Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Korea Seoul day 1 - Myeongdong, Namsangul, N Seoul tower

First trip to Seoul, Korea and the first time to catch Cherry blossoms live. The trip was planned in early April this year with our fingers crossed that we would get to see the full blossom in time. And very lucky, we did!
Flew by Vietnam air for less than $600 with a transit at Vietnam airport.

The itinerary was a little touch-and-go which aimed to cover these places within 6 days:

1 Myeongdong
2 Namsangul hanok village
3 Seoul tower

4 Ehwa women university
5 Hongdae cafe hopping
6 Palace tours - Gyeongbukgong, Deosukgong
7 Changdeokgong, Huwon
8 Yeouido cherry blossom festival
9 Gangchon rail bike park
10 Nami island
11 DMZ half-day tour
12 Express bus terminal underground shopping
13 Gangnam

14 Dongdaemun
15 Gwangjang market
16 Namdaemun

Incheon Airport

The Airport bus ticket to our Myeongdong hotel costs 10000W each. Tickets can be bought at the ticket booth inside the arrival hall (1st Floor) near Gates 4 and Gate 9. After you get out of the arrival halls, the ticket booths are near near Gates 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, and gate 9C. Payment is with cash.

The power card to get you everywhere with subway is the Seoul City Pass Plus or T-card. It costs 3000 won and is available at Convenience stores (GS25, CU, Mini Stop, Buy The Way, 7-eleven) bearing the T-money logo. The subway stations all have English sign boards and location names, same goes for the road signs in Seoul. This made navigation much easier.

Namsangul Hanok Village

This is where our first official sighting of cherry blossoms took place, not with-counting the fleeting ones we saw en route hotel. It is near Chungmuro Station (Seoul Subway Line 3 & 4), Exit 4, just walk along Hanongmaeul-gil st. for 5 minutes. This place is a preservation of the ancient Korean village known as Hanok village amidst the bustling Seoul urban landscape and is also a popular tourist spot.

Doors within doors. Watch the low beams.

The perfect picnic spot.
A must-go place to experience the beauty of nature and Korean traditional houses. If you walk all the way along this trail, I think it will lead you right to Seoul tower.

N Seoul Tower

If you want to have a bird-eye view of the city-scape, this is the place to go. For couples, you may have your promises to each other locked here on the 'lock christmas trees'.

You could stay here for a nice sunset view too at the Observatory tower before heading back to town. I was in a rush to catch the Yeouido cherry blossom festival before sunset so I skipped that.

Yeouido cherry blossom festival 

The exact location of the festival is not the easiest place to find in Seoul. We had quite a hoo-ha encounter at the train station when we found out that Express peak hour train would skip the station that we want to alight at (National Assembly Station Brown Line 9). The tip is, look out and board the next train when the signboard shows a green train icon and not the red one.

When you see cherry blossom streets on TV, this must be one of those places. The entire street was lined with the full-bloom cherry blossoms here. Strolling along this street with cherry blossom petals falling on my head is a magical feeling, erm minus the noisy traffic that is.
We didn't forget to have a taste of some red bean cake and other snacks at the street vendors along the way.

At the cherry blossom festival location (a 15 mins walk from the station), we could see the cherry blossoms lighted up in shades of blue, red and green in the evening time. The flowers looked like colourful blobs of cotton attached to branches. The interesting thing which I failed to understand was - why do the trees have only flowers but no leaves.

The crowd in the vicinity was simply unimaginable perhaps everyone's rushing here after work. All the way at the end of this road is the festival stage performance. Yeouido festival was indeed the big thing in town.


Day 1 Here we come Seoul!
Day 2 Palaces tour
Day 3 Ewha and Hongdae
Day 4 Gangchon rail bike and Nami Island
Day 5 DMZ and Gangnam shipping
Day 6 Gwangjang market, Changdeok gung

No comments:

Post a Comment