for what? Never?

Ice cream from Milky Bee, in Myeong-dong. They sell the oh-so-heavenly  and popular rose cream and do expect to find a queue there. Who needs a bouquet of roses when you can just get en equivalent that is edible huh?? Their service is fast though. The prices range from 5,000 won to 10,000 won, depending on how my flavours you want. MMMMMMMM!!!

 

Pohang

Summer days are sadly over in Korea but that has never been a reason to not go for any getaway- and meeting up with friends of course . Autumn means hiking season and Pohang has the scenic trails in Korea, in my opinion. Disclaimer: Do avoid summer hikes as much as you can because the heat here is unbearable and you will feel like death after 10 seconds of your starting time. The famous 12 Waterfalls of Neoyeonsan mountain are a bucket list must-see. It is very difficult to find something so natural and untouched.  The trail is not strenuous at all, it is pretty gradual and it allows for a few pit stops along the way for picturesque photographs but reaching the peak , which is 15 minutes before the end of the hike, is quite intense but it leaves you with no choice but to endure the pain because of how far it is from everything behind you (A great workout for the fitness folk). To ease the pain, there are 12 waterfalls that you can capture along the way, namely Ssangsaeng Falls, Sambo Falls, Boyeon Falls, and Jamyong Falls, you will find Gwaneum Cave, to name a few. As you commence the hike, you will come across the Bogyeongsa Temple – it has a rich history you can read up about prior to your journey. The information about these falls is in Korean but that should not be a worrying factor because the trial is as straight as a ruler and you just have to follow the paths that will lead you to all of the falls.

Ensure that you are have a fully charged camera/phone becasue a good 4 hours will be spent on this trail from taking gazillion pictures.

Pohang is a 3 hours train ride from Busan (Gupo station to be specific). When you arrive at Pohang station, be sure to ask about how to get there because the bus system is not as simple as places like Busan. However, there is a #510 bus you should board and it will take to this location. There is a 3,500 won entrance fee for adults and gates close around sunset. Just ensure that you check all of the information at the train station, at the help desk.  There are transfers that need to be done at certain points (which we did not succeed at because of time and getting impatient). This has to be in the top 5 places I have seen in the ROK.

Peace,

Puleng.

The sixth waterfall has to be my favorite because the water is just gushing down from all angles with the water turning into an interesting green-ish colour. 

Enjoy a photo-shoot moments at the bridge and cave site. Put your feet u  bit before marching on to reach the peak.

Marine City- Busan 

If I could choose a location again, there is no doubt in my mind that I would not select Busan- as my first and second option. It never ceases to amaze me with everything that it has to offer.

This hidden gem is called “Marine City” and is best enjoyed in the evening because that is when this city comes to life. It is far from the harsh neon lit buildings you see around Korea. This area offers a a spectacular view of the sea with the reflections of the tall buildings and a huge yacht that attracts many locals with its perfect location and the shops it has. Not only will you enjoy the lights, but the ambiance is one that relaxes you. It has got that coastal meets “pizzazz” feel to it without you having to rock 10 inch heels and a freakum dres; this is Korea, ain’t nobody got time for that!! There are walk ways just for those that want to clear their heads from the Pali Pali Korean culture. You will find numerous restaurants along the beach – even though they are on the pricey side because the area speaks money (boo). Therefore, one should add a few thousands to meal or drink ordered in a regular area.. A favourite spot for both the locals and foreigners is the “Bay 101”. I am yet to grab a meal there that it easy on my budget, however, reviews of the place will convince you to get a tab somehow and deal with the costs later. Do not deny yourself at least a bottle of some Soju whilst you soak in the beauty, or a plate of chips,a slice of pizza, the garnish they offer on their plates of food- SOMETHING! A thorough review ,from me and a few friends, of the place will be updated as soon as I experience it to the fullest.

So, if being exclusive is your cup of tea then catch the subway to Dongbaek, which is on the green line, and then you should see the exit leading to this city. Marine City is a winner- in the evening though.

 

Peace,

Puleng.

I love this place! The Bay 101- there is a highly recommended fish ‘n chips spot there.

Teachers excursion to Yeosu 

So there comes a time in Korea where middle school teachers go on an overnight trip just before theit official holidays. At first I was dreading this trip because a whole 48 hours with people that do not speak your language can make you uncomfortable.

After a failed attempt at declining the offer,I found myself over the moon at the idea of this trip. Packing more than what was needed. 

Long story short, Yeosu is about 3-4hrs away by bus from Busan and it is exquisite. A quiet very area , no congestion (like Busan), blazing hot and has impeccable views. There are activities to do like hiking -DUH,this is Korea so it starts and ends there, there is a  cable car that overlooks the ocean, there is also a cruise trip to a nearby island for not more than 7 000 won.

Even thought it is not a place I would personally recommend but it would be nice to see as one of those bucket list places.  Unfortunately, I do have the exact details on how to get there,the costs and accommodation but I am sure the information will be easily accessible should this type of scene be your cup ot tea.
Peace,

Puleng.

Suseong Lake -Deagu


This place is really relaxing and offers a few activities to do while you’re there. I would recommend one goes there in the late afternoon because Deagu gets unforgivingly hot in summer and you will feel drained in less that 30 mins if you start really early- so I suggest you kick start at 15h00.

Definitely try the wheel activity  (I’m not ashamed to say I do not know what it is called even though I have been told umpteen times). It’s 20 000 won to hire per person for an hour. A bit pricey bt worth the try because walking that whole park is intense.

Next, you should do the duck ride. It is 15,000 won for an hour . It is a work-out because you have to paddle hard for the boat to move around. 

How to get there:

  • I know we did a transfer somewhere at the subway BUT please forgive me for forgetting the logistics. The downfall of relaying on a local, you do not take note of such.
  • Deagu is an hour away from Busan on the ITX train which coats 9,900 won.
  • Bugdet: 40-50 000 for the activities including transport and food.

Suseong Lake by night.