As many of you already know, RAIL-RO is a free pass ticket for university students to use KORAIL trains inexpensively. It is meaningful to travel and study abroad and experience Working Holiday programs in a foreign country but there are also a lot of beautiful landscapes, delicious food, and spots to look around in Korea. Why don’t you direct your eyes inside the country and make your travel happier through the privilege of the RAIL-RO?
What is RAIL-RO?
The origin of RAIL-RO is ‘RAIL 路’, a combination of train, tomorrow (Nae-Il) which means future, and road. RAIL-RO is eligible for anyone under the age of 25, and the cost of its ticket is 56,500 won for 7-day usage. It is issued in summer (June-August) and winter (December-February), available as a paper ticket, but if you download an application called ‘KORAIL TALK’ you can also download the ticket to your smart phone. Usage of RAIL-RO by college students is on the steady increase and those who once used it tend to use it again. In addition, RAIL-RO PLUS offers various benefits when you issue a ticket at each station such as discount of entrance fee at guest house sand Korean dry saunas as well as free gifts. For more information, visit www.rail-ro.com.
What do you pack for the trip?
Your baggage can get bigger than you expected as this will be a 7-day trip. What you cannot leave out is items to protect your skin under the sun, as Summer RAIL-RO is all about outdoor activities. Sun cream, hats, and sunglasses are essential. Also prepare a small second bag to pack your valuables such as cash, camera, wallet, and cell phone. Leave your luggage at the station or hotel, and simply carry the second bag only. Also, you might want to prepare a raincoat or an umbrella in case of summer showers. The lighter, the better. You can always buy what you want on the road.
Planning a route & Hotel reservation
There are so many tourist attraction spots all over the country. The charm of each city is all so different from each other that you will be tempted to visit everywhere. However, it is only a seven-day trip, so unfold a map and choose a city that you really want to visit. You can find a lot of information about each city on the internet, and you’ll see popular places have their own reason why they can attract people. You can make a reservation at a guest house or Korean dry sauna, but you might want to hurry as guest houses tend to be full during the peak season. To do your laundry and get some deep sleep, it is important to reserve a guesthouse at least occasionally when you schedule your itinerary.
Take a trip, RAIL-RO!
Day 1. UNESCO World Heritage, Town of Korean History, Hahoe Folk Village in Andong
The name of “Hahoe Village” is derived from the S shaped Nakdong River that flows around the town. The Village was designated by UNESCO as a world treasure. Harmony and arrangement of residential buildings and traditional buildings, and traditional residing culture well manifest Joseon Dynasty’s unique social hierarchy and Confucian culture, well preserved for a long time. Hahoe village is a unique space in which the Korean traditional way of life is being practiced as it was, and you may feel as if you were visiting the past. Hahoe Village is a living heritage that harmonizes its existence with nature, and the villagers have carried on their lives generation after generation. When you take a ferry at Donggang River and go up to Buyoungdae, you can look over the whole Hahoe Village. You may feel you are embracing Hahoe Village in your bosom.
Repository of the glorious cultural heritage. A museum without a roof: City of Kyung-ju
As Kyung-ju is one of the most popular destinations for middle and high school trips, many people who have been there will ask, “Is it necessary to visit there again?” However, if you do visit Kyung-ju again, you will clearly feel different than before. It’ll be an opportunity for you to pay more attention to and give more thoughts on our cultural heritage. Travel doesn’t have to be for sightseeing; it is worthwhile to take a trip to see more of the world and feel our history by looking at historical sites as a college student.
The blue breath of Silla dynasty with history of a thousand years. Kyung-ju was the capital of Silla for a thousand years. Formerly called Seorabeol, the city is the most glorious town of history and culture in which Buddhism, science and the artistry of Silla people bloomed. Bulguksa Temple and Yangdong Village are also designated by UNESCO as World Heritage sites, and you will be able to enjoy better at night the beautiful scenery of Chumsung Dae, the oldest astronomical observatory in East Asia and Anapji which is harmoniously decorated with the palace and lake. Kyung-ju is a city and museum in itself, and you should visit Kyung-ju if you want to feel the breath of Silla.
Day 2. Busan, a city with Enough attraction, food and kindness.
Busan is the second capital of Korea. It also has a reputation as an international and port city. Busan has rich attractions, food, and outstanding transportation, so it is convenient to explore the city.
Yong-gung-sa in Busan is a beautiful temple on the beach, a famous place where you can see the first sunrise. There are 108 stairs for longevity, Chinese Zodiacs statue, and statue of begetting a son, etc.
On the other hand, Haeundae is a renowned beach that attracts many tourists. There is Dong-baek Island near Haeundae, and you can visit Nuri Maru that held the APEC summit meeting. In addition, Shinsegae Centum City is known as the largest department store in the world.
There are a lot of notable markets in the city. Jagalchi market sells variety of lush seafood. In the International market, each backstreet has many attractions and food. Old books are gathered in Bosudong book store alley. Busan International Film festival produced the Theater Alley. In Food Alley in the international market, you can taste Bibim cellophane noodle, fried tofu stew, Seeds Hodduk, and old style patbingsu. Naengchae hog trotters, Hog rice soup, and Wheat noodle are also famous Busan foods.
