Oh, I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien – Sting
One of the first proper shocks I got after landing in Korea was that I had to apply to become an Alien, or more specifically I had to apply for my Alien Registration Card (ARC). While this process was handled by the school for our entire class I was actually quite surprised that referring to foreigners as an Alien was not seen as weird in the slightest.
But the semester carried on and now we are (for the most part) back from our semester abroad. During this time the ARC actually proved to be of great use when we wanted to explore outside Korea. But before I get ahead with myself, I would like to recommend some destinations to check out within Korea first.
- DMZ – Demilitarized Zone
The Demilitarized Zone is best accessed through various tours of which there are many. Top places to visit are the Third Infiltration Tunnel dug from North Korea over the border to the South, the Joint Security Area where you can stand on North Korean soil, and the Dora Observatory where you can look over the border at a North Korean city.
A city famous for its harbor, fishing and boat construction. Here you can visit some great temples, eat traditional food from the area and experience the gorgeous Gamcheon Culture Village.
3. Jeju Island
Just a short plane ride away is Jeju Island, a tropical paradise with a rich history and home to many Unesco World Heritage Sites. An ARC might be good to speed up the passport check when going back to Korea though. Highlights include Jeongbang Waterfall (or any of the waterfalls really), Seongeup Folk Village, or the Lava Tube Cave.
Having an ARC greatly helps the process of both going to and coming back from Japan, and with the relatively low cost, traveling from Korea rather than say Europe, means that this is a great opportunity to explore two Asian countries at once. The three most popular destinations are Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, which can be visited during a single trip by taking the speedy and reliable bullet train.
5. Anywhere close to Korea, really!
If you’ve already taken the chance to travel half of the world away, why not extend your trip to go explore a part of the world you may not be familiar with. Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and China are just a few of the countries now within your reach without the exorbitant prices that come with traveling from America or Europe.
So take some extra weeks vacation and take this chance to see even more of the world!