As you may have seen in my previous post, I intent to travel around 15-20% of the weekends to international destinations while I live in South Korea. There are many many countries which are only an hour or two away by plane (cheaply – roundtrip under $200), so I full intend to take advantage of this for weekend trips. International travel from South Korea has a lot of options and potential!
China is rather infamous for it’s long visa process – while perhaps not as bad as Russia, it’s also not a lot of fun. However, China does have a lot of the more popular cities which have 72 hour or longer visa-free periods. This is perfect for a weekend! The average flight from Seoul can be as low as an hour and a half from what I’ve seen. Sign me up! Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai will be at the top of my list. I’m hoping to have one of these cities, or perhaps Singapore, as an extended layover on my way to Korea, that way I’ll have enough time to *really* explore at least one of these.
I plan on making Japan one of my 10-day vacations, as it has a lot that I’m very interested in and easier visa situations. On my 10 day adventure I’m hoping to see Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara.
However, that’s not all for Japan. Japan is also very, very close to Korea. As such I will be taking a couple weekend trips to Japan as well, currently hoping for Osaka and Okinawa.
Chusuk is a well-known holiday that is perhaps the most international equivilent to Thanksgiving that I’ve found. Most of the time teachers get this off and you can travel. If this is so, I’ll be heading to Singapore if I haven’t already been.
Of course I want to go to Taipei, but I’d also like to see some other areas. Jiaoxi looks interesting, as well as a more coastal town like Kaohsiung. I don’t know a lot about Taiwan but I’ve found it steadily moving up my list since I’ve seen some gorgeous pictures and realized how close it was to Korea.
Of course, the Philippines is an island chain, so only a small part of it is “close” to Korea. Manila is, however, one of the close options! I’ll definitely head there, but I find Cebu, also relatively close, to be fascinating as well.
The flights to all places in the Philippines are slightly longer, averaging about 4 hours. I think i would try to do these on the couple “long weekends” that are available or try to leave on a Friday evening or get up reeeeally early. I do already have a plan for two of the three long weekends, but a third could be one of these!
Long Weekend in Thailand
As I said, I have probably three long weekends, and one of them will be in Thailand, I’m sure. At a quick glance it seems the non-stop flights only go to Bangkok, and Bangkok certainly looks interesting!
It’s about a 4.5 hour flight and I really want to see Hanoi. I know most people think of Ho Chi Minh City but for some reason I am much more enamored of Vietnam and I would like to explore it. I’ll probably be able to do several places, as I plan to go here for my 8 day vacation.
Stretch Goals: Guam and Mongolia
I very much want to one day go on a horseback trip to Mongolia. However, this is a lot of time and money that I don’t necessary have or will have any time soon. Flights to Ulaan Bataar are the only option – and while it’s not the Mongolia I’d ideally like to see, I’m sure it’d be wonderful. It’s about the same distance as to Hanoi, but I’m also conscious of how much travel can tire me out and I wouldn’t want to constantly be worried about flight delays, etc.
Guam is also about the same distance. While it’s not its own country, I have never seen one of the US’ overseas territories and I think it would be interesting.
As you can see, I hope to visit at least 7 countries while living in South Korea. That’s pretty impressive! International Travel from South Korea seems pretty easy and inexpensive. It will double how many countries I’ve been to. Living in South Korea looks like the perfect spring board for exploring the world.