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F1 tour packages show life in the fast and slow lanes

Formula One, one of the world’s major sporting events, is bringing the Korean Grand Prix back again. Following last year’s milestone debut, the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, Jeollanamdo (South Jeolla Province) hosts nail-biting races from October 14 to 16. If you haven’t had time for a break this summer, this event is the perfect occasion to see around the southwestern region of the Korean peninsula, while enjoying the blistering speeds of the F1 cars. Here are some tips to help you plan a last-minute visit with ease.

F1 Korean Grand Prix railway tour packages

Korail Tourism Development has launched the F1 Korean Grand Prix railway tour package, in close collaboration with the Formula One Korean Grand Prix Organizing Committee and the Visit Korea Committee.

2010 Formula One Korean Grand Prix (Photos courtesy of Korail Tourism Development)

You can choose among the three courses at reasonable prices starting from 75,000 won. If you wish to get a glimpse of the world’s fastest driving machines going beyond the limits, you can go for the one-day trip.

The one-day trip departs daily throughout the event at 7:20 a.m. from Yongsan Station. Prior to heading to the circuit, the group visits tourist attractions of Mokpo, including the National Maritime Museum, home to pottery and relics rescued from sunken ships, and Gatbawi (hat-shaped rock). Prices range from 75,000 to 137,000 won and the package includes a round-trip KTX ticket, tour bus transfers, and a seat in Grandstand J or the equivalent. Meals and personal expenses are excluded. The return train leaves Mokpo at 6:30 p.m.

The two-day Music Cafe train tour, departing from Seoul Station at 11:35 p.m. on the first two days of the three-day motorsports event, helps you better discover the region. Arriving in Naju early in the morning after departure, the package takes you on an exploration of Yulpo Beach and the famous Boseong Tea Farm, as well as Woodland of Ukbulsan Pyunbaek.

This year, Korail offers F1 Korean Grand Prix railway tour packages (Photos courtesy of Korail Tourism Development).

The trip includes a round-trip rail ticket, including a night train itinerary, tour bus transfers, and a Grandstand J ticket. Instead of a visit to Boseong Tea Farm and the Woodland, you can also pick destinations such as Duryunsan Provincial Park and Haenam’s Ttangkkeut Maeul village situated on the southernmost part of the peninsula. Advance reservations are mandatory. For more information, please call +82-1544-7755 or visit the official website at: www.korailtravel.com (Korean and English).

Meanwhile, free shuttle buses will be available via Korea International Circuit during the event from the following transit stops: Muan Airport, Mokpo Train Station, Mokpo Bus Terminal, and parking areas. For further details, please call +82-1588-3488 or visit the official website at: www.koreangp.kr (Korean and English). For more information on transportation and accommodation, visit http://f1lod.koreangp.kr (Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese).

Finishing the journey slow: A visit to Asia’s first slow city

Got some extra time after the excitement of the roaring race? If so, go to Jeungdo (Jeung Island), three hours away from Mokpo, to slow yourself down a bit before heading back to your normal life.

The 4-km-long Ujeon Beach holds white sands and access over Jjangdungeo Bridge (photographed by Hwang Dana).

Jeungdo, located off the shore of Sinan County, is easily accessible via Jeungdo Bridge. The renowned ecological tourism destination was designated Asia’s first Slow City, joining the International CittaSlow network (www.cittaslow.kr) in December 2007. It not only boasts Korea’s largest salt farms, the exquisite Taepyeong Salt Field – where anyone can have fun harvesting salt by hand -- but also some of the most unpolluted natural scenery, including the luxurious sea pine grove and picturesque sandy beach.

At Taepyeong Salt Field, visitors can enjoy hands-on activities and bring self-harvested salt back home (photographed by Hwang Dana).

The island, which was officially added to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves, holds expansive mudflats, where visitors can experience the vitality of abundant resources. It is no surprise that Jeungdo was home to Korea’s first-ever mud festival, even ahead of the renowned Boryeong Mud Festival.

The 470-meter-long Jjangdungeo Bridge, named after the Korean word for mud hoppers, is an ideal vantage point to admire the sunset and starry night skies. At high tide, visitors may feel like walking on the observatory bridge. When the tide goes out, the vast mudflats shine under the sunlight, providing a grandiose panorama to passersby.


(Photographed by Hwang Dana)

A visit to the Salt Museum (http://saltmuseum.org) built within a former salt storage facility can also be an authentic experience. Based on the principle “All creatures remember the sea, where every living creature was born,” the museum reflects on the history of salt extraction in relation to humanity and embryology.

Salt Museum (photographed by Hwang Dana)

Located adjacent to the Salt Museum is the Salt Cave Healing Center. Resting inside the cave carved with the most refined sun-dried salt extracted on the island will soothe a tense and tired body. The sun-dried salt is known to have therapeutic effects on the inner body, active oxygen, and hidden causes of several diseases.

(from left) A salt car sculpture made to celebrate the F1 Korean Grand Prix; sun-dried salt products extracted from Taepyeong Salt Field; Salt Cave Healing Center (photographed by Hwang Dana)

Jeungdo Mudflats Eco Exhibition Hall, which opened in 2006 to preserve the sustainable mudflats of the region and develop the tourism industry, features an array of exhibits on mudflats, their ecosystem, and local fauna. The hall exhibits treasures dating back more than 600 years that were excavated from a sunken ship off the shore of the island. Inside the museum is the Slow City zone demonstrating the path that Jeungdo has followed in its designation as a Slow City.

A room inside the Jeungdo Mudflats Eco Exhibition Hall dedicated to Asia’s first Slow City (photographed by Hwang Dana)

Visitors may enjoy the slow pace in the heavenly vacation spot where even time has stood still. Besides being a Slow City, the island bears many more nicknames: the island of bicycles, non-smoking island, and the island of the dark sky. Currently, the island is undertaking a campaign to go completely carless.

By Hwang Dana
Korea.net Staff Writer

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