Avoid being an international couch potato

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Michael Battles
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
If you have been stationed overseas, then you know what an enriching experience it can be to immerse yourself in the culture of the country beyond the base.

When I arrived in Korea I know I was apprehensive to go out and explore. I was always waiting for someone to be available to go out into the community with, but realized if I wait I will miss the opportunities the country has to offer. Finally, I decided to jump on the rail system alone and see what this country had to offer. After that initial step, I discovered it was very easy to get anywhere I wanted to go.

Just an hour north of here is the largest city in Korea, Seoul, which is culturally diverse and offers an abundance of restaurants, Korean and American themed entertainment, as well as several shopping districts. You can find everything from traditional Korean attire to trendy American apparel that you might see in any mall in America.

One of the greatest advantages of Osan is its location. If you're looking to fill your Korean summer with a sense of adventure, head down to one of Information Tickets and Travel's day trips, take a leap into Outdoor Recreation or hop on the subway and explore on your own.

Now that the summer weather is here, it's a great time to head out and check out the local Korean beach communities. Boryeong is one of the larger beach-goer destinations in Korea and hosts the annual MudFest celebration every year in July. For the period of the festival, several large attractions are erected in the seafront area of Daecheon. These include a mud pool, mud slides, mud prison and mud skiing competitions. A large stage on the beach features live music, competitions and various other visual attractions. This year's Mudfest is July 14 - 15 and 21-22. ITT offers day trips to the event or you can make the four hour journey via local transportation. The train to Boryeong leaves hourly from Pyeongtaek train station, which is located three subway stops from Songtan and costs only 23,000 WON each way.

Korea also boasts numerous attractions peninsula-wide that cater to everyone, such as temples, Seoul land and Everland amusement parks, Korean War memorials, aquariums and the demilitarized zone. More information is located at www.51fss.com.

One of the largest experiences offered this year is the 2012 World's Fair located in Yeosu. The fair, which is located four hours south of Osan will host more than 100 countries. Each country will have a pavilion displaying their culture and technologies. The World's Fair runs from early June throughout August. You can catch a train to Yeosu from Pyeongtaek for only 25,000 WON.

If you are more inclined to the outdoors, Osan's Outdoor Recreation provides several options from bungee jumping, paragliding, white water rafting and deep sea fishing. Contact Outdoor Recreation for information and other trip opportunities at 784-4007.

Korea has so many opportunities available to experience, so don't miss them by staying on base. Use your resources. The Airman and Family Readiness Center, Outdoor Recreation, ITT and USO all have great opportunities to get out and explore.