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Korea: the home of


PAGE 4 Tour programmes

PAGE 6 Cultural Korea

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Recharge your energies in a unique destination TAEKWONDO is the national sport of Korea and the birthplace of the martial art that is now a designated Olympic sport. With the designation of 20102012 as ‘Visit Korea Year’, we are delighted to showcase our destination through these pages Korea is a place to come and recharge your energy using nature, tradition and belief in a society that has an ability to reinvent itself constantly. Korea is in the heart of north-east Asia and is the gateway to the Asia-Pacific region. Korea is a diverse, unique and proud destination boasting festivals, UNESCO cultural properties and breathtaking topography. Using our expertise, knowledge and passion, we invite you to discover Taekwondo, a diverse landscape of mountains, hidden temples and adventure-filled activities. Our highly advanced and technologically superior destination hides a scenically stunning landscape with a history

and culture dating back 5,000 years. These are exciting times for Korea with the IAAF World Athletics Championships Daegu 2011, Expo 2012 Yeosu (under the themes of water and sustainability) and a new ‘Taekwondo Park’ set to open in 2013. ■ For further information go to

The Mecca of Taekwondo Kukkiwon – World Taekwondo headquarters Kukkiwon was established in 1971 to introduce taekwondo’s philosophy and skills and to enhance the sport’s prestige abroad. Location: 635, Yoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea, 135-908 Tel: +82-2-567-1058-9 action The Taekwondo Park (Opening 2013) The Taekwondo Park is a unique site, where practitioners from all over the world come to train, research and learn about taekwondo. It will also provide space for guests to interact with each other for taekwondo spirit, history and culture. Location: San 119-1, Socheon-ri, Seolcheon-myeon, Muju-gun, Jeollabuk-do, Korea Scale: 2,314,049msq Construction period: 2005-2013

MAJOR ACTIVITIES Gyeonghuigung Palace Taekwondo demonstration ‘Power Art, Taekwondo’ A dynamic performance is operated by K-Tigers, combining taekwondo with traditional music and dance. When: 2pm-3pm every Wednesday and Saturday from April to December Tel: +82-31-938-0251 Gyeonghuigung Palace Taekwondo programmes For those of you wanting to know the very basics of Taekwondo, why not try learning basic techniques in front of one of Seoul’s main palaces. Times are as follows – between Tuesday and Sunday: ● 11am-12noon – basic technique ● 1pm-2pm – self-defence skill ● 3pm-4pm – breaking skills main/main.html

Taekwondo one-day tour programme INTERNATIONAL KUMGANG TAEKWONDO CENTRE It is in one of the best taekwondo training centres where foreign tourists can get the chance to learn techniques of taekwondo and to experience mental training with Korean masters, who speak English. Location: 736-1 2F, Kumgang Taekwondo Centre, Mokdong, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul, Korea Tel: +82-2-2642-0692 Email: Master Ryan (An Byeong Cheol, +82-10-6303-4962) ● When signing up for the taekwondo one-day tour programme, you are required to give your full name in English and height. The three-hour programme is divided into three groups based on skill level. Three-hour programme Everyday from 9am-10pm ■ Group 1: Stretching, basic movements ■ Group 2: Target kicking, self-defence ■ Group 3: Sparring, breaking a pine 90-minute programme Everyday from 9am-10pm ■ Stretching, basic movements – kicking – self-defence – sparring – breaking a pine – ceremony – picture. 2011 TAEKWONDO EVENT CALENDAR World Taekwondo Culture Expo July 2011 in Jeonju and Muju Contact: Tel: +82-63-278-7021 Held: Annually Chuncheon Open International Taekwondo Championships July 2011 in Chuncheon Contact: main/main.asp Held: Annually

Geography, transport and climate GEOGRAPHY Korea is in the heart of North East Asia and is the gateway to the Asia-Pacific region. A peninsula stretching southward from the centre of the northeast coast of Asia with neighbours Japan to the east and China to the west. Korea occupies an area of approximately 220,000km-sq and a coastline dotted with some 3,400 islands of varying sizes. Mountains cover 70 per cent of the country, making it scenically stunning and perfect for soft adventure. TRANSPORTATION The award-winning Incheon International Airport (airport code ICN) is the Asian gateway not just to Australia and New Zealand, but many other destinations including Fiji, Hawaii, the Philippines, Bali, Mongolia, Vietnam, China and Japan. There are eight international airports in Korea: Incheon, Gimpo, Gimhae, Cheongju, Daegu, Yangyang, Muan and Jeju International Airport. Korean Air and Asiana Airlines are the only airlines that provide direct services from the UK to Seoul: Korean Air 0800 413 000

Asiana Airlines 0207 514 0200

From Incheon International Airport, taxis and buses connect to the heart of Seoul. Standard and KAL Limousine bus services

operates between the airport and major points within the city, with a journey time of 1hr to central Seoul. The cost ranges from 14,000 Won (approximately £8) one way. CLIMATE Korea’s climate has four distinct seasons, with the best times of the year to visit the country being spring and autumn. Winters in Korea can be cold, while summers tend to be hot and humid with heavy rainfall.

