Click on a label to read posts from that part of the world.
In the U.S., there is the art of tipping. In Finland, there is no such thing as college tuition; it's almost completely subsidized by tax Euros. And in Ethiopia, food is eaten only with the bare right hand. Given South Korea's unique history and culture within Asia, there is no shortage of comparisons that can be made between it and the rest of the world. Even though I already reported on "10 Differences Between South Korea And The Rest Of The World," more and more unique cultural curiosities are revealed to me everyday – things I couldn't have possibly conceived of back in Florida.
1. Fan Death
Possibly the most internationally notorious Korean cultural quirk is the belief that if you fall asleep in a closed room with a fan on you will die. Theories include the fans causing hypothermia or even that the fan is removing all the oxygen from the room. Today, the myth is largely dying out with the new generation, none of my Korean friends believe it whatsoever, but they mention that they heard about it all the time when they were younger.
2. Koreans work more
On average, Koreans work 2,057 hours per year, 14% more than Americans, who on average work 1,797 hours per year. That's an additional six workweeks per year. But that doesn't really show the whole story and is probably only the officially reported and paid hours. It isn't entirely uncommon for people to work 6 days a week, clocking in over 10 hours each day for a typical office job, with little or no overtime pay.
The sun rises over boulders, the Tungabhadra River and the ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire's former capital to make a gorgeous golden landscape in today's Photo Of The Day, taken by Arun Bhat. Located in southwest India, this tide of rocks and history are a part of the Hampi World Heritage Site. At its height, the ancient capital was the largest city in the world. Now, it's home to countless temples and historical sites in a beautiful state of decay.
Be sure to submit your own photos for a chance at our Photo Of The Day. You can do so in two ways, submit it via our Gadling Flickr Pool, like Arun did, or mention @GadlingTravel and tag your photos with #gadling on Instagram.
[Photo credit: Flickr user arunchs]
The largest of the ancient palaces in the South Korean capital, Gyeongbok Palace is one of the best sights to see Seoul. The ornate buildings within the complex have amazing colors and contain poetic murals and carvings. The huge grounds are spectacular with calming ponds and modest pavilions. It is also one of the most historically significant sites in Korea, built in 1395 and destroyed twice by the Japanese. Best of all, it's located right in the middle of the city in the downtown Jongno district.
The Roussanou Monastery is undeniably beautiful. This Christian Eastern Orthodox monastery is just one of six that are listed as a part of a World Heritage Site in Meteora, Greece. When the monks settled and began the impossible construction of their mountaintop monasteries in the 15th century, the region was uninhabited. The monks simply wanted to be left to their own devices, something we can all relate to.
Captured by Darby Sawchuck, this photo was submitted to our Gadling Flickr Pool. If you'd also like your great travel photos to be featured here as a "Photo Of The Day" you can submit your photos there or via Instagram by tagging your photos with #gadling and mentioning us @gadlingtravel.
Seoul and South Korea as a whole are undoubtably modern. But less than a century ago, much of what makes the country so modern today did not exist and people lived much more simply. Farming was by far the most common occupation and people lived in villages, not cities.
A view from a ridiculously good vantage point can forge a lifelong memory. This spot above Lake Atitlan in western Guatemala, shot by Shuo Huang, really sets the standard for others to be compared to. This volcanic lake is what adventures are built around and make weeks on the road, battling loneliness and cramped conditions in cross-country buses completely worth it.
Shuo submitted his photo to us through Instagram by mentioning @GadlingTravel and using the #Gadling tag. If you'd like your exciting travel photography to be featured as our Photo Of The Day, do the same or submit it to our Gadling Flickr Pool. Be sure to check out more of Shuo's phenomenal photos on Instagram here and don't forget to give us a follow too!
[Photo credit: Instagram User shuotography]
In many corners of the world, winter offers nothing but a biting cold that demands we stay indoors until the flowers start to bloom. But with spring stretching its legs, it's time we start to do the same. The best way to mentally prepare for spring and summer is to reminisce about trips from the past and to plan a new travel adventure built around shorts and sandals.
Here in Korea, Jeju Island is one of the first places that come to mind when seeking warm weather travel. A popular honeymoon destination, Jeju Island is a small, volcanic isle just south of the Korean peninsula, famed within Korea for its beaches, seafood, unique mountains and tangerines. It'll be hard to miss the tangerines; they are sold everywhere on the island and are in anything that you'd consider edible.
With daytime getting longer and longer each day, spring is soon approaching. But winter doesn't feel like it's going anywhere anytime soon – especially in places like this one, featured in this photo by Flickr user Bernard Siao taken in Harbin, a city in northeastern China.
The frozen Songhua River freezes hard in the winter and people commonly cross it on foot, but as you can see in this photo, there's another option to dart across the frozen river on a horse-drawn carriage. Harbin is a city of interesting and unique history. Originally founded by Russia and inhabited by Jewish immigrants, it also hosts the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, which goes on throughout January.
If you have some great photos just sitting there, fragmenting on your hard drive, share them with us on Instagram or in our Gadling Flickr Pool and they can be featured as our "Photo of the Day."
[Photo Credit: Flickr User Bernard-SD]
Possibly the most famous thing to ever come out of Seoul, "Gangnam Style" has become one of the few things most people in the world know about South Korea. Judging by the more than 1.3 billion views Psy's music video currently has on YouTube, the most viewed video on the site, I can assume that if you haven't seen it multiple times, you have at least heard of it. I'm only just now, able to walk around my neighborhood without hearing it emanating from some convenience store, restaurant or clothing stand, almost 7 months after its first release.
Seoul itself is trying to capitalize on the song's quickly receding viral takeover and convert it into tangible tourism money. This can be seen quite obviously with the ridiculous sign that they have installed outside of Gangnam Station with "GANGNAM STYLE" in huge letters for all to see and take pictures with. However, when I was there, more people seemed interested in the big Nike ad immediately next to it.
Today's Photo of the Day comes from our Gadling Flickr Pool, submitted by Luke Robinson. This image perfectly captures the endless, iconic aisles of torii gates in Kyoto, Japan. These vibrant, vermillion arches are located in Fushimi Inari Taisha, a shrine dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Tens of thousands of the gates form a path that winds through a forest and up Mount Inari.
The gates themselves are typically donated by businessmen – who pay upwards of thousands of dollars – with hopes that it will bring them good fortunes. The further you venture along the trail, not only do the torii become less dense, but so do the people, making the journey quite peaceful. Towards the end of the hike is a clearing with a fantastic view of Japan's ancient capital.
As cliché as it may sound, I truly believe that no trip to Japan is complete without a visit to Fushimi-inari Taisha. It is impressive, beautiful and absolutely serene.
If you'd like to see your own travel photography featured here on Gadling, upload your shots to the Gadling Flickr Pool, or tag your Instagram photo with @GadlingTravel and your image could be selected as our Photo of the Day!
[Photo Credit: Flickr User Luke Robinson]