Most English teachers in Korea only get a week or two for vacation. For the majority of Chungdahm teachers, vacation time is set at one week. Knowing that you only have one week, it is important to plan accordingly in order to maximize your vacation time. While spending your vacation in Korea is always an option, if you have more of a traveling mindset, you will probably want to explore some of Korea’s neighboring countries. Although deciding on which country to visit will be difficult, I hope this blog can offer some help. When examining the factors of distance, affordability, and attractions, Taiwan came out ahead and was the perfect fit for my vacation.
Speaking of distance, remember you only have seven days. You do not want to spend a whole day traveling to your vacation spot because that means a whole day traveling to return. Before you know it, your seven days has shrunk to only five days of relaxation and fun. Taiwan is perfect because you can fly directly there from Seoul or Busan and it is only a two to three hour flight. Plus, you gain an hour when flying to Taipei, Taiwan’s capital and largest city, from Korea. When my girlfriend and I left Jeju at 8 in the morning, we were on the streets of Taipei by early afternoon. The lesson to be learned: less distance, more relaxation and fun time.
Another factor was the expense of the trip. Admittedly, Taiwan was not our first planned destination. Initially, we had our hearts set on the Philippines because of the tropical weather and beaches. But when we started researching flights, we saw that we would be saving lots of money on the flight by traveling to Taiwan. The flight deals to Taiwan were too cheap to pass up and even though hotels and food are more expensive in Taiwan, we still feel like we saved money by traveling there instead of the Philippines. Also on the plus side, the climate in Taiwan turned out to be much more tropical than expected, we found some spectacular beaches, and cheap, clean hotels and food can easily be found.
The final factor was the attractions that locations had to offer. This turned out to be Taiwan’s strongest feature in my opinion. I was surprised at the amount of diverse activities and attractions this small island had to offer. Want incredible national parks full of hiking trails, hot springs, and mountains? Taiwan has them. Want breathtaking scenery and picturesque beaches? Taiwan has that too. And what about shopping, restaurants, and nightlife? Taipei is a thriving, bustling city filled with an array of shops, restaurants, and clubs. It is not an overstatement to say that Taiwan has it all.
For me, part of the reason for teaching English in Korea was to explore and experience other Asian cultures. As much as I have enjoyed experiencing Korean culture, it is nice to know that as an English teacher at Chungdahm, I can have opportunities to experience other cultures as well. If you do get the chance to travel while teaching in Korea, I highly recommend Taiwan; you will not be disappointed!
Taiwan: A short flight from Korea
Adam Montgomery is a 25-year old teacher at the Chungdahm Branch on Jeju. He has been teaching in Korea for under a year. When he is not teaching, he enjoys exploring the wonders of Jeju and Korea.