Savoring Korea: Jeju, Jungmun, Kimchi & Gangnam

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Shilla Hotel Jeju

Shilla Hotel Jeju

First Lady Michelle Obama put Korean cuisine on the front burner for foodies when she tweeted about her Kimchi making experience and posted the recipe on her blog. Your group can do the same thing in Seoul.

“Korean food is on the rise and even the First Lady is taking notice,” notes Sung K. Kim, MICE Manager with the Korea Tourism Organization, NY office. “Kimchi has over 300 varieties and great health benefits. Incentive groups can learn to make Kimchi and other Korean dishes or enjoy customizable dining tours with companies like O’ngo Food Communications.” Classes teach participants to make a full Korean dinner in under two hours so they can delight their friends and families when they return home.

Popularized by South Korean rapper Psy in his “Gangnam Style” video (with over one billion YouTube hits) has brought massive attention to the Gangnam district of Seoul.

“Gangnam is where everything luxurious takes place—the most expensive real estate, luxurious spas, top skincare and plastic surgery clinics, dining and high-end shopping,” says Kim. Here, restaurants and clubs that pulsate until late draw groups as much for their décor as their food and beverage.

In addition to ever-popular Templestays and Taekwondo training, a popular counterbalance to urban sophistication of Seoul is Jeju Island, recognized by UNESCO for its Biosphere Reserve, World Heritage and Geoparks, says Kim.

Spas, golf and other sports draw groups to the Jungmun resort area, where the clifftop Shilla Hotel Jeju caters to incentive groups. Unique to the island is the chance to visit or dive with Haenyeo, or “Korean Mermaids” (traditional diving fisherwomen). After that, tour the Amore Pacific tea plantation, whose products are used in anti-aging cosmetics.