|Shopping is a little-known pleasure in Korea -2
|Author: Vangie Baga-Reyes
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.
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