Seven ways to enjoy contemporary art in Busan, South Korea

With its sandy beaches, gleaming skyscrapers, thrumming street markets, and ornate temples, South Korea’s second city of Busan has emerged from Seoul’s shadow to enjoy its own moment in the sun. This once rough-and-tumble port town is now home to some of the most exciting places to enjoy contemporary art. For nearly three decades, Busan has been home to the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) — the largest and most influential film festival in Asia — establishing the city as a creative hub.

Six of the best hiking trails in Seoul

Hiking is the national pastime in South Korea, a country where mountains cover 70% of the landscape. Seoul is no exception: despite being one of East Asia’s most exciting urban destinations, the capital is also a unique place to spend time in nature, with ancient peaks rising in the middle of its neon-lit streets. In the wake of the pandemic, hiking has experienced a renaissance of sorts in the city, and routes have been spruced up with new stairways, pavilions and observation platforms. What’s

Eat like a local in Busan, South Korea

Modern South Korea is a delicious place, home to a bold cuisine that assaults the senses. In South Korea, almost every social gathering is centred around an array of dishes. From high-end beef barbecue joints to humble street stalls selling tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), South Korea is awash with comestible choices, making it a great destination for gourmands. Any visit to Busan should start with a stop at Jagalchi Market, a fish and seafood market that’s been in business for over 600 years

The inside guide to Busan, South Korea

Once content to linger in the shadow of Seoul, Korea’s second city is now a destination in its own right, home to marvelous stretches of coastline, lively street markets and a boisterous local spirit that’s nothing short of infectious. While South Koreans flock to Busan in the summer to sunbathe on the wide sands of Haeundae Beach, this city has much more to offer than just seaside splendor. Start your visit off in Seomyeon, Busan’s hopping downtown and central business district. Grab a bowl of

A Guide to Barbecue Around the World—in All Its Tangy, Spicy, and Charred Glory

When I was growing up in Atlanta, my dad grilled almost every weekend. It was often impromptu, but folks were bound to show up as soon as they found out he was making Puerto Rican–style churrasco—tender beef skirt steak marinated in garlic, lime, oregano, and black pepper, and seared to perfection. After all, there are few things as intoxicating as the smell of barbecue. Whether it’s charred chicken on skewers or caramelized sweet potatoes, the smoky aroma of grilled food lures people toward roa

How to plan a road trip through Gangwon, South Korea

With its craggy peaks, pine forests, world-class ski slopes and beaches home to ideal surfing conditions, Gangwon is an outdoor-lover’s paradise. It’s also a fascinating cultural destination, with vibrant cities, warm people and hearty cuisine. And, given that the province is easily accessible by car, a road trip is the perfect way to take in this magical corner of the country. Gangwon’s laid-back provincial capital is nestled on the shores of a lake at the confluence of the North Han and Soyang

The highlights of Gangwon's cuisine, according to celebrity chef Edward Kwon

Largely isolated from the rest of the country by its mountainous landscape and rugged coastline, the northern South Korean province of Gangwon has developed a cuisine all of its own. Due to the short growing season and hilly terrain, potatoes have long been favoured over rice, while the nearby East Sea provides plenty of fresh seafood. Typical Gangwon dishes include dak galbi (spicy stir-fried chicken), makguksu (cold buckwheat noodles), gamjajeon (potato pancake) and ojingeo sundae (stuffed squ

On a Hunt for Birria in Its Hometown of Guadalajara

I’m struck by how rich the broth is; both dishes deliver more of a spice kick than what I had in 9 Esquinas the night before. The goat is served as rib meat on the bone, and the buttery pork melts in my mouth. I’ve come to La Panga, however, to check out one of their specialties: birria de almeja. This twist on the classic dish uses a beef broth—but instead of meat, it’s served with a large clam and a couple of fat shrimp. “My partner comes from Mexicali in the north,” says Javier between sips

The inside guide to San Antonio, the Texan city famed for cuisine and culture

Founded as a Spanish missionary settlement in 1718, San Antonio offers an intriguing blend of traditional Mexican and cowboy culture. Although a pilgrimage to The Alamo — the famous 18th-century mission — usually tops visitors’ must-do lists, a deeper dive reveals a surprisingly modern city with a booming food and cocktail scene. The San Antonio River Walk can’t be missed. The 15-mile network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River is lined with bars, shops and restaurants. As well

How to explore the landscapes of Japan's Mount Akagi on a cycling adventure

Best for: Countryside and cuisine Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced Distance: 75 miles Elevation gained: 5,249ft Start and end: Maebashi Station, Maebashi City Although possible to tackle on an solo excursion, the Ride Around Mount Akagi is best experienced following the lead of a local, knowledgeable guide. This two-day, 75-mile cycling route around the base of the mountain, rewards riders with spectacular countryside scenery, plenty of pit stops to sample delicious, local delic

Wellness travel: five ways to relax and reset in South Korea

From temple stays to teahouses, this East Asian destination is an ideal place for visitors with wellness on their minds. In recent years, the country has built up an industry dedicated to self-improvement, with spas and health resorts up and down the peninsula welcoming guests. Rural areas also offer a rich bounty of natural attractions, which include tranquil islands, mountain hiking trails and hot springs to help clear the mind and soothe the soul. Seek solace and enlightenment by experiencin

Kiwis vent anger at the lottery that locks them out

When Covid-19 swept the globe in the first few months of 2020, much of the world looked to New Zealand as an example of how to handle the crisis. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was already an international darling, and the swift and proactive measures her government put in place early on only served to cement her reputation as a dynamic young leader. In March 2020, Justin Walker, a general manager for a medical manufacturing company, had just returned to New Zealand from a regular stint in Yongi

Japan and South Korea: what makes them unique? | InsideJapan Tours

Like this post? Help us by sharing it! Japan and South Korea are longtime rivals that, at first glance, can appear a bit alike; after all, both are modern, mountainous East Asian countries with rocky coastlines, rich cultures, and temples galore. However, if you scratch beneath the surface, you will find that these are actually two very different places, each offering up its own unique splendors. Here we take a look at their surprising similarities and key differences as we size them up, side-b

Bang Bang Shoot Shoot

[A brief note from the editor: The Interesting Times is pleased to welcome our first guest author, Chris Tharp. Chris is a literary heavyweight with several books under his belt and multiple bylines in major publications. His work runs the gamut from fiction, to travel writing, to political commentary, including serving as a regular columnist for the Asia Times. Hailing from Washington state, Chris has made his home in Busan, South Korea for nearly two decades. We are fortunate to have him share

How to spend a weekend in Busan, South Korea's seaside city

Situated on the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula, Busan is where Koreans come for a little rest and relaxation. The country’s second-largest metropolis is most famous for its long, sandy beaches, and its seaside culture seeps into all aspects of daily life, from a noticeably carefree, festive air to the seafood-rich cuisine. This energetic city is home to some of the most exciting attractions in the country, and to top it all off, it offers up nature in spades, with pine-covered mountain

Busan finds avenue for expression through Liquid Arts Network — Platform Magazine

When the English-speaking community in Busan got together to perform their first live arts show in November of 2000, Kenneth May suddenly found himself in the driver's seat. The foreigner scene was already rich with writers, musicians, and other performers; they just needed someone with a particular kind of know-how to bring them together. May was happy to take on that role, and this is how the Liquid Arts Network was born. "My friends knew that I had done poetry and arts events in the States, s

No consequences for political misdeeds

One of the more fascinating things about Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House is that those four years of outrage, tumult, and perpetual prevarication made us forget just how awful the previous Republican administration had been. While the media was busy amplifying and kvetching over Trump’s non-stop effrontery, the memory of the damage that George W Bush wrought upon the world largely faded, until ol’ “W” himself actually became rehabilitated. No longer was Bush the commander-in-chief who

Discover Hahoe and Yangdong, the UNESCO-listed villages in South Korea

South Korea may be among the most modern places on earth, but it keeps one foot firmly in the past with the preservation of its traditional villages. These centuries-old historic hamlets uphold the dynasty of the Joseon-era through their classic architecture, cornucopia of folk traditions, time-honoured rituals and works of art. Hahoe Folk Village and Yangdong Folk Village, situated in the province of Gyeongsangbuk-do, are two of the best-preserved examples of how the locals lived long ago. Exp

Envy from Asia: how the Covid tide has turned

What a difference a trip around the sun can make. Just a year ago I sat here on the rocky shores of Korea in a kind of smug expat cocoon, gazing toward the USA and counting my lucky kimchi leaves that I was here instead of there. After all, the bush fire of Covid-19 was sweeping across the States with no end in sight, along with the actual fires from street protests and riots fueled by decades of racial injustice. The federal response to the pandemic – presided over by a callous and incomp

Mountain scenery and a military patrolled border — Gangwon is South Korea's most mysterious province

The soldiers manning the checkpoint may be baby-faced, but their helmets, armbands and automatic rifles tell us they mean business. Despite their youth, they project an air of solemn authority, and after a couple of questions and a peek into the boot of the car they wave us through. Our light mood is replaced with a telling silence. After all, we’re rolling into one of the world’s most notorious flashpoints: Korea’s last outpost of the Cold War, known as the DMZ (DeMilitarised Zone). It’s a lat
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