CULTURAL experiences TAEKWONDO Taekwondo is the national sport of Korea, with an estimated 50 million practitioners globally and is a designated Olympic sport. Originating from ‘taekkyeon’ a traditional martial art form is the ‘technique of kicking and punching’. Travellers can take part in a oneday taekwondo experience or a full 15-day training programme. See http://www.koreataekwondo. org and TEMPLE STAY Experience Korean Buddhist culture by booking a stay at one of the many Buddhist temples. Many are located deep in the mountains allowing complete immersion in spiritual training such as Zen meditation and Buddhist

HANOK STAY Hanoks are traditional, eco-friendly homes that use natural building materials. Old furniture, paper-pasted windows, and soy jars add to the traditional ambiance and understanding of Korean lifestyle and culture. Some houses offer various programmes during the stay from pottery making to traditional Korean folk games. Simple meals are usually available at an extra charge.

chanting. Programmes include predawn Buddhist rites; Zen meditation; tea ceremonies; mountain trekking; lotus lantern making; and rubber stamp making. For more information see

FOOD AND COOKING Food is a very important part of the country’s culture with great attention paid to the way it’s served and the types of ingredients used. The national dish is ‘Kimchi’, (fermented spicy cabbage). All the dishes are served at the same time and a typical meal normally includes

rice, soup and side offerings. Korean Royal Cuisine is designated as an Intangible Cultural Asset by the government; BEAUTY AND AESTHETIC Relieve stress and aches with a massage, alternative medicines or acupuncture. Many major hotels and resorts in Korea now provide luxury spa facilities, massages, saunas and skincare treatments. From oriental therapy to modern high-tech procedures, there are many ways to revitalise body and soul. Places to visit include: ■ Guerlain Spa, The Shilla, Seoul, ■ Hue Skin Care, Seoul; ■ Etude House (Cosmetics);


World Cultural Heritage sites 9

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A NUMBER of Korea’s cultural assets have been recognised in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage listing. They are not just of national importance but have a universal significance for future generations. 1. JONGMYO SHRINE, SEOUL: Dedicated to the spirits of Korea’s royal ancestors. The shrine is made up of the main hall ‘Jeongjeon’ (said to be the longest building in Asia) and the hall of Eternal Peace ‘Yeongnyeongjeon’. 2. CHANGDEOKGUNG PALACE, SEOUL: Built in the fifth year of the Joseon Dynasty (1405) reign of King Taejong and is divided into administrative, residential quarters and has a secret garden. 3. BULGUKSA TEMPLE AND SEOKGURAM GROTTO (ABOVE), GYEONGJU: These are the masterpieces of Korea’s Buddhist

Culture. The beautiful temple complex and the 3.5m-tall stone statue of Sakyamuni are located on Mt Toamsan in Gyeongju. 4. TRIPITAKA KOREANA AND HAEINSA TEMPLE: Nestled part of the way up Mt Gayasan and was the state temple of the Goryeo Dynasty. During the 13th Century, the people of Goryeo carved 81,258 ‘Tripitaka Koreana woodblocks’ (Buddhism scriptures carved on wood blocks) to repel the invasion by the Mongolians. 5. HWASEONG FORTRESS, GYEONGGI-DO: The fortress is located in Suwon City and represents the most advanced features of fortification sprawling across both flat and hilly terrain; seldom seen in neighbouring China and Japan. 6. GYEONGJU HISTORIC AREA: The former capital of the Silla Dynasty, is a 1,000-year old city


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known as the ‘museum without walls’ due to all its historic relics. 7. GOCHANG, HWASUN AND GANGWHA DOLMENS: Korea has the greatest number of preserved Dolmens in Asia; they are Bronze Age megalithic remnants serving as burial chambers. They are similar in appearance to Stonehenge in the UK. 8. JEJU VOLCANIC ISLAND AND LAVA TUBES: Korea’s first natural site became an UNESCO World Natural Heritage listing in June 2007. Covering three sites: Geomunoreum, regarded as one of the finest lava tube system of caves; the fortresslike Seongsan Ilchulbong crater and Mt Hallasan, Korea’s highest peak. 9. ROYAL TOMBS OF THE JOSEON DYNASTY: The listing

of the Joseon Dynasty tombs mark the country’s 9th World Heritage site. They form a collection of 40 tombs which showcase the country’s tradition of respect for ancestors and are located in areas of outstanding natural beauty. 10. HISTORIC VILLAGES OF KOREA: HAHOE AND YANGDONG: Founded in the 14th-15th centuries, Hahoe and Yangdong are seen as the two most representative historic clan villages in Korea. Their layout and location – sheltered by forested mountains and facing out onto a river and open agricultural fields – reflect the distinctive aristocratic Confucian culture of the early part of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). ■ See


