Tag Archives: Korea

A Glimpse of Korea

27 Sep

Living in the Philippines where a lot of people have fallen in love with the Korean culture, finally being able to go to this beautiful country was very magical for me. And getting to visit the place in November was especially amazing since I got to experience snow for the first time.

Day 1:

Beforehand, I checked the weather, and was expecting Autumn. Never did I thought that since we were arriving at the last week of November, it was already the beginning of their Winter season. Thus, I was somewhat unprepared for the biting cold that met us when we got out of the Incheon International Airport.

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At the arrival area, dressed lightly in boots and sweater. This definitely wasn’t the right set of clothes for the weather outside.

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From the Arrival Area, we needed to ride a train to get to the stop that was nearest to our hostel.

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Quick snapshot of the group before we head out of the terminal.

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All of us were first timers. It was a bit hard to navigate around the place. There weren’t a lot of English-speaking locals, though they were very willing to help. They usually ended up pointing us to the wrong direction. It was fine though, getting lost in a new city was part of the adventure.

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We finally found the right exit.

It was a short walk to our hostel. And even if we wanted to enjoy the sights around us, it was difficult because it was freezing. It was hard to step out from the warmth of the terminal. 

After settling in our hostel, a few of us decided to walk around a bit to make the most out of our first night in Seoul. 

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Out and about with this crazy bunch.

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Had to practically wear every piece of clothing I could find in my duffel bag.

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Enjoying the remnants of Autumn.

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And we didn’t miss the chance to have some authentic Korean food. We didn’t know the proper sequence of eating the dish we ordered, so the locals sitting beside us gave us some tips, without us having to ask them. I told you. Koreans are very helpful, despite the language barrier.

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Capped the night off with these babies. New-found coffee bottles that we bought from a nearby convenience store. And though this was filled with caffeine, it didn’t stop from falling right off to sleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

 

Day 2:

We started our second day by taking advantage of the scenic spots outside the place we were staying in.

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This was the pathway going to our hostel. The whole gang up and ready for a day of exploring the city.

Today was to be dedicated to going around the tourist spots in Seoul. Armed with our map and documented research, we went our merry way and conquered the streets.

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We started early, so the roads were still a bit empty. A beautiful meld of cold and sunny as we were in our coats and sunglasses on.

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When you live in a tropical country, getting the chance to wear winter clothes is a welcomed rarity that we took advantage of during this trip.

 

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We were supposed to visit Nami Island, however, we got lost on our way there. We ended up going to the other side of the right road to that destination. Nonetheless, we still enjoyed going around the train stations and getting to interact with the locals. I ended up buying a pair of gloves because the cold was simply unbearable, and my hands were frozen to a crisp.

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I stole my boyfriend’s jacket, because mine was still not enough to fight off the cold.

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We decided to visit the palace for our last day-stop. Even if we weren’t able to explore the inside, since we arrived during closing time already, we still got a glimpse of the majestic architecture from the outside.

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And since it was already nearing the closing time when we got there, there were only a few people left roaming around. Because of this, we were able to get a few decent shots of the place without the other tourists behind us.

After a long day of walking around train stations and terminals, we were not ready to end our adventure yet. We checked for directions, and checked out the Seoul Tower.

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We had to ride this gigantic glass cable car up to the Seoul Tower. When we got off, we were rewarded with this majestic view of the city lights.

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Artistic graffiti walls lined the road up to the tower. We couldn’t stop ourselves from taking pictures on our way up.

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The celebrated love locks were a must-see section at the foot of the Seoul Tower.

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And since, we didn’t bring our own locks to write onto, we just took pictures of the gazillions of love locks around the place.

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It was a really great night spent with these amazing couples, inspirations to the younger generation.

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To save up, we decided not to go to the tip of the tower anymore and enjoyed the scenic view from the love lock area below.

After braving the cold winds of the upper side of Seoul, my companions were excited to shop! And since I’m not a really big fan of shopping, I went around the streets to check out the food stands littered outside the stores.

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The busy streets of the shopping district. I was giddy with excitement upon seeing the numerous food stalls. I couldn’t wait to get a taste of Korea.

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Everyone had to refuel after all the walking. We filled our bellies with good food in one of the local restaurants..

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Can you see what’s behind me?

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Spiced squid was my favorite.

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They had grilled shells as well. Talk about a unique set of street food that you’ll only find in Korea.

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And since it was November, Christmas lights were starting to decorate the streets.

