Showing posts with label Seoul. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seoul. Show all posts

Monday, May 29, 2017

Cycling at Yeouido Hangang Park

I spent the weekend catching up on my fave K-variety shows and I watched the Pyeongchang Olympics 2018 special on Infinite Challenge, with my eye-candy Park Bo Gum as the special guest (*.*) Having hosted the summer Olympics in 1988, South Korea will now host the Winter Olympics in 2018. In this special, they challenged winter sports such as bobsleigh, ice hockey and curling with the national Olympic team members. For those who have missed it, you could catch the specials on Viu (ep. 524 to 526) and witness the effects of "Bo-Gum" magic. I will be focusing more on Pyeongchang Olympics 2018 in future posts too. 
Now that the harsh and freezing winter has subsided and the weather has turned warmer, there is an increase in outdoor activities for friends and families prefer to spend their time outdoors after being in the cold for so long. Yeouido Hangang Park would be one of the top choices, for there is a wide range of activities to do in the park. We exited from Yeouinaru Station (Line 5, exit #3) and were greeted with this sight! 
It was a beautiful day and I'm glad we came out for this trip instead of spending our time indoors. During cherry blossom season, this place will be packed with people, who will set up "camp" on the open spaces with families and friends, bonding over drinks and food while enjoying the scenery. This park also plays host to the fireworks festival during fall. If you had watched "Legend of the Blue Sea", you would be familiar with the scene where Joon Jae and Shim Chung witnessed the fireworks display in this park. 
The main agenda for today's trip: renting a bicycle and exercise our butts, ha! There are plenty of bicycle kiosks scattered around the park. It was easy to rent the bikes even if you don't understand Korean: you just need to indicate the number of hours, how many bikes and surrender a photo ID as deposit. Also, try to use your driving license or student pass instead of passport just to be safe.

Min rental: 1h
Single/Child: 3000KRW/hr, 500KRW for every 15 min
Tandem/Advanced: 6000KRW/hr, 1000KRW for every 15 min
We selected our bikes which came with baskets so we can dump our stuff and ride with ease. 
Leecher testing out his bike and he looked like he's having fun!
We cycled for awhile; peddling furiously up the slope while cruising down slope. At this point, I was starting to curse under my breath for choosing this route. Well, we didn't exactly chose this but we just followed where the majority of the cyclists were heading, ha! I was beginning to feel the strain in my leg muscles, so we decided to stop for a quick break. Thankfully the weather was superb so I wasn't feeling sweaty even though I had a great workout. With Hangang Railway bridge as our backdrop, we took a couple of pictures before embarking on our return journey. 
That's the fun part, to feel the breeze in your hair after the intense workout of peddling up slope. 
Yeouido Hangang Park
Address: 8 Yeouido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
Tel: 02-3780-0561
Directions: Yeouinaru Station (Line 5, exit #3)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Seoul, Summer: 10 things to do in Korea

I'm in love with Korea , period. I was captivated by its charms during my first visit. I basically suffered from Korea/Seoul withdrawal after landing in Singapore. Thus, when SQ offered a promotion price to Korea, I knew that it was a god-sent sign that I have to head back. I was so desperate to go that I offered to pay for Leecher's air tickets. So, this Leecher jumped at the (sponsored) opportunity & came along for our 2nd trip to Korea :) During the 1st trip, we spent a good 8 days in Spring. With a different itinerary in hand, we headed to Korea for the summer. Here is my personal take on the 10 activities to do in Korea for summer!
1. Visit the traditional markets
The traditional Korean marketplace is one of the best way to soak up in the local spirit of Korea. In here, you get to rub shoulders with the ahjummas, bargain with the store-owners and feast to your heart's content. These traditional market places are littered throughout Seoul and Namdaemum Market is the most popular of all.
2. Pedal on a Railway bike 
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Be surrounded by nature as you pedal along the old abandoned railway tracks. Fans of Running Man would instantly recognise this as this was one of the games played in ep 144. We had a fun time pedaling the entire 8km distance, so head there for a morning workout before rewarding your tummy with chicken & beer later in the day!
3. Hike up Mount Bukhansan
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The Korean peninsula is covered mostly by mountains, hence it is no secret that hiking is one of Korea's national pastime. We embarked on a hike up Mount Bukhansan and were treated to a bird's eye view of Seoul at the top. Enough said! 
4. Visit Hongdae Flea Market
The Hongdae flea market aims to showcase local artists and handcrafted goods. Rather than selling second-hand goods, these artists gather every Saturday and showcase their creativity through their unique handiwork. Head there to enjoy an afternoon of impromptu street/music performance. 
5. Embark on a Korean summer food trail
Summer in Korea is no joke, with temperatures rising close to 35 degrees. We often find ourselves heading indoors to stay away from the heat. The best way to combat the summer heat - indulge in cold dishes like bingsu, naengmyeon and memil-guksu.
6. Catch a baseball game 
Catch the lotte giants in action at their home ground in Busan. Throughout the game, we were entertained by the cheerleaders on the sideline, the players on the pitch and not forgetting witnessing the first ever home-run of our lives. 
7. Conquer Hwaseong fortress
Surrounding the centre of Suwon, Hwaseong Fortress was constructred by King Jeongjo to honour his late father.  Listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, we braved the heat and sun to conquer the fortress wall that stretches close to 5.52km, stopping by various spots for picture taking. 
8. Play a game of Korean archery
While conquering the fortress, we took the chance and participated in Gukgung, also known as Korean traditional archery. This bow is relatively light and easy to pull. Follow the instructions of the instructor and you are ready to go!
   9. Enjoy the rainbow fountain at Banpo bridge
Want to enjoy a night's out with food and music? I will suggest that you grab some pizzas, takeaways and head to Banpo bridge for a night's out. At regular intervals, the bridge is illuminated with rainbow-coloured dancing lights, swaying to the sound of music.
10. Catch an exhibition at DPP
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Located in the heart of the city, Dongdaemun Design Plaza's building itself is a piece of art for you can't find any straight lines or walls. Head to DDP on a day, catch an exhibition and reignite your artistic spirit. 

