I am truly fortunate and definitely over the moon when I know I was gonna go to Seoul in early Nov recently. Due to time contraint, we had to pick a 6D4N package. It took me 3 weeks to search for the best package that suit our needs and budget. A restraint I had then was we could only travel on 2 selected dates. It wasn't an easy task and it was definitely very time consuming to do the coodination work plus endless calls to the travel agencies, especially when I was given a tight budget to work on. As the saying goes, if money is not a problem, then there's no problem at all. But here, money was indeed a huge problem to overcome. After returning from the trip, I was actually informed by my travel mates that we got really a good deal for what we paid because it was inclusive of a 4 star hotel, most lunches & dinners (and boy, were they good), the costly entrance fees to a few local attractions and lastly, we flew on Malaysian Airlines ( MH which was dubbed as "Malaysian Hospitality" .... yeah.. right...).
Under this package, we visited following places :
1. Guri Movie Studio
The 1st place we stopped by after arriving in Incheon airport. It's actually a place previously built for a famous Korean drama. Don't ask me for the drama title because I was then too busy snapping pictures and wasn't paying attention to our Korean guide.
2. Nami Island
After lunch, we were transferred to Nami Island where one of the famous scenes from Winter Sonata was shot. The scenery there is truly breathtaking. Here's a pix of me and my travel mates. I didn't lie about the scenery, did I? After Winter Sonata was filmed here, the place was transformed from a dead place to a lively tourist attractions for both foreign and local tourists. Yes, need to take a cruise ride to reach this island and cruise tix was inclusive.
3. Myeong-Dong Street, Chuncheon
We were brought to this shopping area in Chuncheon. The main actor and actress from Winter Sonata visited this area and again, this place is now well known to everyone. We didnt' shop at these shops out here in the streets but instead, our tour guide brought us to the underground shopping area.
4. Mt Sorak National Park
Our 1st night in Korea was in Yongpyong Resort which is actually a ski resort. Had we come here during winter, this place would be covered with snow and will be packed with throngs of people. To some of us, we finally witnessed snow for the very first time! From here, we travelled about 1.5 hours to reach Mt Sorak National Park. This place is beautiful. I love the color of the trees. The temperature was then 4C and we didn't mind one bit. We took a cable car ride up to the top and the view was magnificient. From there,you can proceed to trek to the top but I for one will never do such a thing. It was super windy up there which really could blow a person off and we were standing precariously at the edge of the cliff just to snap pictures: of the view and of ourselves, of course. It is here that you get to visit Shinhuengsa Temple and Kwunkeum fortress.
5. Everland Theme Park
We reached here closed to 5pm and to our dismay, had to assemble at 7.30pm. Definitely not enough time for us. Our guide took us to queue up for the safari to watch "Liger". It was an eye opener indeed : for the Liger as well as the entire safari. After that, me and another 3 travel mates rushed to our the ultimate ride that we must have : T Express Rollercoaster. It is currently the world's steepest wooden roller coaster. It is also the world's 9th fastest, 4th tallest and 6th longest wooden roller coaster. And yes...I rode it. That was by far the worst ever roller coaster ride in my life as I could hear my heart thumping as if I was gonna have a heart attack any time. After this ride, I made a pledge to NEVER ever ride in any roller coaster for as long as I live. You'll understand if you see how steep it is from the pix below.
Steep enough for you? Photo by Rastuso
The ride never seems to end. Photo by Rastuso
6.Kimchi making and Korean traditional wear
Yeah.. we tried our hands on making kimchi. A funny thing happened here.Before we start working on the kimchi, we were all asked to drink this drink served to us in a cup. Automatically, all 22 of us, took the cup in our hands, raised them up and said 'yuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmm.... sennngg'. Yes, all 22 of us. It's like we have this instinct in us to do so.
I would say 85% of us waited with bated breath for this moment that is the moment to shop fervently and recklessly. Namdaemun market wasn't in our itinerary but our guide included it for us because he said this is a place where the locals will shop. Unfortunately, this market closes around 9 - 10pm. Dongdaemun is a wholesale market and this market covers a very large area. This market closes between 3- 4am. However, I didn't had a good experience shopping here. Insadong is a nice market but caters mainly to tourists.
8. Seven Luck Casino.
Being the majority of 85% who wanted to shop, we omitted this place. Anyway, none of us were gamblers. Our Genting casino is way bigger and better than theirs. The guys didn't mind we skip it, so they said.
9. Gyeongbok Palace and Folklore Museum
The place is a must visit place but I'm not a fan of any museum.
10. Jump Show
The tickets to Jump Show was included in our package. It seems that this Jump Show is very popular in Korea and they've been travelling around to perform. It's a live performance alright. Some may find it entertaning while others find it utterly 'wu liao' (can't find an English vocab to translate it).
11. Cheongwadae 'The Blue House'.
Nobody can go in this place. We just stood stupidly outside and had a glimpse of it. It is an official residence of the South Korean head. It is called The Blue House but the house is anything but blue.
12 Hot spring at Aqua World.
Our package include a hot spring for us but I forgo that for shopping. I am a shopaholic. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.