Weird and Wonderful Korea


Don’t go to the same places everyone else goes!

Forget the pretentious palaces and mainstream malls listed in the ‘normal’ guidebooks.

It’s time to get off the beaten path – for good.

South Korea – home of soju, kimchi, and love motels. Presented here are the weird and wonderful parts of Korea – the places that tourists rarely reach and even locals don’t know much about. Read this for the real stories and histories behind some of Korea’s most unusual and fascinating destinations.

Maybe you’re ready to try the dakbal (chicken feet), the budaejjigae (spicy Army stew), soju (cheap Korean vodka-like firewater), and maybe even beondegi (boiled silkworms). If this is true, you’re my kind of traveler. You’re ready to see the places that the locals donít know about want to talk about. You’re fascinated by the ‘off-the-beaten-path’ stuff. Youíre fine with a longer journey, so long as the payoff is worth it.

Not included here are plenty of places that are easy enough to find in mainstream or officially-sponsored tourist publications. Also not included are the places that aren’t worth the trip, or places I wouldn’t go back to. Having traveled Korea since March of 2008, I’ve seen plenty of those – and they aren’t here for a reason.

This book focuses specifically on the weird places around Korea.

If you’re planning a trip to the country, there are plenty of directions to get you from bus terminal or train station to the destination. There are also a few ‘off-the-beaten-path’ places that aren’t as weird, but underrated and eminently enjoyable. If you’re living large in Korea, let this be the kick in the pants you’ve needed to get out of your a-pa-TEU and out to see some weirdness.

Just a few of the places inside:

A brewery where makkeoli (rice wine) is made

A museum dedicated to art about chickens

A Buddhist temple full of fighting monks

A sculpture park full of retired erotic art

A shrine containing umbilical cords of a past king’s children

A park dedicated to a faithful dog

A Buddhist temple with over 10,000 plastic Buddhas

A museum dedicated to toilets

A few early reviews:

“If you think all guidebooks are the same, you’re mistaken. Weird and Wonderful Korea tosses out the window what most guidebooks tell you to see. What’s inside are easy to follow itineraries showing the more interesting side of Korea. If you’re looking for something new to see and do, this is your ticket to adventure.”

— Steve Miller, travel vlogger, QiRanger.com

“Chris Backe has put his time in Korea to great use traveling, exploring and learning. It’s great to hear that he’s put all of his knowledge into a comprehensive volume about the country.”

— Steven Revere, editor, 10 Magazine

“This gem by Chris Backe will take you far off the beaten track and show you a side of Korea that most Koreans don’t even get to see. Keep this book at your side in Korea to enjoy a wider spectrum of the Korean travel experience.”

— Steven S. Bammel, creator, Korea Business Central

“Korea might be diminutive in size, but it doesn’t lack for the colorful and offbeat. Chris does an outstanding job of getting off the beaten track to explore Korea’s more unconventional side, and an even better job making that side accessible to travelers.”

— Robert Koehler, author, KOREA and SEOUL, and editor of Seoul Selection