South Korea πŸ‡°πŸ‡·

With both food and friendliness, South Korea fed us well. Our time here was limited because we needed to be in Siberia before autumn, but what we did see left us glad we made the impromptu visit. Read more by clicking the links or photos below.

Best nap ever thanks to the scenic route from Japan to South Korea. The Camellia Line ferry shuttles passengers between the two countries. It’s a win for budget travelers, though the best part is being able to enter a new country with a slow, anticipatory view of the travels ahead. Read more about the six-hour journey here.

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After a whirlwind trip through Japan, we had a choice for our limited time in South Korea: Keep the same pace — including hitting up a famed international mud festival β€” or slow down. Find out what we did here.

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Confession: We ate our way through Seoul. The food was fantastic, from skewers at street vendors to piles of steak at Korean barbecue restaurants. In between, we did a ton of walking to explore the city’s neighborhoods. We met wonderfully friendly people along the way who offered us help if we looked remotely lost or confused (so, every day). Read more here.

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We spent our last day in South Korea as close to North Korea as we could. Oddly, the area — the DMZ, or Demilitarized Zone — is a bit of a tourist trap, complete with souvenir chocolates. Buses haul visitors past armed soldiers to gaze into North Korea from a mountain-top viewing deck or walk into a tunnel built by North Korea into its southern neighbor. Coming soon.

Pro-tip: While traveling in South Korea, we used a T-Money card (yes, that’s also the name of an American rapper). It’s a rechargeable card you can use on buses and trains, and in some stores. You can reload it at most train stations. We used it without problems in Busan, Geojedo (Geoje Island) and Seoul. There are other cards available, too, including one geared toward tourists. You can find more information about the cards here, on South Korea’s official tourism website.