LKL Travel Diaries

Here you can find the diaries of our trips to Korea over the years, most recent articles first. You can also read them grouped together by year: 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014

To mark the first anniversary of the death of Sena Lee on 22 April 2014, here is an extract from LKL’s travel diary from June 2014 which contains an account of the 49th-day ceremony (사십구재) at Anjeoksa, Sancheon-gun, at which family and friends said farewell to her. According to dharma master Tim Lerch,  Traditionally, the […]

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If aliens landed in Gyeongnam, would they think Koreans worshipped the turtle?

by Philip Gowman 10 August 2014
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Looking back at some of my travel photos, I can’t help but notice the prominence of turtles in the south of the peninsula. The symbolism of the turtle is explained briefly in the Life in Korea website as follows: While the dragon was considered the ruler of all animals, the turtle ruled over the insects. […]

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2012 Travel Diary #23: Mun Ik-jeom: dutiful son and smuggler of cotton seeds

by Philip Gowman 18 July 2014
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Mun Ik jeom (문익점, 文益漸) was a rare individual who was honoured by the kings of two royal dynasties, first by King U of Goryeo and second by the great Joseon King Sejong. The honour received from Sejong was posthumous, and was in recognition of what started, in modern day terms, as industrial espionage. And […]

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Gi: some linguistic trivia

by Philip Gowman 9 October 2013
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Sancheong, 13 September 2013. Browsing the Donguijeon at the Sancheong international Traditional Medicine Fair & Festival, I learned some mildly interesting linguistic trivia about the word gi. First, some words which use the word gi as a component: 기(氣)분 좋다 Feel good 공기(氣)가 좋다 Get fresh air 기(氣)가 산다 Feel energetic 온기(氣)가 있다 Be warm […]

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A quick thank you to the many who once again made my Korea trip so special

by Philip Gowman 28 September 2013
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While this year’s trip to Korea is still fresh in my mind, here are a few thank-yous to the many people who made the trip special. Write-ups will follow over the coming weeks, not necessarily in chronological order. Thanks… To former LKL contributor Shin Eunjung and Tim Anderson for the splendid Gwangyang Bulgogi in, er, […]

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2013 Travel Diary #36: The royal perambulation

by Philip Gowman 16 September 2013
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Insadong, Seoul, Monday 16 September, 7am. What more to report? I finish my packing. I ring home. I pay the bill. I hail the usual taxi in the street and get it to drop me off at the Koreana Hotel. I buy the bus ticket. I get on the KAL airport limo-bus. I get to […]

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2013 Travel Diary #35: Renewing old friendships

by Philip Gowman 15 September 2013
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Insadong, Seoul, Sunday 15 September, 3pm.  I have only just arrived back at the hotel from the Sajik Daeje when the phone rings. It’s time to meet the curator and gallerist I had arranged to meet the previous day. I set off on foot to the Lotte Hotel, where I catch up with her activities. […]

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2013 Travel Diary #34: The Gods of Land and Grain

by Philip Gowman 15 September 2013
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Deoksugung, Jung-gu, Seoul, Sunday 15 September, 10:45am.  By the time I reach the Deoksu Palace at 10:45am I’m already perspiring. I was wearing sunblock, but should have been wearing a sunhat and some shorts. It was going to be a hot day. This morning’s activity is a guided walk following the Sajik Daeje procession from […]

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2013 Travel Diary #33: An evening in Daehakro

by Philip Gowman 14 September 2013
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Buamdong, Seoul, Saturday 14 September, 6pm.  Seoul Museum in Buamdong (not to be confused with the Seoul Museum of Art in Jeongdong, or indeed the Seoul Museum of History next to the Gyeonghuigung) is conveniently situated on the main road which takes traffic from northern to Seoul to the Gwanghwamun area. Emerging from the museum, […]

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2013 Travel Diary #32: The Seokpajeong — a haven of peace in Buamdong

by Philip Gowman 14 September 2013
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Seoul Museum, Buamdong, Seoul, Saturday 14 September, 5pm.  There are two main reasons to visit Seoul Museum apart from any temporary exhibition that might be taking place: the important collection of 20th Century Korean art which seems to be on permanent display, and the Seokpajeong, the Joseon dynasty villa once occupied by the Daewongun. The […]

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2013 Travel Diary #31: We are all heroes – Baseball and the Bull at Seoul Museum

by Philip Gowman 14 September 2013
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Seoul Museum, Buamdong, Seoul, Saturday 14 September, 4pm. Seoul Museum’s current exhibition focuses on Park Chan-ho, an inspirational baseball player who played in the US, including at the LA Dodgers, in a career that spanned 18 years from 1994 to 2012. An oversized sculpture of him in Gwon Osang’s familiar style greets you as you […]

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2013 Travel Diary #30: New Connections

by Philip Gowman 14 September 2013
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Museum of Modern Art, Gwacheon-si, Saturday 14 September, 1:30pm. I’m still wandering around some of the museum’s permanent collection when my phone rings and my 3pm appointment wonders if they can shift to 2:30pm. It’s 1:30pm by now, and City Hall is a one hour journey away, so the proposed new time is going to […]

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2013 Travel Diary #29: Korea Artist Prize 2013

by Philip Gowman 14 September 2013
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Insadong, Seoul, Saturday 14 September, 8am. However much I plan to rise early and get going with the day when I’m in Seoul, I always seem to be slower than intended. There are too many things to distract me. I have a busy day in front of me: I want to get to the National […]

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2013 Travel Diary #28: Clubbing with the CFOs

by Philip Gowman 13 September 2013
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Gangnam, Seoul, Friday 13 September, 5pm. As usual, traffic south of the river is gridlocked. I can see it’s going to take a while to get to civilisation. The cab driver seems to be getting frustrated by the jams (who wouldn’t be?) and I’m regretting that I have luggage, otherwise it would have been so […]

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2013 Travel Diary #27: Last day at the Expo

by Philip Gowman 13 September 2013
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Donguibogam Village, Sancheong-gun, Friday 13 September, 7am. There’s still a long list of things I have to do before leaving. We have to pay a courtesy call on the mayor to say farewell, plus I want to pay a last visit to the Festival. And of course I need to gather everything together, trying to […]

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2013 Travel Diary #26: The first round of farewells

by Philip Gowman 12 September 2013
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Donguibogam Village, Sancheong-gun, Thursday 12 September, 12 noon. After a refreshing herbal tea, it was time for lunch: Sancheong Beef bulgogi with Mr Byeon, Min Hyang-sik and Min Young-ki. Not only barbecued beef, but in increasing order of difficulty, raw beef fillet, raw beef liver, and raw beef lung. I really struggled with the last […]

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2013 Travel Diary #25: The Hallyu 4.0 Experience

by Philip Gowman 12 September 2013
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Donguibogam Village, Sancheong-gun, Thursday 12 September, 9am. At the main entrance to the Expo there is a long parade of information booths and gift stalls. One of the booths was there to promote Hallyu 4.0. Hallyu 1.0 and Hallyu 2.0 are the first and second waves of Korean pop culture spreading through Asia. First came […]

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