Where to take a ‘learncation’ at any age 🎓

Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! When driving around town, I can’t help but be astounded by the beauty of the spring flowering trees and plants. I must be more aware this year after my recent month in the land of tulips, Holland. So when I went to New York City last week as a guest of the Korean Tourism Board, I was delighted to learn that they have a gorgeous spring in South Korea too.

There were three special aspects to this inspiring event. First, it was held at Cipriani which is an impressive venue right across the street from Grand Central Station, super convenient. Second, the food was excellent and third, the entertainment was engaging including Korean drummers, K-Pop dancers, and the acclaimed guitarist and film score composer Lee Byung-woo (check him out!).

Korea pulled out the stops for the invited travel trade and the message that travel to Korea is booming was well received. In the main presentation, the head of the tourism board positioned Korea as a country where the modern meets with the historic offering something for every culturally curious traveler who ventures to Asia. It’s an ideal destination for a ‘learncation’ – for travelers who want to combine a learning experience with the fun of vacation.

Read on for the scoop about my experience learning all about Korea…

Korea – Futuristic and Historic Vibes

When you think of South Korea today, pop culture comes to mind with its unique K-pop brand music, film, and fashion reflecting the creative, contemporary K-culture wave. But did you know that Korea’s nickname is ‘Land of the Morning Calm’? That’s quite a sharp contrast to its pop culture vibe making it a destination with something to appeal to any culturally curious traveler.

For a taste of the past, you can explore historic temples, shrines, monasteries, and villages. Or you can travel for a variety of festivals – culture, coffee, mime included! Visit in any season noting that the best for weather is spring and fall. Winters are snowy, and summers hot and humid. Their seasons are similar to that of New York.

Per the tourism board, thirteen Korean cultural sites are registered on the list of World Cultural Heritage, including Janggyeongpanjeon Depositories of Haeinsa Temple (1995); Jongmyo Shrine (1995); Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple (1995); Changdeokgung Palace (1997); Suwon Hwaseong Fortress (1997); Gyeongju Historic Areas (2000); Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites (2000); Royal Tombs of the Joseon dynasty (2009); Historic Villages of Korea; Hahoe and Yangdong (2010); Namhansanseong Fortress (2014); Baekje Historic Areas (2015); Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea (2018); and Seowon, Korean Neo-Confucian Academies (2019); and Gaya Tumuli (2023).

Korean Cuisine

Korean cuisine will entice any foodie’s palate. Dishes include Bibimbap (comforting food bowls), Gimbap (sushi-like rolls), Bulgogi (beef barbeque), Kimchi (spicy fermented vegetables), and Korean fried chicken.

The port city of Busan is known for its amazing seafood and has been coined the ‘Santorini’ of Korea. At the country’s largest fish market, you can choose from a wide variety of live sea creatures and then have your fish cooked at a nearby restaurant. Or for the adventurous foodie, eaten raw with a touch of sesame oil right at the market.

💎Hidden Gem Tip: The MICHELIN Guide Seoul & Busan 2024 features 177 restaurants in Seoul and 43 restaurants in Busan = 220 top notch dining locations!

Temples, Nature, Beach

Beyond the cities, there are an impressive number of historically significant temples which are beautifully tucked into the mountainous landscape. The island of Jeju is known for its beaches and volcanic terrain for relaxation and adventure. You can hike scenic trails and explore volcanic caves.

Travel in the spring to see iconic cherry blossoms and an array of colorful flowers dotting the landscape – plum blossoms, canola flowers, forsythias, daffodils, and azaleas.

Need to reenergize? Pamper yourself at a Korean spa and bathhouse, known as jjimjilbangs. Korea is a fantastic place for wellness experiences.

Bottom line – you can have it all when taking a ‘learncation’ to Korea!

Inspired? Reach out to me now to get your questions answered and begin the planning process.

Wishing you amazing travel adventures,

Susan

NEW Section: Travel News You Can Use

💎 Hidden Gem Tip:  Good News With The Airlines

The airlines are in the news frequently, typically negative stories, and the most recent news is major in a positive way! In case you missed it, when you fly domestically, you now have rights when unexpected events happen.

“The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a new rule that makes it easy for passengers to obtain refunds when airlines cancel or significantly change their flights, significantly delay their checked bags, or fail to provide the extra services they purchased”. 

A dashboard is available where you can review the details and keep up to date on future changes. Bookmark this link: https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/airline-customer-service-dashboard

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Hi, I'm Susan Wilson

I’m the founder of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting. As your personal travel advisor, I craft custom worldwide itineraries that astound and inspire you.

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