Photo Of The Day: The Old And The New In Seoul, South Korea

As we’ve seen in Jonathan Kramer’s “The Kimchi-ite” series, South Korea is a country that embraces both its past and its future. That notion is captured perfectly in this Photo of the Day from Flickr user and photographer Ohad Ben-Yoseph, which depicts a colorful old temple set against a sparkling new skyscraper in perfect juxtaposition. Ben-Yoseph’s Flickr photo stream is filled with similarly evocative photographs, showing a country in transition.Do you have any great travel photos? You now have two options to enter your snapshots into the running for Gadling’s Photo of the Day. Upload your shots to the Gadling Flickr Pool, or mention @GadlingTravel and use hashtag #gadling in the caption or comments for your post on Instagram. Don’t forget to give us a follow too!

[Photo Credit: Flickr user ohad*]

Traveling Couple Hits 20 Countries In 312 Days On 3 Minutes Of Video

In a quest to tackle 30 must-have travel experiences before they turn 30, career breakers Gerard & Kieu of GQ trippin traveled 108,371 kilometers (67,338 miles) in 312 days through 20 countries for one adventure of a lifetime.

Shooting 1,266 videos along the way, the traveling couple ended up with 11 hours of video but has reduced it and their entire year of travel to just three minutes as we see in this video.

While traveling, the couple simply gathered video, saving countless hours of editing and production for later.

“We never claim to be vloggers, which is probably why you hardly saw any videos from our travels last year,” says Gerard & Kieu on their GQ trippin website, charged with a simple mantra: See Eat Trip. “Most are short clips of random things that don’t really make sense on their own, so we didn’t bother sharing.”

A year of travel also means a lot of meals, some not so good, prompting the couple to post their Worst In Food this week.

The Kimchi-ite: A 1000-Year-Old Temple In The Middle Of Seoul

Exiting Sadang Station in Seoul, you can immediately tell it is one of the busiest stations in South Korea; throngs of people are everywhere, pushing and shoving their way in and out. Outside the station are dozens of alleys with neon lights going up four stories, advertising barbecue restaurants, bars and karaoke rooms. Lines crisscross the sidewalk for buses that will take people home to the suburbs. It’s near unimaginable that not far behind the station, up an unassuming hill, is a tranquil Buddhist temple.

This colorful door panel is one of many dragon pieces on the temple doors.
Gwaneum Temple (관음사) was established shortly before 900 A.D. by the Jongye Order in order to harness the power of the mountain’s feng shui. It sits halfway up a mountain, amongst trees, streams and hiking paths. The only reason I even knew it existed is because a friend of mine found it accidentally when he was lost. While the temple was established well over 1,000 years ago, most of the buildings on the site were built in the 1970s, with a few dating to the 1920s.

The interior of the temple where respects are paid and people meditate.

A new statue sits atop a pedestal as a place for self-relection.

These ornate, carved flowers add amazing colors to the temple doors.

The colors used in the art and architecture of Korean temples are always striking, and separates them from temples in other parts of Asia. Almost exclusively, four colors are used: teal, blue, orange and red. The main doors are guarded by large, carved, wooden dragons – a theme here that would continue throughout the grounds.

Dragons are a continuous theme throughout the temple grounds, as seen in this artwork on a temple wall.

Carved dragon heads protect the temple entrance.

A view from the top with Seoul Tower in the distance.

After spending an hour slowly exploring the temple grounds, I turned to walk back to the station when I was presented with this magnificent view of the city. There are certainly many places to check out the Seoul cityscape from above, but this one was unexpected and without the crowds that too commonly accompany Korean attractions, making this perspective one of my favorites.

Be sure to check out all the other Kimchi-ite posts here.

[Photos by Jonathan Kramer]

Photo Of The Day: Snow On A Beach In South Korea

A fresh coating of snow can’t stop this child from enjoying a day on the beach in Gangneung, South Korea. Flickr user BaboMike describes the very surreal setting in which he captured today’s Photo of the Day:

Not the usual day at the beach. Fresh snow coupled with a beautiful day [makes for] a very unusual day out. No swimming or bikinis here. This kid was just throwing snow at his sister. Can’t blame him really.

Do you have any photos of weird weather phenomena? Upload your shots to the Gadling Flickr Pool and your image could be selected as our Photo of the Day.

[Photo Credit: Flickr user BaboMike]

The Kimchi-ite: 8 Delicious Street Food Dishes Of South Korea

Any trip to Korea is absolutely incomplete without dipping under a steamy street-side tent to eat some mystery food, preferably late at night. Street food is extremely popular in Korea. Not in the same way as Twitter-enabled, grilled-cheese food-trucks that are growing with momentum in the U.S., but instead in a much more homey, down-to-earth way. Some foods have their gimmicks, but most of it is classic Korean food.

Carts like the one seen above are a staple of everyday Korean life. I see close to a dozen on my 20-minute walk to work. Called pojangmacha, or just pocha for short, appropriately meaning “covered wagon,” they are large steel carts with a striped vinyl tarp draped over top, forming a tent, which to me really evokes a carnival feel. There are thousands across Seoul, most of which seem to be manned by a surly middle-aged woman. Some are standing room only, others have seating at plastic tables, many have some beer or soju available to go along with your snack. Some carts serve a variety of foods, but most often carts will specialize in a specific dish such as some of the following:

Pronounced closer to tuh-po-key, it is easily the most popular street food in Seoul, with the majority of food carts serving it alongside various fried foods of dubious origin. It’s a serving of rice cakes (tteok) and processed sea food (called odeng) in a spicy red sauce. While it does look a bit unappetizing and messy, the soft, gooey texture of the rice cakes goes along great with the spicy sauce.

Think of it as the little brother of sushi rolls, the difference being that Kimbap features less seafood and more vegetables. Often sold from a small table near a subway station or bus stop in the mornings, they make a great, cheap, filling breakfast or lunch.

Grilled squid
Usually extremely cheap, around 1,000 Korean Won (~$0.88), this is possibly the simplest of all Korean street food. The squid is flattened and grilled, then served up with some soy sauce and mayonnaise. Enjoy it sitting down with some friends drinking some beer on the side of the road.

My personal favorite, it’s basically a pancake with a sweet cinnamon, sugary filling. Unfortunately, hotteok is typically only available seasonally during the colder months; it’s the only reason to look forward to Koreas ridiculously freezing winters.

Huge ice cream cones
Even though it’s currently ridiculously cold in the wintertime, I still see people walking around with ice cream cones. Interestingly, almost all ice cream cones sold on the streets of Seoul are comically tall, a good two feet tall.

Turkish kebabs
Shwarma, doner kebab, gyro … many names, one thing: lamb, veggies and a mayo-like sauce wrapped in a pita. Popular all over the world, they are starting to take hold in Korea. They are becoming increasingly popular, especially as late night food in party areas popular with expats, such as Hongdae and Itaewon.

Tornado potatoes
They take a whole potato, turn it into one giant spiral, then fry it. Yeah, it’s basically just one big French fry, but that’s exactly what makes these things so fun.

American county fair food with a little twist, crazy French fries all over it. Look at it! I almost want to eat a stick of just nuggety French fries by themselves.

With temperatures dropping to well below freezing right now in Korea, it’s a bit hard to believe that there are still people willing to eat street food but surprisingly, there are plenty of people everyday willing to stay out in the cold a little longer in order to get their snack on. So when you come to Korea, make note of these foods and track them down – it won’t be too difficult.

Be sure to check out more on Korean culture from the other Kimchi-ite posts here!

[Photo credits: Jonathan Kramer, Flickr user Sung Sook, Flickr user Augapfel]