travel diary: bamboo forest, korea

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this past summer i had returned to south korea to teach english to a bunch of amazing school kids. having spent around a month there, i decided to extend my flights for an extra week so i could visit my childhood friend james who had moved to gwangju and is also teaching english but for a whole year.

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i travelled with two friends, mike and sean, who i met during my course of teaching, and had the most amazing time getting lost in a jungle of bamboo trees.

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i had only envisioned seeing this scene of tall yet skinny greenery in japan, so was over the moon when james told me there was a bamboo forest where he was living.

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there were trails which we could follow, leading to picturesque locations and along the way we managed to discover some pretty amazing hidden gems like a spot high enough for the perfect view of the forest, and a random giant mirror cube amongst all the bamboo.

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there were also a few historical buildings situated near the forest. it was like walking into the olden ages, although we never quite understood the significance of these buildings as we were too excited to explore the bamboos.

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unlocking the bamboo forest and all its gems only cost us around £5-7 if i remember correctly, which is amazing for what was offered. we were able to spend the entire day there, and as it was a sunday the park was relatively quiet and we were able to take a ton of photos without too many people in the background.

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and how cool is all this furniture made of bamboo! they got real experimental in there – bamboo swings, bamboo houses, bamboo sofas, bamboo beds…

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james drove us to a place for lunch which offered a variety of noodles at an insane price of only around £5. we then looked for dessert and ice cream at a cafe round the corner where we were able to EAT bamboo in the form of ice cream and jerky! as a souvenir, i also bought some bamboo spoons which were handcrafted by the lady who owned the cafe.

if you’re ever in gwangju, i highly recommend hitting this place up!

-heather sham

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