While South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, might be a big tourist draw card with plenty of Gangnam Style flair to attract visitors, other parts of the country have had to get more creative when it comes to promoting tourism.
Gangwon Province in the country’s northeast figures nudity might be just the ticket to increasing visitor numbers. It’s planning to open South Korea’s first nude beach in the hopes that tourists will set their sights beyond the capital and venture up north for a bit of skinny dipping.The beach primarily will be aimed at foreigners and may even be open to just overseas visitors initially, as many locals balk at the idea of stripping down at the beach. “Koreans actually love nude beaches when they’re traveling abroad, but the problem with having one within Korea is the fact that Korean society is so interconnected. They won’t be able to comfortably go to a nude beach due to the thought that people they know will find out about it quite easily,” a local reporter told CNN.
Korean tourism officials say they hope to eventually create all sorts of different beaches aimed at families, couples and even pets. They plan to have the first nude beach up and running by 2017.
South Korea has been riding the wave following the global success of “Gangnam Style,” the catchy song made famous by singer Psy’s quirky music video — and the country has just launched another tribute to the song.
The country’s capital, Seoul, unveiled its new tourist police force this week, inspired by performer Psy’s unique sense of style. The same costume designer who outfitted Psy for his Gangnam Style video designed the uniforms for the law enforcers, decking the men and women out in bold blue jackets and a sleek pair of shades.Given the inspiration, it should come as no surprise that the famous song was also the backdrop to the inauguration ceremony held this week in Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square. The 101-strong police force even performed a number of famous dance moves from the viral Gangnam Style music video, including the good old horse-riding sequence.
Seoul has seen tourist numbers rise in recent times, but this has also been followed by an increase in complaints from visitors about issues such as being overcharged. The new multilingual police force will assist travelers, crack down on taxis that try to gouge visitors and generally maintain law and order in the tourist hotspots.
Do you ever feel nervous going through border control in a new country? How about when you return home? A study by IXP visas polled 1,000 travelers who had been to at least ten foreign countries; over 60% said they felt intimidated by border officials at some time, with the most intimidating vote going to American border control. The reasons sited for the nerves included “obvious weaponry on display,” a “lack of humor,” and a general “intimidating demeanor.”
The countries with the most intimidating border officials:
USA: 22% (of respondents called border control officers intimidating)
South Korea: 6%
Have you felt intimidated entering (or re-entering) the U.S.? Which country has you most nervous at immigration?
Planning a trip to Tehran anytime soon? You probably aren’t, due to heavy restrictions on travel to Iran, but you can get a taste of Persian culture with a trip to your mailbox. ABoxFrom.com is a service that compiles a box of souvenirs from far-flung places (the previous box was from Seoul, South Korea) and mails them to you in beautifully-decorated boxes.
The Tehran box is 40 Euro, including tea, a paper map and a handmade basket. They may seem like ordinary objects, but each item was carefully chosen with the help of locals, and for its importance in the country’s culture and history, nostalgic and new.
Warning: this video is graphic and is most likely going to make you lose your appetite — or any desire for a glass of rice wine.
A recent video from VICE documents the making of Korean Children’s Feces Wine which is, alarmingly, a real thing. With real feces. The wine is a traditional treatment that’s nearly obsolete in modern Korean medicine. But VICE found a doctor who still believes in the wine’s health benefits and makes it himself. In order to make the drink, a child’s feces has to be procured through an “open-minded” mother, as the doctor explains in the video.
I can’t help but think about the urine-marinated eggs sold in Dongyang, China; the fact that some people eat foreskin; and all the other gross and weird food from around the world. All of these stories have made me completely against trying any food if I don’t know what’s in it. I had the unfortunate timing of watching this video while eating my lunch. Be sure you don’t repeat my mistake.