4/24-5/1: Seoul, South Korea
Who: Me, Myself & Elissa (She was my very 1st RA who again welcomed me and was just Ah-mazing!)
How: Mostly S. Korea’s super efficient but confusing as heck metro
When I first arrived it was after an 8 hr bus ride from Lampang to Bangkok along with a 4 hr wait topped off with the 5 hr flight given: not the best sleep. Nonetheless I was ready to tackle this county I knew really nothing of apart from the names of Korean food.
After getting picked up from the airport, Elissa took me to a Taekwondo dance show where they express the kicks and skills of Taekwondo through dance. It was VERY Korean… Technology heavy and very dramatic. It was as if I was in a video game live. The show was located in the Olympic Park from 1988, so we walked that park then Children’s Grand Park. My 1st impression: Paved usable sidewalks. Dinner: Korean BBQ of course!
Mondays= All museums closed so my itinerary changed real fast which lead to walking around aimlessly in Meyedong, (slightly lost…ONLY SLIGHTLY) trying to find a Ring Cafe which turned out to be closed as well (This was after S. Korea’s popular Mural Village). I made the best of it by enjoying a corn dog, 32 inch Ice Cream and the Myeongdong Cathedral which is very beautiful in it’s Gothic way. After I met up with Elissa where we went to Namsan/Seoul Tower (I did the hopeless romantic lock thing on a bridge).
The Next day I redid a lot of Monday but also dressed in a Hanbok for a free little photo shoot. I tried sheep unknowingly until a Thai woman told me what it was in Thai (it really is becoming my 3rd language). Seoul’s City Hall, Cheonggyecheon Stream, War Memorial & the Banpo Bridge (which wasn’t really working *sad*)… War Memorial was great to go and learn everything before I went to the DMZ tour on Thursday.
Day 3 was the day for the traditional tour of South Korea: Gwanghwamun Square to Gyeongbokgung Palace to Insadong to Bukchon Hanok Village to the Secret Garden where their Monarchy use to roam. Note: all was remade in the 60’s since Japan destroyed it all at one point. There really is barely any ‘Authentic Korea’ because of it’s rough history.
The DMZ tour here is the link to that blog I did on the side: https://elainewanderlusts2.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/dmz-jsa-tour-in-south-korea/
Second to last day I wanted to do what locals did which seemed to be hikes since they were all decked out in either business attire or hiking attire. I chose to do Mt. Yongmasan and the view was incredible. Only problem is I went up through the unofficial trail with rope climbing nonsense that it took me an hour of wondering again aimlessly at the top looking for the main trial back down. Luckily I found a couple who did the same thing so I was not lost lost, and the trials were really busy so I wasn’t even in grave danger or anything serious at all. After 3 hrs on this intended waterfall hike, I went to Bongensa Temple and ended the day at a Jjimjilbang (A Korean styled bath house & Spa [if you’re really intriged google Conan visits a Korean Spa]) And Elissa joined too! AFTER then I really ended the day with a HUGE American styled Ice Cream.
Last day was spent on Nami Island or better yet Naminara Republic where it claims to be it’s own country and actually has it’s own currency. It’s very popular between locals and I saw people taking wedding photos, lots of couples but even more Children because some of it is funded by UNICEF. Really cool place though I didn’t even feel I was in Asia (apart from the people of course)
When I was lost: twice people left their shops unattended and walked 2- 3 blocks to show me to the right direction. I felt VERY safe
Thoughts of the Metro: -It is sad and gloomy. -It puts many people to sleep. -Everyone is on their phone. -Couples EVERYWHERE. -Business attire or Hiking attire or Me weird foreigner. -No one talks to one another
Thoughts of the food: SO hard to digest. I found myself on the floor in fetal position my last night because my body was just K-O’d from digesting Korea’s cuisine which Elissa gave insight saying how it’s heavily processed. It was also kinda bland compared to Thai food. **Thailand you’ve ruined me!
Overall: -Korean Tour guides really want to learn Spanish because they think it’s a beautiful language where I was able to share some useful phrases. -It’s weird but all at the same time it’s not weird at all. -Couples EVERYWHERE! (maybe it’s because they were touching and in Thailand there is no PDA)
Yes, a quite jammed pack week but I just checked into Rayong after a bus ride with Thai teachers Karaoking the whole way!
The fun never stops,