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This fall, small villages are the place to visit: Travel Week programs promote rural areas for a peaceful getaway

Aug 30,2019
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Left: Gaepyeong Village, filled with traditional Korean hanok homes that are about 450 years old, is a great place for anyone to visit if they are looking to experience a slow life. Center: Makgeolli Village in Pocheon, Gyeonggi, teaches visitors about the process of making the Korean fermented rice wine in onggi, or large jars. Right: In Busan’s Kangkangee Arts Village, people can witness how art can change the vibe of an industrial town left empty for decades. [KOREA TOURISM ORGANIZATION]
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Instead of thinking of travel as something that requires a lot of effort and energy, the aim of this year’s Travel Week put together by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is to show people how easy planning their next trip can be.

This year’s fall Travel Week starts Sept. 12 and runs until Sept. 29, and the government is encouraging people to get out of town and explore the country without worrying about needing to plan too far ahead.

Since 2014, Travel Week has helped to encourage people to take time off outside of the hectic traditional summer travel season. To help people plan quick, easy and satisfying trips, the government is suggesting visits to small villages and towns around the country, where people can enjoy the simple life.

Traveling to a small town instead of a bustling city means that tourists will not need to spend much time moving from one place to another and can instead walk slowly and enjoy the little things like flowers and the restaurants that locals go to for a simple lunch or dinner.

First suggested in the spring, the tour programs to small towns throughout the country turned out to be quite popular, and the Tourism Ministry decided to introduce more villages that the solo travelers and families alike can visit for a mix of relaxation and excitement.

This year’s Travel Week, as it coincides with Chuseok, one of the country’s major holidays, hopes to provide travel information about many rural regions so that people can enjoy activities a short distance from their hometowns. This year’s Chuseok holiday runs from Sept. 12 to Sept. 14.

Some of the events being put on by the ministry feature industry experts like chef Tony Yoo and Hyemin Sunim, or Buddhist monk Hyemin. Villages that used to be known for their coal mines, such as Cheolam historic village, are recommended to family travelers with children for educational purposes, and mural-filled villages, such as Mabijeong mural town, are suggested to friends and couples hoping to take as many photos as possible. Makgeolli Village in Pocheon, Gyeonggi is recommended for travelers of all ages looking for experiences not easily found in busy cities like Seoul.

If you are interested in joining one of the village tours, go to Travel Week’s website and sign up by Sept. 4. Each activity costs 10,000 won ($8.25) per person to join. Otherwise, you can collect the travel routes on the website, as well as information on places to eat and sleep and to plan a trip of your own.

If village tours don’t sound appealing to you, there are other options to pursue during your time off.

If you can’t get out of Seoul but want to see what it is like to get close to nature, TV network JTBC and the Korea Tourism Organization have set up a photo zone at K-Style Hub in Jung District, central Seoul, so that anyone can try out outdoor camping for themselves.

Camping cars used in the JTBC show “Camping Club” are on display, and visitors can imagine themselves as the celebrities featured in the show. Visitors who post their photos on social media will have the chance to get a free coffee. The camping car will be on display until Sept. 15, (except from Sept. 5 to 8) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If looking at a camping car and images of celebrities doesn’t satiate your desire for camping, apply for events to actually include an overnight stay in your own camping car. If you visit the Travel Week website by Sept. 4 and write down activities you want to do while camping at the campsite of your choosing, you may win a chance to use a camping car for two nights, sponsored by the Tourism Ministry.

Considering that more and more people are interested in taking their dogs along with them on vacation, the state-run travel organization also provides a special trip. Around 60 travelers will be able to visit a special bus set up in Seoul Forest in eastern Seoul today to learn about how to travel safely with their pet. Agencies specialized in traveling with pets will offer training, as well as special seats and seat belts for pets.

The people and pets will venture to Uiam Lake in Chuncheon, Gangwon, to enjoy a walk. Once there, the dogs will be able to get on a canoe to spend some time in the lake.

The day will end up on a more upbeat note, with activities planned at a nearby sports town. The tourism organization said in a release that it wanted to inspire people to take more trips with their pets because Korea is estimated to soon have approximately 10 million pets.

“We will continue planning some special trips like this so that more people can pay attention to domestic travel,” said the tourism organization.

Just like every other Travel Week since its conception, many hotel chains, like Shilla Stay, and transportation services like Korail are offering discounts to make travel more affordable for everyone.

For those who prefer to get cultured through watching musicals or performances, the National Theater of Korea in central Seoul is offering special discounts, as is the Jeongdong Theater located in central Seoul and the Korea National Ballet.

BY LEE SUN-MIN [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]



For more information, go to travelweek.visitkorea.or.kr. Special tours sign-ups are all available on the website. Follow @travelweek.kto on Instagram or travelweek.kto on Facebook to get more information. For more general information about any kind of travel in Korea, call 1330. The 24-hour hotline is available for travelers looking for details on what to eat, where to stay and how to get to places. The service is available in Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese.