Noraebang and Hwawangsan
This weekend we learned that South Korea has hot wings. And I mean HOT wings. It was maybe not smart of me to try one, but I had to know how good they were. I almost cried and my tongue basically fell off, but I survived. Really though, the chicken was delicious and its good to know we can find wings when we're craving them! We followed up dinner with a trip to our first Korean bar where we learned a simple two-part drinking game involving Soju. In "Flick the Cap", when you open a bottle, you twist the remaining tail like piece on the cap and everyone takes turns flicking it. Whoever flicks the tail piece off the cap gets to take a drink and chooses someone to drink with them. Apparently in Korea, if you "win" the game, you are the lucky one who gets to drink. The winner then looks at the number inside the cap and gives a range of numbers to the table (1-20, 1-50, etc.). As people guess a number, the cap holder says lower or higher, and the lucky person who guesses the right number...takes a shot of Soju. Kun-bay! (Cheers!) After a couple rounds of this, we ended up at Noraebang ("Nor-ay-bong" or...Korean Karaoke). Basically, instead of standing in front of an entire room who may or may not want to hear you sing, you and your group of friends get a private room to karaoke. This was so much fun and in my opinion, way better than in the States!
Small, casual bar, Yong Beer. The boys celebrating their epic Norebong song.
On Sunday, Luke and I adventured into town on our own and climbed Hwawangsan Mountain. Little did I know, it came with an "intense warm-up" of a hill to get to the hike, haha! On the way, there was a handful of small restaurants, food tents and shops. If we had more time, I would've stopped and looked through them a bit more but it was already afternoon and we were racing the sun. We did however stop and walk around a few temples we passed on our way, which were beautiful! We started the hike (~3 miles and 2500 feet high) around 2:30 and weren't entirely sure how long it would take us to get to the top. About halfway up, we passed an ajumma on her way down who didn't speak any English but seemed overly concerned for the two of us. She did not want us to continue the hike since there was so much more to go, and the sun was close to setting. But we were determined so we thanked her, trekked on and sped up our pace! I won't speak for Luke, but it definitely kicked my ass. Thankfully he kept pushing me to go a little farther, and then I reciprocated later on when he needed a boost. Go team! After five or six times of "I think that's the top, we're almost there!" we were finally there. We made it with less than an hour until sunset and it was so worth it! We took lots of pictures, ate our Kashi bars and enjoyed the incredible and quite literally, breath-taking view before heading back down. We reached the bottom right at sunset, got some fast food in order to get change for the bus, and successfully made it home. Woo!
Panoramic view of the temples on our hike!
This was our rest stop on the way to the top...obviously. Just part of the view at the top! See the Gallery for more!
In just a few short weeks, we will already get to take our three week winter vacation! We've not booked any flights just yet, but Thailand is our destination of choice. Chiang Mai, Bangkok, a couple of beaches, (Phuket and Krabi potentially) and Siem Reap in Cambodia are all on our itinerary right now. I am so excited to see even more gorgeous places with so much culture! And to get to hike, snorkel and relax all in the same trip too?! Beyond perfect.
Let us know of any recommendations or "must-do's" for these cities and we'll definitely look into them! I also welcome any questions you may be curious about that I can put in my blog. Shoot me a message or comment below.