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FREE & EASY [SEOUL]

I didn’t even blog about last year SEOUL TRIP. Actually, I did is just that I didn’t post it! HA!



It doesn’t matter anymore. Indeed this is my second time in SEOUL, KOREA! This time I went there for 12 days. I LOVE KOREA VERY MUCH! And it’s been a long wait, and I miss Korea like CRAZY. Talking about Korea non-stop for the whole year, I realized I have to go back there. Moreover, I didn’t cover some of the places; I needed to visit in December 2010- January 2011. Of course, why not complete my year with GAYO DAEJUN FESTIVAL!



Well, once you are there, You want everyday to be YESTERDAY! ^^
Going Around Korea IS A PIECE OF CAKE! With 12 days, you should visit and go…

1. Skiing!
2. Demilitarized Zone!
3. Theme Park Lotte World!
4. Insa-dong!
5. Dongdaemun Market!
6. Namsan Tower!
7. Myeong-Dong Street!
8. COEX!
9. Apujeong!
10. Han River!
11. Cheonggyecheon Stream!
12. Gyeongbokgung Palace!
13. Seoul City Hall Ice-Skating Ring!
14. 63 Building!
15. Any of the GAYO DAEJUN!

There are many places that you can go, which I don’t mention here. 12 days is actually long holiday however, we were too tired to go out early by the midst of our journey. It was very cold every day, and frustrating thick clothing that I have to wear each day. From now on, I shall buy HEAT PACKS!

Coming from a WARM and SUNNY country of Singapore, I just rather die feeling hot then feeling cold.

FIRST STOP! SKIING – IN YEONGPYEONG!



Anyways going Skiing is one of the things that you have to do in WINTER TIME! I went to YONGPYEONG SKI RESORT for skiing. If you are fans of ‘Winter in Sonata’, you should go to YongPyeong! Journey to YongPyeong is very far!! It’s about one and half hours ride with no traffic jam from SEOUL. It’s a VERY LONG, LONG; LONG RIDE Back and Forth to SEOUL!!!!! On the way, there you have to enjoy the view while riding in the bus! Spectacular! Mountains! And Farms! Our tour guide and Ski instructor, BILL HAVE A GREAT SENSE OF Humor! Well, he knows how to make people laugh with his stories. I GIVE HIM A HUGE THUMBS UP!!!

Firstly, we went to the store where we got our ski outfits and YES! Boys are working there! YongPyeong boys are very shy ones. HAHA!

*TIPS: Do listen to the people in the Ski store. Take off any extra jackets and jeans as the jackets are AWESOME! It will keep you Warm!



We had the most AMAZING LUNCH after getting our ski clothes. It was Octopus with nice Spicy Red Sauce!!! WOW! BY FAR THE MOST DELICIOUS FOOD I ever tasted in KOREA!!!!! TOP!! TOP!! TOP!!! MUST TRY!!! I don’t know where it is exactly; well if you got Bill for your tour guide he can bring you there.

Apparently, there were two more Singaporeans coming along with us! We met a nice young couple! Jack and her Husband! Well, they were very sociable, and it was nice talking to them. ^^

After lunch we went straight to YEONGPYEONG! Skiing is Hard at first, the boots are HEAVY! But after awhile you get a hang of it, it is extremely FUN!!!! THANK GOD! THERE WAS NO HARSH WEATHER. It's cold in the mountains, but the sky was clear bright BLUE!!!!!!! Accompany by nice K-POP Music!



After Skiing we went up the Gondola and went to the PEAK!!!! WA! AMAZING VIEW! If you love ‘Winter in Sonata’, do go there to see the location where the drama is film!!!! ♥ . Don’t forget to bring small amount of money up there in the PEAK! There are food stalls that sell snacks, and hot chocolate to keep you WARM!

SKIING took so much energy, but we were AWAKE the entire time going back to SEOUL. On our way back, Bill asked a lot about Muslim. And it was an interesting conversation. It is nice to share your culture to others....

SECOND STOP - DMZ!!!



My day started off EARLY. I don’t know how I did wake up at 5am after the tiring ski trip. It was an unexpected morning, seeing SIWON LOOK alike in the same train station as us. However the thought of not approaching him in the train ride on our way to Jamsil, was such a waste. How can we be so STUPID! What a waste of opportunity. Anyways, that was not the point.....

