Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Six Days in South Korea: Barely Made it to Spring

It was May in Year 2010 and Spring was almost fading in the scene. We barely made it to  the cherry-blossom season and actually had our share of the first strike of monsoon season in South Korea on our last two days.  I couldn't help but keep on rummaging my external drive to view our photos - those were surreal, so beautiful and seems everything so perfect!

And the best way to keep those memories alive are through this post. Here I am sharing how we spent our six full days in South Korea.

My Itinerary:
  • Day 1 : Arrived Seoul 11:30 PM and just had our midnight snack of streetfoods along Hongdae area.
  • Day 2: We tried to catch the Cherry Blossoms in Yeouido but flowers were no longer in bloom. Kimchi is more than a side dish... it has more interesting stories and a lot of varieties - that's what we learned from its tailored-fit museum housed inside COEX mall.  After lunch, we then spent our magical afternoon and night at Everland Resort. 
At the entrance of Kimchi Field Museum located inside COEX Mall
Holland Park in Everland Resort

  • Day 3:  Not able to catch the shuttle bus to Nami, we changed our itinerary right away and spent the rest of the day in Gyeongbokgung Palace and Myeongdong area.  That was a good chance to let go of our addiction to shop and hoard lots and lots of Skin Food products. Towards late afternoon, we took the full view of the beauty of Seoul from the top of N. Tower and Namsam Park.
Gyeongbokgung Palace with some Aussie tourists
N. Seoul Tower

  • Day 4: We explored the other provinces outside Seoul and spent the whole day biking and strolling in Namiseon Island.   Then, made it to the night shopping at Dongdaemun.
Nami Island

  • Day 5: We went back to Incheon and took the ferry to Si-do Island for the setting ground of the Korean drama "Full House" .  We then transferred to Bukchon Village and experienced Hanok-stay.
Full House location
  • Day 6: With our flight back to Manila scheduled at night, we spent our last day in Seoul shopping at Nandaemun Market.
My Helpful Tools:

I planned out our itinerary with some research from different websites.
From the official Korea Tourism Organization to a lot of travel blogs (personal and official). The travel guide book, "Seoul 100" from a colleague was very helpful. 

I made my own DIY Seoul 101

My Take-Aways:

My trip to South Korea marked the many firsts in my travel chronicles.

1. My first travel with tourist visa
    - my first stamp for more travels (hopefully Europe in 2014)
2. My first Spring experience
    - how I love Spring that I had to feel it again in Beijing
3. My first South Korea taste of authentic Kimchi and other cuisine 
     - just to personally experience how my eyes feast on the food in K-dramas (Though it was not appealing to me in real life)
4. My first travel abroad with Anna, Joan and Vivian
    - that made them officially my travel buddies. Been together for so many travels in the Philippines and abroad.
5. Finally, making it to see the K-drama locations
    - like Korean cuisine, it's more of personally being in the place!

South Korea left a spot in my heart that I wanted to go back again.  It is named as the Europe of Asia, where East meets West, existence of nature-themed parks and beautiful flowers and scenery that only a cold weather can provide.  

I had encountered difficulties in conversing with locals but with a few hand gestures and pictures, was able to pull it through. It only shows that people around the world can still communicate, even not in words but with a few genuine smiles and friendly gestures.

On March 2013, I will be living my dream for a solo travel in two weeks and I choose South Korea again, my gateway to Europe Experience.

Bonus Link: Here's my post on how to apply for tourist visa to the Embassy of South Korea in the Philippines.

Travel Dates: May 19-24, 2010
Joiners: Anna , Joan, Vian, Lea and Ai
IT Planner: Claire

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