2016 travel diary 12: Hwangmaesan

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 […]

2016 travel diary 9: Busosanseong – the Baekje royal garden

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 […]

2013 Travel Diary #23: The pillow of eternal youth

Donguibogam Village, Sancheong-gun, Wednesday 11 September, 5pm. At Korean expos, the emphasis is not on the looking. It is on the experiencing. You have to immerse yourself, to touch, to feel, to try something out. At the Sancheong International Traditional Medicine Fair and Festival, then, it was no surprise when the organisers, who had come […]

2013 Travel Diary #22: Tiger, Bear and herb: the traditional Korean medicine experience

Donguibogam Village, Sancheong-gun, Wednesday 11 September, 4pm. In Korean mythology, it seems that it’s not the bear that has the sore head. It’s the tiger. In the Korean Medicine Theme Park, which forms part of the Donguibogam Village, the exhibits focus on the different parts of the human body, but throughout there is the recurring […]

Festival visit: Gaksi, Mago

In Korean mytholoogy there is a legendary grandmother figure, a giant goddess who created islands and arranged the mountains and the oceans in their proper positions. In Jeju Island, she is known as Seolmundae Halmang – Grandmother Seolmundae; elsewhere in Korea she is known as Mago. The stories about her are sometimes comic, sometimes tragic. […]

2011 Travel Diary day 7: Baek Un-cheol and Seolmundae Halmang: a lifetime’s obsession with stones and their stories

Jeju Stone Park, Friday 6 May 2011. “I fell in love with Seolmundae Halmang, and now I can’t love any other woman” says Baek Un-cheol, honorary director of Jeju Stone Park. Maybe it explains why he is single. No earthly woman can compete in his affections with the legendary earth mother and creator of Jejudo. […]