Spring Getaway – KOREA

korea

Went to Korea for 10 days few weeks back (29 April – 8 May 2013) & it was damn fun! Was there during spring so it’s not too hot and not too cold (around 10-15 degrees celcius), unless it’s windy! (it’s windy everyday though :P). However, if you are to be there during this season, make sure to bring along a jacket.

ABOUT KOREA

Currency: Korean Won

Timezone: UTC +09:00

Visa: Not required for Malaysian

Plug adapter: 2 pin (round) type

Korea-Type-Power-Cord-YP205-2- Korea-Type-Power-Cord-YP323-A-

seoul

Getting There

Went there by Air Asia. Bought a ticket during promotion season. Supposedly should be going there in June but changed to another date so the flight ticket is around RM1000+ (originally it was only RM500+). The flight will take you from LCCT Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Incheon International Airport. From Incheon International Airport, you can take the subway (AREX) to go to anywhere within Seoul.

Accommodation

In Seoul, my friends & I (there were 3 of us) stayed at Namsan Guest House. It is located in Myeong Dong, which is one of the primary shopping districts in Seoul. The guest house is clean & the staffs there are very friendly & helpful. There are 3 building, Namsan 1, 2 & 3. If you want to save money & doesn’t mind to walk up a steep road, you may choose Namsan 1 but if you are NOT OK, go for Namsan 2 or 3. To go to this guest house, take a subway to Myeong Dong station (Line 4) and take Exit No 3. Walk out of the station towards Pacific Hotel and take a road on the right side of the hotel (so the hotel will be on your left) and just walk straight. It is very convenient to stay here because it is near to the subway station, minimart, Myeong Dong famous shopping area, restaurants, etc. You can also leave your luggage there if  you need to check out to go somewhere (maybe Jeju) and then check in again once you are back to Seoul. I did that & so does most of the guests there. They also provide free Wi-Fi, towel (although the towel is not big enough to cover even your butt), breakfast & you can even use their pantry and kitchen.

Namsan Guest House

Getting Around

Most of the time I travel using the subway. It is very convenient but do mind that you will be doing a lot of walking and going up & down the stairs. So make sure to wear a comfortable shoe!!

To use the subway, you will need to purchase a T-money card (I bought mine at the airport convenient store) and you can reload value into it using a kiosk. The concept of it is similar to the Touch N Go card in Malaysia.

T-money

Here’s a map of the subway. You can also download an apps which will help you in case you are confused with the map but I prefer to just use the map. It’s quite easy to use once you understand how it works.

seoul metroline

Things To Do & Places To Go

  • SHOPPING

There are several places that you can go to shop till you drop. I shop but didn’t drop😛

MYEONG DONG SHOPPING AREA: To go here, take subway to Myeong Dong (Line 4). Can’t remember which exit but it is just opposite the road from Exit No 3. You can find shops which carries international brands as well as local brand..or no brand😛

myeong dong 1 myeong dong 2 myeong dong 4 myeong dong 3 myeong dong 4 myeong dong 5

EWHA UNIVERSITY SHOPPING AREA: Just take a subway to Ewha Woman’s University Station (Line 2) Exit #2. There are shops everywhere along the busy road. You can also go into the university to have a look

ewha uni 1 ewha uni 2 ewha uni 3 ewha shopping 1 ewha shopping 2 ewha shopping 3

NAMDAEMUN MARKET: This is a very big market. It is the largest traditional market with various goods in store. To go here, take subway to Hoehyeon Station (Line 4) Exit #5. By the way if you are feeling hungry, there’s a Halal food chain selling Kebab.

namdaemun 1 namdaemun 2 namdaemun 3 namdaemun 4 namdaemun 5 namdaemun 6

ITAEWON MARKET: Itaewon Market looks like a junk yard sale. A good place to find antique stuff. If you are hungry, there are a lot of Halal restaurants especially near the mosque. To go here, take a subway to Itaewon Station (Line 6)

itaewon market 1 itaewon market 2 itaewon market 3 itaewon market 4 itaewon market 5 itaewon market 6

DONDAEMUN: There are a lof of small shops, street market and shopping complex in Dondaemun. To go here, take a subway to Dondaemun (Line 1 or Line 4). For exit usually I take Exit #9.

