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Info Plus Expat Corner
Time for our mid-week edition of Info Plus.
Tonight, I’m joined by Nam Ki-yung, who has some travel tips for members of the expatriate community.
AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: So, it’s travel this week.
NAM KI-YUNG, REPORTER: That’s right. Now Chak-hee, you ever daydream about travelling?
AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: I like to plan my trips, if that’s sort of like daydreaming.
NAM KI-YUNG, REPORTER: Well, many of us tend to be discouraged by the hefty expenses and the complicated planning process, but let me tell you, it doesn’t have to be that way.
The idea is to think small.
Even if it’s a day trip, you’ll be surprised at how much fun you can have.
And if you joined up with other people, it can end up being very affordable.
So I’m going to introduce you to a travel club for foreign expats, which is really more of an activity group.
AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: Alright.
NAM KI-YUNG, REPORTER: So there’s really no excuse for wasting the rest of your winter weekends, sitting on your ondol at home groaning about the cold.
You can get out with relative ease and check out some of Korea’s landmarks, which, by the way, look stupendous and entirely different blanketed in snow.
How? Well, Adventure Korea has just the ticket!
PARK SEOK-JIN, TRIP COORDINATOR OF ADVENTURE KOREA: “Adventure Korea stands for “to experience and to challenge.” It was established to give foreigners here a chance to get hands-on experience of Korea’s natural landscapes and cultural roots through interactive trips rather than just sightseeing tours.”
NAM KI-YUNG, REPORTER: On this weekend, a group of foreigners got up early in the morning to catch a bus ride to the Demilitarized Zone, the world’s most heavily fortified border, a two-hour drive from Seoul.
When the 30 expats from Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and America arrived, they got to sneak a peak, beyond the barbed wire fences.
AMERICAN EXPATRIATE: “When I was on the bridge I felt a kind of sense of almost a somber feeling here, one that I kind of wasn’t expecting, I guess. Also to mention what she said, living in Seoul, sometimes you forget where you are and coming here really puts things into perspective and helps you realize the history and to be grateful for where we can stay in Seoul.”
NAM KI-YUNG, REPORTER: What began as occasional outdoor excursions to Korea’s countryside by Park and his western friends evolved into a club in 2000.
Since then, Adventure Korea has been churning out various theme-specific outdoor activities, including white-water rafting, camping, rock climbing and ice fishing.
Every weekend, there’s always some kind of travel outing scheduled for just about everyone, as it’s not exclusively for foreigners.
ENGLISH TEACHER FROM UK: “As a westerner coming to Korea it’s a big change and a big shock and the whole scale, the amount of people, the amount of different things we have to get used to, it’s quite hard to go about organizing trips so an organization like Adventure Korea just makes it so much easier for all of us.”
AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: The group runs an English website so it should be easy for people to access, but what sets it apart from the package tours provided by other local travel agents?
NAM KI-YUNG, REPORTER: Well one big difference is that Adventure Korea is not run for profit.
It’s more like a travel club.
It’s not membership-based and the travel fares are very reasonable.
The club owner says their prices are 50 percent or more cheaper than that of wholesale travel agents with similar programs for foreigners.
AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: So what’s Adventure Korea’s most popular program?
NAM KI-YUNG, REPORTER: It’s the Boryeong Mud Festival at Daecheon Beach, on the west coast of South Chungcheong Province.
Every summer more than a hundred people sign up for a week of fun in the mud.
It’s a special kind of mud, mind you, which contains various minerals said to have an anti-aging effect.
It’s also a great way to cool off during Korea’s blistering summer, not to mention a chance to sling mud at your friends.
AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: Now that’s in the summer. What about the more immediate future?
NAM KI-YUNG, REPORTER: For the rest of February, club members will head out to the ski slopes in Phoenix Park, nestled in the northeastern mountains of Pyeongchang.
And as soon as the cold weather abates, Adventure Korea plans to venture into the woods and valleys for paintball games and bungee jumping.
AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: Bungee jumping!
I guess you should sign up only if you’re up for that kind of extreme activity.
Courtesy Arirang TV