Our last day in Seoul, we decided to visit World Cup Stadium and hopefully some groceries shopping at Homeplus.
A few shots of the stadium. Still wished I could have catch a K-League game in Seoul. I did try but the season ended, and FC Seoul played their last game of the season, 1 week before we arrived.
Huge array of shells, crab sticks, lobsters, seaweeds etc, which we bought and eat with our instant noodles or rice. Supermarkets like these, with their fresh seafood is a quick easy way to save some money from overpriced halal food. Halal meat is rare, so we halal food is expensive. The savings on food, we splurged it on coffees instead. 😛
Took the subway back to hotel, packed our bags, constructed a Xmas looking tip and check out.
Took the bus from the bus bay in the middle of the street.
There were some interactive activities at the airport terminal while waiting.
Did I mention I was looking for a Samsung NX100 advertisement while I was in Seoul. Interestingly I did not see any, till the very last day at the airport.
Finally we hit Nami Island aka Republic of Naminara. Looked forward to eat at the Drama Cafe on the island. We had trouble reaching there a few days ago, due to the shutdown of the old train services. A new line had in fact just opened on that day, and we did not understand the whole situation till we went to the tourist information counter. Even then, the counter was not able to print out a map of the new rail. We got a hand drawn one. We were hoping to go Nami in the old train. Can you imagine, we missed it by just a single day?? Such luck!!
Anyway, day 8, we took the new train system to Gapyeong Station. It was like only the 2nd or 3rd day in operation. Everything fresh and sterile.
Walk out of Gapyeong station, there will be a line of waiting cab and just say,”Nami Island Ferry Terminal”.
Bought “a VISA” to enter Nami Island. It was basically a ferry ticket, but as Nami Island prides itself as a Republic, they have their own passport and you will need “a VISA” to enter. I was wondering if the current UN president had a role in this, but this island was around even before his appointment.
Marketing itself as a UN ambassador or UNICEF of some sort, the global UN spirit is all around, the ferry that took us there was also full with an array of international flags.
|Single hand shake|
|Double handed shake|
We aborted the plan for Nami and went Coex Aquarium, walked around the COEX Mall and capped it off with Itaewon and the War Memorial.
Took the metro down to Gangnam station, the MTR cross the bridge for this. Once at Gangnam Station, we walked to Krispy Kreme, there was a bus stop with Direct Express Bus
wanted to chat with us, with his limited English and our non-existent Korean…blush, blush. He mentioned Everland, T-money, where we were from. He remarked Singapore is clean, no litter on streets. And I said, Korea is nice trendy and high-tech. He even invited us to pose together and snapped a picture for us. He even let us roam around and held our place at the front of the queue. Amazing!
Huge spacious park! We had the tourist discount coupon available from their website with us too, which provided some savings.
Queuing for Safari World, we see the numbers. Sort of how many is in the house!
The kiddy winter train ride.
Wooden roller coaster.
Everland was wonderful. Bigger than Hong Kong Disneyland. Not a big run like Universal Studios or Disney. And we absolutely adore the Korean cartoon flavour to it.
Will Singapore be able to run its own theme park with our own flavor? I doubt we even have our own cartoon or animation character.
They have the famous Pororo in Korea. In Everland, the Zootopia for instance, was extremely cute. A 4D experience, made more surreal by the fact it was in korean, but we do appreciate reading through the actions, expressions and story line.
We were like, should we try? With nothing to lose, we entered. Looks like some eerie house, but there were no hints of vampires or zombies. We sat on long benches like the juries in a courtroom. It started with walls at the side rotating, our benches swinging like a viking and the ceiling moving around, making us feel claustrophobic and the music eerie. The last final action though was wicked. No, not saying, go there yourself. A shocking shrieking surprise but breaks you out laughing and giggling.
We didn’t see much of this view last night. It was dark, no city lights in here, although it was full moon, we were not able to see the details. In the morning, we could even see the frozen stream.
The Kensington Stars Hotel is just a short 5 mins short walk to the Seoraksan Park entrance.
