Saturday, June 19, 2010

South Korea Spring/Summer Trip: Yeouido Park, COEX & Kimchi

Breathing morning breeze of post Spring in Seoul..

Yeouido Park, COEX Mall and Kimchi Field Museum in just half of the day!

We woke up at 6:00AM Korea time with barely 4 hrs sleep since we arrived. That marked the start of little time to sleep and tired feet in Seoul but worth them all!

Our list of TD (to-do's) and MS (must-sees) for the day should have been ;1) Wake up call is 5AM and in the morning, we'll do some biking at Yeouido park along the 2-kms cherry blossom tree, stroll along the streets of Korea's TV channels like SBS, KBS, then Kimchi Museum. 2) After lunch at COEX, we will be going to Everland. 3) I expected to be back in Seoul by 10PM and take some walk along Seokchon Lake at the back of Lotte World.

But as part of the journey, changes can happen so with our itinerary for that day. There are factors why - long, long walk in the subway transfers, figuring out Seoul Metro exits. 
For first timers, be sure to have your feet ready for lots and lots and lots of walking so make sure you wear comfortable outfits.
Bought our T-money, familiarized the Seoul City Subway and off our 1st day in South Korea
We entered thru Exit 1 of Hongik University (just in front of our hostels' building) and bought T-money for KRW 3,000 (Php 125) at the booth. T-money is used for subway's metro and even bus transfers. There are establishments that accept T-money as long as there's enough funds in it. Funny but we really need to understand what's written on the machine and the six of us got our own T-money and even selected an option to get a receipt for souvenir and for my scrapbook, of course. After having the T-money card, we loaded it up for KRW 10,000 (Php 420) enough for the next two-three days' fare for trains and bus transfers.

Our first destination, Yeouido Park.  When we went out of Exit 2, I was expecting to see a tunnel of cherry blossoms but unfortunately, spring is already over. (Thanks God, was able to fulfill that dream in Beijing!)What I saw is a tunnel of greeny trees. So that's the cherry blossom tunnel! However, that did not bring down my excitement because we saw maple trees and other flowers like azaleas that I haven't seen before.
Directions to Yeouido Park
From Hongik Station (Line 2), transfer in Dangsan Station (Line 9) and get off in Yeouido Station.
Take Exit 2 and walk towards the front gate of the National Assembly Building.

We just walked along the park towards the National Assembly Building just killing time until the opening of COEX for our next destination. And I saw these flowers - sooooo beautiful!

After almost an hour of photo-op and it was nearly 10AM, we walked back to the subway and headed to COEX where Kimchi Museum is located.

COEX includes all - shopping mall, exhibit mall, convention place and aquarium. COEX mall caters to everybody's taste and picks with more than 260 shops, the largest underground shopping mall in Asia. The length of the mall is as long as 663 m.

So from Yeouido Stn, we transferred in Dangsan stn (Line 2) and get off in Samseong Station of the same line. We followed the directions going to COEX mall. Since it was almost 12NN already, we decided to have our lunch so we headed towards the mall's food court. Joan and I shared the lunch meal that we bought from Jeonju Bibimbap Resto composed of rice with bulgogi, mixed vegetables served in a hot pot for KRW 6,000 (Php 250). The serving is too large for one person only and all meals are served with kimchi and Korean chili paste.
How to get to COEX Mall:
Connected to Exit 5 & 6 of Samsung Station (Line 2)
I saw ARTBOX and the passion in me for notebooks and other paper products like stickers, notepads ignited!
Bought crafted notebook, funky band strips and colorful stickers that made my hand-carry luggage much heavier!
Then, we took our route to Kimchi Field Museum!
How to get to Kimchi Museum:
Inside COEX, walk towards the Megabox movie theater and take the escalator next to the ASEM Pharmacy.  Go down to the 2nd basement floor where the museum is located.  The museum is open Tuesdays thru Sundays and entrace fee is KRW3,000(Php125).
According to what I read from one of the displays in the museum, Yi Kyu Bo, a literary man in mid-Koryo Dynasty wrote about turnip kimchi. There are six kinds of vegetables: cucumber, eggplant, turnip, greenonion, mallow and white gourd. And the book also says that leaves of white raddish dipped in paste (turnip changatchi) are very good to eat during three months in summer and the salted ones (turnip changi) are endurable during winter time.

Only there where I discovered that there are so many kinds of kimchi. Good to always include museum visits in your trip. Unfortunately for me, I can't really compel myself to eat Kimchi. I'd rather eat "binagoongan". =)

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