Psst .... detailed posts will be linked once completed, stay tuned! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Guesthouses in Seoul, Korea

When it comes to booking accommodation for our trips, it has to fulfill some requirements like the location must be in a safe district, clean room with attached bathroom and lastly, fits within our budget. While I'm always tempted to stay at posh hotels, I can't bring myself to pay the hefty price tag. The money saved can go into our funding for more shopping or activities. During our recent visits to Korea, we opted to stay in guesthouses instead. Most of these guesthouses are located to major tourist attractions and conveniently accessible by public transportation. Best of all, they fit into our budget for being reasonably priced and come equipped with basic amenities. 
 Namsan Guest House
Namsan Guesthouse consists of 5 guesthouses which are within walking distance from one another. Every room is equipped with private bathroom, air-conditioner, cable TV and ondol system (Korean floor heating system). Conveniently located in Myeongdong, the guesthouse is located around 150m (up-slope) from the subway station and 10 min walk to Namsam Tower. Starting price of 55,000 Won for 2 pax.
Suitcasers is located at City Hall station, one of the best location that you can ever find. You can walk to Deoksugang Palace, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Namdaemun and many others. You can reserve the portal wifi egg from them (complimentary) when you confirmed your reservation. The basic services includes breakfast, international calls, printing, cable TV etc - all free of charge as long as you are a staying guest. Starting price of 70,000 Won for 2 pax. 
Banana Backpackers
The Banana Backpackers is easily recognizable from the windmill outside the building. This guesthouse is strategically located to tourist sites like Insadong, Bukchon Hanok Village and Changdeokgung Palace. The staff are friendly and very helpful when we wanted to order Chinese takeout from the nearby restaurants. Starting price of 50,000 Won for 2 pax.
Haemil Guest House
 A traditional Korean house (Hanok) situated close to Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo, both of which are designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites. At Haemil, you will get to experience sleeping on their ondol heated floor, with traditional korean blankets & mattress. In addition, guests get to start the new day with either traditional Korean or Western breakfast prepared by the lovely hosts. Starting price of 100,000 Won for a room.
 Mago Guest House
Mago Guest House is centrally located near Chungmuro subway station and Namsangol Hanok Village. The place is designed to feel like a traditional home but with modern amenities. Offering a mixture of korean ondol rooms and modern rooms, this is the place to go if you like to experience the different styles without moving to another location. Starting price of 62,000 Won for 2 pax.

Psst .... detailed posts will be linked once completed, stay tuned! 


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Holiday Blues

It's the time of the year where holiday seasons begin. I miss going on holidays ....

