The transformation from outsider to denizen within any foreign land can be gradual, sometimes hard-won. Certainly, embedding in the fascinating, unfamiliar culture of South Korea is no exception. Our very own Segment Producer Lindsay McEwen walks us through her subtle yet profound metamorphosis over three years teaching English as a second language in Seoul. This lovely feature kicks off Native Traveler's full hour exploring South Korea—just in time to inspire those contemplating a visit to the 2018 Winter Olympic in Pyeongchang. 즐기세요 (enjoy)!
Other places may make the claim, but Seoul is truly the city that never sleeps. Everywhere people are walking, running, talking, laughing, eating. LCD billboards flash with fluid colour like digital oil slicks. Punchy Korean pop ballads blare from open shop doors. Old women shout to one another over sidewalk fruit stalls. Metro trains thunder overhead and rumble underfoot. Cars and buses whip past at breakneck speed, scooters threading their way recklessly between the bigger vehicles and stirring up a flurry of horns in their wake. Every sight and sound adds to the hum of energy and urgency that seems to permeate this city.
Fresh off the plane and entirely alone, I am overwhelmed. No amount of research could have prepared me for the reality of the situation now facing me—an entire year living and working in this heaving, flashing beast of a metropolis.
Koreatown: A Cookbook offers a yummy blend of 100 recipes, essays, profiles and documentary-style photography with a focus on lesser-known aspects of Korean food, drink and culture. Written by NYC chef Deuki Hong and food/travel/culture writer Matt Rodbard, it celebrates the exploding Korean food movement in the United States and abroad. Matt and Deuki kindly share a couple of their favourite recipes with us.
This New York Times travel piece follows the transformation of Pyeongchang from one of South Korea's least developed regions (even little-known to Koreans) to an Olympic-ready venue poised to capture the global spotlight.
With tens of thousands of athletes, journalists and spectators expected to descend on Pyeongchang for the Games, it’s also a coming-out party of sorts for South Korea as a winter sports hub, a chance to show the world that it, too, has sparkling-white slopes and a top-notch skiing infrastructure that can continue to attract powder hounds long after the Olympics are over.
This quiet region of pine-covered mountains and potato fields not far from the North Korean border, long one of the country’s least-developed areas, has overcome a number of obstacles just to get to this point. Pyeongchang, largely unfamiliar even to many Koreans before the Olympic bid, was once seen as a sizable underdog to win the Olympics. It finally succeeded in its third bid after razor-thin defeats to Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014.
Check out this Lonely Planet South Korea travel guide:
The South Korean government created more than 3000 kilometres of new bike paths in the last few years—now among the best in the world. Here's more from National Geographic Traveler: