Did you know that South Korea has a plastic surgery museum? What about a theme park depicting Buddhist Hell or a North Korean submarine you can tour?
These are just three of the dozens of crazy and amazing sights throughout Korea that are featured in the new travel guidebook, Weird and Wonderful Korea by Chris Backe.
Better known as Chris in South Korea, Backe is one of the foremost Korean travel bloggers. In fact, I used his website on several occasions to help me get around the Korean Peninsula. While living in South Korea for half a decade, Chris visited many of the country’s oddest and most out-of-the-way attractions and has combined them into one easy to use volume.
Weird and Wonderful Korea includes desintations from every corner of the country, meaning that you’ll never be far from one of the book’s suggestions. Whether you have an afternoon, a day, or a week, you’ll be able to find something great and unique to do. Utilizing multiple visuals to help guide readers, it’s easy to find great destinations and attractions that you would never have heard of otherwise.
Each destination features a well-written description, along with detailed public transport directions, and contact information. Even more conveniently, the names and addresses the sights are written in both English and Korean, making asking for directions or hailing a taxi that much easier.
In addition to listing dozens of great and obscure sights around the country, Chris puts many of them together into helpful 2-3 day itineraries, allowing the reader to easily spend a weekend exploring the hidden corners of the Korean Peninsula.
The back of the book is full of helpful travel information, including information on Korean hotels, how to get around the country, and a primer on the Korean language (including some helpful phrases).
If I had any suggestions for future editions, I would have liked to have seen a few out-of-the-way hikes included. South Korea has a ridiculous number of great hiking trails, many of which are hard to find if you don’t know Korean. Including a few of these would have pushed this book up to at least 4.5-stars in my opinion.
That being said, Weird and Wonderful Korea is the guidebook I wish I’d had while I was living in the country. While I visited and wrote about several of the destinations in the book (Ulleungdo, the Boseong Green Tea Fields, and Golgulsa, to name a few), most of the destinations in the book were ones I’d never heard of. From a giant Trojan horse, to beautiful temples and a sculpture garden full of giant heads, reading through this book gives me so many ideas for the next time I’m in South Korea.
Weird and Wonderful Korea is, without a doubt, the most detailed guidebook on the market for travel in South Korea. However, this book isn’t for everyone. If you find yourself with a week in Seoul and just want to see the major highlights, stick to Lonely Planet Korea or websites like this one. On the other hand, if you fancy yourself the adventurous sort and want to get off the beaten path, or if you live in South Korea, this book is a must buy.
You can pick up your own digital or print copy of Weird and Wonderful Korea by Chris Backe from Amazon.com.
Disclaimer: A copy of Wild and Wonderful Korea was provided to me by the author for the purposes of this review; however, as always, the opinions expressed are my own and were not subject to prior review.