Sunday, 29 January 2012

Hwacheon Ice Fishing Festival

To make the most of the icy weather, I traveled to Hwacheon in Gangwon-do for the winter ice fishing festival. For 8000won, you are given a little fishing line and can go out onto the frozen river, find a hole, and catch as many trout as you can. The whole day was really a lot of fun and a good break from the city.



Tuesday, 24 January 2012

새해 복 많이 받으세요

New Year (설날) celebrations at Namsangol Hanok Village (남산골 한옥마을), Seoul.


Sunday, 22 January 2012

국녕사


The Guknyeong Grand Buddha statue, nestled in the heart of Bukhansan National Park, is the largest seated Buddha figure in Korea. At 24m high, it also claims to be the largest in the whole of East Asia.


Saturday, 21 January 2012

Fish and No Chips

There is some delicious seafood to be had along the coast of Korea. Last summer I enjoyed this raw feast with friends at a restaurant in Gangneung, Gangwon-do. We sat outside and stuffed our bellies as the sun set over the ocean.


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Learning Korean, my way

When you're studying a foreign language, there's a limit to how much you can learn from text books. Here are my tips for improving your language skills a lot quicker:

1. Watch TV shows! It will really help your listening. But don't just watch them, study them. I listen back to parts and write down the dialogue to practice (see my notebook below lol).

2. Get people to speak to you in Korean, not English! And ask, ask, ask if you don't know something.

3. Text books are boring, right? So sometimes I read Korean fashion magazines instead. Newspapers are too meaty, but I can translate a flimsy celeb gossip article pretty easily with a dictionary and pick up some new vocab along the way.

4. Say things just for the sake of saying them. For example, if you go for a coffee and you don't really want an extra espresso shot but you know how to ask for one, just go ahead and order the extra espresso shot anyway.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Winter Wonderland

I hate cold weather. I really, really can't stand it, and here in Seoul it's well below freezing pretty much every day right now. But there are loads of good things about winter, too! Here's my guide to some of the winter activies I've tried around Korea.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Boseong Tea Fields 보성 녹차밭

One of my most enjoyable trips in Korea was to the green tea plantations at Boseong, Jeollanam-do. I visited during the rainy season and everything was lush and green and ... rainy.


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Korean Tradition

Last year at Chuseok time our school had a trip to a palace to learn about Korean traditional customs. Chuseok (추석) is a kind of harvest festival and a major holiday in Korea. The children wore their hanboks (한복), traditional Korean clothing. Children's hanboks are often brightly coloured with striped sleeves as you can see on some of the garments here. A lot of my little girls turned up in bright pink, but then again so did some of the little boys! I'm sure there was quite some competition between who had the most frills, flounces and butterflies on their outfit.


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Insadong

Insadong (인사동) is one of those places every visitor stops by when they first come to Seoul. It has everything a tourist in Seoul would expect: Old-fashioned-traditional-Korean-styley buildings; piles and piles of postcards, chopsticks and Big Bang socks; quaint little over-priced tea shops; Busy street food stalls and two or three Starbucks.