Our second day was defined by different places, good food, and the best company. 

Day 3:

A trip to a different country is never complete without visiting at least one amusement park. And in Korea, we had several to choose from. But we decided to visit Samsung’s noted Everland Resort.

We kicked off our day by having a hearty breakfast at a nearby cafe.

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The place had really good food and very accommodating waitresses – plus FREE WIFI!

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Magnificent to the very last piece!

It was when we went out of the cafe to catch the bus to our destination, when I finally encountered my first snow fall! 

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And of course, let’s take a moment to appreciate the eye-catching art behind me.

It was another day conquering the numerous train rides.

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Gangnam style! Typical for Korean songs to become popular in the Philippines. I just had to take a photo of the signage.

And finally, Everland Resort 🙂

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Happy to find out that they actually had discounted entrance rates for tourists!

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There literally was snow everywhere! It was a fun sight during the first 5 or 10 minutes. It wasn’t much fun anymore when I couldn’t bring my hands out from the warmth of my jacket pockets.

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Celebrating Christmas in fantasy.

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You have to give credit to the amazing decorations around the park.

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This was easily my favorite tree.

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How the tree looks at night.

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Cable car ride to the other side of the park.

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It got even colder in the cable car, but all smiles for our emprise.

The other side of the park was filled with different kinds of animals. And these were animals that I don’t normally see in other zoos. Animals that usually thrive in cold weather. This was definitely one of my favorite parts of the park.

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My fascination piqued when the cute little penguins put a show of jumping out and into the water.

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The white tigers were a sight to behold. They were majestic and beautiful.

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My favorite part of the show. I was amazed by the amphibious ride that allowed us a firsthand experience with the animals that were around the vicinity.

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The lions surely weren’t shy when they decided to do this.

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The giraffes were pretty friendly and went near our ride. It was amazing to see them up close and personal.

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Lunch was delicious and surprisingly affordable.There were numerous food places to eat from, and I’m glad that we chose this one.

After that, we went around the whole park to see the rest of what it could offer.

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Interesting show of lights.

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Pretty photo op sections everywhere.

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Taking a short break from all the walking.

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We didn’t have to get on the rides to enjoy the place.

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And the trees were immaculately maintained.

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The miniature cities were a few of my favorites as well.

After walking around, we decided to stop by and warm ourselves with a few cups of coffee in a cute cafe.

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Coffee break!

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Polaroid shots 🙂

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Look at that profile ❤

Before heading out, we watched the park parade, which was impressive and fun.

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Everland Parade

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Ended the trip with some cinnamon churos.

This day fed the kid in us. We enjoyed running around the huge Everland Resort. The animals were entertaining, the food was sumptuous yet affordable, and though it was very cold, we had fun exploring everything that they could offer.

Day 4:

On our last day, we took our chances and decided to go to Nami Island. The place is a tourist destination because of the Filipino favorite koreanovela, Winter Sonata. This time, we had our directions right. And we set off to check out the place. It was a bit far from Seoul, but the white scenery made us even more giddy.

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It took us several train stops, a boat ride, and braving the cold.

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We finally got to Gapyeong Station.

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Port to Nami Island.

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Cute snowmen at the pier.

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Off to ride the boat!

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Winter chills on the icy sea in going to the island.

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And boom, we’re here!

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Getting my first literal taste of snow. 

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Snow everywhere!

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Trail of trees were mind-blowing.

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I couldn’t resist taking more than a few shots.

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Enjoying the Winter Sonata feels.

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Dramatic trees.

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Some parts still had remnants of Autumn.

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Nami Island crew.

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Tried the grilled lamb skewers that were all over.

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Enjoyed our snack by the heat of bonfires scattered all around. A welcomed break from the freezing cold.

Here’s a video to summarize our trip:

We made it back to Seoul by lunch time. And we were so hungry that we each had a fill of these succulent Korean food.

After some last-minute shopping, we checked out this last scenic view before heading to the Incheon International Airport.

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And to conclude the whole trip, another authentic Bibimbop meal on the airport.

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Korea was jaw-dropping. I wish we could’ve stayed longer and seen the other spectacular places that it could offer to their tourists. Definitely one of the places I would love to go back to, but maybe in a different season, like Summer or Autumn. It was a delight to finally experience snow, and a whole new culture.

With tons of cheap fares to just about everywhere in Asia, it won’t be too hard for you to live your Korean dreams as well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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