Monday, May 12, 2014

Seoul 2014, Spring: 15 things to do in Seoul

Seoul, a city that captured my heart that I was determined to head back for another visit soon. Influenced by the Hallyu wave, we reached Seoul to discover the beauty of the city.  A blend of ancient traditions and modern technology, Seoul is a city filled with stark contrasts. There are simply too many activities to do in the vibrant city, so here is my personal take on 15 things to do in Seoul.
1. Biking along Hangang (한강)
Instead of a river cruise, we rented a bike and spent a couple of hours cycling along Hangang (Han River). While we had to conquer riding up-slopes along some of the trails, the changing scenery well made up for the exercise. The diversity of the parks offer different scenes, depending on which cycling route you embarked on. There are plenty of bicycle rental shops in the park - so, hop on and ride! 
2. Eat at a pojangmacha (포장마차) and make some friends 
Pojangmacha is very much of Korean culture, where locals go for meals and drinks after work. We had our first experience with a bunch of new-found Singaporean and Korean friends. The group of us were just making merry in the pojangmacha, washing down food with bottles and bottles of soju!
3. Day trip to Nami Island 
If you have watched Winter Sonata, you will definitely pay a visit to Nami Island. This place, famous for its beautiful tree lined roads, is the shooting location of the drama. Stroll along the road and reminisce the scenes from the drama. Head for the bench (which has since moved!) where Bae Yong-joon and Choi Jiwoo shared their first kiss.
4. Cosmetic shopping at Myeongdong
 Myeongdong is the shopping paradise for cosmetics. Most of the beauty brands - Etude House, Innisfree, The Face Shop - have several shops located in the area. Promoters will stand in front of the shop, hand out free samples to passer-bys (especially girls!) and literally "drag" you inside the shop. Be prepared to part with (a significant amount of) your cash whenever you step into one :)
5. Hanbok (한복) experience
A trip to Korea is never complete without putting on Hanbok, the traditional costumes of Korea. Children wear hanbok for their 1st birthday and adults wear it for special occasions. I love the vibrant colours of the costumes, where the fabric is dyed using natural dyes.
6. N Seoul Tower & N-Grill Restaurant
N Seoul Tower at Nansam Park marks the highest point in Seoul. Couples flock to the Roof Terrace where they will put a padlock of love on the railings, a symbol of interlocking their fate with each other. Make a stop to N Grill, a french restaurant located at the highest point of the tower, boasting the best view. 
7. Ginseng chicken soup (Samgaetang) 
One of the must-try dishes in Korea, the highly-raved Ginseng Chicken Soup. Stuffed with glutinous rice, this dish is well-liked by young and old. Drink this with a small cup of ginseng wine and feel the heat rush through your body.
8. Stand and eat at a roadside stall
I have a special liking towards roadside stalls with their wide variety of snacks that is enough to curb my hunger pangs. My top 2 choices go to tteokbokki and fishcakes. They are my comfort food in the cold weather :) 
9. Korean Folk Village(한국민속촌)
Head to the Korean Folk Village for a glimpse of traditional Korean life. There are various traditional houses reminiscent of the late Joseon Dynasty, where visitors are transported back to the olden days. This is also the filming location for various K-drama, such as Moon embracing the Sun, My Love from another Star and Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Be sure to catch some of the events, like traditional folk dances or acrobatics at the performance area.
10. Do a drama-filming-location trail
Fans of K-drama will not miss a chance to visit the filming locations of the dramas. These places added a sense of familiarity as I'll recall the scenes from the dramas. This was taken at Petite France, at the spot of the famous flying kiss scene between Do Min Joon & Cheon Song Yi from the drama, My Love from Another Star.
11. Ihwa Mural Village (이화 벽화마을)
You can find lots of murals and artworks littered around the whole village. Spend a couple of hours combing the alleys, look for interesting pieces that are worth a shot or two. Visitors are welcome to take as many pictures as possible, but do be mindful to keep your voices down as this is a residential area. Enjoy a cuppa of coffee and chill out at one of the many cafes in the village.
12. DMZ tour
 Venturing into the DMZ zone was one of the to-do list during this trip. We booked ourselves on a half-day DMZ tour and went on an interesting history lesson, courtesy of our tour guide. Stretching over 240km across the Korean Peninsula, the DMZ zone offers visitors an insight on the history and culture of the country.
13. Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을)
Home to hundreds of traditional houses dating back to the Joseon Dynasty, this village is best explored on foot. Be sure to wear good walking shoes to scale the steep slopes. Try and see if you can spot the house that was used in the drama "Personal Taste" in this village!
 14. Visit one of the many palaces
5 palaces are located within the heart of Seoul, which make it easier to explore. There are guided tours in different languages and timings for tourists, allowing us to learn more about Korean history. With Mount Bugaksan as the backdrop, Gyeongbokgung is the main and largest palace amongst the five palaces. Explore the palace surroundings and head towards the main gate for the guard-changing ceremony.
15. Witness the guard-changing ceremony
The guard changing ceremony is a reenactment of the original ceremony which dates back to ancient times. You can catch the ceremony at either Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gwanghwamun Gate 3 times a day (apart from Tuesday). Take a picture with the guards on duty after the ceremony.

Psst .... detailed posts will be linked once completed, stay tuned!  
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