26 August 2013

One Last Korean Road Trip

As much as I loved living in Hong Kong (and you know I really, really loved living in Hong Kong), it did have it's limitations. Hong Kong's compactness is part of it's charm - it is a ridiculously convenient place to live - but it also means road trips aren't really on the holiday agenda. One of the joys of moving to South Korea was the road trip possibilities it opened up. Looking back I think all of our most fun times, our hilarious-in-hindsight disaster stories, come from the roads of Korea.

(If you're an expat in Seoul and you're maybe a bit nervous about tackling a road trip I say - go for it! The road system in Korea is amazing. Most of it's shiny and new, with tunnels and highways and smooth tarmac, and the scenery is always intriguing and often breathtaking. And yes, sometimes the signage is a little haphazard, but if you've got an atlas and a GPS (or Google Maps on your phone) you'll be fine. Besides, getting lost is part of the fun right?)

Anyway...last week it was the youngest step-son's thirteenth birthday, and he was in Seoul. One of the sad things about living overseas is all the birthdays you miss, so we wanted to make this one a bit special. We went to Everland, and did the special safari thing again (I wrote about the first one we did here) - basically 15 minutes in a heavily grilled 4WD with a guide and a bucket of raw chicken to feed to the animals. There were no giraffes this time, but there were lions and bear cubs - not a bad trade really. And the animal areas seem to have been enlarged and upgraded a little, so you can focus more on how awesome the experience is and fret a little less about animal welfare. 

Driving around feeding man-eaters while the guide reminds you every few minutes not to poke your fingers through the grill is one of those crazy things that perfectly straddles the line between dangerous and okay. You'd never be allowed to do this in Australia. Equally, there's probably a bunch of countries where you wouldn't want to do it even if you were allowed, for fear of actual injury. But in South Korea? No worries! 

After feeding the lions and tigers and bears, we beat a hasty retreat to our own air conditioned vehicle (it is so hot in Seoul right now...) and headed over to Vivaldi Park for a night. Vivaldi Park is a ski resort, but like most ski resorts in Korea it has all kinds of extra things to attract visitors throughout the year. It's set amongst lush green hills and has one of the best water parks in the country.

We happened to be there right at peak summer holiday time, so we headed to the water park early. But apparently not early enough - by 9.30 in the morning there was already a three hour wait for most rides! Yikes. So, no rides for us but we did have a paddle in the crazy wave pool with a few hundred Koreans. Coming from the relatively empty Australia I'm always amazed and fascinated by the sheer mass of humanity we've so often stumbled upon in Asia. It was kind of the perfect final road trip really.


  1. Oh I think I want t go there could you defer your leaving for a month or two!

  2. THAT IS AMAZING! I can't believe you can feed the animals like that! Crazy!


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