Road trip in South Korea
South Korea Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
I took a trip down to the southwestern province of South Korea, called Chunla-namdo. It is where my ancestral root is. For any koreans with traditional minded parents, it won't be s surprise to know how important the concept of ancestral home base is. I had to make a homage as part of my self-directed journey to experience the environment that contributed to the creation of my biological and cultural being.
I started my journey from Seoul after spending a night there. It wasn't easy to leave Seoul right after experiencing the most wonderful Sunday brunch buffet at the Shilla Hotel. The buffet there was one of the best that I have ever experienced in any hotel thus far. I spent almost 2 hours there just sampling all the variety of Korean, Chinese, Japanese, other Asian delicacies as well as all kinds of western dishes.
I took express train to Kwang-ju, the provincial capital city and picked up a rental car that I reserved in the States. The daily rental rate was around $40 for Avante which is exactly the same model as Elantra in the states. It was the latest 2012 model that won the North American Car of the year award in January, 2012. Only thing I needed to drive in Korea was International Driver Licence. This can be easily obtained from AAA in USA. Given the much higher gasoline price in Korea, driving a small car made a good sense and the fact that I had to refill only once was a good validation of this choice. Even though, straight line distance between towns seems short when you look at the map, I realized very quickly, actual time and distance travelled is quite longer than initially thought of due to the fact that Korean countryside is full of small mountains and valleys with roads winding around these mountains even though there are quite alot of tunnels built to cut right through these mountain barriers for local highways but once you are off these highways, your route will in most cases will go around natural barriers in the round-about ways.
Due to this miscalculation, I had to find a place to stay overnight before I made to my first destination, the port city of Mokpo. I decided to find hotels nearby and I got connected to a pretty decent (in terms of star ratings) hotel in the city of Kwang-yang. The city famouse of a Steel Mill owned by POSCO. When I settled down in my room, it was alreay after 10pm and in the distance I saw the bright lights of the factory, working late into the night like a still photo on a large canvas surrounded by complete silence.