Seoul City – I . Seoul . U [June 2017]

YES! Another day for another page to blog! Last time I wrote about my trip to Jeju Island. Actually, from Jeju I continued my trip to Seoul for another 3 days. This is how I spent them! Here we goooooo ~~~

Vacation worthy – The verdict : 8/10

 

INTRODUCTION

Seoul is South Korea’s capital city. It is the largest metropolis city in South Korea. It is situated beside the Han River, the national river of South Korea. Historically, Seoul has existed for over 2000 years, dated back to the old dynasties. It is one of the largest metropolitan economy in the world, an once rated as the second most livable city in the world. Seoul is also the center of K-Pop as we all know them and one of the most visited city in the world. “I Seoul You” is the latest tag line they used to promote their tourism.

I actually felt the mix of traditional and modern things all over the city. They have historical sites all over the city surrounded by high-tech sky scrapers. I was in awe at that time!

 

HOW DO I GET THERE?

Actually I wrote it here, but I’ll do it all over again for the love of me to you xoxox.

I actually went there with a tour group arranged by Garuda Indonesia Holidays. So assuming that you come from Indonesia, and planning to depart from Jakarta, you can take either Garuda Indonesia’s route which a direct from Jakarta – Seoul or Jakarta – Denpasar – Seoul. FYI, I took the second one, do you know why? Because it was arranged like that by my travel agent, what else..

The flight from Jakarta to Denpasar takes about 105 minutes. The flight from Denpasar to Seoul will take approximately 6 hours 30 minutes, so bring your sleeping gear, mate. In my experience you’ll find yourself riding on an Airbus A330-300 from Jakarta to Seoul. Seoul’s international airport is Incheon.

 

SO THEN, WHAT CAN I DO THERE?

Nami Island

Admission hours : 09:00 – 18:00 (Operating hours are subject to change depending on the weather condition)

Namiseom Island is a small island situated in Chuncheon, South Korea. The island was formed because its surroundings was flooded when the Cheongpyeong Dam’s construction finished in 1944. Nami Island become extremely popular to international tourists since the Korean TV drama, Winter Sonata (2002),  became a world wide hits in 2002. Several scene in the movie was shot here. There are several statue and decoration solely dedicated for this TV drama.

Historically speaking, the name Nami was taken from General Nami, a general who win a victorious war against rebels during the reign of King Sejo (1455 – 1468) of the Joseon Dynasty. Since his victory, General Nami became one of the king’s favourite subject. Due to this, other officers were jealous of him and started to spread rumours about him. The king believed those rumours and ordered an execution for Nami. After some time, King Sejo realized that he made a wrong decision and he decided to name a piece of land after General Nami to honor the general.

There are two ways to get to Nami Island. The first one allows you to ride a ferry that’ll take approximately 10 minutes to arrive at Nami Island. The ferry departs every 30 minutes. The second option is only for the brave and daring. You can use the zip wire (YES! A.K.A. FLYING FOX!) from a very high tower (see my photo). Riders will start from a 80 meters-high tower and zoom down along the wire to Nami Island 940m away. ADRENALINE JUNKIES should definitely try this!

There’s a lot of places to visit here, some of them are Pyeonghwarang, Yanggu White Porcelain Gallery, UNICEF Hall, Ryu Hongjuin World Folk Instrument Exhibit Hall, Yu Qing Chung Sculpture Park Happy Garden, Drama Gallery, Nami Gallery, Hoban Gallery. I personally visit the UNICEF Hall, and since there was not a lot of time allocated to Nami Island, I only took several photos, and did not visit all of the exhibits.

For those who doesn’t like to walk, you can rent a bike (single or tandem) or a buggy here.

 

Mount Seorak

Admission hours : Open all year around (Operating hours of the cable car are subject to change depending on the weather condition)

Mount Seorak is the highest mountain in the Taebaek Mountain range. A national park lies around the mountain. From the parking lot, you will easily find the entrance to the national park (yup, the 15 m high gate is rather hard to miss). On the entrance you’ll need to buy the admission ticket. Inside the national park you can find restaurants, food stalls, public toilet, a lot of photo spots, and also the track to reach the top of Mount Seorak.

There are two ways to reach the top of Mount Seorak. The first one needs your effort to hike, so ready your hiking gears and high spirits! They told me that the track is very well maintained, so don’t worry. The second way is for those who have little time to spent in Mount Seorak (like me), where all you need to do is pay for a ride with a cable car to the top of Mount Seorak.

