Travel diaries

Bella Frey, who recently reviewed The Return – the closing film of LKFF 2018 – tells us about her own personal return earlier this year. A tale of the unexpected… My head is still swimming from my recent trip to Korea. It was in part planned to be a personal pilgrimage to re-visit places from […]

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2018 travel diary 2 – Chollipo revisited

by Philip Gowman 10 December 2018
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10 November 2018. In Chollipo’s famous Arboretum the best of the Autumn colour had finished, but there were still some good reds, oranges and yellows to be found, and the grasses were particularly fine. In October last year this new statue of Carl Ferris Miller, Chollipo’s founder, was installed in this secluded area in the […]

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2018 travel diary 1 – Mallipo out of season

by Philip Gowman 3 December 2018
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9 – 10 November 2018. The first two nights of this year’s trip were spent on Mallipo beach, Taean-gun, because I liked the place so much when I visited last year. And I still like it. There’s not much more to say, other than it’s far preferable to Busan’s Haeundae beach. Next door to Mallipo […]

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The LKL 2018 Korea trip – an introduction

by Philip Gowman 26 November 2018
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Overview My annual visit to Korea this year for once really didn’t have an agenda. Originally planned as a late October / early November trip to see some Autumn leaves and catch the tail end of the Gwangju Biennale, everything changed when I heard that Ahn Sook-sun was coming to London at that precise time […]

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2017 travel diary – reminiscences

by Philip Gowman 21 May 2017
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Index Sat 29 April: Busan – Min Young-ki’s solo show Sun 30 April: Haman-gun – Gaya kingdom royal tombs Mon 1 May: Sancheong-gun – Hwangmaesan Royal Azalea festival Tue 2 May: Mungyeong-si – Tea bowl festival Wed 3 May: Buddha’s Birthday in Bongamsa | The Gyeongbokgung at night Thu 4 May: Jeonju Fri 5 May: […]

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2017 travel diary 10: A lazy weekend in Seoul

by Philip Gowman 6 May 2017
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Insadong, Seoul, 6 May 2018. There is never a shortage of things to do in Seoul. For the final weekend of my 2017 Korea trip I had not scheduled anything other than a couple of dinner engagements. I could easily have done nothing apart from hanging out in my new favourite coffee shop. Their fresh salads […]

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2017 travel diary 9: Sewol victims remembered at the Ansan Street Arts Festival

by Philip Gowman 5 May 2017
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Ansan, Gyeonggi-do, 5 May 2017, 6:30pm. It is said that at the height of his efforts to build the Republic of Korea into an economic powerhouse, Park Chung-hee happened to be flying in a helicopter over western Gyeonggi-do. He looked out and saw what he considered to be a lot of under-utilised real estate, and decided […]

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2017 travel diary 8: Taean-gun and Chollipo Arboretum

by Philip Gowman 5 May 2017
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Mallipo beach, Taean-gun, Thursday 4 May 2018, 11:30pm. It was with a slight sense of adventure that I found myself unexpectedly on my own, in an unknown seaside town, at 11:30 at night. There was no way that I was going to settle down to sleep right then, so I left my pension room behind […]

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2017 travel diary 7: A trip to Jeonju

by Philip Gowman 4 May 2017
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Jeonju. Food capital of Korea. Slow City. Home to the famous Hanok Village. Ancestral seat of the Yi family, the royal house of the Joseon dynasty. Host of the Jeonju International Film Festival. Home to the hanji museum, the royal portrait museum… All this I knew about the capital of Jeonbuk province before my visit […]

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2017 travel diary 6: a little night music at the Gyeongbokgung

by Philip Gowman 3 May 2017
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Seoul, Wednesday 3 May 2017, 7pm. The beginning of May is a busy time in Seoul’s royal palaces. The UNESCO listed ceremony, the Jongmyo rituals in honour of the Royal Ancestors, always takes place the first Sunday in May. Children’s Day also falls around that time, and this year, Buddha’s Birthday and in the days […]

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2017 travel diary 5: Wolbong’s hermitage and Buddha’s Birthday at Bongamsa

by Philip Gowman 3 May 2017
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Mungyeong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Wednesday 5th May 2017, 4am. An early start this morning is required to beat the crowds. Slightly groggy, Master Oh, Kyung-sook and I drag ourselves into the car at 4:30am and drive for half-hour or so to Bongamsa. We get the last space in the temple’s car park. Even at that time in the […]

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2017 travel diary 4: The Mungyeong tea bowl festival

by Philip Gowman 2 May 2017
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Mungyeong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Tuesday 2 May 2017, 1:30pm. Mungyeong Saejae, the pass high in the hills above the town of Mungyeong, is the place where Gyeongsang province meets Chungcheong province, and the place where the Yeongnamdaero – the old road between Seoul and Busan – crosses the Baekdudaegan, Korea’s mountain backbone. On the Mungyeong side of […]

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2017 travel diary 3: Sancheong – two festivals in bright pink

by Philip Gowman 1 May 2017
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Donguibogam Village, Sancheong Country, Sunday 30th April, 5pm. Each time I visit Sancheong, something has changed. This time, on the edge of Donguibogam Village, Sancheong’s centre of traditional medicine culture, a comfortable hotel has been built – as far as I am aware, the first hotel (as opposed to pension) in the county. Very convenient […]

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2017 travel diary 2: The Gaya royal tombs in Haman County

by Philip Gowman 30 April 2017
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Gaya-eup, Haman-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do, Sunday 30 April, 12 noon. Ever since I had seen a small ancient Gaya kingdom burial area in the hills above Saengcho, a town in Sancheong County, I had been intrigued. The tombs’ location was so different from the imposing tumuli laid out in the plains of Gyeongju or the geomantically auspicious […]

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2017 travel diary 1: Min Young-ki’s solo exhibition in Busan

by Philip Gowman 29 April 2017
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Seoul Station, Saturday 29 April 2017, 12:30pm. It is the first full day of my Korea trip. I had arrived in Seoul the previous evening, catching the bus to my mid-range hotel near Jogyesa. I had found my favourite coffee shop, had dinner with good friends in Hoban, a traditional, earthy eating house in Nakwondong, […]

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Beth McKillop reports from the 2016 Culture Communication Forum in Seoul

by Beth McKillop 12 September 2016
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Senior Research Fellow and former Deputy Director at the Victoria and Albert Museum Beth McKillop was the UK’s representative at Korea’s annual Culture Communication Forum hosted by the Corea Image Communication Institute. Since 1990 when I first visited Korea to collect ceramics, outfits and furniture for a planned Victoria and Albert Museum Korea gallery, I’ve […]

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2016 travel diary 20: Journey to Iljiam

by Philip Gowman 19 May 2016
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Nohwa-do, Wando-gun, Jeollanam-do, 19 May 2016, 1pm We regretfully leave Bogildo and its sister island Nohwado behind. We have a bigger ferry for the return journey and I somehow manage to reverse the car into position without hitting anything or anyone. As we sail back to the mainland I am happily wandering around on deck […]

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