Almost a year of planning and I have my eyes focused on one reward I could give to myself : Korea Trip with my ultimate travel buddy friend – Noel.
Seoul, South Korea is basically one of the cities you can do the “go-with-the-flow” itinerary. It’s nice to get lost and wander here. Transportation is not a problem and people are very much accommodating especially to tourists even if sometimes they don’t understand you.
Here are the amazing things I have experience:
Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul – our entrance fee was free because they were holding the Chuseok festival on that day. On a regular day, the entrance fee would cost you 2000 KRW.
The area of the palace is big so better wear comfy shoes for this.
I definitely enjoyed observing people especially the little ones because they’re cute and cuddly. I wanna “gigil” as what the Filipinos would say.
The Bukchon Hanok Village – it’s nice to see the old houses preserved. You would notice how intricate every detail of the roofs and facade were made, it would definitely stand the test of time. If you are fond of plants/gardening/trees like me, you would also notice the abundance of Persimmon trees in some of the houses in Korea. One of which is in front of the guesthouse I was staying in Sinchon District. No entrance fee.
Gwanghwamun Square – We found this historical site jam packed with Koreans and tourists on a Tuesday morning. We also found some of the families of the ones killed in the sinking of MV Sewol convened in the area with the placards. Though I didn’t understand, the families are pleading for help and justice. No entrance fee.
We went to N Seoul Tower for the lovers lockers and the 360 degree view of Korea. You would notice how big the city is and how many mountains you can hike in Seoul. If you wanna go up the tower it can cost you 10,000 KRW.
Nami Island – A country side destination somewhere near Seoul. If you are a K-Novela fan, I bet you can relate to this. But if you are like me, you would probably focus more on the colors of trees, the activities and squirrels you will find strolling with you in the Island. It’s really nice to spend the whole day here in Nami, especially if you are going here for a picnic. Entrance fee: 10,000 KRW; bring passport for discount.
After spending almost a whole day in Nami Island, we were suppose to visit the Garden of Morning Calm but the gates closes at 6 pm and I really wanted to see more of it so we decided to go back in Seoul instead and do some food tripping. On our way to Dongdaemun District, we came across a stream they call the Cheonggyecheon. The stream is a massive $900 million urban renewal project, initially criticized but eventually became popular to locals and tourists after the opening in 2005. No entrance fee.
Next day, my friend and I opted to go our separate solo trips. I went back to Gyeonggi-do to visit the Garden of Morning Calm while he went to Everland for amusement.
This is definitely my haven in Korea – The Garden of the Morning Calm, while Gardens by the Bay is my haven in SG. I enjoyed much of my alone time in this garden. This is pretty much the best place to reflect and pray. It is so calm and relaxing, every angle is heavenly filled with flowers, grass and pine trees. It is easier to breathe here. This is where spent my whole day, while drinking my favorite sikhye (rice drink)!
After spending some time with the trees, I followed my trail to Noryangjin market to visit my sea creature friends. This is pretty much like “Dampa” in the Philippines where you could buy and ask someone to cook it for you. Say hello to my octopus friends.
I spent the whole evening in the guesthouse after I felt that I’ve utilized my feet well the whole day. I made friends with some of the host and I met a photo journalist from Demotix who gave some advice about photography and told me stories about survival as a protester in Venezuela. Really interesting guy.
Our 5th day was entirely spent on Shopping. We went to COEX mall and the next thing we knew we are already hoarding some beauty products in Myeongdong. Prices are insanely cheaper and my sister would really love it here.
Our night was spent in Hongdae, which is the area known for arts and indie music. We craved for some Korean realness so we ate our hearts away with the authentic char-grilled Korean Barbecue while drinking Magkeolli (Korean rice wine). I must say, this will offset the days I opted not to eat in Korea aside from 711 goodies because my tastebuds are not really made for Kimchi.
For our last day, my friend and I went for our solo trips again. He went to experience the Spa for 18,000 won while I visited the Dog Cafe in Myeongdong District. I can’t help but miss my dogs at home here. For 8,000 won you get to bond with the different breed of cute dogs and get a free iced tea as well.
After which, I continued my shopping because I still have tons of things on my list. I met with my friend in the afternoon to bid Korea Kamsahamnida – Until the next season. I will definitely miss Korea and its fast Internet and cheap beauty products and most of all I will miss the friendly transportation and good weather. Lucky to experience Korea this year and I will definitely come back here to experience Spring!
Day 1 –
Arrival in Incheon
Travel to Seoul
Sightseeing/Dinner in Hongdae
Day 2 –
Wandering around Insadong District
Socialize in the Guesthouse
Bukchon Hanok Village
Jongo-5 ga District
N – Seoul Tower
The Garden of Morning Calm
Myeongdong Shopping District
Hongdae Food Trip