For those who wants to use the cable car, be sure to come early especially during holiday season where there usually be a lot of tourist here. First, you’ll need to find the cable car station, just look around for the sign. There’s a decommissioned cable car in front of the station acting as decoration (you’ll find it easily since it is painted in bright yellow and green). Before getting on the line, don’t forget to buy the ticket. Be mindful of the departure time of the cable car written on the ticket. The cable car usually departs with a 5 minutes interval.

When you reach the top station, you’ll need to continue on foot for about 20 minutes to reach the peak. The view is marvelous here, especially if you come in autumn. Take as much photos as you would like, but remember to be very mindful of your steps, even though this is a tourist attraction. Right, don’t forget to bring water with you!

 

Shinheungsa Temple (신흥사)

Admission hours : Always Open

Shinheungsa is located inside the Seorak National Park. Shinheungsa is the head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Inside the area lies a statue of The Great Unification Buddha. The statue is 14.6 m tall with weight approximately 108 ton. The statue itself represents the people’s hope for reunification between South and North Korea.

The Shinheungsa Temple takes another 10 minutes walk pass the statue, just beyond the bridge behind the great statue. If you visit Seorak National Park, be sure not to miss this place!

 

Gyeongbokgung Palace & The National Folk Museum

Admission hours : 09:00 – 17:00 (Last admission is one hour before closing)

Gyeongbokgung Palace was established in 1935 during the reign of Joseon Dynasty. Gyeongbok is the largest and arguably the grandest of the five palaces ever built during the Joseon Dynasty. It is often referred as the northern palace as it is located on the northern most of Seoul compared to the other palace.

Fortunately The National Folk Museum is also located inside the complex. Here we can learn a lot about Korean traditional culture, starting from the marriage ceremony, the symbols, food, transportation device, religious activities and many others. Like many says that a journey to other countries won’t be complete if one hasn’t learned about its cultures and histories. That’s why I highly recommend this place!

Just a few minutes walk from the museum you’ll be able to see the historical complex of Gyeongbok. Honestly, my time here was so limited since I have to follow the tour’s schedule. The complex was huge (duh, it is a palace you see…) and there’s so many places to explore. So if you have the time, don’t forget to explore every inch of this palace, I promise you, it’ll worth your time!

FYI, there’s a way to get a FREE ADMISSION into the palace complex (wait for it)! You’ll need to wear the traditional korean clothes, Hanbok. Currently, there are a lot of Hanbok rental shops near historical tourists attraction in Seoul. One of the nearest one I can find through the internet is the Hanbokplus (한복더하기). To get to the shop, exit at EXIT 2 of Gyeongbokgung station and continue walking straight until you see a coffee shop “Paris Baguette” and “Ediya Coffee” on your left. In between these 2 places, you will see a stairway leading to the rental store on 2nd floor of the building. There are 2 banners in front of the entrance too (credit goes to Jennifer). Actually, there are a lot of other shops with similar pricing such as 3355 Hanbok Rental Store and other places.

 

Lotte World Adventure

Admission hours : 09:30 – 22:00 (Open all year around)

Initially, I was supposed to go to The Everland, the largest South Korean theme park, but the weather just won’t agree with me *SIGH*. So, despite that, I will have to settle with Lotte World Adventure.

Lotte World Adventure is the largest indoor theme park in the world up until now with a total area of 128,246 m2. It is owned and operated by Lotte Group. It was opened on 1989 and divided into 4 floors that accommodate the attractions. It also has an outdoor theme park named Magic Island.

Inside the complex you can find various rides and exhibits. There are also seasonal indoor parades, restaurants, stalls , and souvenir shops. It accommodate both parents’ and children’s needs *WINK*.

There 2 kinds of ticket here, the one-day ticket and the admission ticket. The one day ticket can be use all-day around for almost all riders. For those whose task only to accompany the kids can buy the admission ticket ‘coz it’s way cheaper (you can’t ride anything with this! Don’t be jealous!). FYI, some attractions are excluded from the one-day ticket (don’t know why) which means that you need to pay extra for them

 

Right, that sums up my 3 days of trip in Seoul! I’ll see you on my other trip! Hope my stories can help you folks! AAAAAAAAAND….

REMEMBER, STAY TUNED & STAY HAPPY… CHEERS!!

Note :

  • Don’t forget to bring water with you when you go to Mount Seorak
  • Wear Hanbok, and get a free entry to Gyeongbokgung Palace!
  • In Lotte World Adventure, for those who don’t want to ride, buy the Admission Ticket. Those who ride, buy the One-day Ticket.
  • Always prepare for bad weather. Never forget to bring an umbrella, sunglasses, and raincoat (only during rainy season). Don’t forget your sunblock and lip balm!
  • Nevertheless, don’t forget to bring your money! LOL–
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