HONGDAE: Quite similar to other shopping area. There are shops everywhere along the street. To go here, take a subway to Hongik University Station (Line 2) Exit #2.

hongdae 1 hongdae 2

  • SEOUL TOWER

Seoul Tower is located in Myeong Dong. You can go up using cable car (we did that) or by walking up. If you need to buy souvenir for your friends etc., you can purchase fridge magnet there because it is sooooo cheap!! I bought 10 packets! 1 packet include 3 Seoul Tower magnet & it cost only 1000 won per packet! (around RM2.87 onlyyyy!! – selling exchange rate that time was 2.87). For direction and other details, click on this link: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_6.jsp?cid=260067

seoul tower ticket seoul tower magnet seoul tower locks of love seoul tower 1  seoul tower 2  seoul tower 3

  • BUKCHON HANOK VILLAGE

It is a village with traditional Korean homes, or known as HANOK. There are 8 photo spots to look for. However you can still take photos anywhere and everywhere. To go here take a subway to Anguk Station (Line 3) and go out from Exit No 2. We were a bit loss so it is advisable to get a map & ask around😛

hanok village 1 hanok village 2 hanok village 3 hanok village 4  hanok village 5  hanok village 6 hanok village 7  hanok village 8  hanok village 9

  • WEAR TRADITIONAL KOREAN COSTUME @ HANBOK

You can try out Korean tradtional costume or known as Hanbok. I tried it at Insadong Tourist Center. To go there, take subway to Anguk Station (Line 3) Exit No 6. You will need to ask around because I can’t remember how to go there.

Hanbok 1  hanbok 2

  • COFFEE SHOP, CATS CAFE & HELLO KITTY CAFE

You can see cute coffee shops almost everywhere in Korea!! Too bad I only went to two; Paris Baguette & Caffe Bene. The coffee is quite good! (I REALLY LOVE COFFEE)

paris baguette

If you love coffee and cats (can even drink tea etc.), visit CATS CAFE. The cafe is crowded with cute, fat & fluffy cats!! It is also available in Myeong Dong shopping area (and other places as well)

cat cafe 1 cat cafe 2 cat cafe 3 cat cafe 4 cat cafe 7 cat cafe 6 cat cafe 5

You can also go to Hello Kitty Cafe if you love Hello Kitty. (I don’t really like Hello Kitty but i still went there). To go here, take subway to Hongik University Station (Line 2) Exit #2. You will need to ask around the find it because i can’t really remember

hello kitty cafe 1 hello kitty cafe 2 helo kitty cafe 3

  • PALACE & GUARD CHANGING CEREMONY

There are several palaces that you may visit but do take note that not all will have the guard changing ceremony. We went to Changdeokgung Palace but there’s no guard changing ceremony there. To go here, the a subway to Anguk Station (Line 3) Exit #3.

changdeokgung 1 changdeokgung 2 changdeokgung 3 changdeokgung 4 changdeokgung 5 changdeokgung 6

Since there’s no guard changing ceremony at Changdeokgung Palace, we rushed to Deoksugung Palace. They are certain timing of when this ceremony will take place so you will need to do a bit of research. (We went for 11am ceremony). To go here, take subway to City Hall (Line 1 or 2) Exit 2.

Deoksugung 1 Deoksugung 2 Deoksugung 3 Deoksugung 4 Deoksugung 5 Deoksugung 6 Deoksugung 7

  • PARK + CYCLING

Went to Yeouido Park (a big park with nice scenery). Rented a bicycle and cycle along Hangang River. To go here, take subway to Yeouido Station (Line 9) Exit #4.

yeouido 1 yeouido 2 yeouido 3 yeouido 4 yeouido 5 yeouido 6

  • EVERLAND 

Everland is a Korean own theme park. To go here, take a subway to Gangnam (Line 2) Exit #10. Take city bus (bus no 5002) to Everland. To go to the city bus stop, take Exit #10 from Gangnam station. Walk straight until you reach end of the block & there’s a zebra crossing. Continue walking down another block and cross another zebra crossing. The bus stop will be in front of a clothing shop, WHO.A.U (shop will be on your left).

