With over 700 pages in total and a very generic title, KOREA looks like any other travel guidebooks on the shelves.
However, it is everything a good travel guide should be and more.
Normally, I won’t pay any attention to travel guides. Cramped with words, minimal and small photos, loads of generic sightseeing spots, weird romanizations – flipping through them is a major turn off.
However, I was really surprised by Robert Koehler’s KOREA.
Flipping through the thick book alone makes me happy. There are so many awesome and breath-taking photos of Korea that even without reading anything, I’m already liking the book.
The whole book itself reads like a culture + history + tour guide. I love how the book starts with a concise history of Korea and the history of Korea is also woven tightly in his introduction of each of the heritage sites and places to visit in Korea. It’s like reading a history book while at the same time, reading about the places of interest in Korea. The book is well structured tips / tourist information is separated from the main text and there’s also text boxes weaved in that focuses on the history of particular kings/queens associated with the heritage site. History itself can be dry at times, but when it’s complementing the places of interest, it’s awesome. I can’t believe that I’m actually reading a tour guide book from cover to cover. It’s that good.
I love how each region and province has equal coverage in KOREA. Most guidebooks tend to focus on Seoul but this book gives a very comprehensive coverage of all the other areas. I’m already pretty familiar with Seoul, but it’s still interesting to read a little more in depth about the places I’ve been to and also some of the gems that I missed out.
But my real love for the book comes from the detailed description of all the other provinces and I’m totally grateful to be reading an English book that gives such a good coverage of all these sites. I’m learning so much more just by reading through and I’m already bookmarking several places that I really want to visit next time!
As some of you might know, I’m recently very very into Korean history. And it’s always a pleasant surprise to actually see the photo of the site / monument etc that I had read about.
Another plus point? Romanizations are used (obviously), but it’s easy to follow and the original Hangeul name for all the sites and also certain key words / historical figures are included. I LOVE THIS.
In general, KOREA is a must-have book on your shelf if you are interested in Korea/Korean culture/Korean history. 😀
Borrowed this copy from the library but I’ll be getting my own copy soon. It’s one book that you need to take time to slowly devour all its contents, and a book that I definitely want to own!
Thank you for doing this book! ^^
You can get this book at most online bookstores, and you can also get them from their official stores.
Retails at KRW 37,000 or USD 35.41
p.s. If you like the book / have purchased it, maybe you can drop a tweet to Robert Koehler at @rjkoehler to let him know ^^
You can also visit his blog at The Marmot’s Feed, which I think that most of you may have already heard of!