Seoul Time Zone
Location (Latitude, Longitude):
37° 00′ N and 127° 30′ E
How far did I travel this week?
I traveled all throughout Seoul, South Korea. I would estimate that I traveled around 500 kilometers, or approximately 310 miles.
How far have I traveled on your journey so far?
On my journey thus far, I have traveled over 5,000 miles in total. Asia is basically on the other side of the world, and I have traveled in the Philippines, Malaysia, China and South Korea.
How did I get around this week?
I got around using a variety of modes of transportation. I used the underground metro system the most, followed by bus and taxi. My family in Korea also drove me around a bit. The Seoul metro system is one of the busiest and largest in the world. On the first day, I got lost and had to ride the metro for two hours to get back to where I had first gotten on the train!
What was the most interesting place I visited this week?
The most interesting place I visited this week was the Seoraksan National Park in South Korea. It is located approximately two hours east of Seoul, the capital city. I found it extremely interesting that the area is considered by Koreans to be the countryside, because it is still relatively urban by American standards.
Seoraksan itself was extremely scenic and I really enjoyed the view from different parts of the park. I went to the park with Alex, my friend from Denmark. We left extremely early in the morning and decided to scale the Ulsanbawii Mountain by lunchtime. Since we did not have much time to spend at the park itself, we only had the opportunity to scale one mountain. The mountain was called Ulsanbawii and it looked more like group of large rocks rather than a mountain. It was an exhausting hike up to the summit, and my legs were burning all the way. I had never been so out of breath during a hike before, but the view was well worth it!
Although we saw barely any people on our way up the mountain, we saw many people who were resting at the summit. I thought it was amusing that there were people selling beads, jewelry and hot tea at the summit. I asked the person selling these items how they transported the materials to the summit, and they told me that they were actually park rangers who sold merchandise on the side. He told me that he has climbed a mountain almost every day for the past five years. He told me that I came on a good day, and that usually it was much colder at the summit. To be honest, I thought it was freezing there so I guess Alex and I were pretty lucky! We rested for a short while at the summit and came back down the mountain again. Although it was not as difficult to go down the mountain as it was to go up, we still had to be very careful not to fall or trip on any rocks or it could have meant falling off the face of the mountain. Because we were being so careful on our way down, it took us almost as long to go down the mountain as it was to go up. By the time we finished the entire journey, my legs felt like jelly and we were absolutely exhausted.
Other travel news:
During my time in Korea, I mostly stayed with my uncle and aunt. They live in Seoul, which is the capital city and is one of the world’s largest cities with 11.5 million people living there. With me to Seoul came Alex, my Danish friend. Together, we traveled all throughout Seoul and spent some time during the past several days outside of Seoul. By being together, I really got to learn about Korean culture and got to learn Korea from an outsider’s perspective. I had not been to Korea for 15 years, so my perception of Korea had changed a lot since then. Korea is now a thriving, high-tech metropolitan area with a lively culture, great food, and a strong Korean heritage. As a tourist who has semi-experienced with the country, I had to explain many customs to Alex and act as a translator. That was a very interesting experience for me, and I learned a lot about my background through doing so.
Weather Tally (# of days for each weather type):
What is the air temperature right now? Right now the temperature outside is currently 65 degrees.
How was the weather this week? The weather this week was fairly sunny, with around two days of rain.
What animals did I see this week? I saw many chipmunks this week, as well as falcons, cranes, and many different types of fish. At the lake in Seoraksan National Park, there were many large fish swimming about, although I could not make out what species of fish they were.
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week? The coolest thing I saw in nature this week was when I was eating a chocolate bar and a chipmunk went up my leg to get a bite out of it. I had never before seen a wild animal interact so closely with me before!
Other Nature News: The nature in Korea is definitely one of the underrated aspects of the country. Since there are so many mountains, there are many different types of animals and plants that live there.
What languages are spoken here? Korean is spoken in Korea, and people generally speak only one language. Many young people can speak or listen to English a bit, but they are not as good at English as most tourist-heavy countries.
What type of money is used here? The Korean won is used here.
How much does a bottle of water cost? A bottle of water costs the same as in the United States, around one dollar.
What was the best meal this week? The best meal this week was Korean barbecue, which is usually beef marinated in barbecue sauce and cooked slowly over an open fire inside of a restaurant. Customers can frequently cook themselves.
What music did I listen to this week? I did not really listen to that much music this week.
What activity was the most fun this week? Hiking in Seoraksan and going out with friends in Seoul was definitely the highlight of my week.
What did I read this week? I read travel guides on Korea and kept up on the latest news.
What games or sports did I play this week? I did not really play any games or sports this week, although I did go hiking and walked around a lot!
Other news from this week: Korea is a must-go city for any person who has not been yet. Yes, I am biased because I am Korean, but my friends all really enjoyed their time here.