KOREA’S rich cultural, historic and religious heritage is celebrated throughout the year in a myriad of festivals, some in honour of religious figures (such as Buddha’s birthday), while others focus on nature (eg the changing seasons). Visitors can experience traditional Korean Culture through these festivals, which are divided into several types, including natural, cultural, traditional and sporting festivals. Snow Festival Held in January Includes ice-cold activities such as giant ice sculpting.

mud slides and then use the mud beauty treatments (pictured, right). Andong Mask Dance Festival Held in Autumn Provides the opportunity to see a traditional Korean mask dance (pictured, above) and is held at the popular Hahoe Village in Andong. Pusan Film Festival Held in Autumn This festival has gained major international importance along with Korea’s film industry, which is the next big thing according to the film industry!

Cherry Blossoms Festival Held in April The perfect time to visit Korea and the perfect festival to enjoy a picnic under the pink cherry blossom.

Gwangju Kimchi Cultural Festival Held in October Clients can learn about the history, ingredients and taste of Korea’s national dish ‘Kimchi’.

Boryeong Mud Festival Held in July Is popular with young travellers as you can enjoy mud wrestling,

■ For more information on see: http://english.visitkorea. html?festival=0

Jeju Island: Korea’s slice of paradise JEJU ISLAND’S geographic location places it within easy reach of the Korean mainland, Japan and China. With a favourable climate and diverse and attractive natural beauty, Jeju is a destination with offerings and experiences that few locations, if any, in the region can provide. The island enjoys a sub-tropical climate, firstclass resort facilities and beautiful beaches. Rising from the centre of Jeju is Mount Halla Volcano with a spectacular crater lake. Jeju is also famous for its women divers the ‘Haenyeo’. The island is 73km from west to east and 31km from north to south, with a coastline of 254km. MT HALLA Mt Hallasan, the extinct volcano that rises to 1,950m in the centre of the island, has a crater at its top. Hallasan is home to 1,800 species of plants and has some incredible hiking trails of between two-five hours. SEONGSAN ILCHULBANG (SUNRISE PEAK) Is a secondary crater of Mt Hallasan that rises from the ocean. It’s basin area is 9,000m2 in size and shaped like a crown. Early risers will be amazed by Seongsan’s unforgettable sunrise view. JEONGBANG FALLS The only waterfall in Asia that drops directly into the sea and one of the three most famous on Jeju, along with Cheonjiyeon and Cheonjeyoun Falls. JUNGMAN RESORT Jungman is an integrated tourism and recreation centre, situated close to Cheonjeyoun Falls and next to the island’s most beautiful beaches. The resort is home to some of the major hotel chains and golf courses on the island. HAENYEO (DIVING LADIES) Stop to watch the ‘Haenyeo’ ladies (inset picture, top) diving to the sea bed without breathing apparatus to collect sea food. The women are one of the unique features of the island.

Where to stay in Korea TEMPLE STAY Launched in 2002 the Temple Stay programme has proved hugely popular and provides a unique opportunity for visitors to learn about and experience Korean Buddhist culture (pictured, above). See

HOTELS With some of the biggest global hotel brands on offer, you won’t be short of finding a room. Hotels are classified into five categories: super deluxe (five-star); deluxe (five-star); first class (four-star); second class (three-star) and third class (two-star).

HANOK STAY Step back in history and book a stay at a traditional ‘Hanok’ house (right). Locations are carefully calculated in accordance with fen shui principles.

MOTELS/YEOGWAN (INNS) Motels and yeogwan provide comfortable sleeping facilities. Amenities such as air conditioning, internet access and television are generally included.

BENIKEA (BEST NIGHT IN KOREA) Benikea is a newly-formed chain of independent hotels committed to providing the very best services at reasonable rates. See GOOD STAY Good Stay is a reliable and affordable accommodation service authorised by the Korea Tourism Organization. International standards were applied to select hotels, motels and inns that have demonstrated quality management and services.

FARM STAY A farm stay focuses on well-being: it means exactly what it says – eating and living well. See the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation website at http://www.

HOME STAY Why not stay with a host family during your trip and infuse into everyday Korean life? For travellers wishing to learn the language this is the perfect opportunity. See

YOUTH HOSTELS With a total of 52 youth hostels located throughout Korea, the properties are very large and can offer facilities comparable to hotels. Guests must have a Hostelling International Membership card issued by Hostelling International. See ■ For a full range of accommodation options in Korea see: enu/1031_Accommodations.jsp

Health, well-being and leisure KOREANS place great importance in cultivating one’s character through body and mind. Maintaining one’s health through spa facilities, acupuncture and massage is common place all over Korea.

