Let me start off by saying this: we’re not all too fond of the Korea Tourism Organization.

Some of you might have heard us say this before, but I don’t think that the KTO does a good job of promoting Korea. Whenever we see ads from them, Korea is always depicted in such a boring manner. “Come to Korea, where you can wear a hanbok and climb a mountain. Did you know Korea has four distinct seasons? Do you know Bee Beem Bop? Come, visit our temples and palaces!”

Now, for some people, this depiction of a very traditionally rich Korea is right up their alley. It’s not for us, though. We’re more interested in modern Korea. Show me the techy side of Korea. Show me the guys on delivery bikes in flip flops. Show me Hongdae. Show me drinking at a baseball game. Show me a night market. Show me where people live and work and walk and play and thrive; don’t show me a vestige of the past that people don’t use anymore. I want to see what everyday life is like in Korea; I don’t want to partake in the touristy stuff that regular Koreans don’t do.

This is one of the main reasons I’ve never been to Gyeongbokgung. I’m sure that it’s a lovely place, and that you can learn a lot about Korea’s history, but I just don’t like what it stands for lately. I’m not talking about what it stands for traditionally or historically; I’m talking about nowadays, as it’s mostly used as a tourist and school trap.

When I was 16 years old I visited my aunt and uncle in Poland, and as they drove me around Warsaw and showed me the monuments I was bored out of my mind. They’d always ask if I know who Piotr Polishinski or someone or another was, and I not only didn’t know, but didn’t care. I remember being scolded for not knowing enough history, for not being a good Polishman, and I know now that this is probably getting in the way of me going to Gyeongbokgung as a result.

Which is why Martina went instead. Yay!

To be fair, she feels the same way I do, but just not with as much conviction. She finally caved and went because of her friend Jackie who visited, and she wanted to see Gyeongbokgung, so Martina complied. Here’s the video they got out of it. As you can tell, they had an ok time, but it wasn’t smashingly fun, unless you have a big imagination and can be amused easily by it. We’re fortunate enough, the two of us, that you could put us in any situation and we’d have a fun time of it, simply because we’re easily amused. If we had the choice, though, we’d go places that have more options for playing.

But, this is just our opinion. We’d love to hear your take on it. When you go traveling, do you like going to the tourist sites? Or do you like getting thrown into the mix and being confused and figuring your way around? Whenever we go to other countries, pretty much all we want to do is go to busy places and eat the local food: is that just us?

Anyhow, Martina and Jackie have some bloopers from their adventures. Check em out here!


And, lastly, make sure you click on this fancy pants button below to make sure you don’t miss out on any more videos. Hooray!

  1. officially my FIRST post as a premium NASTY~ Shouldn’t be this excited, BUT I AM~ lol

  2. Personally for me, I can’t really enjoy one without the other because I would feel like I don’t have a grasp on the culture. I’m Korean but grew up in America so I see what makes the two modern cultures unique and a lot of it leads back to history. Like for example: Korean food has Korean history dripping all over it (even the Americanized food such as Budae jiggae has an interesting story to it.) and it adds to the experience. Again, this is for me personally and I think it’s cool how everyone has their own way of enjoying the world! (:
    To answer the question though, I fall for tourist traps because I think they still have fun things to offer and I’ll also throw myself into the city and try to go experience the real modern culture.

  3. For me, it depends on where I am. Sometimes I like the newer, modern things and sometimes I like the historical sites. But when it comes to historical sites, I don’t want to be dragged to some old thing just because it’s old. I need to have some slight interest in the monument/palace/museum to begin with. A couple of years ago, when I was in London with my dad, I needed something to occupy myself while my dad was doing some college reunion stuff, so I chose Hampton Court Palace. Never mind the fact that I’ve been there twice before (but only on the Henry VIII side). I love royalty and history and it helped that The Tudors was airing around the time I was there. Next time I go back to London, my goal is to check out the other part of the palace that belonged to William III of Orange and Mary II.

  4. When I wake up in the morning
    The alarm gives off a warning
    I don’t think I’m gonna make it on time
    By the time I got my books and I get myself a look (?)
    I’m at the corner just in time to see the bus fly by
    It’s all right, ’cause I’m Saved by the Bell
    When the teacher pops a test
    I know I’m in a mess and my dog ate all my homework last night
    Write low in my chair, she won’t know that I’m there
    If I can hand it in tomorrow it’ll be all right
    It’s all right, ’cause I’m Saved by the Bell

  5. All I could think of was… Martina’s friend has extremely blue eyes HAHA I hope I don’t come off as weird

  6. I actually just finished visiting Korea this past week with a friend of mine. We did go to the National Palace, but I personally was not expecting that much. I have traveled a lot with my family so I am used to seeing palaces, and other famous landmarks. I figured it would mostly be empty like a container or shell. For these locations, they are mostly for pretty photo opportunities. Though some places are really good at giving tours which can make the visit worthwhile.
    For our week in Korea, we tried to make it a mixture of visiting touristy spots and landmarks, and visiting the other sides of Seoul and trying to integrate into the culture. Which I think it is difficult to do without someone who lives there. One night we met up with a Korean friend of mine, and she showed us Yeouido Hangang Park. We ordered chicken and beer, sat on the grass, and talked the night away which would not have been possible without her help. (We also went to a noraebang, where my friend and I thought we could do ourselves but afterwards we realized we would have been completely lost without a native Korean)
    I was really surprised that there were so many mainland Chinese at the tourist locations. I saw a lot of Japanese, but Chinese were the majority. Also all the shop workers were very very good at speaking Chinese. Many times I gave up with English and just spoke to them in Chinese because they were better at it.
    Eating local foods was a big part of our curriculum though haha. At every opportunity we had, we would try a local dish and love it!

