• Gwangju Family Land Observation Wheel
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    Gwangju Family Land and Uchi Park Zoo

    Gwangju Family Land is a quaint, little amusement park on the outskirts of the city. Nestled into a mountainside, surrounded by greenery, we were grateful for the shade and breeze on this sweltering August day. Family Land opened in 1991, but I felt transported back to an even earlier time. For a couple of thousand won, you can take a little train from the car park to the gate. Don’t expect too much! A colourful observation wheel stands by the entrance, with several small food outlets and shops, and then an average selection of rides. The merry-go-round, dodgem cars, pirate ship and small rollercoasters have a somewhat vintage feel. Still,…

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    Deokbawi Agricultural Village, Kids’ Camping in Korea

    In a very green, agricultural area in Chungchoengnamdo is a private camping ground designed for families with young kids. If you’re looking for an entertaining and affordable weekend escape with your littlies, then this is the place! It’s the furthest from remote, bush camping you can get. Don’t expect privacy or a peaceful place for quiet contemplation. Nope, this place is for fun, and camping in Korea with kids could not get more convenient! We chose this spot because it’s between Seoul and Gwangju, and we were meeting our dear friends from Seoul. It would be our first time with friends since the pandemic hit in late February, and we…

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    Living Sustainably in Korea

    Ok, so, here’s the disclaimer – I do not live a sustainable life. Far from it. I order takeout in packaging. I eat meat, although less of it. And the big one, I fly in an airplane at least once a year. Still, I am trying to make lifestyle changes that help us to live more sustainably in Korea. It’s a work in progress and every little bit counts. There is so much plastic in Korea! I mean, there is so much plastic in the world but, in Korea, you get a bag of cookies all individually wrapped in plastic. It’s so convenient to have everything delivered, but it all…

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    Wolchulsan Hiking and Camping in Korea

    Hiking Wolchulsan Wolchulsan is a spectacular mountain with amazing views. Wolchulsan National Park is the smallest national park in South Korea, but it makes up for it in beauty. It also offers a bit of peace and quiet from the usual hiking crowds. It also happens to be our family’s ‘local’ mountain, on the doorstep of Appa’s family home. The first time I hiked Wolchulsan was with my now in-laws, before kids, and before marriage. Grand memories from that day! It’s a challenging hike up to Gureumdari (Cloud Bridge), but it’s totally worth the sweat. On a clear day, the view is great, but when the peaks are shrouded by…

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    The Penguin Village, quirky, artsy Gwangju.

    This is an old area of Gwangju full of fascinating history. The story is that the Penguin Village gets its name from all the elderly people ‘waddling’ around the area like penguins. Apparently, some guy in the village started collecting old stuff and turned his front yard into a museum of sorts. Others joined in and it attracted local artists. When the area was later marked for redevelopment, the artists stepped in, created impressive street art, and eventually saved the area from destruction. There’s a little shop that sells snacks and candy from the 80’s and 90’s. According to my mother in law, it felt like a time warp! My…

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    Yulpo Beach, Camping in Korea

    If you want to go beach camping in the south of South Korea, Yulpo Beach is a great beginner option. It’s close to Gwangju, there are toilets, you can park nearby and there are plenty of shops and restaurants nearby. Maybe not peaceful, isolated camping, but easy camping! We were there on Children’s day eve, so probably one of the busier days to camp, and it was still not too hectic. We chose a quiet spot at the western end of the beach, far from other campers but also far from facilities. Since we were arriving latish this time, we gave up on the fire and went out for dinner.…

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    Gosapo Beach, Camping in Korea

    Around an hour and a half northeast of Gwangju is Byeongsanbando National Park. It’s a gem! The park boasts luscious mountains, temples, sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, salt farms, fishing villages, and tons of camping opportunities. Gosapo beach was the perfect spot for our first venture into the area, and we’re already planning the next one. There are several enticing beaches along the coast here, but most were already overcrowded this weekend, and it’s not even June. We had planned to stay at Mohang beach, just 3km south, but it was packed. Less than 15 minutes down the road, we discovered Gosapo beach – a beautiful, long stretch of sand and…

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    Gwangju National Science Museum

    With its futuristic exterior and expansive grounds, the Gwangju National Science Museum is worth the visit before you even enter the building. Make use of the picnic areas and outdoor play spaces before or after your visit and you could easily spend the day here. Unfortunately on our rainy visit we had to stick to the indoor area. Although the interactive exhibits are more suited to older children our preschoolers still found plenty to explore. The permanent hands-on exhibitions include Light, Science, and Art, Science in Living and Science for the Future. There is plenty of inspiration for children and young people to get curious about science. On our next…

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    History, art, culture, and food in Yangnimdong, Gwangju

    Yangnimdong is my hands-down-absolute-favorite area of Gwangju! It has a bit of everything. History, culture, art, nature, food! It’s busy enough to have a lively vibe but quiet enough to be calm and peaceful. It has cool, hipstery cafes alongside beautiful historical homes. And it’s pedestrian-friendly! History Yangnimdong has a fascinating history. It was where Gwangju’s part in the March 1st Independence Movement began. It was also where Christian missionaries from America first settled and there are many old homes, churches, and a cemetery from this time. Art Yangnimdong is full of small galleries and street art. The Penguin Village area is pretty much all a work of art. Cafe…

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    Vietnamese in Gwangju, Namgwangju Market

    Back in 2006 when I first lived in Seoul, the hardest part was missing the variety of cuisines we could find in Melbourne. Along with Thai and Greek food, I often crave Vietnamese. Things have changed considerably in the last 14 years. There are now Pho restaurants all over Gwangju but, this one is particularly authentic. Even better, it’s just a short walk from our place at Namgwangju market. This is the first Vietnamese place in Gwangju that serves coriander with its Pho. Now, if only we could get some Vietnamese mint too. Apart from the cut of meat, which makes it more Korean-ish, the taste of the soup was…