Seongyojang Hanok Village - KTO - Our Awesome Planet-85.jpg
KOREA is very beautiful – rich with cultural traditions, unique Korean flavors, and distinct architecture.

Here’s a Filipino’s First Timer’s guide to Experience the Real Korea through its Hanok Stays, Korean Food, Shopping Destinations, and Must Visit Cultural Experiences…

THE BEST HANOK STAY

RakKojae - KTO - Our Awesome Planet-36.jpg
RAKKOJAE is a Hanok, a traditional Korean guest house that offers 6-star service in a secluded location in Seoul. Its name means “a place where one can enjoy the traditions of times past and rests one’s soul”.

Check out: RAKKOJAE Secret Hanok Escape: An Ultimate Immersion to Korean Culture (Seoul)

 

WHERE TO EAT?

Jinsadaek Hanok - KTO - Our Awesome Planet-59.jpg
JINSADAEK is a traditional Korean restaurant where you order course-menu style, set in a Hanok-inspired environment. This authentic Korean dining experience is by the same owner of RakKoJae.

If you’re looking for a truly traditional Korean meal, check out Jinsadaek at Myeong-dong…

Read More: JINSADAEK: 14-Course Traditional Korean Food Experience!

Samgyeopsal - KTO - Our Awesome Planet-31.jpg
SAMGYEOPSALone of the most popular Korean dishes, refers to pork belly meat slices grilled on your table. It’s name literally means: three (sam; 삼) layered (gyeop; 겹) flesh (sal; 살) referring to the layering of fat and meat. In fact, there’s a Samgyeopsal Day celebrated every 3rd of March (sam 삼-sam; 삼) where all people should eat Samgyeopsal. 🙂

Read More: SAMGYEOPSAL: Lovin’ the Korean Grilled Pork Belly BBQ Experience…Yum!

Korea Arrival - KTO - Our Awesome Planet-18.jpg
BIBIMBAP  is a signature mixed rice of Korea usually served with toppings of vegetables, gochujang (hot chili pepper paste), beef, and raw or fried egg. Mix it and enjoy it with Kimchi 🙂

Best to eat during breakfast or for a quick Korean fix 🙂

Myeongdong- KTO - Our Awesome Planet-65.jpg
KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN. When in Korea, you’ve got to taste the authentic Korean Fried Chicken, so we visited NOO NA HOL DAK Chicken while shopping in MYEONGDONG — The 9th Most Expensive Shopping Street in the World.

Here’s a photo essay of our experience…

Read More: NOO NA HOL DAK: Korean Fried Chicken Dinner 

 

WHERE TO SHOP?

Myeongdong- KTO - Our Awesome Planet-32.jpg
MYEONGDONG which literally means “bright town” is the best high-end shopping destination in Seoul. 

Read More: MYEONG-DONG & NOO NA HOL DAK: Korean Fried Chicken Dinner  

Insadong- KTO - Our Awesome Planet-58.jpg
INSA-DONG is the culture & art capital of Seoul where artists, painters, craftsmen, and art lovers converge. This is a street where tourists can get a taste of traditional Korean food, culture, and arts. 

Here’s a look at what you can experience in Insa-dong….

Read More: INSA-DONG: Korea’s Traditional Food & Artist Culture Street 

IP Boutique and Itaewon - KTO - Our Awesome Planet-24.jpg
ITAEWON is a shopping district for local and global brands, with cool bars at night. It’s a melting pot of diverse cultures and the hip place to go for food and restaurants offering international cuisines.

We spent our last night in Korea here and how I wish we had more time to explore.

Check out the IP Boutique Hotel we stayed at and Flying Pan, one of the best brunch places in Itaewon… 

Read More: ITAEWON: IP Boutique Hotel & Flying Pan Korean Brunch Experience

Kwang Jang Market - KTO - Our Awesome Planet-28.jpg
GWANGJANG MARKET is Korea’s first market and the place to buy silk, satin, and linen bed-sheet at whole sale prices. It’s like the Divisoria of Korea, with a lot of  no brand-name products but with good quality at affordable prices.  Make sure to try Korea’s street food if you are adventurous.

 

BEST PASALUBONG FROM KOREA

RakKojae Breakfast - KTO - Our Awesome Planet-39.jpg
KOREAN COSMETICS. Here are the recommended brands by the Korean beauty experts…

  • O HUI Super Anti-Aging Essence
  • SU:M Flawless Regenerating Eye Cream
  • LANEIGE Perfect Renew Night Treatment & Emulsion
  • SNAIL MASK by Etude House

Let me know if there are other Korean cosmetic brands you recommend.

 

MUST VISIT KOREAN CULTURAL PLACES

Seoul Tower - Our Awesome Planet-64.jpg
N SEOUL TOWER is a communication and observation tower and the highest point in Seoul, located on top of Namsan Mountain. It is one of Korea’s iconic tourist spots and a must-visit for that bird’s eye view of Seoul, and to best understand the “teddy bear” and loving culture of Koreans. 

Here’s a photo-essay of my experience at N Seoul Tower…

Read More: SEOUL TOWER: First Timer’s Guide to Namsan Seoul Tower Experience

MISO Original Korean Musical - KTO - Our Awesome Planet-23.jpg
MISO is an original Korean Musical that showcases Korean Folktale through traditional music, dance, and costume. It’s a must-watch show to get immerse into what Korean culture is all about. 

“Miso is the story of Byeon Hakdo’s intense jealousy of Chunhyang and the enduring love between Chunhyang and Monryong (based on the Korean folktale ‘Chunhyangjeon’). The heart-warming tale of the couple’s trials and triumphs is told through traditional Korean dance, Pansori (traditional vocal performance with drum), and Samulnori (traditional percussion quartet). The saga of the two lovers is portrayed through the efforts of 80 actors and actresses, including 37 dancers, 21 instrumentalists and 13 Samulnori players.”

Read More: Visit Kore | Miso (전통공연 미소)

Namsangol Hanok Village - Our Awesome Planet-33.jpg
NAMSANGOL HANOK VILLAGE  is a free cultural garden park where 5 traditional hanok houses are relocated to preserve the Korean traditions and share them with tourists visiting Korea. It is located at the foot of Namsan Mountain and was chosen as the site of the Seoul Millennium Time Capsule.

Here’s a photo essay of our Namsangol Hanok Village visit…

Read More: NAMSANGOL: Traditional Hanok Village + Seoul Millennium Time Capsule

Changdeokgung - KTO - Our Awesome Planet-12.jpg
CHANGDEOKGUNG PALACE & JONGMYO SHRINE. There are 9 cultural sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, and 3 of them are located in Seoul. These sites are: Jongmyo Shrine (1995), Chandeokgung Palace (1997), and Seonjeoungneung Royal Tombs (2009). 

We visited the first two to kick off our Pilgrimage to Korea’s World Heritage Sites… 

Read More: CHANGDEOKGUNG PALACE & JONGMYO SHRINE: Pilgrimage to Korea’s World Heritage Sites

Donglim Knot Workshop - KTO - Our Awesome Planet-32.jpg
DONG-LIM KNOT MUSEUM is a showcase of traditional Korean Maedeup (Knots) Art. Here, you can also learn first-hand how to make various ornamental knots the traditional way through do-it-yourself workshops.

It was established in April 2004 by traditional knot technique master, Sim Yeong-Mi. She learned the technique from her Father-in-Law, who learned it from her Great Aunt-in-Law, a knot technician in the palace during the last Joseon Dynasty. 

Read More: DONG-LIM KNOT MUSEUM: Learning the Art of Traditional Korean Maedeup (Knots)

  

HOW TO APPLY FOR A KOREAN VISA

Applying for a Korean Visa - Our Awesome Planet-10.jpg
Tourist Visa to Korea is generally FREE but you still have to apply and get it in 3 days up to 1 week.

Here are some tips on how to apply for a South Korean Visa here in Manila.

First, visit the official website of the Korean Embassy and download the application form here — Korean Visa Application Form

Read More: KOREAN VISA: How to Apply for South Korean Visa in Manila?

 

Awesome Korea Experience: Be Inspired Series

 

Live an Awesome Life,

Anton 
Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com

P.S. Join the Korea Winter Photo Contest 2013!

photo-contest_screen

Take a creative scenery snapshot during your trip to Korea ang get a chance to win exciting gadgets from LG Electronics!

To join this contest, submit the following at ktomanila@gmail.com (Use the subject “Korea Winter Photo Contest”):
㉧ 1 Hi-Res photo with caption during your winter trip to Korea. (Travel Period must be from Nov. 11-Dec 25, 2013)
㉧ Boarding pass or E-ticket.
㉧ Copy of passport.

IMPORTANT NOTES:
㉧ Only Filipinos currently residing in the Philippines are qualified to join.
㉧ We will strictly apply the “1 entry per person” policy.
㉧Travel period must be within Nov. 11-Dec. 25, 2013.
㉧ Deadline of submission will be on December 25, 2013 (Wednesday).

From there, we will select 40 photos for a Photo Exhibition, from the 40 photos, we will select the top 5 winners. The Photo Exhibition will be featured in the Philippine Star. The grand prize will be an LG G2 Smart Phone and LG Moblie Printer each for the 4 consolation prizes.