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Shopping is a little-known pleasure in Korea -2
Source: Inquirer
Author: Vangie Baga-Reyes
Date: 2001-05-06
Our visit to Korea was not limited only to Seoul. KNTO also brought us to

various rural areas to see and experience Korea’s way of life, culture and

heritage. We went to Andong, about five hours away from Seoul and

witnessed the Mask Dance Festival at Hahoe Village. The mask dance is one

of Korea’s traditional folkdances. From Andong we moved to Daegu City,

the fashion and textile capital of Korea. Daegu is a two-hour drive from

Andong. Several boutiques and shops carry signature brands. From Daegu,

we moved to Kyongju province where you will feel Korea’s magnificent

cultural tradition. It is a city widely known for its rich cultural heritage and is

also a holy place. Buddhist temples and shrines -- including the Pulguksa

temple and Sokkuram Grotto -- are everywhere.

Unforgettable visit

Among all the places we went to, I cannot forget our brief stay in Daegu,

particularly our visit to the sauna. Aside from public saunas, private saunas

are also available at special rates. Korea is popular for its medicinal herbs

and ginseng. On our second night at Daegu, we were brought to a public

sauna to get a feel of a Korean medicinal herb bath. Medicinal herb bathing

aims to relieve stress and eradicate all kinds of diseases among adults. It is a

bathing tradition handed down from ancient aristocrats.

I recalled from a Newsweek article that Korean women are famed for their

beauty. In fact, the hottest topic, by far, is the perfect Korean skin, which is

thought to be paler, more supple and unblemished than any other. Korea has

no fat women and their skin is more beautiful than Japanese women’s.

``You know our secret?’’ asked Kim. ``It’s the sauna!’’ No wonder, many

tourists visit Korea’s salons for traditional herb masks and skin scrubs.

We went to a public sauna with the rest of the Asian journalists. For a special

herb bath, women are separated from the men. We were stark naked. After

thoroughly soaping and showering, we went inside an igloo-shaped mud oven

with other naked women. We were to stay inside for 15 minutes, after which

we soaked ourselves in a tub filled with brown hot herbs. It was relaxing and

quite a relief after a long day.

The visit to Korea more than made up for my inability to use my cellular


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