Rolling in the Deep…Mud

Just kidding. The mud is shallow and safe to play in and great fun!

What’s probably now known as the most famous mud festival in the entire world, the 10 day Boryeong Mud Festival is came to another close last week. Another successful year it was. We went through tons of mud, a slew of memory cards, and many servings of hangover soup. But if you are looking to extend your buzz, there’s a lot more mud where that came from in Korea.

mudrace

Korea is a peninsula that has beautiful beaches along the east and south coasts. But on the west coast there are these massive fields of mud, otherwise known as mudflats. People in this side of Korea know how to appreciate nature’s bounty and can be frequently found rolling in the mudflats or digging up clams and other seafood. The mud flats are then renewed and revitalized each and every day as the high and low tides brings in new life.

korean-flawless-skin

Another noticeable feature of the west coast residents is their beautiful skin. A trait that is attained by frequent visits to the mudflats! A weekend for a local here is not complete without a quick roll in the mud. Cool and slick to touch, the feeling of mud on your skin is terrific.

in the mud

Perhaps, some might find the idea of wallowing in the mud like blissful piggies, distasteful. But how many times have we been taught not judge a book by its cover? Rolling in the mudflats of Korea is not the first thing that will come to mind when you think of tour in Korea, but it’s definitely worth a trip even before or after the Boryeong Mud Fest!

20150606_171419

The mud on the west coast is mud at it’s best. It has a clean, earthy mineral smell and the texture is thick and silky. You can dive, roll or just plop your feet in it. The mud doesn’t get too deep so you can be reassured every step you make. So it’s perfectly safe! No fear of drowning. No fear of being stung by jellyfish or other critters. And if children running around slip, then soft, cool mud is there to catch their fall.

20150606_180930

 

So spend the day at the mudflats! It’s definitely worth the experience. It’s a great way to enjoy beach activities with that added safety. Pitch an umbrella or a tent in the sandy areas. Lay out in the sun and build mud castles and of course, mud pies. There’s also areas where it’s full of crabs and other wild life to catch. You can set them back free or have a feast later in the evening. The mudflats offer much more to do than your traditional beaches.

20150606_173616

And don’t worry about cleaning up. There are showers within walking distance and guesthouses all along the beach area. Rent one out for the night and you can get all spic and span in the comfort of your own room. Most of them are nicely renovated and offer a variety of different amenities including hot tubs. Let us know if you are interested in us taking you there. It makes for a great tour of Korea.

20150606_174738

And remember that the mud fest is only a fraction of the multitude of activities to be enjoyed in Korea. There’s yet a whole new world to be discovered here!

Jeju Island – A Cheaper Alternative to other cities in Korea

It’s about as cheap as it gets. 49,800 Korean Won or close to $45USD.  That’s all you pay when you book a round-trip ticket to Jeju Island from Seoul around this time of the year. That is way cheaper than taking a KTX Bullet Train going down to Busan just one way. Jeju is now a super cheap alternative when thinking about different places to travel in Korea. We are talking about getting on a plane for 1 hour on a Tuesday, enjoying the lovely island of Jeju for 3 nights and coming back on a Friday in time to party it back up in Seoul. Check out Jeju Air, Jin Air or Air Busan for discount airliners.

A view from Hyeobjae Beach during the wintertime.
A view from Hyeobjae Beach during the wintertime.

Granted it is still cold and the ticket is for the weekdays, but quite frankly, who cares cause we are going as tourists! Practically, everyday is a weekend for us! Plus if you were planning on vacationing at sunny beaches, you probably wouldn’t be in Korea in the first place.  We have that in the summertime, but Jeju is far more known for its beautiful scenic trails and natural formations. And it’s all even far more charming during the winter seasons here. Jeju is a small island, yet it’s home to Korea’s tallest peak. And seeing other oxymorons like snow on palm trees leave us with impressions that this is a place is not like too many places you’ll see. 

