By Debbie Hong (USAG-Yongsan)July 29, 2009
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Korea is a dynamic country with many things to see, but where does one visit with so many options out there' United Service Organization representative and travel guru Wee Winship has three suggestions: Jeju Island, Mount Seorak, and Andong.
"You can't miss Jeju Island. It is the symbol of wedding and honeymoon for Koreans," Winship said.
"Naturally, Jeju Island is a beautiful island all year long - especially the flowers," she said. "When we go to America, we would all like to stop at Hawaii, and Jeju Island gives that same feeling."
Some visitors may find it interesting that one of the symbols of Jeju Island, female divers, is a piece of history and culture, she said. The loss of young men in the past due to war caused many of the island's women to become independent, harvesting shellfish from the sea to survive.
"Mount Seorak is [part of] the chain of Mount Geumgang of North Korea. And you can go to Mt. Seorak four times a year: autumn, winter, summer, and spring - it's a total different landscape and scenery," she said.
Winship described how the mountain transforms from an Indian Summer orange in autumn to postcard perfect in winter. In summer, the mountain stays cool due to the surrounding trees and blooms with flowers in spring.
"Mount Seorak is my favorite place because of the most beautiful mountains and the seafood-rich ocean are combined," she said, referring to its proximity to the East Sea. "I have been working in the USO for 16 years, and I have been to Mt. Seorak maybe more than 500 times from my job, but I am still excited to go there."
Lastly, Winship recommended the old city of Andong due to the distinct customs there. People of Andong make 'Jangsengs,' sculpted faces on stone and wood, seeking the protection of the nature god, she said. "Many artists live in Andong, and every year from mid October to November, there is a Jangseng Festival to celebrate the Jangseng tradition and enjoy traditional Korean folk dances and mask exhibitions," she added.
She said the best time of the year to enjoy the nice blue sky and clear weather is May.
The advantages of going with USO are that not only do we give good discount, but also the professional USO staffs know and understand the level of expectancy of the tourists, she said.
"I am very proud to be a part of USO and love my job, sharing my whole knowledge about Korean culture and places," she said. "I believe Korea is the most beautiful peninsula!" she added.
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