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Finally visited Busan’s neighbor, the capital of Gyeongsangnam-do, the city of Changwon. Local expats might refer to it as Changers or Changwonderful.
On Friday night, I was at the The Ha Ha Hole comedy night at Next bar. My friends even recorded a Changwoner podcast while I ate gummy bears and watched Swiss Army Man (on mute) on the couch. Afterwards, we drank at O’Briens and had the best street toast sandwich out of a white food truck. It was 3am, though, so my judgment is likely skewed. Changwoners like to party late!
The Koi pond at Cheongyeonam Hermitage in Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do.
Hello Again Everyone!!
Cheongyeonam Hermitage in Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do is situated just to the south of the valley that houses both Wongaksa Temple and Baekunsa Temple. And it’s beautifully framed, like the other two temples, by the towering Mt. Muhaksan (761.4m).
Off of the busy Muhak Road, and up a winding country side street, you’ll come across Cheongyeonam Hermitage. On the lower courtyard of the hermitage are the monks’ dorms and visitors’ centre, as well as a beautiful Koi pond that is placed in the centre of some beautifully cared-for and manicured grounds.
There is a bridge that intersects the beautiful Koi pond, and it also leads you towards a set of uneven stone stairs and the upper courtyard at Cheongyeonam Hermitage. And there is really only one hall at the hermitage that you can visit, the Daeung-jeon main hall. The exterior walls to this beautiful large hall are painted with a pair of mural sets. The first, on top, is the Palsang-do set. And the one on the bottom is the Shimu-do, Ox-Herding, mural set. Both are masterfully rendered.
As for stepping inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll be welcomed by a set of three statues seated on the main altar. The one in the middle is Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). And he’s joined to the right by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and to the left by Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). Filling out the rest of the hall, and to the right of the main altar, is an older guardian mural and a more recent mural dedicated to Jijang-bosal. But it’s to the left of the main altar that you get to enjoy an older set of shaman murals. The first is dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars), while the other two are dedicated to Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). The final shaman painting in the set, and a much more recent addition than the others, is Yongwang (The Dragon King) mural.
Just to the right of the main hall is a rather unique stone structure. I’ve never seen this before, but the stone structure almost looks to be a stele and pagoda put together into one structure. It’s unique and beautiful.
HOW TO GET THERE: From the Masan Intercity Bus Terminal, there are several buses that go to where Cheongyeonam Hermitage is located. One of these buses is Bus #707. After eight stops, or sixteen minutes, you’ll need to get off at the “Seowongok Ipgu” stop. Head south from where the bus lets you off. Head that way for about a kilometre on Muhak Road. The sign for the hermitage will appear on your right as you head south. Follow that side-street for a little and you’ll arrive at Cheongyeonam Hermitage.
OVERALL RATING: 4/10. There are certainly a few highlights to this temple, but because it’s a bit smaller, it gets the rating it does. First, the older shaman paintings inside the Daeung-jeon Hall are second to known. Another highlight is the beautiful and serene Koi pond out in front of the main hall. And the final is the stele/pagoda combination to the right of the main hall.
The large Daeung-jeon main hall at Cheongryeonam Hermitage.
The stele/pagoda combination to the right of the main hall.
A closer look at a part of the body of the pagoda.
One of the Shimu-do murals.
And a mural taken from the Palsang-do mural set.
A look inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.
Joined by this older looking Sanshin mural.
This Dokseong mural.
And this Chilseong mural.
A look at the main hall from the front.
The Koi pond out in front of the main hall.
And a closer look at the colourful Koi that swim in the pond.
Instead of taking the bus to Namhae like I did in 2014, I rented a car (70,000₩ a day) and was able to take in some pretty incredible sights!
We drove across the pretty Namhae Bridge:
The roads in this area are windy and narrow, so be cautious and drive carefully.
Sangju Beach (상주은모래비치) was gorgeous and there were a ton of people there. We ate at a Korean-Chinese restaurant by the beach called 상주반점 that I recommend. The young kid taking orders and serving food is a hustler and on the road to success, for sure.
Next, we drove to the American Village (미국마을):
What a bizarre place! This village in Namhae was designed to be “the last settling place for Korean-Americans who have dreamt of returning to and retiring in their homeland.” It even has a replica of the Statute of Liberty. Other than the sheer novelty of it all, totally not worth the visit. There’s a small coffee shop but nothing to do or eat in the area, and, yup, parking sucks.
Next, we checked out number 3 on CNN Travel’s list of beautiful places in Korea, the Darangee Village (다랭이 마을). It’s many-terraced farmland that descends down to a rocky shoreline below. There’s not much parking and the best we could do was stop the car to enjoy the view for a few minutes while an older Korean man yelled at us to move. Really pretty, though:
Our last stop was the German Village (독일마을), and it was just happenstance that it happened to be the Oktoberfest. The German Village has a whole lot more going for it than the American Village, as it has a bunch of fun cafes and restaurants in the area serving coffee, beer, and yummy sausages. We sat in traffic for 1-2 hours and had to park about 1-2 km away. The festival was kitsy and fun, but I wouldn’t say it’s worth the trip if you’re not already in the area. We weren’t served any beers or food we couldn’t find elsewhere in Korea. Buying a six-pack to take home was 50,000₩. Are any beers really worth that price?
Driving around Namhae was a blast. Definitely one of Korea’s gems. I’m often keen to camp on the beach, but there are some really lovely pensions in the area. An especially posh one I recommend is 해비치펜션. Treat yo self!
The world is a big place, and it can be tough staying up to date with the most current knowledge about where it’s safe to travel and explore. The news is full of crazy stories about beautiful places, and it can be difficult to decide whether or not you should check out that country you’ve always dreamed of seeing for yourself when it pops up on the evening headlines for a not-so-great reason.
So, what about South Korea? South Korea is a beautiful country full of culture, food, and music like you’ve never seen before, but like most countries, there are some things you should know and prepare yourself for before you purchase that plane ticket for yourself. With the right preparation and awareness, your trip will be amazing, so read on for some safety facts and tips about traveling and living in South Korea!
Traveling in South Korea
Congratulations! If you’re embarking on a journey to travel through South Korea, you’re about to fall in love with a new country and put your language skills to the test at the same time. Now comes the fun part – preparing and educating yourself on things you should be aware of before you explore a place you’ve never been before.
The good news is that compared to some other popular tourist destinations, South Korea has very little crime for you to worry about. Guns are not legal for citizens to carry on them, so you don’t really have to worry about being mugged or robbed while you’re out and about on the town.
Believe it or not, tourists are rarely targeted even when these crimes do happen – it could possibly be because you never really know what to expect when interacting with someone from another place! As long as you keep an eye on your valuables like you would in any major city that you’re not familiar with, you’ll be totally fine.
Traffic and Taxis
Just because you don’t have to worry about being cornered in a dark alley, however, doesn’t mean you should let your guard down! Be particularly aware of cars when you’re navigating the city as a pedestrian. You haven’t seen aggressive driving until you’ve almost been hit by a distracted driver in Seoul, so make sure cars see you before you cross the street – yes, even in a crosswalk! Just because you have the right of way doesn’t mean the driver of that fast red car isn’t going to try to cut you off.
The last thing I’ll warn you about is to be particularly conscious of taxis – not only do taxis seem to ignore most common driving rules, but South Korean taxi drivers also got a bad reputation a few years ago for being involved in tourist muggings.
Something I like to do is keep my GPS up on my phone while I’m in the backseat of a cab so I can see for myself that we’re on the right route – that way, there are no surprises! That’s not to say that all taxis are dangerous by any means – just keep your street smarts about you and you’ll be fine. If a situation feels weird to you, leave. That’s all there is to it!
Living in Korea
What if after your trip to South Korea you’re so in love that you feel the need to move to the city on a more permanent basis? I don’t blame you – there’s so much to love! That being said, if you’re planning on staying in South Korea for more than a few months, you’re probably wondering about some other safety issues that don’t really pop up if you’re just stopping by on vacation. Don’t worry – we’ve got the answers to all of your questions!
So, what about North Korea? If you’ve heard anything about North Korea in the news lately, it has probably been about the potential of nuclear attack or threats of war from the North Korean government. To put it mildly, North Korea and South Korea aren’t huge fans of each other – but, that being said, how worried should you really be?
If you’ve lived in the Western world up until now, you should know that the media in the West depicts North Korean threats as crazy, serious issues that should be dealt with RIGHT NOW. South Korea is way more relaxed about North Korea’s empty threats – they’ve been dealing with various North Korean officials trying to intimidate them for seventy years on and off, so it’s nothing new to them.
Don’t let the tension between North and South Korea keep you from experiencing South Korean life – it’s not as huge of a threat to day to day life as you think. Also, don’t forget that North Korea is threatening most of the Western world from time to time as well – it’s not like South Korea is the only one they’re directing their anger at!
What about weather?
If you’re thinking of moving to Korea, you’re also probably wondering about extreme weather. The most you’d have to worry about is a typhoon (better known as a tropical storm) – typhoon season happens throughout the summer and fall every year.
While they do result in a ton of rain and can occasionally result in some lasting property damage, it doesn’t happen all that often and won’t be something you have to deal with on a regular basis. Just know whether you live in an area that can be affected by flooding and be prepared! Preparation is 90% of safety.
Whether you’re planning on moving to South Korea or making a quick trip, you’re bound to have an amazing time and experience a way of life that’s unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Use these tips to feel excited and comfortable about your stay – there’s nothing to worry about if you’re knowledgeable, prepared, and aware!
Are there any major South Korean safety tips you think should be included on this list? Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!
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106.-113. The Liter, Tops bean, Sprout Coffee, desert 39, Goyoo Coffee, Man from Coffee, FM Coffee House, ESpacio
106. The Liter (Seomyeon, Busan). Here is one of the recent entries into the “coffee bigger than your head” phenomenon that has swept through Korea (in the same vein as The Venti, perhaps the granddaddy of the trend). Never mind that the same amount of actual coffee is used and the rest is just sugar, milk and/or ice. I am always reminded of the first time I was in Korea, in 2005, and how the largest cup of coffee available at the time was the size of a Starbucks short (about 8 ounces). And now, this. I went to this specific location during rehearsals for a play I was in earlier this year. The coffee was as one would expect cheap, massive-sized coffee would be. Not terrible, not great. But, who the hell needs a Super Big Gulp-sized coffee, regardless of how much actual bean is being used? Also note: in familiar copycat corporate culture, this has the identical color scheme and design as another of these massive coffee size shops: 1LiterCoffee. I will add a link once I have taken its photo, for comparison.
107. Tops bean (Busan Citizens Park, Seomyeon, Busan) A surprisingly decent latte was acquired recently at this take out coffee shop, located in a snack rest stop building in Busan’s lovely central park. 3,500 won.
108. Sprout Coffee (Jeonpo-dong, Busan) I live pretty close to the Jeonpo Cafe Street area, which once mostly consisted of small industrial shops. Today it’s full of small boutiques, restaurants and an endlessly-rotating complement of coffee shops. This one features macarons (not to be confused with macaroons), which have been all the rage in the country these days.
109. dessert 39 Bakery & Coffee (Jeonpo-dong, Busan) Located just two shops down from Sprout is this bakery and coffee shop. I do enjoy the purple awning.
110. 고유커피 (Goyoo Coffee) (Jeonpo-dong, Busan) Turn right after the aforementioned bakery & coffee shop and you will see Goyoo Coffee. Goyoo, a Korean acquaintance pointed out, means something like “the original,” so this means something like the original or true coffee, or something like that.
111. Man from Coffee (Jeonpo-dong, Busan) Located very close to the others already mentioned is the curiously-named “Man from Coffee.” Seriously, I have to wonder if the owner saw the movie “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” when it came to Korea and fell in love with how that sounded. This one is a very recent addition to Jeonpo Cafe Street that I plan on exploring further in the future.
112. FM Coffee House (Jeonpo-dong, Busan) About a three-minute walk from the aforementioned, this is a rather popular coffee spot in this area. Despite being across the street from a Starbucks, FM Coffee House always has steady business. It’s definitely higher-quality coffee than some of the others, but the air around it always smells like burnt coffee, which isn’t the most pleasurable scent in the world, at least not for this coffee drinker.
113. ESpacio Self Nail Care Detox & Coffee (Jeonpo-dong, Busan) Well, OK, then…
JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, who served a one-year tour of duty in Dadaepo/Jangnim, Saha-gu, Busan from February 2013 to February 2014. He is now a teacher in Gimhae.
A place that’s popular with both foreign English teachers and local university students alike is Cheon Tak (천탁) - but foreigners lovingly call it Tony’s after the Korean owner (who speaks English and, yes, his English name is Tony).
The atmosphere is sure to impress any visitor with crowded tables, rickety benches, and customer graffiti’d walls. Order the signature dishes, a cheesy kimchi jeon/pancake (without honey, trust me) and a bowl of steamed mussels. Tony says he buys the mussels early in the morning at the nearby Millak fish market. Of course don’t forget to order a teapot of the rice or wheat alcoholic beverage, makgeolli.
It’s around the corner from Kyungsung University subway station exit 1.
Address: 42 Yongso-ro 8beon-gil, Nam-gu, Busan
Google maps: link
Greetings, fellow Trazers! I’m a member of Trazy Crew here with a review of the famous Jenny House in Cheongdam, specifically their new branch called ‘Cheongdam Hill‘! I had the opportunity to attend a party celebrating the opening of the new venue in the upscale and ritzy neighborhood of Cheongdam-dong. In case you’re not familiar with Jenny House, it’s a premium beauty salon with 5 locations in Korea that provides hair and makeup services as well as nail care, foot spas, and wedding consulting.
The shop is frequented by many top-class celebrities as shown below, and the staff does the makeup and hair of the stars for many movies and dramas too. For more info about Jenny House, click here.
The salon’s prices, as you can imagine, are nothing like normal salons. A basic haircut starts at around 55,000 KRW while hair dyeing and perms can cost as much as 440,000 KRW. Yup, definitely not like your average hair salon but I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for, and if the place is frequented by a whole list of famous celebrities, their skill and expertise must be outstanding.
The Cheongdam Hill branch opened not too long ago, combining the previous Cheongdam and Olive branches into one. The party was called a ‘Ki-bu and take party’, ‘Ki-bu’ meaning ‘charity’ in Korean. Makeup, skincare, and hair products from various brands were all going to be sold for only 10,000 KRW and all the proceeds would be donated to charity.There were also going to be celebrities attending, which was honestly the part I was most excited about. I mean, when else would I ever have the privilege of attending such a grand event like this, let alone possibly being able to see a celebrity from a few feet away?!
So I headed to the party dressed in what I would consider semi-formal attire. Thank goodness I didn’t wear the stilettos I’d originally planned on since the salon is located near the top of quite a steep hill in the middle of a residential neighborhood. I could tell where it was from quite a distance thanks to the flashing lights, blaring music, and the crowd of well-dressed people.As soon as we stepped in through the doors, we were greeted warmly by the clean-cut and smartly dressed staff. The entrance was bustling with people and my first impression was that I was significantly underdressed. The majority of female guests had on tight-fitting dresses with sparkly details and sky-high stilettos, complete with fully made up faces and perfectly coiffed hair. However, I didn’t let that get to me and instead did a hair flip as I walked in as I was probably the youngest guest there to be invited. We took the elevator to the third floor, which is the Hair & Headspa zone along with the fourth and fifth floor. The area was PACKED with people. I had imagined under one hundred guests since the event was quite exclusive, but I guess it just goes to show how popular the place is.
Funky music played as guests socialized and filled their stomachs with the huge spread of finger food, punch, and alcoholic drinks available. The lighting was a dimmed blue and purple, which added to the atmosphere.
I was too busy stuffing my face with food to really pay major attention to anyone, but I did recognize a model Joo Won Dae from the fashion survival show, ‘Devil’s Runway’ being photographed in the corner.
We then headed up to the fourth floor, where they were selling loads of skincare, makeup, and haircare products all for only 10,000 KRW. The craziest thing was that they were all high ends brands such as Shiseido, Benefit, Yves Saint Laurent, Guerlain, and Kerastase. I ended up purchasing a Shiseido lash serum that supposedly makes them grow significantly longer in just two weeks. This was also where we spotted a few celebrities such as Han Ji-min (whose face was literally the size of my fist), Cha Ye-ryun, and Bae Soo-bin. There were many others who briefly attended the party, such as I.O.I’s Jeon So-mi and Kim Do-yeon, Son Dam-bi, Yuk Jidam, and B.A.P but we didn’t get a chance to see them in person.
The fifth floor was a very quiet space with nothing much going on, so we mainly roamed around the third and fourth floor eating food, taking pictures, and people-watching. Mirrors with flower petals scattered around them were on every floor, too, which was cute. What really impressed me about the salon was the interior and space itself. Everything about the salon screamed luxury with the spotless bronze-gold leather chairs, fancy mirrors with ornate frames and spiraling patterns, pristine reception area with marble floors, and the huge chandelier visible from the fourth floor.
The main color scheme seemed to be bronze and gold. As I briefly mentioned earlier, the third, fourth, and fifth floors cater towards hair care and styling, while the second floor is for nails and the first floor is for wedding makeup. High ceilings make the venue spacious and airy and some rooms were divided to create a private space for guests to comfortably get their hair and makeup done. There were also rooms dedicated to private care, such as the V.I.P scalp care room, nail care room, and foot spa room. Service is exquisite and posh and the staff also speak English, Japanese, and Chinese to cater to their international customers. I myself would love to get my hair or makeup done here for a special occasion. After all, the staff has years of experience and world-class celebrities as their clients, so I don’t doubt their artistry one bit. The official website lists all of the staff and the celebrities they style as well as a list of movies, dramas, commercials they’ve worked on.
Bored with your current look? Then head on over to Trazy.com, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop to check out special deals for both men and women to get celebrity-inspired hair makeovers at Jenny House. There is also a makeup service. If you’re lucky, you might even sit next to your favorite celebrity as you get styled! Overall, I had so much fun at the party and felt so honored to be invited to attend it. You can click here for more information about the venue. Finally, don’t forget to check out Trazy.com for more fun and informative posts like this one as well as up-to-date information on things to do in Korea!
My mom and I have a favorite restaurant we go to on weekends that serves grilled marinated duck (오리불고기). It’s a bit fatty and spicy, but hearty and super flavorful. I love how it arrives raw to the table so I can watch + smell it cooking at the table. Of course I’m never patient enough so I always burn my mouth on the first few bites.