Gagngnam 1 gangnam 2 gangnam 3

Once you reach Everland parking area, take a shuttle bus into Everland Resort. The Shuttle bus is provided free.

everland 1 everland 3 everland 5 everland 7 everland 8 everland 9 everland 10 everland 11 everland 12 everland 13 everland 14 everland 15 everland 16 everland 17 everland 18

For more details on everland such as opening hours and entrance fee, click on the link: http://www.everland.com/web/multi/english/everland/main.html

  • STREAM

Visit the stream (especially at night & especially when there are certain occasion). Just walk along the stream & take photo (nothing much to do though😛 ). To go here, take a subway to Dondaemon station (Line 1 or 4) Exit #8 or #9. There’s also shops selling Grill Fish (scroll below) and there are  lot of place to shop around this area (Dondaemon).

stream 1 stream 2 stream 3 stream 4 stream 5

Eatery & Food

YOOGANE: Yoogane is available in many places & so does in Myeong Dong shopping area (near to where i stayed at). They sell fried rice but you can have add-on such as udon (do add on udon!). They have chicken fried rice or seafood. For Halal food, go for the seafood. By the way, the food will be prepared right in front of your eyes!

yoogane 1 yoogane 2 yoogane 3 yoogane 5  yoogane 4  yoogane 6

ITAEWON STREET: The best place to enjoy Halal food will be at Itaewon. There are a lot of Halal restaurant within this area. Just take a subway to Itaewon Station (Line 6) and walk towards the mosque. To try out Halal Korean food, go to a restaurant named Murree.

itaewon 1 itaewon 2 itaewon 3

GRILL FISH: Take subway to Dongdaemun station (Line 1 or 4) Exit #8 or #9 (when we were there, exit #8 was closed). After exit, walk straight then turn right. Walk towards the stream (You can see how the stream looks like by scrolling up). Once you reach the stream, turn right (the stream will be on your left). Walk straight. You can see ‘Byoung Hwa Clothing Market’ on your left. After the second bridge (to cross the stream), turn right and go into the small lane. Take the left lane. There will be a lot of shops selling this. PS: They grill the fish outside the shop so it would be very easy to spot the shops. Just choose any shop.

ikan bakar

LOTTERIA: Fast food chain. They don’t sell pork so you can eat Shrimp burger or shrimp/ squid nugget

lotteria

ROAD SIDE SHOP: Tried Korean Pancake. The taste is not bad but a bit oily though

Korean pancake

MINIMART: You can purchase food and drinks at the minimart. If you bring along canned food or sambal (hehe we did this) you can purchase instant rice. Make sure to try out the banana milk (on the left in below image. Also just try out anything you can :P)! DELICIOUS!

banana milk icecream 1

jeju island

Getting There

Went to Jeju Island for 2 FULL days (actually 4 days 3 nights. Reach there at night & depart back to Seoul early morning). Went there by Easter Jet, which is Korea’s budget airline. The plane will take you from Gimpo Airport to Jeju International Airport. To go the Gimpo Airport, you can take the subway (AREX).

gimpo 1 gimpo 2 gimpo 3 gimpo 4 gimpo 5 gimpo 6

Accommodation

Stayed at 2 different guest houses because we wanted to explore the whole island. The first day we went to the East Side and the next day the West side of the island.

The first and third night we stayed at SUM Guest House. It is quite near to the airport. You can take a taxi to go here. They provide free Wi-Fi, towel (face towel to be exact), breakfast, and you can also use their kitchen.

sum 1 sum 2 sum 3 sum 6 sum 5 sum 4

The second night stayed at Jeju Hiking Inn. This place is a but run down but they still   provide free Wi-Fi, towel (same size of towel..face towel!) and free usage of the kitchen. (Sorry but i dont have photo for this guest house)

Getting Around

We rented a car from a local car rental company, which is known as KT Kumho. The rental fee is quite cheap + they provide free Wi-fi (so you will be connected every time you are in the car) & a GPS (English version – this in important!). We made reservation online. For car pickup, you will then need to take a shuttle bus from Gimpo airport (provided free of charge) to go to the pickup place. if you are not sure which bus (because i can’t remember), go to the car rental counter.

