K-Fever is rife in Thailand, following the explosion of K-pop acts, melodramatic soaps, rom coms, and of course the virally-vile Gangnam Style. Indeed, a trip to Korea is a rite of passage for many young Thais, so Citylife's office nearly succumbed to a stampede when the invitation for an exclusive media trip to Korea by Centre Korea of North Gate Holiday and Happy World Holiday arrived. Staff were begging and bribing their way onto the trip until finally, through sheer seniority (and a dollop of intimidation) our production assistant, Yui, claimed her ticket.
The direct flight from Chiang Mai to Seoul is pretty convenient and soon Chiang Mai's media were storing pixels at a frenetic pace with visits to the Seoul Tower (with its 360 degree birds' eye views), a frolic in Everland (Korea's version of Disneyworld), a walk up to Waujeongsa's eight metre Buddha statue, and other famous landmarks.
Of course the food, for any respectable Thai, is the highlight of any trip, and a demonstration for kimji-making led to the purchase of an extraordinary amount of fermented cabbage.
But food aside, we Thais know that travelling is all about shopping. And Korea offers shopaholics a mainline of tempting goodies that is hard to resist. The Dongdaemun Market with its huge selection of retail and wholesale clothes and accessories alone _ 26 shopping malls, 30,000 specialty shops, and 50,000 manufacturers situated over 10 blocks _ is enough to keep the busiest shoppers up until the early morning hours (also, it is open 18 hours a day, so if you are in desperate need of a new wardrobe at 3 a.m., fear not). Not into shopping malls? Check out the frenetic district of Myeongdong, where an estimated floating population of 2 million a day snap up brand names and other baubles.
Seoul is a fascinating city, where modern sophistication vies with deep-rooted history, where skyscrapers loom over incense wafting temples. And a mere six hour's direct flight from Chiang Mai will plop you right down in the heart of Seoul.
For more information, contact North Gate
Holiday at 053 142 371 or visit