Gamcheon Cultural Village is a beautiful place with pretty wall paintings and sculptures. All paths are connected in one alley like a maze, representing the importance of communication between neighbors. Gamcheondong was reborn as part of the village art project, intending the rejuvenation of the town. It was endorsed by artists, residents, and local government and they promoted the development by resident participation for urban regeneration. Preserving the appearance of the village as much as possible, elements of culture and art have been nicely added. The community is now becoming active, receiving attention as a model case of urban regeneration. Tourists also find the town very attractive. Finally, it’s time to look around Gawngahnli, a beach famous for its night view. I finished my day with the sound of waves and beautiful night view of Gwangahn Bridge.
Day 3. Beautiful Eco-city Suncheon, SUNCHEON BAY GARDEN EXPO, and one of the world’s five coastal wet lands, Suncheon Bay.
In 2013, the Suncheon Bay Garden Expo was held from April 20 to October 20. 23 countries participated and 83 gardens were displayed (11 World Gardens, 61 Participating Gardens, and 11 Theme Gardens). Each garden from all over the world features a unique character, and you can see and feel the gardens of the world with wild animals and migratory birds as well. It’s a great place to visit with a family since there are beautiful flowers, gardens and animals.
Sungheon Bay is one of the world’s five coastal wet lands and keeps the purity of nature intact. In Suncheon Bay’s Ecological Park, various migratory birds stay and the mud flat ecosystem has remained intact. Suncheon Bay was registered in the Ramsar Convention (Convention of Wetlands of international importance as waterfowl habitats) for the first time in Korea, and the bay is famous for its beautiful sunset. Sunset time is shorter than you think so you should calculate the time well to go up to the observatory. Beautiful sunsets have lured many tourists and the shutter sound of cameras never stopped. Pictures captured the grand sight of sunset, and I came back with the touching moment on my mind.
Day 4. Yeosu Expo Aquarium, Odongdo,and Dol San Bridge at night on the sea.
Yeosu Expo ended in 2012 with great success, but we can still enjoy Sky Tower, Aquarium, Expo and Digital Gallery. At night, there is the famous Big O show. In the Aquarium, you can see many sea creatures directly and that may make you feel as if you were under the sea. Big O show is created with special effects and video projected on a water screen through laser shooting on an O-shaped steel structure. Thanks to the grand size of the Big O structure, you can have some extra fun enjoying the night view.
Odongdo Island in Yeosu can be reached by train as it is connected to mainland with a bridge. The island boasts its magnificent view with red camellia flowers, trees, and strange rocks and bizarre stones. Lastly, Yeosu is famous for the beautiful night scenery. You can fully savor the night sea and its exquisite beauty with the surrounding landscapes and Dol San Bridge which gives out a dazzling sheen.
Day 5. The Green City Damyang, Juknokwon and Metasequoia road.
Damyang is famous for bamboo and it is preserving nature without being contaminated. As the town has no train station, you should find Namwon station and use the intercity bus terminal. Juknokwon and Metasequoia road is near Damyang bus station, within walking distance. You can tour the town by bicycle since Damyang-gun offers a free bicycle rental service.
Juknokwon has 8 theme roads each with a different theme, and it is decorated with cute panda sculptures here and there. It is filled with a dense bamboo forest and you can enjoy forest therapy. Cool breezes and the smell of grass will heal you. Near Jukrimwon, there are Damyang-chun creek and Gwanbangjerim, a forest created with old trees over 300 years old. The trees are numbered and protected by Damyang-gun. As you walk along the Gwanbangjerim, the Metasequoia tree-lined road appears. The long-stretched tree-lined road allows you to feel refreshed and relaxed. I recommend walking the road with your lover, holding hands, or riding a bicycle. You may also want to taste Juktongbap, Dduckgalbi, and bamboo leaf ice cream in Damyang.
Day 6. Jeonju Hanok Village with living tradition.
Jeonju is designated by UNESCO as a city with creative food and International Slow City. With a long history of one thousand years, Jeonju is a point city with traditional Han style which includes representative Korean styles such as Hanok, Korean Food, Hanji, and Korean sound (Pansori), etc. Jeonju Hanok Village contains ample examples of Hanok (Korean traditional houses) and wisdom of scientific spatial arrangement that would make you feel the traditional atmosphere.
In the village, you can find car-free streets and small, pretty cafés. Keeping the traditional sights as much as possible, the village is also constructed to be modern and convenient to look around. It reminds us of Insadong or Bukchon. Jundong Catholic church, which was used as a set for the movie ‘Promise,’ was built after the Romanesque architecture style, and you may find the stained glass fascinating which depicts the martyrs in color. Among the existing Hyanggyos in Korea, the biggest and most well-preserved one is Jeonju Hyanggyo, which is famous for the location of the drama Seonggyungwan Scandal. The representative foods of Jeonju are Bibimbap, Kongnamul gukbap, and Moju, etc.
RAIL-RO is a travel card for 7 days, and there may be unexpected situations and you could feel exhausted. However, the beauty of travel is to wisely overcome the difficulties and enjoy the trip. If you feel stifled in your everyday life, I recommend hitting the road, looking back at yourself, and getting healed by the beautiful landscapes. Each city is charming with its own distinctive color. Why don’t you savor the charm with RAIL-RO, one of the privileges of Korean Youth?< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >