Tourism

I have now visited three places where Joseon dynasty scholar-official Song Si-yeol has made his mark. In none of the places did I register the connection until after returning to London; in two of the places I never got to see the mark he left (there wasn’t enough time on the schedule) and in the […]

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Another way to make sure your Korea trip is very busy

by Philip Gowman 16 June 2016
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In planning my 2016 Korea trip I found two websites invaluable: firstly, the Cultural Heritage Administration site, which provides a wealth of information as to the various sites of interest throughout the country. I talk about this tool here. Secondly, there is the Korean Tourism Organisation website. This is an obvious place to look, but […]

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2016 travel diary 14: Journey towards Jindo and the Myeongnyang Monument

by Philip Gowman 18 May 2016
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Sancheong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do, Wednesday 18 May 2016, 10am Sancheong -> Sacheon -> Suncheon We say our farewells to the mayor and tourism chief at the County administrative offices. Kyung-sook is driving me to Suncheon – about 90 minutes’ leisurely drive away – so that I can meet up with Insoon. She is scheduled to arrive in […]

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2016 travel diary 13: farewell to the mayor

by Philip Gowman 18 May 2016
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Sancheong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do, 18 May 2016, 7am The morning is bright and (because we are still in the cool of the day) refreshing. I make my regular 7:30 call back to London, and start getting myself together. Black coffee, fruit and a pastry is the breakfast. We are due to pay a visit to the mayor […]

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2016 travel diary 12: Hwangmaesan

by Philip Gowman 17 May 2016
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Sancheong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do, 17 May 2016, 2pm. The Hwangmaesan Royal Azalea Festival After lunch my prime objective was to see the Royal Azaleas (철쭉) on Hwangmaesan. This was the one major scenic sight of Sancheong that I had yet to witness up close.  I had been warned not to expect much, but I was surprised to see […]

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2016 travel diary 11: Buyeo National Museum and the tombs at Neungsan-ri

by Philip Gowman 17 May 2016
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Buyeo-eup, Chungcheongnam-do, 17 May 2016 10am. Buyeo National Museum Next stop was the Buyeo National Museum. Here, we were totally shameless in our visit. It was to be a precision strike: go and see the the famous Gilt Bronze Incense Burner of Baekje and get out quick: we had an appointment in Sancheong. But of […]

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2016 travel diary 10: early morning in Baekje Cultural Land

by Philip Gowman 17 May 2016
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Gyuam-myeon, Buyeo-gun, Chungchongnam-do, 17 May 2016, 7am. Lotte and early Korea-Japan connections Baekje is known for its close ties to early Japan. According to one version of events, Empress Jingu was an invader from the Korean peninsula and had Baekje blood in her. Such a controversial hypothesis does not appear as a possibility on Jingu’s […]

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2016 travel diary 9: Busosanseong – the Baekje royal garden

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2016
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Buyeo-gun, Chungcheongnam-do, 16 May 2016, 5:30pm. The Archaeological Site in Gwanbuk-ri Sometimes, collecting UNESCO points is not as fulfilling as it might be. The item of heritage that has been registered might not be particularly exciting to look at, even though it is historically important. But if a site is historically important you may well […]

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2016 travel diary 8: Buyeo’s Jeongnimsa Temple Site

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2016
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Buyeo-gun, Chungcheongnam-do, 16 May 2016, 4:45pm. The sun is still hot as we arrive at our destination. We walk slowly, as there is little shade, past the ticket office to where is a wide, flat open space in the middle of which is National Treasure #9: the five storey stone pagoda of Jeongnimsa Temple. Is one allowed […]

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2016 travel diary 7: Gongju’s fortress

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2016
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Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do, 16 May 2016, 3pm. Not far away from Songsan-ri is the fortress of Gongsanseong. It clings to the banks of the Geumgang river (nothing to do with Mount Geumgang in north Gangwondo) and its walls scale the cliffs and meander along the contours of the hill, forming a 2.6km circuit which climbs to […]

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2016 travel diary 6: Gongju’s royal tombs

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2016
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Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do, 16 May 2016, 2:15pm. The Royal Tombs in Songsan-ri Our first stop in Gongju is the set of seven or more tombs in Songsan-ri. The experts think there may be as many as ten tombs in the area. It seems odd, in an age when so much in the way of sophisticated electronics […]

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2016 travel diary 5: An introduction to the Baekje Historic Areas

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2016
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Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do, 16 May 2016 The kingdom of Baekje had its beginnings as a small state founded on the south banks of the Han River in 18 BCE by King Onjo. The people were largely of Buyeo origins – an early kingdom absorbed into Goguryeo. The kingdom gradually grew, absorbing the small Mahan states to […]

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2016 travel diary 4: National Folk Museum, Kim Soonam’s shaman portraits and the journey to Chungnam

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2016
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Jongno, Seoul, Monday 16 May 2016, 9am A visit to the National Folk Museum The good thing about having a local companion sense-check your travel plans is that they can point out weaknesses that only a local is likely to know about. So when Chris saw that I was planning a day trip from Seoul […]

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2016 travel diary 3: Seoul’s Fortress Walls, and genre painting at the DDP

by Philip Gowman 15 May 2016
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Jongno, Seoul, Sunday 15 May 2016. The time lag has caught up with me. My intention this morning had been to go along to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza to visit the exhibition of Joseon dynasty genre paintings from the Kansong museum before joining the RASKB for a walk along the eastern sections of Seoul’s fortress […]

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2016 travel diary 2: Buddha’s Birthday

by Philip Gowman 14 May 2016
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Jongno, Seoul, 14 May 2016, 9am. Coffee with the Drawing Hand My first appointment of the day is at 9:30am with Kim Jieun, aka The Drawing Hand: I am due to pick up the original of her 2015 Christmas Card design for LKL – and also I am due to pay her the balance of […]

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2016 travel diary 1: Arrival

by Philip Gowman 13 May 2016
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Canary Wharf, London, 12 May 2016. In previous years I had always felt stressed in the run up to my departure for my annual Korea trip. Had I packed everything? Would I get everything done before I left? This time I was straining at the leash. I couldn’t wait. I had planned most of my trip […]

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2016 travel diary: the index

by Philip Gowman 11 May 2016
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Thu 12 – Fri 13 Arrival Sat 14 Coffee with the Drawing Hand Buddha’s Birthday 1: morning at Jogyesa. Exhibition of restored Hwaeomsa painting Wedding at Unhyeongung Buddha’s Birthday 2: lunch and afternoon concert at Giweonjeongsa Stroll through Ehwa Womans University Buddha’s Birthday 3: evening at Bongwonsa. Makgeolli  and 2차 in Insadong Sun 15 Walking […]

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