  7. Its a mix with me I agree that I like to see the more modern tourist areas where I can see the young hip people lol but since I actually love history I love seeing the past of where people have lived, I think it all depends on how people market since it sounds like you guys don’t like the way Korea advertises their traditional tourist areas when they could do so much better. I could get easily bored if the tourist guide doesn’t make things exciting so usually I’d go by myself and do it on my own since it seems more fun that way haha :P

  8. You and Jackie made a great video!! The style with the music between scenes was hilarious and different, too!! Loved it!

  9. It’s usually much more interesting look at these traditional architectures in context. I recommend listening to the guide recordings that they offer at the ticket window. Personally, it was much more interesting to visit kyung bok goong after watching episodes on tv show, 1night 2 days, which was aired longtime ago. They had a professor who studied this architectures with passion for his entire life explain some perspectives that you(as a tourist) would never realize on your own. It was amazing to learn that every piece in this palace has meanings and was built for a reason. Like, when you were walking on the stones that make up the pathway/track did you notice that there are three separate ways with the middle one slightly higher which is meant to be used only by the king? I just think that you can find night markets and baseball games in other parts of the world too but you can only find things like hanbok and gyung bok goong only in korea. These are the things that make korea not just different but also unique. It’s too bad that these things do not appear as attractive to some and the promotions are not doing a good job, but as a korean these are the things that make me proud.

  10. It’s usually much more interesting look at these traditional architectures in context. I recommend listening to the guide recordings that they offer at the ticket window. Personally, it was much more interesting to visit kyung bok goong after watching episodes on tv show, 1night 2 days, which was aired longtime ago. They had a professor who studied this architectures with passion for his entire life explain some perspectives that you(as a tourist) would never realize on your own. It was amazing to learn that every piece in this palace has meanings and was built for a reason. Like, when you were walking on the stones that make up the pathway/track did you notice that there are three separate ways with the middle one slightly higher which is meant to be used only by the king? I just think that you can find night markets and baseball games in other parts of the world too but you can only find things like hanbok and gyung bok goong only in korea. These are the things that make korea not just different but also unique. It’s too bad that these things do not appear as attractive to some foreigners and the promotions are not doing a good job, but as a korean these are the things that makes me proud.

  11. Jolene 졸린 McConnell

    Would you please do WANKs at the Chicken Art Museum and the Gyujanggak Cartoon Museum? Thanks!

  12. I do both. I stayed in Korea and of course enjoyed the college life (studying there), the night life, and just going around to places and living out my days as if I lived there. However, I did do a few touristy things, as well, since being in Korea was my dream. I wanted to see more of the rich history and culture. Plus, I visited one of my “families” there and they brought me to Gyeongbokgung. It was beautiful. So I think it’s always good to at least find good balance in traveling. :)

  13. I would love to see the palace. It looked serene and beautiful.

    I was wondering…how do Koreans view foreigners wearing hanbok? Do they feel it is totally inappropriate? Do they like to see it happening?

  14. I like nature, give me trees, water and birds and I will be as happy as a clam! I guess you can say I’m not overly social… I like calm places.

    I once lived in a touristy area, it was pretty useful to practice my English with Asian tourists. But now that I don’t live there, I basically never go there anymore even though I still live close.

    I think old things can be interesting to see/visit. I like to see how things were done before all the modern inventions we have. Granted, where I live nothing is really old like in Europe but I still think it’s interesting. I don’t really like new things, maybe that’ why. I think it stinks. Like the smell of a new car… I hate plastic and old things are never made with plastic. Ok sorry for the rant…

  15. You guys did totally wrong choice … It’s not ancient! There is at least three of Korean royal palaces that opened for public now and 경복궁 is one of the most recently built and preserved ,as much as 덕수궁, most of buildings were built only about 100~200 years before. Probably the garden and pavilion is only thing really ancient. I love the place, but I would recommend you 창덕궁 or 비원. Though these places are totally limited to access.

  16. Get the audio guide. Going around unguided isn’t a great way to go, in Korea or in any other country.

  17. Natalie Gibbs

    I enjoy both, but I like that you guys do more videos on everyday Korea versus the tourist spots. While the historical stuff is very interesting and I love it, I can find information about it easily. The hidden places that are behind an alley or tucked in somewhere, are not. Those are the places that I want to see because it takes time to find them and a lot of people who will visit Korea won’t have the time it takes to stumble across many of these. I enjoy the history of Korea because I love learning about how people lived back then, so I think it is important to experience and learn about present life just as much as the past. I don’t want to wait until it becomes history to learn about it…if that makes sense. Anyways, love your videos! Thank you for all you do and I look forward to watching more :)

  18. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been draging my family to monuments, archeological sites and museums all over Europe. I love just getting to know the vibe of a city as well, but for me a holiday is not complete without sightseeing. I’ve always loved history, it’s kind of like a real-life fantasy setting. I want to see where and how people live now, but even more so I want to see were and how people used to live.

  19. I get both perspectives. When I was in Korea, I definitely had all the palaces and ancient monuments mapped out on my radar. And I went to several of them. And they were really interesting and beautiful. But after a while, they all began to look the same.

