It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I was in South Korea – someday when I stop travelling (yeah, right) I might actually catch up with myself. While I was in South Korea, there were a number of odd things that really caused me to go “Hmmm….you don’t really do this or see this kind of oddball stuff anywhere else…” I’ve been meaning to put together a post of them all since then…and finally, it’s time. Enjoy my 10 Great Oddball Things in South Korea
1) The Hotel shaped like a ship – while I didn’t stay there, I paid a short visit and just thought – wow, this must have been expensive to build. Located on a coastal cliff in Jeongdongjin and opened in 2002, the resort is a specially designed cruise ship on land. It is 165 meters in length, 45 meters in height, and 30,000 tons in weight. The Sun Cruise has 211 rooms, both condominium and hotel style, a Western and a Korean restaurant, revolving sky lounge, a night club, a karaoke, and sea water pool. It also offers 6 state-of-the-art function rooms for seminars and workshops.
2) Jingabongs - For usually less than 10 Euros you can check into a jingabong for 12-16 hours. They are open 24 hours. Part bathhouse, part social club, part hotel, and part something else entirely – they are my favorite thing in South Korea.
3) The North Korean Submarine – I know, it’s not terribly exciting. A bunch of North Koreans got their submarine stuck on some reefs and abandoned it. This prompted a deadly manhunt that lasted over a month (25 of the 26 crew members were shot dead and the South Korean casualties, civil and military, tallied 17). It’s just odd that it is sitting there. Oh, yeah, and by the way, there is a US Warship there too…I don’t think it was abandoned though.
4) Going to the dentist for a teeth cleaning. Okay, this might be the oddest of them all. It’s about $50 but when you travel a lot you need to take care of your teeth and why not have it done in a place where you don’t know the language. I’m pretty sure they cleaned my teeth. It felt like it anyway. (Thanks to the Vagablond for the teeth tip)
5) Sokcho’s North Korean Village and ferry - Sokcho is interesting by itself but when was the last time you got pulled across a body of water (by hand) by a North Korean exile?
6) Karaoke (whatever it’s called in Korea – I think it’s Norebong-ing) Anyway, it’s not like in the US. You and your friends (or just you) rent a private room and bring your own drinks. No audience. Definitely not recommended that you go by yourself. I went with a Dutch girl from the hostel and we had fun once we had drank enough.
7) Underground Shopping, Museums, etc -Koreans love to dig tunnels and you will find an amazing world beneath your feet when you take the time to look. This is especially true in Seoul and around the DMZ.
8) Love Motels - These are really cheap hotels generally and themed. Unlike karaoke, you can actually go to these by yourself, just make sure the walls are thick enough that you don’t hear the people who didn’t go by themselves. By the way, don’t be surprised if they offer you a menu of women to choose from – not required. These are a great budget option (the love motels, not the women)
9) The Penis Park. It’s a beautiful natural park next to the sea – filled with dicks. Seriously, a must see place but not for the shy or easily aroused.
10) The De Militarized Zone - No trip to South Korea would be complete without visiting a war zone. The war is still active and the DMZ is still being tunnelled under. You can visit at a few locations and even set foot in North Korea. Why not?