South Korea Day 15: Annyeong Korea

We woke up at 5 am to catch airport limousine bus nearby our hotel. After taking shower, we quickly checked out and walked to the nearby bus stop. We only need to walk 5 minutes to reach the airport limousine bus stop.

From Dangsan, visitors need to take bus 6008 to go to Incheon airport. The bus stop is located opposite of Dangsan Paris Baquette store.

At 6.20am, the bus arrived at the bus stop and we reached Incheon airport at 7.20am. The journey takes about 1 hour from Dangsan to Incheon airport.

We returned the rental wifi router at the airport counter. Since we had not have our breakfast, we bought Quiznos sub for breakfast.

At 9.40am, our plane took off to bring us back to Singapore.
See you next time South Korea. We really enjoyed our two weeks holiday in Korea. We hope that we can come back again for the 3rd time to explore new area/province in South Korea.

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South Korea Day 14: Namdaemun and Dongdaemun Market

We woke up quite late today. After went around South Korea for 13 days, we agreed to have relax day for shopping. We visited Namdaemun market, Shinsegae department store and Dongdaemun market at relax pace.

Namdaemun market is the largest market in Korea selling various goods. Our focus this time is only visiting shops selling girl clothes and Alpha stationery store. Most of sellers selling made in Korea clothes although some of them also selling made in China clothes.

The made in Korea clothes quality are superb although the price is also expensive, almost the same with Singapore price.

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We also stopped by at Shinsegae department store. We bought 3 packages of Tteokbokki (2 spicy, 1 medium spicy) and Bibimbap spicy sauce.

At Dongdaemun market, we bought mainly souvenirs and T-shirts. Here we met very nice Ahjumma at souvenirs shop. My daughter talk to her a lot while we chose the souvenirs and T-shirts.

At 6pm, we went back to Loft hotel to pack our stuff and ready to go to Incheon airport tonorrow morning.

South Korea Day 13 (part 2): Insadong, Ssamziegil and Cheonggyecheon stream

After exploring Gyeongbokgung palace, we went to bbq restaurant near Insadong area for lunch. It’s called Palsaek Samgyeopsal (팔색삼겹살). I will post detail review on Palsaek Samgyeopsal in the next post.

Next, we visited Bukchon Hanok Village, a Korean traditional village which has a lot of alleys and hanok (Korean traditional houses). This area is preserved to show a 600-year old urban environment. Traditionally, Bukchon Hanok village is an area where Joseon dynasty high officials and nobles lived.

Make sure to grab a map of this area and the map shows eight photo spot in order to get nice spot within Bukchon Hanok village area. Bukchon Hanok village has extremely beautiful traditional architecture and it’s well spent afternoon to experience one of Joseon historic site during our holiday.

After exploring Bukchon Hanok village, our leg is getting tired. It’s time for relaxing and strolling around Insadong. We visited Ssamziegil which houses a lof ot fashion, galleries, craft, artwork, restaurant and snack stores.

The top floor of Ssamziegil is a place where couple should visit. It’s called “Wall of Love”, similar to “Love Lock” area in Namsan Tower. Couples can post their love message on the wall.

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One unique store that you should visit in Ssamziegil is a poop bread. It’s located nearby the entrance on the ground floor. We chose chocolate filling for the poop bread…We also visited Poop cafe or Ddong cafe at the top floor of Ssamziegil. The food and drinks here are served in cute toilet shaped mugs and plates. Some of the food also resembled poop in iconic form hahaha. What a creativity from the shop owner!

After Insadong, we went to Cheonggyecheon stream. Cheonggyecheon Stream passes close to Deoksugung Palace, Seoul Plaza, the Sejong Center, Insa-dong Street, Changdeokgung Palace, and Changgyeonggung Palace, allowing visitors to easily visit major tourist sites after a leisure stroll along the stream.

For dinner, we eat pizza at nearby Mr. Pizza outlet before heading back to Loft hotel.

South Korea Day 13 (Part 1): Gwanghwamun Square and Gyeongbokgung

Our first stop for the day is Gwanghwamun Square. This area is very popular for tourist and also Koreans. Beside as tourist attractions, Gwanghwamun is also the center of business in Korea. There are a lot of offices around Gwanghwamun square.