    My favorite moments from my trip involved the more urban, day to day stuff. Grabbing coffee from the cute shop down the street from my hostel. Buying food from the stalls. Experiencing the nightlife in Hongdae. Taking the subway system and just *watching* the people. I want to go to another country to experience the people and their way of life. Seeing only tourist attractions places a type of distance between me and the citizens. I begin to feel like an outsider- rather than realizing that we are all the same and simply live different lifestyles in different locations.

    I still think that emphasizing the rich cultural history of a country is very important. These palaces and monuments helped shape the country into what it is today. It’s a way to understand the personality and outlook of the people. But it shouldn’t be the only thing a tourist organization focuses upon.

    I feel like Korea is still relatively new to major tourism- especially from western visitors. Korea is still probably trying to figure out how to market itself. I mean, when I went to France- all I could think about was the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, etc. It’s what immediately comes to mind when I think of France. But while I was there, I got to experience a whole new side- the wine, the art, the food, the shopping.

    Every country is going to have its massive selling points. Korea just has to figure out what is truly its heart and soul.

  20. Oh and since someone else mentioned a zoo, that’s the only “touristy” thing I do on a regular basis because come on guys, cute animals are totally worth it.

  21. I live in Washington DC these days and work in one of the museums and I was really surprised to find out that DC is actually a really big tourist spot for not just Americans (which I expected) but international tourists and whenever I run into a local at work they’re there either 1. Because they have friends/family from out of town and are doing the tourist thing or 2. Because we have a special event that day and they’re bringing their kids in to have a good time. And funny enough it’s doing all of that which makes me appreciate how the neighborhood I live in ISN’T a tourist spot, after dealing with crazy crowds for the cherry blossom season (and we’re coming up on summer which means it’ll be even worse oh my goooooood) I’m always so happy to get off my stop and just see “normal” people around doing their things instead of having to deal with people who don’t even know how to use an escalator right (no seriously, at work one of the jokes I have with some of my coworkers is “do you have escalators where you come from? WE DON’T BELIEVE YOU”)

  22. Gina-gina Maye

    I went to Gyungbokgung a few weeks ago!! my boyfriend was visiting korea and was interested in traditional stuff and wanted to go there.
    actually i loved it and had a great time! it was a beauuuuuuuuutiful day and the cherry blossoms JUST started blooming that weekend so everything was pretty and picturesque and perfect.

    oh also, i kept imagining scenes from historical kdramas taking place throughout the palace grounds and that made it much more interesting haha

    my favorite part of the day was the part when randomly, chinese tourists kept coming up to me and asking to take a picture with me. why? ‘hey look at the crazy curly-haired american we saw in Korea’s Royal Palace!?” lol. it was very very strange but very funny so i welcomed it. has that ever happened to you guys? it happened to me both in korea and japan, but at least in Japan i was dressed in full kimono gear so it seemed more plausible for people to want a picture…

  23. Cosmic Cat

    I like visiting the traditional historical places but only once. Just to say “I’ve been there haha”. I went to Rome to see the Colosseum, it was alright. The highlight though was the Colosseum cat! Must’ve been a stray but it was cute :3 There were also a lot of stray dogs at pompeii that followed us around. It was interesting learning about the place but the highlight were the dogs xD one of them followed us all the way back to the train station. It looked so sad when we got on the train :(
    On holidays I mainly like exploring the local area, eat at a café, listen to how the language sounds. And to see the local animals! :3

  24. Personally, I’ve always been a bit disappointed in the past that you haven’t had more history related material. Don’t get me wrong…you’ve done a fantastic job showing the world that Korea is a modern, unique place with a lot more to offer than ancient relics. And I also suspect that certain landmarks and historical attractions could require explanations that might touch on some sensitive areas that could bring trouble from internet trolls.

    But I’m a history buff, dang it. You two have made me want to visit Korea. And it’s because of you that I’ve started reading up on Korean history. So when I do go, sooner or later, I’m going to end up at a palace. So it would be pretty cool if I could know what to expect and whether some of the bigger sites kinda suck or might be worth my time.

    I honestly don’t know what the Korean Tourist Board is or is not pushing. Maybe they are pushing the palaces and historical sites, but everyone I know mainly knows Korea based on the images portrayed in Western media: technology, plastic surgery, consumerism and k-pop. Most people I know could easily visualize historical sites in China, Japan, Thailand, India, etc. But they couldn’t easily visualize a Korean historical landmark. And keep in mind that Korean history doesn’t have to be all about palaces, either. There are natural landmarks, festivals and cultural museums.

    I am not saying that you need to change your style, or become some sort of tourism mouthpiece. You are all about modern Korea and what is awesome in the here and now. But the occasional historical feature does add some variety. And I think you’d be surprised how many people might be interested, even if poor Simon is not.

    • Very true! I love all your videos, but they haven’t really made me want to go to Korea. I just love your sense of humour and watching you guys interact. Through your videos I got this image of Korea being a pretty dull looking place, just another big city but without the beautiful sights you get in Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, London, New York, Paris,… I haven’t seen much nature either that would make me go to Korea in your video’s. Not saying you should change your style of video’s though, if you guys are not really enjoying yourselves I don’t think it would be that much fun to watch. Just that after several years of watching your video’s, Korea’s pretty low on the to visit list. You guys did make me become a teacher in Asia though, I graduated in july and moved from Belgium to Malaysia, and I’m loving it! So thank you guys so much for inspiring me to do that.

  25. I was just here last weekend! I went to Seoul for the first time and while I wanted to see one palace only (I like history, but like you guys I’m more interested in contemporary Korean culture), but my friend who I was with insisted on trying to go to all five. I put up with two before I put my poor, blistered foot down. I liked Gyeongbokgung well enough but after that point of walking for hours I was 150% done! Seeing you have a similar experience made me feel better for not being as into it as my friend was, at least!

  26. I like to do both, I think the trip would feel incomplete if I didn’t go to the historical places. It’s like go to Paris and don’t go to the Versailles, only because it’s boring, the History brings a lot to people, we learn from the past, and apreciate what they thought or how the saw the world… When I went to China it was really fun go to the Palaces and historical places, however in China they have english signs with explanations about the place and informations… So I guess, Korea needs more informations in this places, or as a tourist you would have to go with a book, or something… (but this is good to know, someday when I get to go to Korea I will bring some books to help me…) XD

  27. Funny. I was just visiting korea and all of the places I chose to visit are all from the KTO website. I visited the palaces but I do admit that it became a little repetitive. I did the palace package thing where it costs $10 for all palaces. Besides the palace, I went to the national museum of korea, the street by gyeongbokgung, Korean folk village, Bukhansan mountain (Baegudae peak), hongdae, dongdaemun, changgye-something stream, a bunch of malls, N Seoul Tower, lotte world, gangnam and maybe pretty much all of Seoul has to offer. Let me say that I probably kept in shape by walking a lot. I enjoyed both the historical/tourist places and the tech/shopping/modern korea…

  28. Hey guys! As someone who travels a lot I might have a lot to say about this so… Here it is.
    I never do the touristy stuff where I live. Like every legit Parisian I have never been up the Eiffel Tower. I mean, maybe one day I will, why not. I’m not opposed to it. I just have better things to do.
    When I lived in Japan, I visited a lot of shit. Kyoto is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen and in my year there I made sure to get soaked in the atmosphere of the city. It starts with the temples and shrines. I’m very attracted to pretty places so I could spend hours just wandering around a temple, looking at all the details on the roof, the flowers in the trees and all. But I had an awesome time going karaoke or shopping, cycling by the river or drinking under the bridge, just as I had learning about the ancient history of Japan.
    When I lived in Malaysia, to be honest, I mostly ate, hiked and dived. Except for Penang where I really enjoyed the old Chinese house and clan mansions. Kuala Lumpur doesn’t have much to offer in that respect. Not a big museum person. Never went up the Petronas Towers.
    When I went to Korea, visiting this palace is one of the first things I did. And I loved it. It’s gorgeous. I spent an entire afternoon there with no regrets. I’m also a photographer so I had a sweet time. But I also wandered around Hongdae! Ate food! Stopped at a cute coffee shop every 5 minutes! And just walked around the city, which is one of my favourite activities, ever.
    I’m always looking for the complete experience. How people used to live and what they wore. What they do in their free time today and what they eat. What the weather and the wildlife is like. What I can do, see, eat, drink, buy, experience there that I can’t have anywhere else. Everything!

    I understand, though, that different people have different ways to travel and experience a place. Which is why you can only travel with people who travel like you.
    Needless to say this W.A.N.K. was really disappointing to me. But a lot of them gave me ideas on places and activities to do in Seoul, like the doll painting which is haunting my dreams, so I’m not compaining!

  29. I agree that I prefer to skip touristy/historical places. When I was in Korea last October, my travel friends went to this palace. I skipped it and *gasp* went to Hongdae to check out the EYK Nasty Studio! I definitely know which was more fun.

  30. So because the Korean Tourism Organization does not promote what YOU like, you are not fond of the organization? Honestly guys that is not very fair. I do not find it boring at all and the rich traditional culture of Korea should be valued for its beauty and whatnot. I understand that you like the modern side. I like it to, but to say that the KTO is boring because they do not promote what you specifically like is…self righteous.

    • It’s not about them not liking traditional Korean culture, but about how KTO does not promote its modern side well enough. And let’s be real – in terms of traditional culture Korea does not have as much of an appeal internationally as Japan and China. Many people (esp. here in Asia) feel it’s just really similar to its neighbouring countries and don’t feel particularly drawn by Korean traditional culture. So KTO should really be promoting its modern culture harder. But instead they always put out really “forced” and cringe worthy commercials with a guy with an American accent saying “Come to Korea and you’ll be amazed by our fascinating culture!”

    • I have to agree with that. I also would like that they promoted modern korea more (specially hongdae and all the mapo area ’cause it’s freaking awesome) but disliking the organization because of it? seems like a negative approach

  31. It is true that all the Korean tourism ads on Australian TV depict Korea as a really traditional country, I never noticed XD

  32. I find that tourist attractions can be hit and miss – some are amazing and some boring and lacklustre. But still, I’d rather take my chances and check it out anyway. You need a balance when travelling, you definitely want to try the local food and see how people live. But it is nice to check out some tradition and history too.

  33. omg after watching “Lets eat” I was drooling for Korean food even though I’m not a foodie and very picky. I honestly dont like touristy places that are promoted well unless its good for artistic reference I’ll go once to get pics but I seriously love being dropped off in a really strange place and have to navigate without a guide. I got to do that in Tokyo for school. Our professors were just like OK GO BACK TO THE HOTEL and we all stood there bugeyed. But we managed even though we only knew a tiny bit of Japanese. I just love finding places that are cool on my own or recommended by people who know the area. Plus the techie and more lived in places I love, its wonderful for art reference on how to draw buildings and homes. Exploring is the best.

