Introduction to South Korea
South Korea packs more punch than a heavyweight champion. Despite the volatility of its neighbours, South Korea has become an economic power to be reckoned with. Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is massive, catering to over 25 million locals – can you imagine the lineup for coffee in the morning?
Extremes are rarely captured so cheekily as an eclectic formula of serene temples and ancient teahouses stand only kilometres from nightclubs, apartments, shopping districts and rave warehouses – somehow, it all works. The ‘work hard, play hard, live well’ credo of Koreans sinks into every stone, tree, brick and skyscraper. They walk the line of excess and responsibility better than anyone on Earth as their love for fermented spirits and trance is balanced by a resilient national character.
South Korea is more than its soju (a popular liquor) pumps and late-night festivities. Underneath the surface of a modern nation lies a spiritual and calming atmosphere.
Take a bus or train out of the major cities and explore the mountains beyond. A fusion of Confucian and Buddhist influences cap the hilltops as ancient temples stand above sprawls and scarlet-robed monks go about their day, as if the last 500 years never happened. Uphill tracks test your fitness, your wits and a good part of your determination before reaching the ultimate pay-off - some even choose to stay overnight. Brrr - don’t forget your thermal gear.