Things To Do & Places To Go

  • MANJANGGUL CAVE – UNESCO World Heritage; one of the finest lava tunnel

manjanggul 1 manjanggul 3 manjanggul 5

  • KIMNYONG MAZE PARK

maze park 1 maze park 2 maze park 3

  • SEONGSAN ILCHULBONG – also called ‘Sunrise Peak’, is an archetypal tuff cone formed by hydrovolcanic eruptions upon a shallow seabed about 5 thousand years ago.

ilchulbong 1 ilchulbong 2 ilchulbong 3 ilchulbong 4 ilchulbong 5 ilchulbong 6

  • FLOWER FIELD

flower 1 flower 2 flower 3

  • SONGEUP FOLK VILLAGE

folk village 1 folk village 2 folk village 3 folk village 4 folk village 5 folk village 6

  • TRICK ART MUSEUM

trick art 1 trick art 2 trick art 3 trick art 4 trick art 5 trick art 6 trick art 7

  • WATERFALL – there are few waterfalls in Jeju to visit

waterfall 1 waterfall 2 waterfall 3

  • JUSANGJEOLLI CLIFF

jusangjeolli 1 jusangjeolli 2 jusangjeolli 3

  • MYSTERIOUS ROAD – if you are driving, make sure to put the gear on neutral, take your foot off the break and the car will move up the hill instead of going backwards. Try it!! There are 2 ‘mysterious road’. The correct one will be the one close to Love Land

mysterious road

  • LOVE LAND

love land

  • BLACK SAND BEACH – there are other beaches as well

black sand beach 1 black sand beach 2 black sand beach 3

  • OTHER PLACES (along the road & places i can’t remember the name😛 ). There are more places to visit such as Glass Castle, Chocolate Museum, Teddy Bear Museum etc. that you can visit but too bad I don’t have enough time to visit all.

jeju 1 jeju 2 jeju 3 jeju 4 jeju 5 jeju 6 jeju 7 jeju 8 jeju 9

Eatery & Food

Basically we cook and pack our own lunch & dinner since there are not much of place to get Halal food. However if you are not Muslim, you can just eat Korean food which are available there.

sokcho

Getting There

To go to Sokcho, take a subway to Gangbyeon Station (Line 2) and walk towards Dong Seoul bus terminal. Purchase a ticket to Sokcho at the counter (You don’t need to book the ticket). Basically there’s a bus going there every 10 or 15 minutes, i can’t remember. The bus is quite punctual so make sure you are there early. Make sure to buy a non-stop bus. It takes around 3 hours to reach Sokcho from Seoul.

Accommodation

Stayed at The House Hostel. The place is soooo damnnn cute!! They also provide free Wi-Fi, breakfast, towel (same small towel). The owner (or staff not sure) is also very kind and helpful. He gave us a map and told us what are the attractions there and how to go, where to eat, etc. Since we were there for only 1 day, we only went to Mount Soerak. Too bad. It is a good idea to stay there longer. To go here, walk out of the bus terminal and turn right. Walk straight until you reach the end of the road and turn right (should be the second junction). Walk straight and turn right into a small road when you reach GS25.

house hostel 1 house hostel 2 house hostel 3 house hostel 4 house hostel 5 house hostel 6

Getting Around

Sokcho is not that big. You can walk (if the place is not too far) or take a bus (We took the bus to Mount Soerak).

Things To Do & Places To Go

MOUNT SOERAK or SOERAKSAN

soerak 1 soerak 2 soerak 3 soerak 4 soerak 5 soerak 6 soerak 7 soerak 8 soerak 9 soerak 10

6 thoughts on “Spring Getaway – KOREA

  1. Dear farah…

    I would like to ask your premission to use some of your photo in my prrsentation.

    Hope you dont mine.

    Thank you
    diana

  2. Hi Farah,

    I’m going to Korea end of Nov 2014. Thinking of going to Mt Soerak on day trip. Is day trip enough or better stay 1 nite there? FYI, I’m taking my kids aged 12, 9, 3 n 10 mths.. is Mt Soerak suitable for kids? what actually the attractions & activities u can do over there?

    • hi shaza,
      you are going to mt soerak from seoul? bus ride from seoul to sokcho is around 3 hours & it will take time to reach mt. soerak. if its winter, the top of the mountain might be covered with snow. basically not much to do there. just to enjoy the breathtaking view. you can go up using cable car or trekking. basically locals go there for trekking purpose. if you are going to bring your kids, need to make sure to properly keep on eye on them. if you see from my photo, there’s nothing being put up to prevent people from falling from the cliff (i dont think i see any). i stayed 1 night in sokcho. quite a nice & relaxing place.

  3. Salam farah…

    Nak tanya kat namsam guest house kita boleh masak tak… sebab ingat nak masak siap2 sebelum travel mana2…he2

  4. Reading this in 2015 and still find it useful! Thanks for this informative jam-packed post!
    -From one Farah (and psychopath) to another-

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