  34. I’m much more adventurous and my cousin happened to be a travel agent in Vietnam. So when we went to Vietnam to visit family, he basically booked this tour where we got to ride a rollercoaster down a mountain, see large waterfalls, eat crocodile meat, and ride an ostrich. So my experience happened to be a good one. :) I like traveling and doing weird things that people don’t usually get to experience or do. :D

  35. I love historical stuff like this if there was more interaction. If you saw a bunch of people dressed traditionally walking around who could at a drop of a hat give you cool information or something (errr… can’t think) I think it would be really interesting. I’m a little bit of a history junkie if there’s interaction and direction in those type of scenarios. Gyeongbokgung looked gorgeous, but like you said not a lot of playing options. You’d have to create your own fun.

  36. I live in such a tourist city, and I have yet to do a lot of things. But they are on my bucket list… Just never find the time to do so, and am too cheap. I actually like doing tourist stuff in foreign countries. I usually like the more modern tourist stuff, but the historical stuff has some fun parts too, depending on the place.

  37. lady_kire

    I don’t mind going to historical monuments, but I have my limits. I’ve been to some in Taiwan, and I love going to the major temple in Hong Kong. But if there’s one thing I HATE, is being in tour groups. I went on one in Taiwan, but it was one I wanted to go on because it was just a beautiful park, a hot spring, and a tea shop. Also, there was only my family, and another woman. The one I went on in Macau, was deathly boring and a huge tour group. I don’t care about seeing some flower monument or whatever other monument and waiting for people slower than molasses to stop taking pictures and move. I want to see this stuff at my own pace, and have a choice on where I want to go.

    Worst monument I’ve been to was some legislative buiding in the US. I don’t care if I’m a political science major, if I’ve been to the Parliament building in Ottawa, I don’t need to see another in a country I don’t live in. I don’t even know why my aunt wanted to go there…Luckily when my parents and I go to the US, they avoid the American monuments because they believe that because we live in Canada, we don’t need to see them.

  38. I would love to travel with you guys. I am not a big appreciator of museums, they bore me tremendously. And I like art just not art galleries. I remember going to the Colosseum when I was 17. It cost 8€ at the time and I felt like it was just a rip off- there was nothing to do but see the crumbling once grandiose building. But I do have this thing about seeing some super touristy things just to say that I went and did them. Things like famous palaces, cathedrals, towers are among them. I’ve been to Gyeongbokjung and let’s just say that once you’ve seen one Korean palace you’ve seen them all. They all look the same and they all have the same exterior colouring. And my favourite part about a trip is hitting the beach, going to traditional markets and the food! On my last trip to Mexico, I had esquite (corn kernels with salt, chile, lime etc) and fried plantain for dinner it was seriously the best meal I had that whole trip.

  39. irritablevowel

    I always go to the tourist sites. You never know what you might get out of something if you don’t give it the time. I’d rather go, be bored, but know I gave it a chance then not go and risk missing out on learning something interesting. More often than not, it’s a big attraction because it’s inherently interesting. I know someone who has been to London a ton of times, but refuses to visit the Tower of London because it’s such a huge attraction. The Tower of London is amazing! It’s like Game of Thrones…but real! They’re missing out! I think about New Yorkers who have never been to the Statue of Liberty. Why not? The Statue of Liberty is cool! The Empire State Building has a nice view, why not see it with your own eyes? Here in Chicago I recently came across someone who despite having lived in Chicago for over a decade, had never been to Grant Park and seen Buckingham Fountain. They lived a few blocks away, and they had never once just taken a walk down to the park. I don’t understand that.
    I think the key to having a lot of fun at historical tourist attractions is to treat it like a movie set and you are the actor. Once I went on a cruise that stopped in Croatia. Most people chose to go to the beach for their excursion. I chose to see the gardens that were on the grounds of what was once an aristocrat’s summer home. Oh my God, the second I set foot in that place I imagined myself in a Chekov play. The house just seemed like exactly the kind of place that say, The Cherry Orchard took place. I can go to a beach anywhere, but I can’t pretend to be Anya anywhere.

    • That’s exactly what I do. I walk around temples and palaces in Asia like I’m some sort of princess. I imagine what life would be like, where I would sleep…
      Is it weird that I live more in my head than in my real life?

      • irritablevowel

        The best is if you can get someone to play along with you. Many years ago I went to a historical village with my brother. Every time we walked into a new house, we were new characters. My favorite was the boarding house. I was Mrs. McGillicuddy the kind but firm proprieter, he was Mr. Carruthers the charismatic go getter who hadn’t paid his rent. “MISTER Carruthers, the rent is due!” Someone turned to us and said, “I want to tour this place with you guys.” Yes, we did this out loud.

  40. Besides the usual kpop and good looking idols, I am actually very fascinated by Korean culture. Which is why I usually prefer historical dramas than the modern ones. I went to Vietnam in the summer of 2012, and through an agency in Vietnam, we booked a tour thingy to Korea! Probably one of the worst mistakes ever, but I went with my parents, younger brother, and grandpa. So we needed some security for getting around and stuff. This palace was one of the places they took us (along with the ice-cream cone thingy lol) and I think because Korean palaces are so ginormous, and takes like forever to go to another form of building or shelter, it may seem boring. And maybe why there is no sense of direction. I agree, there should’ve been some sort of description at each site. But I think that’s how the Korean palaces were structured. I was really disappointed when we couldn’t go inside some of the places though :( I wanted to experience what the “jon-ah” did too haha. But yay keep up with all the videos! You guys are my escape from school :)

