Korean Bucket List

Yonggungsa Temple

I am officially over halfway done with my time in Korea. This year has been flying by and I unfortunately haven’t accomplished nearly as many things here as I wanted.

So the only way to accomplish more is to figure out first what it is I want to accomplish.

My Korean Bucket List

√1. Go to a noraebang (karaoke room). I literally live next door to one, so you’d think this would’ve been checked off long ago.

Korean Noraebang
Source: Korean Pen

√2. Do a Temple Stay. Temple Stays are an amazing way to experience Buddhism. You stay the night at a temple, dine and drink tea with monks, meditate and make crafts.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

√3. Go to a yoga class at least twice a week for a month (not actually Korea-related, but something I’ve been meaning to do!)

4. Hike 2 more mountains in Ulsan (and also hike Gajisan again in the snow)

Gajisan

5. Hike 2 mountains outside of Ulsan

√6. Go camping on (or at least by) the beach – preferably at Gyeongpo Beach or Yonghwa Beach

√7. Visit the DMZ – the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, which is ironically the most heavily militarized border in the world.

DMZ
Source: The Guardian

√8. Go to a dog/cat cafe – a cafe where dogs and cats hang out. Seriously.

Cat Cafe
Source: World Walk About

√9. Go to at least 3 more festivals, including the Busan Fireworks Festival

10. Visit Jeju Island and hike Hallasan, the highest mountain in South Korea

Baengokdam lake at the top of Hallasan
Source: Cinemaelectronica

√11. Eat a live octopus (or maybe just watch someone else do it)

Old Boy - eating a live octopus
Source: Imgur

Ummm yeah, maybe not.

12. Surf the DMZ – or what will most likely happen: watch the boyfriend surf at 38th Parallel Beach near the DMZ. Surfing here literally means walking past patrolling Korean guards and barbed wire fences to get to the beach – but it has the best surf in Korea.

Surfing the DMZ
Source: Foreign Policy

13. Visit the Shinwa Art Village. I’m a sucker for street art.

Shinwa Art Village
Source: The Sajin

√14. Go to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan

Yonggungsa Temple
Source: International TEFL Academy

15. Go to the Hwaseong Fortress outside of Seoul. Wikipedia (yes, I’m quoting Wikipedia) says “This fortress was built from 1794 to 1796 by King Jeongjo of the Joseon Dynasty to house and honour the remains of his father Prince Sado, who had been murdered by being locked alive inside a rice chest by his own father King Yeongjo after failing to obey the command to commit suicide.”

Hwaseong Fortress
Source: Dict Space

√16. Visit Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan

Gamcheon Culture Village
Source: Korea-The Final Chapter

17. See “Nanta” Musical – “[This] musical has a simple back story of three cooks attempting to finish preparing a wedding banquet within a strict time limit while the manager installs his incompetent nephew among the kitchen staff. The show involves acrobatics, magic tricks, comedy, pantomime and audience participation. The unifying element throughout the musical is the use of traditional Korean samul nori music, which in this case is performed with improvised instruments, such as cutting boards, water canisters and kitchen knives.” (Thanks again, Wikipedia)

18. Go to a makgeolli brewery! Makgeolli is a traditional Korean drink (an alcoholic beverage, of course) – basically a delicious milky rice wine! There’s a makgeolli brewery in Busan (Geumjeongsan) that gives tours and lessons on how to make it!

19. Go to a flavored-Soju bar.

Ever been to Korea and have any recommendations on places to go or things to do that I should add to my list?

_________________________

Thank you Meagan from Life Outside of Texas for the inspiration and ideas!

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  1. Ceri says: Reply

    I’m in the middle of writing a Korea bucket list too. 😀 I can’t believe you’ve never been to a noraebang – I plan to do that on my first night! Haha.

    And, this just kind of shows where my mind if at: I do intend to visit one of the penis parks in Korea while I’m there too.

  2. I’m a bit partial to hiking here in Korea, but I’d highly recommend visiting a National Park! I’ve been fortunate enough to visit 6 mountainous national parks in 6 months and I can confidently say that each one has a unique beauty about it, not to mention the challenging hiking. BUT the views on top are always worth it, you really get to see Korea and all the mountains. Jirisan, Wolchulsan, Songnisan, Deogyusan, and Woraksan were all beautiful. And Hallasan is of course already on your list! Also, I’d recommend hopping to an island for a day while the weather is still warm-ish. On the islands you can find a beach, explore, go hiking, etc. My bucket list now states that we will visit every national park in Korea before we leave! Great list, have fun!

  3. You’ve never been to a norebang? Seriously?
    Hwasong is lovely, definitely worth a visit. There’s a little dragon train you can take around. Go on a public holiday if you can. They have lots of neat “cultural” things to do. :) And it’s close to the toilet museum. that was on my bucket list but I sadly didn’t make it.
    I’ve had the live octopus a few times. It’s not bad, there’s a yummy sauce they serve with it. It’s a bit creepy to feel it wriggling on the way down but it stops soon enough.
    Have you hiked Jiri-san? Or visited the tea fields? They’re lovely. Or Seoraksan? Also gorgeous, especially this time of year.
    Oh! And the templestays…. Abo and I did one at Haeinsa near Daegu that was great. And we did one in Myogaksa in Seoul that was fabulous.
    xo

  4. This is a really great list! It’s pretty similar to what’s on my personal list as well. You have to get to a norebang. Have you been to the photo sticker booths? That’s one of my favorite things to do!

    Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is amazing and one of my absolute favorites. Beomeosa Temple in Busan is also great and they do temple stays there. They even have an English website.

    You must also do the live octopus or you’ll regret it!

    1. Thanks Meagan! Have you eaten a live octopus yet? I was keen until so many people told me horror stories of the octopus latching onto the inside of your throat and killing you :-/

      I’ll absolutely check out Beomeosa Temple to do a temple stay, thanks for the tip!

      1. I have. Some friends and I did it at Jagalchi Fish Market. You pick out your octopus and then they chop it up and bring it to your table. It’s still wiggling around. I only ate one piece and it was a small piece. You just have to chew it really well. I think most of the horror stories happen when people are too drunk to remember to chew.

  5. I just made a bucket list for Korea too, but didn’t discover Gamcheon until afterwards. That place would definitely be on my list too!! Looks so interesting! Have you been to Gyeongpo Beach on the east coast? We just went there and it was very, very beautiful. 4km long, white sand and gorgeous water.

    1. I actually haven’t been there yet and have also been meaning to go there! Thanks for the reminder, I’ll have to add it to my list! Thanks for reading Shelley :)

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