Thursday, March 22, 2012

Seoul Searching

During our South Korea Trip, the 3rd day was already in Seoul. Like what we have experienced in Jeju Island, we got lost. We can't find Yoo's home. I can't say it's their fault or our fault or maybe both.

Anyway, Yoo's home is one of the Hanok, traditional korean house, guesthouse in Seoul. It is located near the Bokchun Village and just 5-8min walk from Anguk subway station. On the first night, we stayed at Room of Hope and Room of Wealth. On the second day,  2 move to Room of Love. What I like in the traditional korean house is the heater on the wooden floor. What I don't like is the toilet which is outside the room. It's freaking cold especially on winter and is smaller than the usual T&B of other guesthouses. Sorry we forgot to take photos of the room.

Next attraction is Myeongdong to buy cosmetics for friends and a few for ourselves. Compared to Anguk, Myeongdong is a very very busy place. Being the main place for cosmetics, you can see here shops of the famous cosmetic brands such as Etude House, The Face Shop, Nature Republic, Skinfood...and many more. What makes it crowded, i think, are the sale and discounts as well as freebies they will give once you purchase their products. There are also shops for clothes, accessories,  korean restaurants and street foods.



That day, we met my former R&S colleague who was in Korea for business trip. I was glad to see him again since I wasn't in the office during his last day. He became our interpreter in one of the cosmetic shops. The Korean saleslady cannot understand my English and I can't understand her. Good thing she knows how to speak Mandarin so Tzeh Yeu became our interpreter. After this we have our dinner and 1 bottle of soju; his treat.

Then we went to Namsan Cable Car. Due to the cold weather and crowded cable car station, we decided to just take a photo of the Namsan Tower on the background.

On our last day in Seoul, we visited the Gyeongbukgong Palace. I think this is the famous palace in Seoul. It's really big but we did not go inside since the weather was so harsh that time. We only wanted to go home and warm ourselves.

These are the only places we visited in Seoul. Okay we can also include the subway stations like Yongsan, Gangnam, Cheongnyangni, and a lot more.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Korean Folk Village

On our post-winter trip to Korea, we decided to go here on the last day of our trip and the last attraction which is outside of Seoul.

Getting there:
1. Take the subway to Gangnam Station and exit 10.
2. Walk straight and go for the bus stop in the middle of the road. Traffic light i think is in front of Worri bank.
3. Take Bus 5001-1. Tap T-card for boarding and alighting the bus.
4. It take 40-50 min to reach the place. When you see signs which says Korean Folk Village, look to the left and if you see a huge parking lot, alight on the next stop.
5. Walk towards the end of the parking lot going through 7-11 and other shops.
6. Purchase the ticket and that's it.

I find this place interesting when I browse the websites for attractions in South Korea. A taste and glimpse of the traditional culture of Korea. This is what I always look forward on all of my trips; to experience the country's unique culture.


Korean Folk Village is a big place and favorite filming location of traditional/old dramas. Since it was very cold(-7 degrees celcius), we can't afford to waste time and effort so we decided to use and try our best to follow the map.

We arrived at 12pm and this is time for the highlight among the shows inside: the traditional wedding ceremony. Unfortunately it's almost done when we reached the place.

We also visited some museums, old houses, few shows but unfortunately, it seems our brain is frozen and we cannot think of anything except how to warm ourselves. So we decided to eat our lunch inside the tent with a heater.

After eating, we decided to try the Hanbok(for free) and to roam around, take photos and more. Then we left the place, and head back again to 7-11 to drink hot choco while waiting for the bus. No need to cross the road and alight on the bus stop where you boarded in going to korean folk village.

This place has more to offer than what I have mentioned but too bad, the cold wind stops us to enjoy the korean folk village.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Namiseom-Nami Island

Namiseom or Nami Island is located in ChunCheon, South Korea. Previously it will take 2-3 hours to reach this place when you are coming from Seoul. Thus, our itinerary allotted 3 hours travel time from Seoul to Nami. BUT...

Upon reaching Yoo's home, our guesthouse in Seoul. The nice owner give us the direction which you cannot find anywhere on the internet nor on the subway map. Thus, we have debated whether to follow it or not but in the end we decided to follow her suggestion. However, things didn't go smoothly because the route is very new and only few koreans know about this. The owner did not give us the complete details so we asked around for help and we received different instructions, until finally one of the people we asked found the officer of ITX.

This is the newest(as of Mar2012) and fastest way in going to Nami from Seoul. Take the ITX express Korail which runs from Yongsan to Chuncheon.
1. First take subway which will take you to Yongsan or Cheongnyangni station.
2. Purchase the ticket from the ITX ticketing machine. Select Gapyeong station. Do note that T-card cannot be used in ITX as ticket(at least at this time). Upon receiving the ticket, check your cabin and seat number.
3. Go to the track which is going to Chuncheon and wait for the train which has Korail ITX design.
4. Keep your ticket for inspection. If the machine when you buy the tickets stated no available seats, you can only seat/stand outside the cabins where there are extra 6 seats and near to the exit door.
5. Station name is flashed on the screen. Alight at Gapyeong station. Take the taxi going to the port(KRW3000) and purchased the ferry and entrance ticket(KRW8000) to Nami Island.