  41. hapagirl

    I live in Hawaii, so we have an abundance of tourist traps and I actually really love them. I love the tourist luaus, it’s entertainment for me. Plus I can get a discount for just being a local. Here in Hawaii, we don’t forget our past and the blended cultures. I went to a school over a hundred years old founded by one of the queens and it was a block or two away from the palace. It’s stuff like that that sometimes gets to me. I mean even going to the volcanos is a bit of a tourist trap, but dang it was cool and freezing. The only big problem is that tourists and locals don’t get along well, but that’s a whole nother story.
    However, that place looked boring as hell. I mean the palace was kinda boring too, but they have things on the lawn. There can be a marching band playing or a festival, plus they did lose a good chunk of the things inside the palace so it’s bare. Like give a tour, let people sit down and have a picnic, have a festival or something. Have something to celebrate Korea.

  42. Samantha Walford

    I have never been on holiday but i would imagine i would love seeing the history of the places first than the modernization.
    That way you can see how a country has changed and where they have come from. You can see what traits have been picked up, Mannerisms, Fashions etc.
    I guess it’s great to see the past to see how people have adapted/changed to fit into modern day. Landmarks/Monuments aren’t bad either to imagine and get a sense of what it was like back in the day too.

  43. Did the impression of the KTO remind anyone else of Joo Dee from Avatar?

  44. When I went back to china I visited the Forbidden City and there were no signs there either, so me and my mom just walked around lost. It was so hot that day and we walked for 2 hours and probable on were able to see 1/5 of the place.

  45. Alex Min Song

    Well, I reckon that you guys don’t do enough of the traditional Korean areas. There’s a reason why dramas like Jewel in the Palace are really popular- not everybody hates history you know. Therefore, I think that because the WANKs are basically videos to show people what Korea is like because not everybody can go there, you guys shouldn’t boycott an area just because you don’t like what it represents and you don’t think you’ll have fun filming. You should think more about the audience.

    • I think maybe boycott is a strong word. I just would rather not participate in it or promote it. It’s already promoted very well by the KTO, while other areas of Korea aren’t really promoted as well :D

      • Alex Min Song

        OMG you guys actually replied to my comment!!!
        and damn, its the comment on which I left a criticism, not a compliment… :((

        Can I just say I’m just fricking honoured right now

  46. As a college student just finishing my four year degree in archaeology, and planning to apply for a masters in museum conservation I’m gonna have to disagree XD. Castles and museums are my jam haha just leave me there and I’ll be happy. Seriously for my 10th birthday my Dad brought me to the National Museum of Ireland (neeeerrrrrrrd).

  47. I’m gonna be going to Korea in less than a week(!!!!) and this is one place that I think my relatives are gonna take me. Didn’t know it was this boring but I guess I should go at least once as a Korean lol

  48. As a local who lived most of her life in a historic city (Philadelphia), I can say as a local, I’ve only been to the historic sites once as a kid. Being a local definitely doesn’t mean you’ve seen it all before. I can’t even remember half of it! My parents have told me we went to see everything, the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin’s House… but I don’t remember any of it! :( I looove to see historic things like that. :) I vaguely remember going to DC as a kid and visiting all the monuments and stuff there, but I don’t remember it very well. I was really little at the time. I definitely wanna go back next year and see everything! I also love going to history museums and art museums too; I don’t know why. XD Maybe cause Philly has a lot of them to offer?

    As far as visiting other countries, I’d probably want to see all the historic things first. I like history. :D But THEN I’d want to see all the modern stuff, like how people live, their culture, etc. I’d want to learn both things at the same thing. :)

  49. What I like the most when I go visit a place is to feel the atmosphere of it, this is why I mostly wander around the streets/the site until I find something that catches my attention. I also quite Iike historical places, because you can imagine that you’re living in a different time and place for a while. I’m also a very curious girl, so I can be pretty much interested by anything^^ Oh, and I also like chilling in cafes/pubs/ and the likes.

    All in all I think I don’t really consider things under the “tourists” vs “what the locals do” angle. I don’t like overly touristy places because they seem too manufactured, but then I don’t care much for things like shopping or clubbing either. I think in the end I just like being thrown out of my daily life and feeling a bit out of place, regardless of what I actually do during the travel.

    (Erm I’m a bit sick at the moment so I have a feeling this comment might not be quite coherent. My apologies if it’s the case ^^’)

  50. I disagree with you guys on this because I love history and I love to
    see old things! I lived abroad in London for a while and I went to the
    Parliament building and the Tower of London and the British Museum and
    all those things. And I loved it! It was so interesting.

    But I also saw the modern city too. I ate the food, I walked the streets, and I would
    hang out where the British people hang out. In my opinion, to see
    something you have to see BOTH sides. I’m interested in both. (Also, as
    someone mentioned, tourism is important revenue. Without it many
    national treasures would be destroyed).

    • Oh, for sure! I’m not doubting that tourism is important. I just don’t like the emphasis on only traditional stuff, because I think Korea has a lot more to offer. Its present is just as interesting as its past :D

      • Wow guys, I honored that you replied! Yeah, I think the tourist offices should emphasis both the traditional and modern stuff. Perhaps they don’t because the modern stuff is such a part of their lives that it never occurred to them that it would be interesting to people.

        • Ha! Yes, we try to reply as much as we can. Thank you for commenting on our site!

          And, I agree: a lot of people that we speak with about what’s cool about modern Korean society they’re not interested in, and they’re surprised that we find it cool. I guess, if it’s boring to them, it might be difficult for them to figure out how to promote?