As you know, as interested I am for the South, I'm more CURIOUS about the North..... Well, my wish was to get as near to the North side, if I come back to Seoul. And I wanted to see the North Korean Soldiers badly. It’s just to satisfy my Curiosity. I wanted to see their height difference and also their faces. However, I didn't get the chance to see. Let me tell you, near the north, it has the most PRETTY, AND WONDERFUL views. There are so many things to wonder and ponder about when you walk around there.

Limited Pictures as some places we are not allow snapping....

BLUE/GREY/WHITE SKY SO PRETTY!

It's so sad that the Koreans are still at War. But I'm always hoping for the best out of both countries. Humans always make mistakes, which is why they like to make things difficult and complicated.



Anyways, OUR TOUR GUIDE IS A+++++. With Nice Nike Shoes and Backpack! If I don't know him, I would have stolen his SHOES! I think he study his KOREAN WAR well. He is like a walking Textbook. Not to mention his sense of humor. DAEBAK!

In the journey, there was a lot of talking about Korean War. WOW! I feel I was 9 years old. Seating in the tour bus ride and listening to the tour guide sharing more about DMZ. It's interesting to know about other country History.

Firstly, we stop by for toilet break not to mention the Breathtaking VIEWS, SO PEACEFUL unlike Singapore. We went together with other tour groups, and able to see many other foreigners from other countries. It was interesting.

First stop was the Dorasan Station. It's the last train stop from Seoul which leads to North Korea. As James said this station is the cleanest one as it is not been used at all. Surprising there isn’t much Korean Soldiers around there. However, we got to take pictures with one of them!



Second stop was the DMZ Pavilion. I think. We watch a show and learn more about DMZ tour sites. Managed to GO down the 3rd tunnel... GOING 300 METERS DOWN was EEEE-EASY! However, going up is difficult!!! WALAU!! CAN DIE SIA!!! HAHAHA!!! It’s a Good work out and I FEEL how bad in shape I am!!!! HAHAHAHA!!! The TUNNEL was small, dark, and watery. It is amazing! I don't know why I'm so fascinated about that small cramp hole. May be it's because, I making my way to the North I think! Ha! I bet the prisoners who dug the hole were cursing KIM JONG ILL....

Third stop was the Souvenir/ Convenient Store to purchase our Souvenir. You can get all of your DMZ SOUVENIR! The trip ended at the Ginseng Store!!! Meet a very nice Indonesia man that sell Ginseng there!!! I didn’t catch his name. But he was so friendly and nice to us!!! ^^

The trip to DMZ was fun!!!! We met other Singaporean friend, apparently shares the same age as me!!! Thanks Zhihao, Michelle, and Melvin who gave us tips to whereabouts in Korea, and also that AWESOME LUNCH!!!!!! ^^

It was nice and a blessing to meet you guys!!!! ^^

THEME PARK!!! LOTTLE WORLD!!!! - THIRD STOP!



Lotte World is Awesome IN THE NOON! Actually it’s Awesome in anytime of the day. It’s my second time there! AND IT WAS STILL ENJOYABLE!!!!!! Too many amazing rides, too many froze bite, and too many sweet memories. You should go early in the morning to enjoy as many rides as possible! The VIEW IS SPECTACULAR, while seeing CUTE kids having fun!!!

*TIPS: Grab a hot chocolate while you are standing OUTSIDE for the rides. Bring a talkative and fun friend along, so you can chat all the way while you are waiting. Wear comfortable and warm clothes while waiting outside [Wear a comfy Shoe, with warm socks!]. Get Heat Pack! Churos in LOTTE WORLD are AMAZING!!! BITES!!!! Protect your head and ears from the cold. Go outside rides first before sun down. Make new Korean friends in the Theme Park. ^^ Get 10,000 WON OFF. By getting coupon’s on VISITKOREA site!!!! There is an AMAZING souvenir clay stall in the FOLK MUSEUM [But it’s a bit pricey].

MUST TRY RIDES!



MAGIC ISLAND [OUTSIDE]: Atlantic Adventure! GYRO DROP! GYRO SWING!
ADVENTURE [INSIDE]: THE CONQUISTADOR! GIANT LOOP! FRENCH REVOLUTION!

SHOPPING! SHOPPING! SHOPPING! – IN INSA-DONG!



