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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

N Seoul Tower N서울타워

Standing at 237m tall, N Seoul Tower (also known as Namsan Tower) is the highest point in Seoul and offers a bird's eye view of the city. From a transmission tower, Namsan Tower has undergone various renovation and remodelling to become an iconic landmark of Seoul. It was also renamed from Seoul Tower to N Seoul Tower, where "N" stands for new, namsan and nature. The tower is often featured on K-dramas as the defacto meeting or dating place for all couples, who will then leave a love lock as a pledge of their everlasting love. 
There are various ways of getting to N Seoul Tower, but we opted for the cable car since we were staying at a guesthouse nearby. It takes 10 min on foot to reach the cable car station but we took twice the time as we were busy taking pictures and exploring the surrounding areas since this was our virgin trip to Korea so we were intrigued by every single thing that we came across. 
We finally reached Namsan cable car entrance after scaling a steep slope and several flights of stairs. The cable car runs from the base of the mountain up to N.Seoul Tower. Besides walking, there are several ways to get to the cable car station.
Shuttle Bus
You can board the free shuttle bus at Exit 1 of Myeongdong Station and at the Seoul Square bus stop at Seoul Station. The shuttle bus operates every 30 minutes, starting from 12PM till 8.30PM. 
On Foot
From Exit 3 of Myeongdong Station, walk through the alley and stay to your right, passing the 7-11 store and continue about 7-8 minutes between Pacific Hotel and GS25. Namsan cable car is at the top of the hill near the Chinese Consulate.
By Ohreumi/Incline Elevator
From Exit 4 of Myeongdong Station, head towards the Hoehyeon intersection (towards Shinsegae Department Store) and turn left at the intersection. Walk about 5 minutes to reach Namsam cable car Ohreumi/Incline Elevator.
We headed to the ticketing office on the 1st floor to purchase our tickets for the ride. An adult single trip costs KRW$6,000 while a round trip costs KRW$8,500. Hence, it made more sense (for us at least) to purchase the round trip tickets. After purchasing the tickets, you will be ushered into the queue.  
Check out the crowd! It was recommended to reach before noon for a quieter experience but hey, looked like everyone had the same thought! I even planned this visit on a weekday so we get to avoid the crowd but this looked like my plan failed miserably. 
Well, I shouldn't let the crowd dampen our holiday mood :) 
By riding the cable car, you will see the whole of Namsan right in front of you. 
With a capacity of 48 people per car, I have to say the waiting time is still bearable. The cable cars is equipped with glasses on all four sides, which give riders a view of the surrounding city-view as we made our way through to the top. The ride was relatively smooth and before we knew it, we have arrived.
Our first picture here, displaying the Korean-heart. Saranghae 
It was indeed a sunny day, but surprising the cool wind kept me cold and I had to put on a light jacket.
I immediately recognize this pavilion - this was featured in Running Man, whereby they had to gather people for a rope jumping/picture mission. In fact, a lot of other K-variety and K-drama shows feature N Seoul Tower which makes it a must visit on my first trip to Korea. 
There was an event for visitors to dress up in hanbok and take pictures with the royal guards for memento.
If given a chance, I would love to visit again at night. With the latest LED technology lighting which constantly changes colours and patterns, N Seoul Tower has become a "light art" providing various media art together with an unusual cultural art experience. 
This place is so crowded that it is difficult to get a picture without anyone walking into your frame. We managed to get one decent pic, all thanks to the group of strangers who helped to stop "traffic".
The main agenda of our visit was to ...... you guessed it - that is, to leave a love lock to pledge our everlasting love! Actually, we came here to have a meal at N.Grill but since we were already there so might as well right?
This place is home to thousands of love locks, where the padlocks covered every inch of the railing and fences. Each of the padlock symbolize the hope of everlasting love that the couple shared.
We bought these from the gift shop, went to find a quiet bench and proceeded to write on the locks and ended up with
Our declaration of love, is that evidence of our "telepathy"? At least I'm faithful to only 2 (at the point) while someone had a whole truckload of girls that he liked.
Well, at least we had our less important "love declaration" on the other side :) We then proceeded to find a lucky spot for our locks.
You can chose to deposit your keys into the bin thereby sealing your love forever, but we decided to bring the keys home as memento of our virgin Korea trip. 
Tadah, our padlocks of love at N Seoul Tower. Another mission checked. 
Before we left, look who I bumped into? Leecher termed it as my "highlight" of the day, to take picture with a Kim Soo Hyun cardboard. Well, that certainly light up my day!
N Seoul Tower
105, Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 용산구 남산공원길 105 (용산동2가)

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
P8033237 copy 
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! 

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