Total travel time now is approximately 60minutes. However, ITX is more expensive than subway or other trains.

Now that we reached Nami, i will start to describe the place and our Nami experience. It was cold and windy that day(4 to -3 degrees celcius) but ferry going to Nami is always jampacked. Only few minutes from the port, you will be greeted by ice carvings on the left and flowers and some statues on front. Since it was cold, there are some fireplaces where you can warm yourself. I think Nami is famous for trees which are lined up that creates a beautiful view.

Since we are not good in using the map, we forget to get one so we don't know where to go until we heard that a tram is coming. We took it for KRW2000 and alight at the food stalls. Then we rented 1 couple bike and 1 family bike for 30min. Unexpectedly, we got separated with our 2 friends and unfortunately we went on opposite direction so even if we look for them and they look for us, we cannot find each other until our time elapsed.


After that we walked around and do lots of photoshoots, feed the squirrel we saw on one of the trees. Below are the photos we took in Nami and since we still have to visit some attractions in Seoul so we left the place at 2pm.

View Blog

On the boat going back to Gapyeong, we thought that we experienced 4 seasons in this place. Some parts have still remnants of winter snow, some leaves are still orange, some are green, there are flowers and beautiful lake. No regrets that we chose this place over the famous attractions in Seoul.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Jeju Island - Submarine Tour

This is the highlight of our 2nd day in Jeju Island. The most expensive thing to do in Jeju( better search for the updated price ). This is also our first time to be inside a submarine.

I like the view of the port where you wait for the submarine transport boat which will bring you to the submarine a few minutes from the port. This reminds me of the vaporetto station in Venice. The boat ride from the port to the submarine actually is not boring because of the nice view.


Once you reach the station, before entering the submarine, they will ask you to pose for your submarine photo. Just say yes, after all, it's free or should I say included in the admission fee.


Only 1 person at a time can go inside the submarine. From the top, one will take the ladder to go inside and outside. Then, the tour starts. Going deeper and there are monitors which you can see what is happening above and current depth. First you will see the coral reefs. One guy will feed the fishes and will pass to the submarine very slowly. Next is to another coral reefs and they will turn on the light to appear as if it is autumn in the seabed. Last and the deepest at 40m below, is to see the Korean version of titanic, the shipwrecked.


One thing I don't appreciate in this tour is that the host is speaking in Korean, no English at all. Maybe this was the reason why the captain personally approached and talked to us for few minutes and gave us lollipops.

On our way back to the port, even if it was cold, we decided to stay outside the upper deck. While taking photos with the birds(seagulls?) on the background, one of the crews approached and asked "DO you want to feed the birds?" and yes. This is the most enjoyable part of this tour. We experienced to feed them on the boat, be bitten by their big beaks and frightened if they are approaching very fast to grab the oishi in our fingers. Sometimes before they can reached the food, we will release it and laugh especially after they bit half of our finger.

In my own opinion, I hope Philippines can have this kind of tour. I think it will attract more people since Philippines has far more beautiful seabeds and coral reefs. For me, who doesn't know how to swim and dive, going into the submarine is two thumbs up.

Jeju Island - Trick Art Museum

Another highlight of our Jeju Trip on the first day is the Trick Art Museum. This seems to be not very famous compared to other attractions. I don't even know at first that the real Museum is in Jeju. I only have known that there is a Trick Art Museum, after watching the korean drama, Heartstring.

I thought it is in Seoul but after reading some forums online, the real museum is located on the eastern part of Jeju Self Governing Island. This is a must attraction at least for me who loves trick arts.

For the subject, all you need to do to get a good shot is to pose and act. For the one who will take the photo, i think you need to get a good angle and use your imagination. I super like this place and we all had fun inside.


This is the last attraction of our Jeju Trip Day 1. Other attractions include the Park Southernland, Manjanggul Lava Cave, Maze Park, Ham-Deok Seoubong Beach, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, Rapeseed Flower Farm, Sinyan Beach and Seopjikoji. Visiting these places in 1 day is possible if the tour guide is Mr Koh. Sorry no directions since we rented a van taxi tour but I recommend all of these places, our personal and customized itinerary.

Jeju Island - Maze Park

Before I forget our experience in Maze Park, I want to share it first. My friends and I have not been to any maze park before(as far as i know). So we did not miss to go to this place during our Jeju trip last Mar 8, 2012.

Since we look younger than our age( or is it because Eds is with us), our admission fee is the youth price(hehehe!) and they gave us the map of the maze. The goal is to reach the bell from the entrance. Let's go!


We decided to split into 2, we turn left and they go straight. Since i am not good at using maps so we just run and run until we reached the dead end(literally with bones of i don't know what animal is that). Go back until we noticed that we're running in circles. Toinks. Since it is tiring inside, and i am already a little bit worried that we might stay there longer than we have expected, we decided to take photos to ease the tension until I heard our friends voices nearby.

The four of us decided to try again but still we seem to be running with no direction again. That's when we decided to stop and try our best to find the correct route in the map and...seems like we did it and for the last try, we finally see the other bridge...

Pose for our milestone and finally we reach the bridge with the bell. Ring the bell for our success!

After more than an hour inside the maze, we run again since we are already late for the next attractions. For me, this was the highlight of our first day in Jeju and i will definitely recommend this to others.