My Top 5 Bucket List: Korean Edition
Bucket lists are all the rage these days. But there’s a huge difference in dreaming about doing things before you die, and actually doing them now. Recently, a blogger I like wrote about her problem with bucket lists, and then challenged her readers to make a “travel priorities list” instead, in hopes that people will actually do the things on their lists, rather than just dream about them. Similarly, another favorite blogger has a “pre-marriage bucket-list,” something that’s obviously too late for me to do, but still a good idea in that she’s set some sort of time limit on herself to pack in the adventures.
So in the spirit of making a realistic bucket list, I’ve decided to focus on just what I want to do with the time we have left in Korea. So here is my top 5 bucket list, the Korean edition!
1.) Tour the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
I’ve heard this referred to as one of the most dangerous places on earth–and while this can’t possibly still be true (unless I really am that naive?), it is definitely an exciting place. This small strip of land runs between North and South Korea, and serves as a buffer between the feuding countries. It’s the most heavily militarized border in the world, and the southern side is protected by both the United States and South Korean military’s. Inside the DMZ is a Joint Security Area (JSA) where the leaders for North Korea, South Korea, the United States and the United Nations meet for negotiations.
Amazingly, this area is open to the public through tours. There are several companies that run these tours, but I’ve heard it’s generally accepted that the best tour is run by the United States Military. I can’t wait to do one of these tours, but I’m sure with all of our visitors in the next couple of months, someone will want to do this with us–so we’re holding off for now!
2.) Visit Jeju Island
I’ve commonly heard this island (off the southern tip of South Korea) referred to by Koreans as “the Hawaii of Korea.” Our friend Andrew heartily disagrees with this comparison (“just because there are palm trees doesn’t make it Hawaii–especially if you half to wrap them up for winter!”), but still, we hear it’s nice. It’s also insanely popular–so while we do want to go, we’re trying to be smart about it and make sure we don’t go when everyone else in Korea goes!
3.) Take a Day Trip to Nami Island
This little island is near Seoul, and it’s so small I’ve heard it’s perfect for a day trip. There are two ways to get onto the island–take a short ferry across the river, or zip line over the river. Despite the fact that it’s triple the cost to zip line there as it is to ferry, after my last zip lining adventure, I am determined to do it!
4.) Visit a Dog (and Cat) Cafe
Before you freak out and think I’ve gone totally carnivore crazy on you, listen up–these amazing cafe’s are just coffee shops/bars where you can go and PLAY with dogs and cats. We’ve heard mixed reactions from people who have visited these–some say they are nasty, others say they are amazing. Because we’re both crazy animal people, I’m guessing we’re going to like them…let’s just hope we don’t try to steal any animals.
5.) Experience the Madness of the Boryeong Mud Festival
Korea’s usually a pretty buttoned-up place. It’s considered immodest to show your shoulders or chest (for women), and at the water parks and public beaches most women don’t wear bikinis–but rather shorts and tee shirts. So I find it kind of amazing that one of the biggest festivals in Korea revolves around a bunch of half-naked people playing in the mud. It’s like, Korea gone wild. I can’t wait to see this debauchery!