ONE-STOP MEDICAL TOURISM SERVICE As the popularity for high-quality medical tourism increases in Korea, our organisation has created an online and offline ‘one-stop medical tourism service centre’ to assist clients with all information regarding medical tourism. Information can be found at

SPA AREAS More than 70 natural hot springs are scattered throughout Korea and from ancient times have been known to be effective against such ailments as skin disease and arthritis. Most of the modern springs in Korea are not only equipped with hot spring bathing facilities, but have been developed as comprehensive resorts known as ‘jjimjilbangs’.

HANJEUNMAK Hanjeunmak is a kind of sauna with a history of almost 600 years in Korea. It serves as an excellent way of relaxing the body, promoting

metabolism and alleviating neuralgia and muscular fatigue. The ‘mak’ in Hanjeunmak means a dome-shaped steam room made of stone and heated from below by a pine fire, creating steam when water is thrown on hot stones. SKIING There are 13 ski resorts in the country and all are accessible within a few hours of Seoul. The principal ones are the Yongpyong Ski Resort (Dragon Valley International Ski Resort) at Tackwallyong area and Chonmasan Ski Resort near Seoul. One resort

can be reached via Seoul’s subway. NATIONAL PARKS Korea boasts 20 national parks, including the famous Seoraksan National Park. Located on the east coast, Seoraksan welcomes hikers and soft adventurers attracted by the beautiful forests, mountains, temples, beaches and rivers. The highest mountain in Korea is Mt Hallasan on Jeju Island, while the hot springs of Osaek in the south are popular. Songnisan National Park is more centrally located and home to the spectacular Beopjusa Temple.

VISAS AND TRAVEL TIPS PASSPORT AND VISA The UK is one of 99 countries whose residents are allowed to enter Korea for up to 90 days without the requirement of a visa with a valid UK passport. Those travellers wishing to obtain working visas or stay for a longer duration must contact the Embassy for the Republic of Korea based in London: Embassy for the Republic of Korea, 60 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AJ, UK Tel: 0207 227 5500 or 5505 (consular section) Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9.30am12.30pm; 2pm-5.30pm TRAVELLERS TIPS Safety: Korea has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. You can walk around freely at night as long as you exercise common sense and the usual precautions with regard to valuables. Inoculations: Korea has a high standard of hygiene and cleanliness. Inoculations are not required unless arriving from an endemic area. Check with your doctor. Healthcare: It is recommended to use the international clinics at the large general hospitals such as Severance Hospital, Asan Medical Centre or Samsung Medical Centre. Time difference: Korea is nine

hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and eight hours ahead of British Summer Time.

General opening hours: Office hours are generally from 9am-6pm and closed on Saturdays and Sundays. The majority of shops are open daily from 10am-9pm. Museums and some sightseeing attractions are closed on Mondays. Currency exchange: American Express, VISA and MasterCard are widely accepted. The currency is the Korean Won. Travellers who carry internationally recognised credit cards can get a cash advance in Korean Won at automated teller machines (ATMs) installed at airports, major hotels, department stores, subway stations and tourist attractions. Tipping: Is not a traditional Korean custom. A 10 per cent service charge is added to your bill at all tourist hotels and some big restaurants. Goods and service tax: Value added tax (VAT) is levied on most goods and services at a standard rate of 10 per cent and is included in the retail price. In tourist hotels, the 10 per cent applies to meals and other services and is added to the bill. Electricity: In Korea, outlets for 220 volts 60 cycles are dominant, but 110 volt is sometimes available. Two-prong plugs are used in Korea.

KOREA TOURISM ORGANIZATION: services on offer and contact details THE Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) is the first point of contact and can provide assistance in the following services: ■ Address: Korea Tourism Org, 3rd Floor, New Zealand House, Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4TE Tel: 020 7321 2535 Fax: 020 7321 0876 Email: ■ Free helpline number for travellers, just call 1330 ■ Destination information: cities, resorts and UNESCO World Heritage sites. ■ Ground handling services: a network of partner travel companies that can deal with all logistical issues on the ground. ■ Tourist information services: through educational seminars and press trips; presentations; provision of information; brochure materials; DVD and image library access and assistance with the development of tour products to Korea. ■ Korea is a place to ‘Revitalise

Body and Soul’ and the Korea Tourism Organisation has created a bespoke 16-page magazine to give you ideas on how easy it is to recharge your energy in Korea using nature, tradition and belief. Articles include Finding your Soul in Seoul; Jeju Island: Korea’s slice of paradise; Hanok: be tempted by tradition and a guide to Temple Stay. Download the supplement at: uploaded_files/KOREA_BE_ INSPIRED.pdf


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