Seoul Searching #2: Food, Walking & More Food

There's a very lovely serenity about the South Korean countryside that I think gets overlooked a lot by travelers. People either get caught up in the bustling madness that is Seoul or they conjure up images of K-pop and Hallyu in all its manufactured, sparkly glory. Don't get me wrong; Seoul is all kinds of awesome (as you will finally get to see in the next post). But Korean culture is so much more than a suit-wearing middle-aged man riding an imaginary horse. You just gotta know where to look.

Part I of my Korean adventures can be found here.

Day 3: Gyeongju

First stop: Bulguksa Temple. Again, weather was as cheery as a dog with pancreatitis and some people even refused to get out of the bus but I was all like, bitch please. A bit of rain ain't gonna stop me from seeing thangs. 

People were queuing up to stroke this pig's butt. I was elbowed out of the way by a bunch of schoolkids and loud ahjummas while trying to take this photo.  

Whose bright idea was it to build that ugly thing right behind the temple?

I bought this Choco Pie not because I was particularly craving chocolate or something sweet but just so I could take a picture of one of South Korea's most iconic foodstuffs. Good thing too as it didn't taste particularly great. 

Our next stop was Gyeongju Aqua World: a big indoor and outdoor water park with separate sections for various sauna treatments, hot springs, slides and pools. They even had those weird flesh-sucking fish pools for you to dip your legs into.

I didn't take any photos inside since a) knowing me, the first thing I would've done was drop my phone into a pool and b) I didn't want to look like a veritable pedophile. So have a Google image of the pool section instead:

After paying the entry fee, you get an electronic waterproof bracelet which unlocks your corresponding shoe locker. After storing your shoes there, you move into a separate larger locker room where using the same bracelet, you can change and store all your stuff there. Don't try to get into the pool area without taking a shower first though as the attendants will politely direct you to another room where they supply you with shampoo, conditioners and soaps. After that, you can either choose to go into the female-only/male-only sauna rooms (on the condition that you do it buck naked) or enter the pool/ride area. Hellz to the no was I stripping down to my birthday suit so pool/ride area it was.

We stayed for about two or so hours and then went back out to the changing rooms. Korean hospitality/facilities are like a million years ahead of Western services. After showering and changing, you can go into a room full of mirrors and along the walls are stations where you can dry your hair, powder your face and scent yourself with things. Each station/vanity's got a hairdryer, cloths, various skin moisturizers, toners, creams, lotions, pins and perfumes which you can use as much of as you want. It's freaking awesome.

Dinner Part I - hot pot with things

Dinner Part 2: KFC (Korean Fried Chicken). My sister and I actually got this delivered to our hotel room because we are regular fatasses. It came with a Pepsi (Koreans prefer Pepsi over Coke), biscuits, some weird vinegary cubed radish(?) thing and two types of sweet chili sauces. I can't even. 

Day 4: Daegu and Hahoe Village

It's time I address my absolute favourite thing about Korea: convenience stores.

I freaking love Korean convenience stores. Every time I go in, I'm bound to come out with about three different things. Sometimes it's ramen (which, by the way, you can purchase, cook and eat right there in the store), sometimes it's snacks like Pepero sticks, ice cream (my god, Koreans can do ice cream so well), triangle kimbap or my absolute favourite, banana milk. I don't know what they put in this stuff (probably nothing good) but if it ever came to Australia, there's a chance it would put every other flavoured-milk industry out of business overnight. This stuff is like bottled happiness.

By the way, this place was another major city in South Korea: Daegu. We came pretty early in the morning though so the streets were a little bit empty even though people starting to fill in for business. My sister and I also may have avoided a potential kidnapping here. A guy in a black van stopped and started talking to us in English. We thought he was just being friendly...but then he started asking us where we were staying in Daegu and we were like, let's get the fuck out of here.

Iconic Korean landmark #1: Lotteria

Iconic Korean landmark #2: Dunkin' Donuts

Iconic Korean landmark #3: Kang Gary

Inside Dunkin' Donuts

And Iconic Korean Landmark #4: 7/11

Destination 2: Hahoe Village

The sun finally decided to stop PMSing and came out to give us some sunshine

"Annyeonghaseyo!" "Annyeonghaseyo!" "Annyeonghaseyooooo!"

Felt like I'd stepped back into one of those historical Korean dramas

The Wishing Tree - you write a wish on a little slip of paper, tie it to the tree and then walk three times in a clockwise direction around it. I made a wish. 

Time for a little bit of cycling.

And then we turned in to the exclusive Club ES Resort for the night. There were literally bunnies, ducks and chickens running all over the grounds. 

The place even had a late-night convenience store. It's like they wanted to make all my dreams come true. 

Next Post: Seoul, finally. 

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