Pictures by QT Luong
South Korea is often overshadowed by its more powerful neighbors, yet it is home to one of the most distinctive, homogeneous and refined cultures in the world, one which invented metal moveable type before Gutemberg. South Korea is a fully developped country, with one of the fastest growing economies, on track to surpass Japan in GNP per capita, yet there is everywhere a reverence for tradition and history - rich with the rivalry of three ancient kingdoms. While the megapolis are some of the most packed in the world, there are plenty of opportunities for peace in the countryside and coastal fishing villages, in the temples, and in diverse national parks, although trails can be surprisingly popular. The compact size of South Korea - an hour by plane from north to south - and an extremely efficient and inexpensive transportation infrastructure make it easy to go around. In 2011, within the course of just ten days, I travelled the entire length of South Korea, from the depths of the largest underground lava tube in the world to the top of the highest mountain in South Korea, setting foot in the four largest cities and visiting nine of the South Korea's ten UNESCO World Heritage sites.