Most people are familiar with the book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.” A reader told me, though, that there are no sites in Korea in the book, a curious fact considering how many locations are listed. I don’t want to see this become the latest target of misguided outrage by Korean netizens, though it does raise some interesting questions about the country’s top tourism spots/events and how they compare to those elsewhere.
The reader submitted 10 choices for our consideration: the demilitarized zone, Mount Seorak, Gyeongbok Palace, Jeju Island, Damyang County, Gyeongju, the Templestay Korea program, Seoul’s Lotus Lantern Fesitval, Hwaseong Fortress and the Jindo Sea Parting Festival.
Chris in South Korea writes, “If these 10 were on a Korea tour list, it would definitely be a fun time.”
The post brought up some really interesting discussion---and I'm thankful to the reader for getting the conversation started in the first place---though I was disappointed to see bickering by Samuel, nb, and arvinsign kill the enthusiasm in yet another thread. observer892 stopped by a little later and offered three places in Korea s/he feels worth a visit, three places that I admit I had never heard of:
- Hongyeon-am at Naksan-sa, high on the cliffside overlooking the East Sea, Gangweon-do, spectacular and historically rich
- Jeokmyeol Bogung - Buddhist shrine up the mountain from Sanweon-sa in Odae-san Park, amazing vista, Gangweon-do
- Munsu-sa in Gurye-gun, Jeolla Nam-do, a bit hard to visit, but the great scenery and the added pleasure of the eccentric monk who raises bandal bears on-site make it unique
I'm not sure how those would figure into a list of the must-visit places around the world, but then again I kind of agree with Peter's comment:
I don't know if Korea should be included in the "1000 places to see before you die", but I think lists like that are silly anyway. I believe there's value in travelling ANYWHERE. I'd far rather just get a glimpse into a foreign culture, than go around checking attractions off a list.
There have been a number of tourism-related posts by bloggers lately, and though I admit I haven't read through them all yet, they're worth collecting here:
** an acorn in the dog's food. "UNESCO World Heritage Sites & Korea Branding."
** Asadal Thought. "Improving Korea as a Tourism Destination: Part 1."
** Asadal Thought. "Improving Korea as a Tourism Destination: Part 2."
** Asadal Thought. "Improving Korea as a Tourism Destination: Part 3."
** Chris in South Korea. "Re: 24 Hours in Seoul."
** Seoul Searcher. "Tips for Vacationers in Korea."
The post by an acorn in the dog's food notes that for all the hoopla that went into getting Korea's Joseon-era tombs designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, nearly two months later they're still not listed on the Korea Tourism Organization page for UNESCO sites, nor is there any mention on how to visit them.
I'm not really sure how Lee Kun-moo expects to increase tourism to the tombs when the "Official Site of Korea Tourism Org" can't be bothered to add them to their list or offer directions and tour information for any of the other locations.