  51. I totally agree with you Martina & Simon.My best friend came over from America (I live in Scotland) to see me and we went to Paris for the weekend. We rushed around for 3 days trying to see everything; Versailles, Pantheon, arc de Triumph,Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge, Notre Dame, Louvre, etc. We ended up falling out because we got lost at like 2 in the morning after watching the Eiffel tower light up.
    I still, to this day, regret arguing with her about something that we could have embraced as an adventure. I apologized but boy did I feel like a douche.
    My best memory of Paris was eating nutella and banana filled crepes with my best friend and chatting to drunk 20 yr olds on the subway. Sure, I wanted to see some of those places but im not sure it was for myself, or just to be like ” I went to Paris and saw everything that was historically and politically important LIKE A GOOD LITTLE CITIZEN”

    I’m British, and at 21 I’ve only just seen London. So really, how relevant are these historical places?
    More knowledge can be garnered from a society through its food and people.

  52. I’m not much of a touristy person, nor have I ever been interested in sightseeing or tourist traps, so I have to agree with you guys on this one. I’m more into what food I can eat and where I can shop. I like cities. There are so many touristy things here in Ireland that it has the same effect as it seems to in Korea. Many people (especially Americans, sorry!) see our “Visit Northern Ireland” adverts which shows the usual: Giants causeway, traditional music, Irish dancing, and everything else that is not a part of daily life or even relevant to our modern culture anymore, but it paints a picture that it is and that’s not what my country is like at all.

  53. I went on an educational tour that took us through. London, Paris, and Barcelona. Our tour guide was awesome! The thing is most of weren’t interested in actual history. We wanted to be let loose so we could explore on our own. There are a lot of historical things to look at and places to visit but it’s just boring. That’s why the last 2 days we spent in Barcelona were the best! We were left to explore with partners and we spent time on the beach. We also had kids and moms in our group get drunk at Ice Barcelona. Which was hilarious!

  54. Mariam Watt

    We lived near Boston when I was a kid. There are a lot of, mostly historical, preserved homes and buildings in that area that are frequently visited by tourists. And whenever we had family from the MidWest visit, my mom take them with us to do things like walk the Freedom Trail (inevitably on the hottest day of the summer), see the Old North church, and go to Salem and see the House of the Seven Gables.No, these weren’t things that we “regular” citizens did frequently- but that is because visiting monuments isn’t really a part of anyone’s daily or weekly routine anywhere in the world. That doesn’t make visiting the sites themselves in some way less “authentic” an experience than any other part of the city, or the people who visit them in anyway stupid or naive, they just serve a very different purpose. I’m not sure what property is like in Korea, but in America, a lot of historical places would not still be around to be appreciated if they weren’t in some way protected, which usually involves tourism to fund the maintenance of that park or property. Property values are just too high- without that designation, historical sites would be turned shopping malls and national parks into pasture land long ago. So I am all for tourism keeping those things around. Because while I may at some point grow tired of touring the USS Constitution replica, I still want it to be around so my kid can see the inside of a creaky old sailing ship. Because its awesome! But again, not something that the locals come and visit every day. Probably because it doesn’t change much. If you have seen it, you’ve seen it.
    Coming from a family of history nuts, I love seeing old things. Possibly this also comes from growing up in suburbs where the oldest buildings were maybe 100 years old- so visiting countries that have such a wealth of tangible history is a fun experience for me. Also,it helps that I rarely am preoccupied with “not looking like a tourist” when I travel. I don’t live there, ergo, I am a tourist, why try to hide it? That’s not to say there’s not merit in just wandering the city with no agenda (for me, getting lost isn’t so much a choice or a statement as it is an inevitable consequence of crappy sense of direction so I don’t even need to try with that one)- but I wouldn’t consciously avoid something just because the locals don’t visit it daily. Trying to only have enthusiasm for the “right” things would be exhausting- and hey that is a really cool looking castle! OK- so its a replica castle- I can’t really tell, and I don’t come from a land with castles at all, so I’m going to go play at the faux-castle and enjoy it. Even if all the people in that castle are tourists like me- I’m a fun person, they are probably fun too. But then, I also enjoy non-organic food, top 40 radio, and laughter- I rarely take myself so seriously.
    I look forward to the day when I am fortunate enough to be so jaded by the abundance of thousand year old historical sites and castles that they bore me to tears, because that will mean I’ve had the privilege of experiencing a lot of history.

  55. PunkyPrincess92

    aawww you’re both so fun and cute together!!
    when i’m with my best friend we’re constantly pretending to be at war with each other!! hehe

    i think it’d be fun to go there with my friend so we could get lost!!! my friend would be panicking while i laugh at her and saying how fun this is!!

  56. Me and my friends are coming to korea this december!!! yay!!! aaaaaand we’re trying to avoid historical places as much as possible!!! well because we find them boring too (well, at least for me). I want to agree with Simon’s comment. I want to be in the places where most people thrive. I want to see/meet lots of people. I want to know what do they usually do in their daily life. I mean, I know it’s important to know the country’s history and learn from it. But it’s just really boring for me to go to historical places that have been touched and used for tourism. If i’d go to a historical place. I would go to the most untouched ones. That will look and feel like the most authentic.

  57. Akira Miyashi

    I went to a palace too last time, Chang Deok Gung. Didn’t get the chance to go to Gyeong Buk Gung….but from the video, I feel like Chang Deok Gung is prettier…I actually enjoyed my time there, really liked the architecture. I did get lost there too cause I was wandering on my own and the lack of signs/directions (nearly got left behind by my group) ^^;.

