Traveling abroad was one of my dreams ever since I was a child so when my co-workers invited me to go to Korea with them, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Who doesn’t want to go to Korea, right? A country known for its cosmetic industry and Kpops – of course, I’ve always wanted to know more about its culture.
Here are some of my bullets about the trip:
- The weather is really freezing. I didn’t belive my mother at first when she told me that I would need 2-3 layers of jacket. I was quite confident that I’d be able to tolerate it like when I was in Baguio but I was wrong. Note that when other countries say winter, it’s legit winter. Do not to underestimate it.
- The food. Koreans love kimchi. They always serve it as side dish in restaurants (for free). It’s like their national food. And I don’t know why but it tastes better there: ughh, the original korean kimchi is something! Other than that, they have a lot of vegetables on their menu’s too. As for the taste, I guess they prefer spicy, less sweet and not too salty food. #hashtag HealthyLiving.
- The place. It’s clean and peaceful. People segregates their wastes accordingly. The subways are systematic though sometimes confusing. The metropolis is filled with skyscrapers which makes it feel like we were inside a comic book so the roads feels busy even at dawn.
- The people. As per observation; 1) Koreans are very attached to their mobile phones. Whenever we’re on the subway, they are always focused on their screens. 2) They are also very disciplined and respectful, most especially to their elders. They always bow when you smile at them. 3) They are affectionate. I don’t know if it’s just a valentines feeling -but gee there were couple shirts everywhere and they all look sweet. 4) They are well reserved. They don’t talk loud and sometimes I feel like they’re just whispering all the time.
PS. I only got 5 days to interact with them so I don’t mean to generalize my obeservations. Overall, they are one of my favorite people because they are all nice and genenrous. I can’t help but enjoy talking to them, and I like staring at them too. I don’t really know why. Maybe because they’re overloaded with cuteness.
Here are my bullets about our Itenerary:
- Gyeongbokgung palace. There are 5 palaces in Seoul and this place is known to be the oldest and grandest. According to what I read, this was the first royal palace built by Joseon dynasty about 600 years ago. It has colorful designs, spacious gardens, monumental architecture and photo-scenic spots so you can just freely enjoy the place while taking cute photos for instagram.
Gwanghamun Square Park is located just in front of the palace so you can also stroll around if you have more time.
- Bukchon Hanok Village. This is like the calle crisologo in Vigan except that this place is clustered with different types of Hanoks (houses built in traditional Korean style) and the maze inside this neighborhood looks wonderful, most especially the thatch roofed houses.
- Kstyle Hub Building. This is a tourist friendly place that provides information about korean culture and food while letting you participate in various traditional experiences.
What’s nice about this place is that it caters the hallyu experience where you can take photos with your favorite kpop stars on screen and visit various places through their 3D glasses equiped with 360-degree panorama gallery.
PS. They give a lot of freebies here to take as souvenirs when you’re done, and they also let you wear hanboks for free.
- Namsan Tower. I keep saying that it’s Nami tower during our trip (ha ha!). I don’t really know what’s special here but upon further research, I learned this is an observatory and communication tower. It also marks the highest peak in Seoul (262m high) which means you have to ride cable cars for you to be able to reach the top.
PS. Alternate route on the road is also possible if you’re legs are strong enough and you can spare some time.
- Nami Island. This is a mini-love island also called Namuseom. This was popularized because of “Winter Sonata” (Remember Yong-Joon and Choi?)
This is a man made island formed as a result of the construction of cheongpyeong dam. Here you can find beautiful lined trees and mini-bridges.
Ps. I call this love island because we met a filipino couple who got engaged here. ~love love~
- Ski Resort. There are several ski resorts to choose from in Korea. As for us, we went to Elysian Gangchin Ski Resort. It was our first time to ski so it was really difficult at first. We needed several hours to practice.
What I personally love about this activity is the feeling speed when your sliding from a steep slope.
I stumbled too many times in different positions but it was worth the pain. The ski rod was also difficult to control but once you get to muster it, you get to experience the intensity of real skiing.
Huhu. Too much feels for this sport !!!
- Shoping and Food Centers: 1) Insadong 2) Hongdae 3) Myeogdong 4) Namdaemun 5) etc. etc. There’s a lot to choose from and all you need is a map.
PS. people here are really generous, we got a lot of give aways while shopping and their products are really good!
- Han River. This was actually an epic fail trip for us because we got lost. In case you want to try the han river cruise you must set a schedule there on weekened and do research about the direction. It was -6 degrees back then. We were lost, we were tired, we were cold and hungry but surprisingly, we were having fun. At least we were able to see the city view from the river deck upong walking at the freezing zone, haha, and mam Maro even found her cold-city-man.
- Petite France. I’ve always been a fan of little prince so I found this place interesting, plus the french-style houses here are colorful and really charming.
- YG Building and Gangnam Builduing. Our co-workers are addicted to BTS, EXO, etc. so we took the odds of strolling on a cold winter weather to visit these places. They say that when you are lucky, you are likely to see the oppas here. As for us, I guess there will always be next time.
As for the expenses, there are coupons and discounts given to foreigners whenever you go there for a vacation so it is much wiser to do a research before going. I wish I could expound this more so that I could share more tips but you can contact me for details instead.
It’s my first time in another country so I can’t really compare the experience. But regardless, for me this feels like living in a dream for 5 consecutive days. It was absolutely fun and exciting.
I’ve always been kuripot when it comes to managing my expenses but what I learned about this trip is that it’s okay to spend once in a while for yourself and your loved ones.
We only live once so we have to try our best to experience things. We are not getting any younger so we should give ourselves a break.
While it is true that we should focus on investing for our future while we are young, it won’t hurt to reward yourself every once in a while. Remember that every journey is a metaphor for a lifetime.
Kamsahamnida Korea! You are a wonderful country, I wish to see you soon again. Anyeong! Saranghe!! ❤