There are two statues on Gwanghwamun square. The first statue belong to King Sejong. King Sejong considers as one of influential Korean King during Joseon dynasty. King Sejong is best remembered as the inventor of Hangeul, the Korean alphabet. During his reign, he consolidated the basis for ruling the Joseon Dynasty by incorporating Confucian philosophy of politics. Furthermore, he led the nation’s great strides in agriculture, literature, science and technology.

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The second statue belong to Admiral Yi Shun-sin. Admiral Yi Shun-sin was a Korean naval commander, famed for his victories against the Japanese navy during the Imjin war in the Joseon Dynasty, and is well-respected for his exemplary conduct on and off the battlefield not only by Koreans, but by Japanese admirals as well.

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Not far from King Sejong statue, there was a stall for people to wear Hanbok, a traditional Korean dress. It’s free of charge and visitors just need to write their name and their origin country.

Gyeongbokgung is one of five Korean palaces which is located nearby Gwanghwamun Square. For me, Gyeongbokgung is the most beautiful and the largest among all five Korean palaces.

If you visit Gyeongbokgung, please also consider to see their Royal Guard changing ceremony. It’s an opportunity to see a rare traditional scene in Korea. Make sure to prepare your camera and take a lot of photos. The guard colorful uniform and the ceremony are really unique and pleasure to see.

 

South Korea Day 12 (part 2): Myeongdong and Seoul Namsan Tower

After short rest at Loft hotel, we continue our journey to Myeongdong. Myeongdong is one of famous shopping district in Seoul. In Myeongdong, visitors can find a lot of products for sale includes shoes, accessories, clothes and cosmetics.

Myeong-dong also has family restaurants, fast food, plus Korean, Western and Japanese dining options as well as Korean street food. Many restaurants in Myeong-dong specialize in dongaseu (pork cutlet) and kalguksu (noodle soup). Other businesses in the area include hair salons, banks, money changer and theaters.Based on our experience, money changer in Myeongdong has the best exchange rate in Korea. When you visit Myeongdong, you can also get a lot of cosmetics freebies like face mask, face serum etc.

Our dinner in Myeongdong was at Myeongdong Kyoja, kalguksu restaurant that already in business for 40 years. Although their menu choice is only 4 dishes, but a lot of people visiting Myeongdong Kyoja and the seats are always full.

With full tummy, we went to Seoul Namsan Tower by foot from Myeongdong. The walk takes about 15 minutes in slightly uphill street. The effort are fully justified when we reached Namsan Tower.

It’s a must see landmark of Seoul. The top of tower is almost 480m above sea level and you can see the whole Seoul from tower observation deck. The Seoul night view from Namsan Tower is very beautiful and awesome. At that time, there was not so many visitors so we can took a lot of pictures with unobstructed view.

Before we headed back to our hotel, we visited the “Love lock” and everyone of us (including our children) wrote our love message on the lock and lock it on “Love Lock” area.

In our opinion, Namsan Tower was cool and pretty. The view was amazing and the cable car ride was fun. Visitors will like the “Lock Love” area a lot because they can write love message to their loved one.

South Korea Day 12 (part 1): Beautiful Nami Island

What a beautiful morning!
I woke up quite early today and I quickly went outside the room. The air in Nami Island is very fresh and it’s very very quiet in the morning. It’s like only me in the island.

Nami Island is very popular tourist destination since this place featured in Winter Sonata Korean drama. Many Koreans visited Nami Island for relaxing, escaping from their daily activities. International tourist visited Nami Island because of it’s beauty.

For breakfast, we tried Kimchi dosirak/lunch box at Yeongga Dosirak. My hubby was very happy to be able to try Dosirak. Dosirak served in thermo-steel container and you need to shake it first before you eat it. Look at his expression when he shook the Dosirak.

After finishing our breakfast, we rented a family bicycle to explore the whole island. It’s nice to explore the island on early morning (since not much visitors arrived yet) and the island is quite huge. There are many spots to take pictures. The famous photo spot is the Metasequoia path which featured in Winter Sonata Korean drama.

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Besides Metasequoia path, visitor can also visit various Winter Sonata tributes. There is also one area closer to the sea and the view is so relaxing.

 

After returned back the family bike, it’s time for lunch and we had Chicken and Pork Bbq at Seomhyanggi. Yeay!!

We ordered one set of chicken and one set of pork bbq. The order comes with the side dishes such as kimchi, chili pepper, and lettuce to wrap the barbecued meat. In addition, you can order rice separately.