  58. unicornsgalaxy

    See, I love seeing these kind of historical places but I have a short attention span so would probably get bored fast (unless I can let my imagination run away with me and can act out all different kinds of things in my mind of course totally not out loud or anything… looks around…runs. I would like some kind of guide though to see what the buildings were and were used for.

    I’m pretty picky on food (I can’t handle hotspicy things) but I’m starting to get better, but what I really love are those type of shops that sell things that you can only find in that place (citycountryarea). I love looking at those things.

    It’s actually funny cause last year, I had a friend visit me from out of the country and I was trying to think of touristy type of things to do and came up with a total blank cause I’ve lived here all my life so why would I think about what a tourist would want to see. We came up with a few things to do but there probably could have been so many other things we could have done. I think we had fun anyways though. :)

  59. Isabel Ruby

    i’m all for the mix. go to some historical sites [not for the history, but for the architecture and the atmosphere] and then go to the happening places for food. that’s day one and two of a trip. the rest of it i want to stay in my hotel room and sleep because hotel beds are devilishly comfortable

  60. Whenever I travel to a new place, I do have a tendency to want to go to touristy areas. I love history and love to see temples and historic buildings. In fact, in Japan the first place I want to visit is Kyoto because of its history – I’m a lot less interested in Tokyo because of how crowded it is. I also want to try local food though and wouldn’t mind walking around and seeing how a place is now. It’s just the first thing I think of is the landmarks. I was glad to see something like this for a change since it’s probably somewhere I would go if I visited, and it made me reflect on the K-dramas that use the palace as a backdrop. It was really pretty, even if the touring aspect of it isn’t set up very well haha
    Also, dunno if it’s just me, but lately the comments section hasn’t been showing up right. I use Chrome on a Windows 7 computer and when I see your comments section it’s all strung out like it’s base html and it always shows the full comment (the see more will show up below the comment but it’s not a working hyperlink).

  61. Marina

    I’m not a ‘foodie’ at all, actually I’m much more of a picky eater. I see how you guys seem to have a blast while eating, it just doesn’t work the same with me, unfortunately. So I don’t care much about trying local food when I travel to new places (and I’m happier when you guys do videos like this one, that aren’t food-centric)
    When travelling, I prefer visiting the city in it’s multiple possibilities… Some historical places and also the contemporary ones.

    • Fascinating! That’s very opposite to us. And your name is very close to Martina’s name, but without the T. Coincidence?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    • haruchi

      Same for me! I’ve been living in Japan for months now and I’ve never really been fan of Japanese food, except I love ramen. The food is too sweet for me most of the times? The list of things I eat is shorter than the ones I don’t like. OTL But yeah just wanted to say that you’re not the only one!

  62. In Sydney I did all the tourist things regularly. Darling harbour, CBD, Circular Quay, Taronga Zoo, Aquarium. We lived near them so it was easy to get to them and always fun. Never bothered with Sydney tower though.

    Although I love history and I love Korean history I do get frustrated at how many things are just replicas. I completely understand that the Japanese destroyed so much constantly, but often historical sites give the impression that something really is 500 years old until you read the fine print on the sign and it was rebuilt in the 90′s or something. I want to touch exactly what people touched hundreds of years ago. I just wish sometimes it was clearer about what is actually the real thing.

  63. haruchi

    I like history so I usually visit museums and old monuments/buildings. I also like shopping so that’s experiencing the new. The only bad thing about going to old mansions and palaces is that it always makes me sad that I can’t live there… I have a thing for old buildings and designs… haha
    Since I’ve been in Japan now for some time I’d been visiting a lot of temples and shrines. They are always so pretty and fascinating! ^^
    In Seoul I went to the Royal Palace too! But it was in January, really cold day and I think I had a fever already at that time so it wasn’t that pleasant. It was more like, let’s take some photos and run away. One Korean guy told us to go further to see some pretty things but we were so cold we just couldn’t see it all. And oh boy was it confusing to walk there! I have a bad sense of direction anyway… I will actually visit again in June when it’s at least warmer. I want to see more of the place! Oh and there was this very nice museum close by! I think I learned more about Korean history from there than from the national museum… (so much pottery there @_@)

  64. Can totally see why you 2 are best friends!!! and loved that you did a more touristie (dont know if thats a word) WANK, either way LOVED IT!!

  65. It was sort of the same when I went to China for the first time. Like it was cool seeing all these old buildings because I like old stuff, but to me, it didn’t feel very, uh…satisfying? Like my dad and aunt are sort of history buffs when it comes to China, so they had a bit of a blast, especially because my aunt watches a lot of Chinese historical dramas so she’d compare the TV-version with the real one…but to me, it was just sort of nice.

    I think part of the problem /is/ the way it’s presented to the public.When I went to Rome, it was still just…seeing a lot of old stuff. But I guess because there’s so many people there and a lot of random stuff going on, it was sort of more engaging, plus when you go into a building or monument, there’s usually plaques or pamphlets to tell you stuff so you’re not like…uh ok I guess that’s a nice, ginourmous building.

  66. I like to do a bit of research before I go to historical places because they would be boring otherwise; that is unless they had really entertaining re-enactments or a great tour guide. I also want to see/do what the locals see/do.

  67. those chinese words looked like 美成門, “beautiful accomplishment gate”?

  68. I like to see all sides of a country…. new and old.

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