Made our way to the Cable Car Station.
It was a cold windy morning, and the cable car ride was suspended momentarily.
The relatively easy stairs climb.
More views along the way.
Some places were out of bounds. Ice on ground. The climb start to get tougher as we walked to the peak.
So, this is where we are. Mount Gwonggeumseong .
Checked out the hotel with a heavy heart and left for Sokcho City.
Autumn in My Heart was shot here. I have no idea about the movie or drama.
After some quick stroll around Socho City we made our way back to Seoul.
At the rest point, I bought something called a Walnut Cake. I loved Walnuts and I loved cakes. So it was a simple choice. But no, it was a flour puff with red beans. I don’t quite like red beans. Back home, it will either by Cheese, Choc, Peanut but never red bean. Walnuts? None at all, It was red beans filling and the puff flour looks like walnut.
In this cold weather, anything warm and fresh in our stomach felt heavenly.
And yes, it was the famous quirky toilet bowl, common in North East Asian countries. I’ve encountered these when I visited Taiwan back in 98. And yes, I still forgot and threw my toilet paper right into it. I ran off as I saw the toilet bowl beginning to stutter and crank.
We arrived at Dong Seoul Express Bus Terminal, made our way to the metro station, walked quickly to Sokcho Hotel, located near Hongik University. The winds were cold and harsh. The area was truly vibrant place even at midnight.
We missed Seoraksan peace, quiet and fresh air though. Should have stayed there longer.
I was actually working to do my final touches to my presentation last night. When I was done, I was captivated by the moon. Yes, it was a huge moon out there. Only manage to use the Samsung NX100 with 55-200 lens and snapped a few shots. I finally hit the bed near after 3am.
What do I normally do in Singapore? Wake up, shower…quick breakfast and off I go. I did exactly the same in Korea. Big mistake was, I went out without any effort to dry my hair. And with the temperature nearing -10 degrees celcius, it was horrid out there. My mind actually went blank and it was just 1 direct target. Reach the location, no photos of the beautiful Hanyang University, the beautiful and calm sun rising.
It was great meeting everyone finally in person. All this while it was merely by Skype or MSN Messenger.
A whole day of sharing session, it was a long trip well spent. I was thankful for this opportunity.
We strolled along the river all the way back to Kukdoo Hotel.
In the plane heading to Seoul I finally watched my 1st Korean movie, Marrying the Mafia 2. Funny indeed, in fact I loved it. Should watch more Korean dramas and movies from now on.
As usual, I hate airline food. Should have just ordered fruit platter as usual.
As we were reaching Incheon International Airport, we can see the snow capped mountains and frozen streams and some ice blocks at the sea.
Smooth landing at 4:30pm. It was cold. Yahoo! Our 1st winter, excited.
We were supposed to take the Airport Limousine Bus 6015 costing 10000 won pax. There was a Transport Information Center booth at the exit. I can see the Bus Ticket counter from inside the Arrival Hall. Since the girl manning the booth was looking chic, I just proceeded to ask her for directions. She spoke English well, very well. I guessed this trip will not be difficult at all. I stepped out to to the bus ticket counter to buy the bus ticket. It was awfully cold. The famous ahjumma attempted cut in my queue.
Nice try ahjumma! I was well trained in Singapore by the makciks in Geylang, nyonya of Chinatown and aci and bangla in Serangoon. I’ve been warned about the ahjummas, so I was prepared.
The bus driver was not too courteous but very responsible. He went around checking that we had our seat belts on. It was a bad jam out there, and it was getting dark. I do hate to arrive into a city at night, as it is kind of difficult to orientate myself. I noticed cars and vehicles were switching lanes all the time, even much more than in Singapore, KL or Bangkok. It was like “the lane is faster on the other side” mentality is worse in Seoul.
The bus alighted us right in from of our Best Western Premier Kukdo Hotel. Check-in was a breeze and we received 2 complimentary BB cream. Our hotel looked into another office building, but we can see the Namsan Tower from here. We slept for the night. A very cold night.