The chicken and pork are really tender, juicy, and well marinated with powerful seasoning. It’s balanced between salty, savory, and bold of flavor. Overall, the food was delicious and the kids really enjoyed it.

We departed from Nami Island at 2 pm and take a boat back to Gapyeong station. We went back to Loft Hotel to take a short rest before visited Myeongdong and Seoul Namsan Tower.

South Korea Day 11: Gapyeong (Petite France, Gangchon Rail Bike)

Day 11 started with breakfast around Loft hotel. My hubby bought chicken teriyaki fried rice and beef porridge at small restaurant beside the hotel.
It’a good to start the day with light meal like porridge.

After finished our breakfast, off we go to Yongsan station to take ITX train to Gapyeong. The journey takes about 1 hour.

How to go to Gapyeong:

The fastest way to go to Gapyeong by public transport is using ITX train (semi rapid train) from Yongsan station and the journey takes about 1 hour.

The slower way will be via normal train and the duration is about 1 hour 50 minutes.
Route: Seoul Station, Line 1 –> Hoegi Station, Line 1 –> Sangbong Station (Jungang Line) –>Gapyeong Station (Gyeongchun Line)

ITX ticket can be booked online using below link:
http://www.letskorail.com/ebizbf/EbizBfTicketSearch.do

Gapyeong is a county in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. Gapyeong is well known for its natural beauty because it borders the mountainous province of Gangwon on the east. The north branch of the Han River flows through the area. Several reservoirs and resorts are located in the county. The famous attraction in Gapyeong is Nami Island which is situated very close south of Gapyeong.

Since the distance of every attractions in Gapyeong is very far, we decided to take Gapyeong bus tour. Below shows our itinerary for the day:
-Visit Petite France
-Lunch at Mr Dakgalbi
-Rail bike at Gangchon
-Nami Island (stay overnight at Naminara hotel).

Gapyeong shuttle bus route and the schedule:

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Petite France is our first stop. Petite France frequently featured in many Korean drama and variety show including “Man from The Star”. This place is designed as an French cultural village and made up of museums, workshops, restaurant, cafes and guesthouse.

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There are a lot of colorful houses in Petite France and we watched puppet show as well. It’s definitely a place to visit if you are Korean drama fans.

Dak-galbi (닭갈비) or spicy stir-fried chicken, is a popular Korean dish made by stir-frying marinated diced chicken in a gochujang-based sauce with sweet potatoes, cabbage, perilla leaves, scallions, tteok (rice cake), and other ingredients.

Mr Dakgalbi is a halal food restaurant located nearby Nami Island ferry point. We patronized Mr Dakgalbi during lunch time. Unfortunately, the gochujang taste is not spicy enough for us and a bit bland.

After finished our meal, we quickly went to Gangchon station to experience Gangchon rail bike.
We booked Gangchon rail bike in advance with the help of “funtastic korea” and we got 3pm slot.

Gangchon rail bike is a popular activities for family including kids. Everyone can pedal the bike together along the old railroad track while viewing the lovely Bukhangang River scenery. There are 2 types of rail bike: 2 seaters and 4 seaters.

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Total duration is about 90 minutes (50 minutes pedaling + 20 minutes break time at transfer station + 20 minutes of romantic train ride). The rail bike also provided automatic assistance so we will not keep pedaling for the whole 50 minutes.

Gangchon rail bike is definitely one of our favorite activities in South Korea. It offers a lot of fun and kids like it so much. On top of that, the scenery along Bukhangang River is very gorgeous and relaxing.

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After completed our fun activities, we quickly went back to Gapyeong station to go to Nami Island. Nami Island is a tiny half moon shaped island in Chuncheon area.

Visitors need to take a boat to go to Nami Island and the entry visa is 10,000 KRW. We arrived at Nami Island around 6pm and we quickly asked the Visitor Centre on how to go to Naminara hotel.
Since it was already late, there was almost nobody in the island except hotel guest.

Naminara hotel sent a car to pick us up and the driver dropped us in front of the hotel. Naminara hotel offer two types of room: Western style room or Korean style rooms. I choosed Korean style room so we can experience sleeping on the mattress like Korean.

Goodnight everyone!! By the way, the room is very beautiful. Yeppeuna!!!

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