3 things you can do only in Korea

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Korea
Korea

If you’re planning your trip to Korea and have only shopping and eating on your list… pretty good choices. Korea’s pretty awesome for that. But don’t forget to do some unique things you can ONLY do in Korea. Here’s 3 things you can do only in Korea.

If you’re planning your trip to Korea and have only shopping and eating on your list… pretty good choices. Korea’s pretty awesome for that. But don’t forget to do some unique things you can ONLY do in Korea. Here’s 3 things you can do only in Korea.

1. Eat a Korean traditional dessert at one of the world’s best hotels

 Eat a Korean traditional dessert at one of the world’s best hotels
Eat a Korean traditional dessert at one of the world’s best hotels

The Shilla Hotel is where Bill Gates, President George Bush, and Michael Jackson chose to stay when they visited Korea and is also the wedding site of many well-known Korean celebrities such as Jeon Ji-Hyun. It has been ranked as one of the top 500 hotels in the world by Travel and Leisure magazine.

In the lobby area of the Shilla Hotel you can find the Library Bar & Lounge, where they serve the Korean traditional dessert called patbingsoo (팥빙수). Patbingsoo is a very popular dessert in the summer time and typically consists of shaved ice combined with condensed milk, ice cream, small rice cakes, and sweetened red beans (or azuki bean paste). Here, however, you will find a variation on this traditional dessert. The shaved ice grains are so fine that it feels like snow powder rather than the usual crushed ice. The real unique addition here though is the 2 whole sliced apple mangoes that are imported from the popular Korean honeymoon location, Jeju Island. Get ready to shell out a few dollars though as this dessert will run around $40. Savoring every bite won’t be a problem here.

2. Stay in a Korean traditional house in the backdrop of the ancient Korean capital

Stay in a Korean traditional house in the backdrop of the ancient Korean capital
Stay in a Korean traditional house in the backdrop of the ancient Korean capital

If you venture outside of Seoul during your time in Korea (as you should), Gyeongju is the place to go. Korea used to be divided into three major kingdoms (Silla, Baekje, and Goguryeo) until the Silla kingdom conquered the other kingdoms and made Gyeongju the capital. Gyeongju remained the capital of this region for approximately 1000 years, leading to the creation of a number of archaeological treasures that are well worth your time.

When visiting Gyeongju, there is no better place to stay than Sarangchae. It is conveniently located a 5 minute walk from a beautiful royal tomb park and also nearby Cheomseongdae, the oldest observatory in Asia, which has impressive stonework (imagine a Coca-Cola shaped stone bottle). Amidst the scenery of ancient Korean kings, try your hand at sleeping on the floor of an ancient traditional Korean house just like Koreans did back in the day. Share the experience with others by listening through the paper thin walls or better yet, by meeting them in the courtyard where you can share stories over a nighttime campfire.

3. Visit the only kimchi museum in the world

Visit the only kimchi museum in the world
Visit the only kimchi museum in the world

Where else in the world will you be able to go to a museum solely dedicated to the Korean staple, kimchi? This is a foodie’s dream. Kimchi, or seasoned fermented vegetables, is at the heart of Korean culture and its food and is usually eaten with every meal. Few people also know that there is not only 1 type of kimchi but 187 different documented types, ranging from kimchi of different ripeness levels to water kimchi, cucumber kimchi, and radish kimchi varieties. In addition, it is not uncommon for Korean households to have refrigerators solely dedicated for the storage of kimchi.

Here, you can taste 7-8 different types of kimchi, view bacteria found in kimchi under a microscope and even learn how to make kimchi in the education room. Also, don’t forget to learn about the scientific research showing the health benefits of kimchi, from which Koreans attribute their health and safety levels from the 2003 SARS outbreak.

Located on the B2 level of the Coex mall, the museum can be a little difficult to find. It is small but a great place to try different types of kimchi and not feel ignorant!

Another information about Korea: Gimbop – Korean style sushi roll