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Korea (2 weeks)

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Jungmun-dong, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
The Giant's Causeway in Ireland is perhaps the most well-known example of seaside columnar basalt cliffs...and here on this green volcanic island on the other side of the world is a less well-known locale where you can find this geologic...
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Seongsanjungang-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
While visiting the subtropical island of Jeju-do, off the SW coast of Korea, last month, we were able to meet some "haenyo." ("Haenyo" roughly means 'sea maiden.') These women divers regularly descend down to 60 feet under the sea, without any...
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15 Sinhwayeoksa-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo, Jeju-do, South Korea
With volcanic soil and a subtropical climate, the island of Jeju-do has become a center for tea cultivation. On a quick visit to this island off the southwestern tip of Korea, you are practically obligated (by hotel concierges, taxi drivers,...
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Seongsanjungang-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
Where the East China Sea meets the Yellow Sea, a subtropical island holds on to its traditions. Jeju-do, off the southwastern tip of the Korean peninsula, is home to the "haenyo," or 'women-of-the-sea.' These hardy divers continue a centuries-old...
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102 Wonhwa-ro, Inwang-dong, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea
Fill a day visiting the ancient temples, astronomy observatory and burial grounds in Gyeongju, South Korea. As a UNESCO World Heritage center, most of the sights are tightly packed within walking distance. But whatever you do, save the Pond for...
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Costa Rica
The thermal hot springs in Rincón de La Vieja at Rio Negro (Black River) may not be as well known as those in the Arenal area, but we had the pools and surrounding forest to ourselves. From where we stayed at the Hacienda Guachipelin Rincón de La...
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Cantón de Aguirre, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
A stunning national park on the Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio has it all: nonstop beautiful beaches, lush tropical rain forest, and oh, the wildlife and flowers, everywhere you look. Monkeys abound on these beaches, and they are not timid around...
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It's not just the country's largest national park: The 417-square-kilometer (161-square-mile) Corcovado National Park could be described as Costa Rica's Amazon given its remarkable biodiversity. The trees here can soar higher...

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Provincia de Puntarenas, Cantón de Aguirre, Costa Rica
Even though Manuel Antonio Park is one of the most visited areas of Costa Rica, there's still lots of wildlife to be seen lurking the jungle.
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Cheonggyecheon, Jongno 5(o).6(yuk)ga-dong, Seoul
An artery of calm running through central Seoul is the Cheonggyecheon stream. This soothing green space proffers a respite from the bustle, with tranquil waterfalls, bridges, and landscaped rock formations adorning the 5.2 miles of wooden walkways...
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60 Jangchungdan-ro, Jangchungdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Treatments at the Banyan Tree Club and Spa Seoul draw on regional therapies and ingredients. Banyan Tree’s green tea bath treatment was inspired by the bathing rituals of jjimjilbangs—Korean public bathhouses. Korean green tea is rich in...
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99 Sejong-daero, Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
While in Seoul, stop by Daehanmun Gate at Deoksugung Palace, where you can see semi-daily changing of the guard ceremonies.
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29-4 Bukchon-ro 6-gil, Gye-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
In a metropolitan area of 20 million people, finding an oasis is a must for keeping your sanity. Seoul's Bukchon neighborhood still has a plentiful supply of traditional courtyard gardens—many of the "hanok" (traditional houses) have been opened...
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105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan 2(i)ga-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Look to the top of Seoul’s 860-foot-tall Namsan Mountain and you’ll see the N Seoul Tower, which rises an additional 777 feet. This aerial perch is the highest point in the city and offers incredible views. Far below, Seoul sprawls out...
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Changdeokgung-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Covering 78 acres of hilly forest in the middle of Seoul, the Huweon, or "Rear Garden" of Changdeok-gung Palace is better known by the city's millions as Biweon, or "The Secret Garden." Once exclusively for the royal family, today it's a favorite...
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Changdeokgung-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The upswept rooflines of Korean architecture are beguiling: intricate eaves are a symphony of patterned color...and every once in a while, a face pops out, like this scowling end-tile 'guardian'--a face only a roofer could love. I spent a couple...
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1 Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Current tensions require close monitoring, but Cheong Wa Dae is open for visitors. From its mountainside overlooking central Seoul, "The Blue House" is the official residence of the South Korean president, and if you apply weeks in advance with...
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Palpan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The Throne Hall of Gyeongbok-gung Palace in Seoul has a lofty name based on Confucian principles: "Geun-jeong-jeon," meaning "diligence helps governance"—words for politicians to live by, eh? Originally built in the 1390s when a new dynasty...
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161 Sajik-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Originally built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest and greatest of Seoul’s Five Grand Palaces. Burned down during the Japanese invasion of 1592, it was reconstructed in 1867. Today, the palace grounds, filled with lotus ponds,...
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99 Yulgok-ro, Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
I spent the better part of a summer afternoon on the grounds of Changdeok-gung Palace, wandering the old courtyards and lush gardens of one of the most visited sites in Seoul. Originally built in 1405 as a secondary palace, this complex served as...
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29 Itaewon-ro, Namyeong-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
South Korea's past is a rocky one, and at the War Memorial of Korea people from all across the country come to pay respects to brave soldiers who fought for their freedom. In addition to the museum's huge display of war- and military-related...
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When Seoul's Gyeongbok-gung Palace was built in the 1390s, it was the centerpiece of the newly established Joseon dynasty, which had just named the city as its capital. Six centuries later, after invasions, fires, colonization, and wars, its...
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531 Bongeunsa-ro, Samseong 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Modernization. Westernization. Globalization. These words are sometimes used synonymously, but while all three certainly might be used to describe East Asia, distinctions should be made. South of the Han River in Seoul is the Gangnam district; the...
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Euljiro 7(chil)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Has a giant spaceship landed amidst the high-rises of Seoul? No, it’s only the new Dongdaemun Design Plaza. The futuristic façade encloses multiple museums and exhibition halls, and a design market featuring a myriad of work created by local...
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175 Sejong-daero, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The major thoroughfare of downtown Seoul, Sejong Street, is brimming with art, fountains, statues, palaces, embassies and, of course, people. There couldn’t be a better place to walk through the city and take it all in. Pause to read the plaques...
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Dongjang-ri, Jangdan-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Located between the two Koreas in the Civilian Control Zone along the 38th Parallel, Dorasan station has recently awakened as though from a spell. Once only used as a showcase boasting of hopes for reunification between the divided peninsula for...