Insa-dong located at Anguk Station! It’s the best shopping place for ARSTY-FARTSY girl like me! Get all of your Souvenirs there as they have many Souvenir shop that sells, I LOVE KOREA t-shirts, Magnets, Bookmarks, Home Display Artifacts, Pens, Key-chain, and many more!



While visiting there don’t forget to stop by Ssamziegil! This is where most young adults do their shopping! They have the nicest craft and hand made things that you don’t get to see in Singapore! From handmade Organizers, Jewelry, Miniatures, and tones of CLOTHING, BAG, and Artistic stores! For those Art LOVERS it’s a must to visit here!!! Not forgetting the amazing Artworks Display over there!



For LUNCH, do stumble by this alley. They HAVE THE BEST SEAFOOD, TOFU soup I ever tasted!!!! It might be pricy to have lunch here, but the food is amazing! A MUST TRY!!! Moreover, the service is GOOD!



Before leaving INSA-DONG! There is cheap bag store located in front! OMG! BAG PARADISE!!!!!!

SHOPPING! SHOPPING! SHOPPING! – IN DONGDAEMUN MARKET!

Dongdaemun Market is a shopping paradise! SHOPPER-HOLICS! This is a must go destination! SHOES! CLOTHES! BAGS! ACCESSORIES! SOUVENIR! BODY & FACIAL PRODUCTS!

Mrs. Jin and Junnie bring us to a shopping centre where they sell raw goods, for jewelry, and hair accessories. I just when crazy and bought almost everything there. Silver necklaces which cost 3,000 won [SGD$4], and CUTE HAIR CLIPS worth the money to buy! Each level sells different types of raw goods. From FABRICS, HOME DECO, ETC. For homemaker, if you need nice curtains, carpet, cutlery or bed sheets this shopping centre you should go!

There is SO MANY SHOPPING CENTRE, for you to go shopping! HELLO APM! Is a must to visit! I don’t know where to start. Most shopping centre, are organized according to level. First and Second level for GIRLS! Third level for GUYS! Final level is for Accessories and Bags! BEWARE! Shop keepers LOVE to drag you into their stores especially in the GUYS level! It’s very nice at first but a bit too scary. So if you are not planning to buy anything, don’t try to peak, cause once you start bargaining and you don’t buy it, the shopkeepers will sure be mad at you. HE! HE! In winter time there is many WINTER CLOTHING! Well, you still able to find clothing that are wearable for Singapore weather. You have to look in detail for it in one of the stores!

NAMSAN TOWER! - FOURTH STOP!!!!



Namsan Tower is located at the highest peak in SEOUL! If you want to see SEOUL amazing view, bright in the day or night you can do it so here! Getting there is a bit tricky, but easy and a piece of cake. You have to be a good map reader that’s all!!!

There are many ways to go up; you can enjoy walking up the slopes, and stairs! I’m sure it’s a very long way up! But, for those who don’t enjoy walking up slopes you can choose to follow my easy directions!



Myeongdong station > Namsan Oreumi > Namsan Tower Cable Car > Namsan Tower!



Stop by Myeongdong station, and make your way to Exit 4. Walk straight and follow the road. Until you see the first HUGE traffic light intersection. Then turn Left and walk straight towards Namsan Oreumi!



Namsan Oreumi is a lift that brings you up to Namsan Tower Cable Car. It opens from 9am – 11pm and only closes on Mondays from [9am-2pm] for maintenance. And it’s a free service!



Now you are half way there. Now you can choose to walk up the stair where you can see the Namsan Park! However, Namsan Tower Cable Car is the easier solution. It’s good to buy a ONE Way ticket [Going UP! ONLY] because you can enjoy more nice view going down.

Tickets price might go up anytime, on December 2010 it was 3,000won [SGD$4], on December 2011 it was 4,000won [SGD$5]. Make sure you stand near the windows of the cable car ride to enjoy the view up!



Finally you made your way to NAMSAN TOWER! Well, three things you have to see there. Firstly, the beautiful LOCKERS display, located outside Namsan Tower! Secondly, the Teddy Bear Museum! Do purchase their CUTE TEDDY BEARS! Finally the Observatory! Well, I go both in the day and night. I prefer the NIGHT view more! Because the lighting is amazing! However, taking pictures in the day is better! You can choose! Of course don’t forget to shop for Namsan Tower Souvenirs, located at the Observatory level and the First level. It’s a bit expensive but worth it to buy! I love buying the HEART ORANGES there!





Then, enjoy your way down the BEAUTIFUL PARK! And snap, snap, snap more pictures!



SHOPPING! SHOPPING! SHOPPING! – IN MYEONG-DONG!



After you make your way down from Namsan Tower, stop by MYEONG-DONG STREET, for shopping!!! TONS of local and international brands available! CLOTHES, SHOES, BAGS, FAMOUS KOREAN BEAUTY PRODUCTS, FOOD RESTAURANT, ETC! Huge numbers of street stalls! Amazing Crowd! And lots of FREE HUGS! Forever 21/ FACESHOP/ CONVERSE/ SKINFOOD/ LESSMORE/ LUSH/ UNI-QLO/ SPAO / ETC!

For those of you who love SM Entertainment, SPAO is a place to visit. Clothing shop and also SM Entertainment Fan Souvenirs! You can purchase SM ENTERTAINMENT artist products [Posters/CDS/CUPS/FOLDERS!] from DBSK/ SUPER JUNIOR/ SHINEE/ SNSD/ F(X).



As for food wise, no need to worry. There are so many food restaurants in the side alleys! And delicious snack could be bought in the streets! And they are very delicious!!!! ^^

*TIPS: DRESS WARMLY! BRING A HUGE BAG PACK! CALCULATOR! AND EXTRA! EXTRA CASH!

SHOPPING! SHOPPING! SHOPPING! – IN COEX!



COEX is the World Trade Centre in SEOUL! Many local shops are available here! Book store/ Movie Theater/ Clothing Stores/ Shoe Stores/ Fast Food/ Food Court/ ETC! You can visit to the COEX Aquarium! I never been there before, but I heard is one of the biggest Aquarium in SEOUL! Usually, I went there just for dinner, and to get my organizers or to get decorations for my room.

BEAUTIFUL FIFTH STOP! – APUJEONG!



APUJEONG is a place where you can do your plastic surgery! HA! Well as you know, Korea is the best place to do plastic surgery, and there are many plastic surgery centers that you can visit here. Moreover, this is the place where you can see fake, natural, BEAUTIFUL and HANDSOME faces! Your eyes will go wide when viewing around and it is pretty sure a pleasant sight! ^^

The reason for me visiting there is to visit MICKEY YOOCHUN’S Timeout Gelato! It’s easy to go there. Just drop by to Apujeong station and make your way to Exit 5. When you go out you can see HYUNDAI DEPARTMENT STORE located on your right, which is on the other side of the road. Follow the road, pathway and walk straight to the first alley, where you make your left turn. Then you can see MICKEY YOOCHUN Timeout Gelato!



Get photos around the shop, because there is plenty of MICKEYS in the shop. If you are lucky you might able to see the real MICKEY! MICKEY souvenir is also available there!

HAN RIVER! – SIXTH STOP!



Stop by Dongjak Station! Make your way to Exit 1.

For couples, you have to visit the ‘A RED SKY CAFÉ’, it has a romantic setting, were they have light up candles. It’s a bit pricey café, so have your dinner before you come here. You can view the river nearby there. But, don’t go late at night or you might see Virgin Ghost hanging around there! HA! It is because; SEOUL NATIONAL CEMETERY is also located nearby there.

Han River view is nice both at night and morning; I didn’t get to go close to the River, because it is extremely cold at night!!! But if you want to see the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, then go in the early evening, at 5pm-6pm. It’s a peaceful place at night, and there are a few people walking by. So it’s defiantly difficult to ask around.

EASY & CONVENIENT CHEONGGYECHEON STREAM – SEVENTH STOP!



If Han River is difficult for you to visit, why not visit the Cheonggyecheon Stream! IT’S PRETTY AT NIGHT! I visit once last December 2010. Nearby City Hall where the river starts! I also went the one near Dongdaemun Market on my latest trip. But I enjoy it better at night nearby City Hall.

TENTH STOP! - GYEONGBOKGUNG PALACE!



Stop By Gwanghwamun Station. Make your way to Exit 2.



Gwanghwamun Square is located there. You can visit KING SEJONG museum, located underground nearby there, it is FREE! You can learn more about the History of Korean alphabet; view the ancient exhibits, traditional war weapons and also learn about ancient Korean War. Moreover, you also can do Korean calligraphy, for free inside the Museum. After visiting the museum, make your way straight, then you are able to see Gyeongbokgung Palace. You also can drop straight at Gyeongbokgung Station [Exit 5] if you don’t wish to see Gwanghwamun Square.



It opens 9am-5pm in winters and closes on Tuesday, Admission fee of 3,000 won [SGD $4].

I ENJOY THE BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAIN VIEW at the back of Gyeongbokgung Palace! Every hour there will be a guard changing parade. You can take pictures with the Guard! However, I was too afraid to take pictures with them because they seem fierce! HA!



SEOUL CITY HALL ICE-SKATING RING! – ELEVEN STOP!



If you enjoy watching Korean Drama! You should recognize this place!
It obvious, you should go skating with your date! It is extremely fun!!! What else do I have to say? ^^



63 BUILDING! – TWELVE STOP!



I visited 63 Building last winter [JANUARY 2011]. 63 Building is the tallest building in SEOUL not including Namsan Tower. There are many exhibits in 63 Building! You can enjoy going to the Wax Museum/ Aquarium/ Sky Art/ ETC.

Wax Museum is not that bad. You can see your favourite Artist in wax form.

I enjoy the Sky Art Exhibits the most, where they display Pablo Picasso Artworks. I don’t know if they do change their exhibits every year. Moreover you can enjoy the view from the top. It is very PRETTY! However, it is not as fantastic as Namsan Tower.

SAVE THE BEST FOR THE LAST!!!!!!! GAYO DAEJUN FESTIVAL!!!!!



If you are a K-POP Fanatic! Like I am! Then you should work hard in getting GAYO DAEJUN FESTIVAL tickets. There are 3 BROADCASTING STATION of GAYO DAEJUN you can go to. Firstly, SBS GAYO DAEJUN [29 DECEMBER]. Secondly, KBS GAYO DAEJUN [30 DECEMBER]. Finally, MBC GAYO DAEJUN [31 DECEMBER]. THE BEST PART ABOUT IT IS THAT, IT IS ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!!

All you need is to have a good Korean friend, and also Luck! Only Koreans get to apply for the tickets, and it’s like a lottery. Each winner gets 2 tickets.

Anyways, thanks to my very,very,very nice friend Jae Hark for the help. I don't know how to thank you, because that last concert really mean so much to me. THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN! By the way we had the best lunch ever!!!!! Have you seen live Octopus been cooked!!!! 



*TIPS: While waiting, bring along a warm portable blanket. Seating mats. Many, Many, Many HEAT PACKS! HOT CHOCOLATE in a bottle. Nice music to accompany you while waiting.



It is a long and frustrating wait! But it is all worth it!!! If you love your artist very much you sure have no problems waiting for them. Queuing can starts as early as 9am and concerts start at 9pm, ends late at night about 2am. Rite after the last performance, you should make your way out, because you will find troubles finding a taxi. No public buses and trains operate late at night. So be prepared to pay extra, extra, for late transportation. ^^ YES! TAXI DRIVERS in KOREA are like TOO FAST! TOO FURIOUS! So belt up when you are riding it, especially late at night.



CONCLUSION! AND FINAL TIPS!

If you need extra thermal wear, food, groceries then you should visit to HOMEPLUS! It’s like Singapore’s GIANT! You can get cheap, cheap groceries there! It opens 24 hours! DAEBAK! For 7eleven, you can visit FAMILYMART! You can get your T-MONEY [EZ-LINK] for bus or train ride, and top up the value of your card there.

Finally, enjoy your trip in KOREA! I cannot explain the AMAZING-NESS that I felt all the years going there. You have to experience it yourself! ^^ You will see a lot good looking ones daily, Tons of Skin ship among couples and friends ^^, The train station will be your BEST FRIEND in your journey! Go along with the flow, Koreans love to push while going inside the train, Be friendly! Because most Koreans are very FRIENDLY! And they do are curious about tourist. It would be better to know basic Korean, because it does help, to converse. ^^



Booked your SKI and DMZ tours with VIP TRAVEL! For cultural experience, apply for HOMESTAY! AND FINALLY MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE LOCALS!!!

Tags: free and easy to seoul. travel log seoul, gayo daejun, namsan tower, tips to seoul
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