Sunday, December 4, 2016

Temples and Waterfalls: Hiking at Bogyeongsa

One of many waterfalls near Bogyeongsa

Not far from Pohang are two famous temples, one to the south called Oeosa, which you can read about here. And another to the north, called Bogyeongsa, which is the more popular of the two. I visited it several times while I was living in Pohang and probably the best times to see it are in the fall around the end of October or in the winter, around late December January.

From downtown Pohang, you can catch a bus or drive to Bogyeongsa. The bus takes about an hour and a half, possibly longer if you have to change buses. There will be more info about the buses at the end of this post. When you arrive, you'll find a big parking lot where the bus drops you off which leads into a small town.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Teaching Abroad: Japan vs. South Korea

Teaching at a private Kindergarten in South Korea

It's become more and more common every year for young graduates from English speaking countries to spend a year or more living overseas and teaching English. Two of the most popular places to do this are Japan and South Korea, both places where I have taught. I've been asked by friends how they compare, so here is some general advice, pros and cons, and my own personal observations. Keep in mind this is not a definitive guide, just a starting point which reflects my experience and the experiences of people I've met. Hopefully this will be helpful to anyone thinking of teaching abroad and trying to decide which country is best for them.

Holiday Week in Seoul!

Wandering the back streets of Insadong

(Note: I wrote this last winter and then didn't get around to finishing it. 2016 was a very busy year for me, so not a lot of blogging happened. I'm getting caught up on it now, starting with finishing and uploading some of these old ones.)

Many foreigners come to teach in Korea because they like the culture, or the food, or the language, or the good salaries and benefits most schools offer... but nobody comes here expecting to get much vacation time. The sad reality of working in places like Japan or Korea is that many jobs only offer at best 2 weeks of holiday a year. 

This year Anna and I have only about 10 days of vacation, not including national holidays, so we have to use them wisely. For our winter vacation, we tried to pack in as much fun and traveling as possible into about 7 days. We spent a weekend exploring Busan, which I described in the last few posts, and then went up to Seoul for 3 days.

Food and nightlife in Itaewon

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Busan Part III: Things To See Outside the City

Yay, holiday weekend in Busan!

In my first post about Busan, I mentioned the amazing Airbnb place I stayed at near Haeundae Beach, called Gina's House. It was such a great place to stay and the best part was sight-seeing with Gina and her other guests that weekend, a young couple from Singapore. 

We did a cooking class during the morning and then drove out of the city to visit some of the famous places along the coast between Ulsan and Busan. The first place we visited was Ganjeolgot, a park with a lighthouse and, for some reason, a windmill and a giant mail box. I have no idea why those things were there.

A giant windmill overlooking the Korean coastline, because, why not?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Busan Part II: Sight-Seeing in the City

Busan's Haeundae Beach at sunset

Busan is definitely my favorite urban place in Korea so far- it has a lot to do and see, and so many interesting neighborhoods to wander around. Plus you've got good international food, craft beer and several beautiful parks and beaches.

Here are some of my favorite things to see and do in Busan that I've discovered thus far:

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Busan: Oden Cooking Class and Korean Okonomiyaki

Busan city lights by Haeundae Beach

Just about an hour and half south of Pohang is one of Korea's most interesting cities, Busan. It's a port city with a very international atmosphere, where you can find plenty of foreign food and culture existing side by side with Korean life. It's considered Korea's second largest city and you can really feel that as you travel around it by taxi or metro- it's an expansive place, with a lot of unique neighborhoods to explore and plenty of interesting sights just outside the city as well.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Oeosa Temple

Oeosa Temple, south of Pohang

In my last post I talked about one of the two famous temples near Pohang, Bogyeongsa, located to the north of the city. The other famous temple, which is in the south, is Oeosa (pronounced kind of like "Oh-oh-sah"). Oeosa is also about an hour or more bus ride from Pohang (the buses that go there don't run frequently, thus the long travel time) but it's very close to the city by car (probably about 20-30 minutes).

Oeosa is a little smaller than Bogyeongsa and feels older as well. While both temples are crowded with tourists, Oeosa gives an impression of being a little more quiet and peaceful, probably because it's located right on the edge of a beautiful lake.