Wednesday 23 May 2012

Korea: Seoul (Day 5, last day)

Namsangol Hanok Village (남산골 한옥마을) is located near our guesthouse as well, though we got lost when we tried to walk back. This village has five restored traditional Korean houses and a pavilion, a pond and a time capsule, which make it a perfect spot to take a walk. I think this hanok village is really worth a visit! In fact, I liked this more than Bukchon because here you can enter the houses whereas in Bukchon, you just look from the outside. Plus there are traditional games you can try such as 'neolttwigi' (sea-saw jumping), 'tuho'(arrow throwing) and 'yunnori' (traditional game of throwing wooden yut sticks). I failed terribly at 'yunnori'.

Admission: FREE
Opening hours:
Apr-Oct: 09:00-21:00
Nov-Mar: 09:00-20:00
Closed on Tuesdays
Directions: Chungmuro Station (Seoul Subway Line 3 & 4), Exit 4. Walk along Hanongmaeul-gil st. for 5 minutes.

Thursday 17 May 2012

Korea: Seoul (Day 4)

Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을) is home to hundreds of traditional houses called 'hanok' that date back to the Joseon Dynasty. Today, many of these hanoks operate as cultural centers, guesthouses, restaurants and tea houses, providing an opportunity to experience, learn and immerse in Korean traditional culture. Bukchon is beautiful, absolutely stunning! Every corner is a photograph opportunity.

Admissions: FREE (activities are not)
Directions: Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 2. Go straight for about 300m to arrive at Bukchon Hanok Village.

Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) is closed on Tuesdays, a fact that I recorded down in my planner BUT we had a change of plans on the day itself and I forgot about this important fact. So no palace for us. :( Instead, we headed off to Insadong (인사동), a fancy street where you can feel a cultured air with an artistic flair. You can buy very well made (= expensive) souvenirs here.

Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁)
Adults (ages 19-64): 3,000 won / Group (over 10): 2,400 won
Children (ages 7-18): 1,500 won / Group (over 10): 1,200 won
Opening hours:
January-February, November-December: 09:00-17:00
March-May, September-October: 09:00-18:00
June-Auguest: 09:00-18:30
Closed on Tuesdays
Directions: Gyeongbokgung Palace Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 5.

Directions: Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6. Go 100m straight, then turn left.

Dinner was a love affair with all the Korean food I love most! Okay, almost every meal in Korea is a love affair. Authentic Korean food is right down my alley.

Namsan Tower/N Seoul Tower (N서울타워) is 236.7m tall and sits atop Namsan Mountain (243m). It offers panoramic views of Seoul and the surrounding areas. The view is so stunning that many consider Seoul Tower the best tower in Asia. You have to pay to go up the tower in which there's a teddy bear museum and an observatory. But we decided to just enjoy the equally beautiful view at the base of the tower as we ate ice cream and watched the sun set.

Directions: We walked from our guesthouse (near Myeongdong station) to the cable car station and took a cable car up to the tower.
For more details about cable car prices, admission to teddy bear museums and such, click here.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Korea: Seoul (Day 3)

We decided on Lotte World (롯데월드) instead of Everland due to distance. Lotte World was ...okay because the exciting rides were all closed. Bummer. And I'm not exaggerating when I say we spent almost half the time waiting in line. There was this ride which we queued for at least an hour under the hot sun, when we finally entered, we had to queue some more, the line just snakes round and round. After ANOTHER hour or so, it was finally our turn! AND WHAT DO YOU KNOW, THE RIDE BROKE DOWN. You could see a bit of smoke coming out from the interior of the ride. Well luckily we weren't on the ride but still, it had to break down right in front of our face. -_- We popped by a random Korean diner and I discovered a whole new side of kimbaps (김밥). Who knew kimbaps are actually so delicious!!

Adults: 25,000 won / Youths: 22,000 won / Children: 19,000 won
Day-Pass Ticket (admission fees included):
Adults: 40,000 won / Youths: 35,000 won / Children: 31,000 won
Admission after 16:00:
Adults: 21,000 won / Youths: 18,000 won / Children: 15,000 won
Admission after 19:00:
Adults: 14,500 won / Youths: 12,500 won / Children: 10,500 won
Opening hours: 09:30-23:00
Directions: Jamsil Station (Seoul Subway Line 2 & 8), Exit 4. Lotte World is directly connected to the station.

P.S. I think the Day-Pass means you can exit and enter unlimited amount of times but I'm not too sure.

Dongdaemun Shopping Town (동대문종합시장 쇼핑타운) wholesale purchasing comes to life after 10pm. You can see lots of shop owners coming in to get their stock, you can still buy stuff but some shops don't let you buy 1 or 2 pieces. This shopping town is mega huge, you can really shop to your heart's content. We reached at 11pm and stayed till 4+am to take the first subway back.

Opening hours: 08:00 - 16:00
Directions: Dongdaemun station (Seoul subway Line 1, 4), Exit 8 or 9.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Korea: Seoul (Day 1 + 2)

Spent almost the whole day on the plane, flew for about 1 hour to KL, then had a very pathetic lunch at the transit area. Went back up the plane to begin our flight to Korea. I bought a book to keep me company but it didn't help much. I was SO restless and bored! I guess the next time I take flights without inflight entertainment, I need an ipad. Anyway, finally touched down at Korea Incheon Airport at about 10pm Korea time. We went to the information counter and they helped us call the guesthouse (Incheon Airport Guesthouse) we booked. They came pretty fast and within 5 mins we were at the guesthouse. The room was big, we had with 3 beds! Two of them were a bit hard but not too bad. There was en suite shower and even a kitchen! How cool. But I think nobody really used the kitchen so it was rather old and dirty. Nonetheless, I was impressed hah. No wifi in the room, only at the basement. The owner is very friendly and speaks pretty good English.

The next morning, we took the shuttle bus provided by the guesthouse back to Incheon Airport and took the subway for about an hour to Seoul Station then transferred line to reach Myeongdong. Found Yun Guesthouse after a bit of detour but the receptionist totally ignored us and continued sleeping! -_- So we walked downwards and found another guesthouse (Namsan 3 Guesthouse) to check in. It looks better, safer and nearer to the subway. Plus, the receptionists are so much friendlier and more HELPFUL! We left our luggage there and headed off to Ehwa woman's university to do some shopping. Had jajangmyeon and jangppong for lunch, JJM was awesome and Jangppong was really spicy. After a while, we went back to the guesthouse to get some rest since we woke at 5am this morning, so we had less than 5 hours of sleep. The room we had at Namsam Guesthouse 3 was small, fitting 3 mattresses and comes with an en suite bathroom, almost less than half the size of the room at Incheon airport guesthouse but at least it's cosy and clean with good staff. Went out for dinner to hunt for a bibimbap shop but it was closed, so we ate this beef hotpot thing and bibimbap. So. much. beef. Returned to the guesthouse and ended the day with some masks haha.