A Trip to Korea

April 17, 2013

Breaking News, International

Korean Folk Village

My name is Jennifer Shim and this is an overview of my trip to South Korea over Spring Break.

It had been seven painful years since I’d been home. I had waited almost a decade to visit my home country; my last visit was in 2006. I had been preparing for this day in many ways. The internet was my best friend as I learned the ways of Korea and what to expect when I got there. It worked – kind of.

It was an eleven hour ride from Vancouver to Incheon International Airport in Seoul. When the plane started landing, I looked out the window; there was one thing I noticed within a few seconds: it wasall brown, there was no grass (I  later learned that there is no grass during the spring season) and the buildings were huge.

For the first week my family was jet-lagged and no one functioned like a human, more like zombies.

When I started exploring Korea, I was shocked by how advanced the Korean transportation systems have become.  The subways and buses could take you any where. Taxis were everywhere and extremely cheap. Everything was so modern, even the escalator had a sensor in front of it, so it would be kept off until someone passed the sensor and got on the escalator. LED signs were on most buildings, they were blinding. Make-up stores and coffee shops existed every time I turned.

The first place I went to was Seoul Museum of Art to see the works of my inspiration, Tim Burton. That day I was blown away by his imagination and  his ingenious use of colour.

I also visited Deoksugung Palace which was inhabited by various Korean royalties until the turn of the 20th century. The palace is one of the five royal palaces that are still remaining in Seoul. In Deoksugung, I watched the Royal Guards Changing Ceremony, a performance done by numerous men dressed up as the guards from the past. Traditional Korean instruments were played and the performance attracted many.

One of my favorite trips in Korea was to the Korean Folk Village, a place where true Korean culture is preserved. There are multiple sections to the park. numerous replicas of traditional houses of the different social classes from various regions are displayed. Not only that, Korean traditional performances took place constantly.

Korea is well known for its busy streets and cities, I visited few of Korea’s most popular cities, including Myeongdong, Hongdae, Seoul, and Apgujeong. In the cities, the smell of cigarettes were strong (cigarette prices start from as low as $3). They were busy and crowded, there were people beside, in front, and behind me at all times – I was able to master squeezing through people. The cities were exciting, there were shops for everything. Shop owners/workers yelling at passers to visit their shop was usual.

The most exciting part of my visit took place in Lotte World and Everland, Korea’s famous amusement parks. The amusement parks were decorated beautifully. My favorite rides were the T Express (a roller coaster that drops from 58m above ground at the speed of 114km/hr and the descent angle at 76.6 degrees) and Gyrodrop (a ride that drops from the height of 87m above ground at the speed of 100km/hr in less than 3 seconds). In Lotte World and Everland, there were special performances, such as the Mask and Tulip Festivals. The amount of fun I had cannot be described in words.

My trip to Korea was filled with excitement, it was a whole new experience with many breathtaking moments.

Story by Jennifer Shim


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