Sand and Snow
Sand and Snow

I love Jeju because it’s enough. You stay there a few days and it’s enough. You’re not overwhelmed or regretting when you leave because you didn’t make the most out of your time.

Continue reading Jeju Island – A Cheaper Alternative to other cities in Korea

How to go Ice Fishing in Korea

I finally got out to visit one of the many ice fishing festivals that take place in Korea’s wintertime. Through one of my tours, I was able to take a group to the Jaraseom Sing Sing Ice Fishing Festival in Gapyeong. The things to do here is to catch fresh water trout and eat it immediately! Many back and forth thoughts on these festivals, but the bottom line is that they are just flat out fun! There are at least half a dozen ice fishing festivals taking place in parts of Gangwon and Gyeong-gi Provinces right now and will mostly end sometime towards the last weekend in February. I came onto a lesser advertised festival called the Jaraseom Sing Sing Winter Festival near Nami Island in Gapyeong just a little over an hour from Seoul.

IMG_3701

When we got there, they let us park on an empty field. Because its not paved, watch out for puddles and mud when walking towards the festival’s main area. Walk towards the ticket booth to get your entry into the frozen stream. Tickets were 13,000 won (a little less than $13), but they give you a 5,000 won gift certificate to be used on anything at the festival, including food and fishing equipment.

IMG_3691

As you are walking towards there, several things come to mind. On one hand you are wowed by the shear number of people standing on top of that frozen pond. And to think, there are drilled holes in the ice about 3 meters from one another where you stick your fishing rods in to catch fish, so the ice has to be super thick.

On the other hand, you notice that there is a massive river right next to the pond and NONE of which is frozen at all! What’s up with that?? That’s when things start to kick in about the authenticity of the ice festival. Being on the 38th parallel, we have volatile weather conditions, so its not going to be frozen over the entire winter. Instead we artificially freeze the part of the stream to ensure the safety that no one plops through.

IMG_3762

Authentic or not, it’s not the point of the festival as there are still tons of people out there having a great time. So as soon as you pay for your entrance, follow these instructions to get the most out of your ice fishing experience:

1. They’ll give you a sticker ticket and a fastener. Loop the fastener into one of your zippers and peel the sticker portion of your ticket onto it, much like you would for a ski lift ticket. Make sure it’s visible for the personnel to see. A picture of the ticket is shown at the top of this post.

Continue reading How to go Ice Fishing in Korea

Tour Itinerary for Reah Conference

So I’ve been asked to do a tour in October for 50+ and counting people for the Reah Conference on Oct 1. When the sizes get this big, we end up doing only a fraction of what’s on our typical itinerary due to the slow nature and free time we need to allot. I need to send them a description and schedule so I might as well talk here as to how I’m going about it. I’m also going to split them up into 2 options so I’ll be leading one and the other will probably go to Mars. Let’s see if they like the reel:

Option 1
Ye Olde Joseon Tour
Seoul has been the capital of the entire Korean Peninsula for the past 600 years. It was only 60 years ago or tenth of this city’s history has it been severed in half. We take you back when there was a time of unity in the country called the Joseon Dynasty, which ruled from 1392AD to 1910. This is a great place to start for the history of Korea as it sheds light onto the forthcomings of the Japanese Occupation and the Korean War.

Tour Highlights
– Pickup from hotel
– City Hall Tour
– Cheongye Stream
– Meet the Admiral
– Meet the King Sejong the Great
– Gyeongbok Palace Tour
– Bukchon Hanok Village
– Insadong

Option 2
Arts and Active Korea
Korea today, is the miracle that took place on the Han River. We will take a look at contemporary Korea and starting from where it all happened. This is one of the world’s greatest untold stories. Going from the ashes of war to one of the most powerful countries in the world is knowledge that must be shared. This vibrant and active country now has the means to share its artistic values and talents and this tour is going to share some of that.

Tour Highlights
– Pickup from hotel
– 63 City for view, aquarium and wax museum
– Bicycle around Yeoinaru Han River Park
– Head over to Hongdae
– Trick Eye Museum