Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Winter Short Trip to Seoul

Early December 2012 was my first time going to Seoul. Since me and my friends' study was in Busan, we finally set the schedule for this short three days two nights trip after finished the mid semester exams. The most memorable scene during the trip was in our second day where we decided to visit some main tourist attractions of Seoul city. There were only three of us, since the other friends were going to Everland. We did research in the first day, when we arrived at the guest house after walked around Myeongdong and Hongdae. We were browsing in the internet to find "which places that highly recommended to visit when we go to Seoul". My friend was taking the Jihachul map with her, and we started mark the place including the subway line we should took. After several minutes discussion we finally made the choice to visit  Gyeongbokgung palace, Gwanghamun Square, Hangang River area, and N Seoul Tower.

It was winter, while the morning came we need a big effort pushing away the blanket out of our body, however we have had to get ready before 8.00 AM because we had to be time keeper for ourselves in order to visit four locations in a day without the help of tour guide. Luckily the guesthouse provides drop and pick up service to the subway station, which is very efficient since we didn't need to walk and taking much time. The moment we arrived at station and waiting for the subway stopped, we still felt amazed and hectic at once while facing the crowd in the train. It way much different feeling than taking subway in Busan, since Seoul is the big city where the center of business and entertainment located.

First destination was to Gyeongbokgung Palace. We took the subway to Gyeongbokgung and arrived safely without problem. We bought the tickets and walking around the temples, took many pictures and watched the guard changing ceremony.

Gyeongbokgung Palace front view

Royal Guard Changing Ceremony


Every sides view of Gyeongbokgung Palace area is so pretty, I found this small lake a very calming place to refresh our mind.

We were also visiting the museum there, warming up our body in a short time before continue took pictures outside.

After we were done enough walking around the palace area, we were going outside and taking pictures with the guard and every edges we found beautiful to capture. We continued to move to the opposite, around Gwanghamun Square which is located in front of the previous location.

Sejong Dae Wang

We were sight seeing around the area, took pictures with different background in Gwanghamun Square. Even have had confusing moment in result we were entering the subway underpass to reach the river in the heart of Seoul city which actually could be reached by walking from Gwanghamun Square.

So refreshing

Even though it was freezing, however I got so excited seeing the mini waterfall and river in the city. Since the day was getting darker, we decided to take subway to Chungmuro, continued the adventure to N Seoul Tower. The planning to Hangang Bridge was canceled since we have no idea where how to reach there moreover considering the time which almost evening and it was getting colder. We jumped to the main point "must visit place" which is Namsan.

We were taking the subway to Chungmuro, followed the line according to the Jihachul. Walking in the middle of winter with the stiffed foot after the whole day walking around the city, we were just hoping for the happy end by reaching the place before it might closed. We were never expected to walk uphill while the day was getting darker and colder. The moment we walked out the underpass, we just saw the N Seoul Tower, felt happy but didn't know how to reach there.

Found this tower
We just walked through the uphill street, trying to got closer to the tower. We realized there were a couple walking by near us, perhaps they would be going to Namsan as well. My friend asked them and luckily we went to the same direction and they would like to go to the cable car. Both are very kind and we just followed them walking the uphill.

We walked around 20 minutes to the cable car ticket box. The queue of people who bought ticket was quite long, thankfully it was indoor, so we could feel warmer. 

Round trip cable car tickets
We got the tickets for round trip! It was my very first time riding big cable car with full of people inside, and beautiful sparkling night view.

Around five minutes, we arrived at the location, and we should taking the stairs to Namsan Park. During the walk, we found something mesmerizing, "Snow ice!!". We haven't seen any snow yet before, moreover it was still early winter.

Welcome to Namsan Park
We felt so happy by seing the beautiful lights in Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower. Visiting N Seoul Tower in the evening was a great experience, since we could seeing the beautiful lights like this, where we couldn't find during the day. It was very very cold, we decided to buy tickets to enter Teddy Bear Museum and Digital Observatory.

beautiful lights in colorful padlocks

There are many Teddy Bear, the big size which hug-able, and the miniature which set according to the theme. I really love this Goong Teddy Bear that has been shown in Korean drama titled "Goong".

Welcome by Big Teddy

Rock Star Teddy
Kingdom of Korea
Goong Teddy Bear :)

Enough with the cuteness of Teddy Bear, we continued to the Digital Observatory, took the fastest elevator to reach the top part and seeing the beautiful view from the top. I could not take any picture in the elevator since I was enjoying the sensation and watched the video from the LCD on the top of the elevator. The city lights are so marvelous. We could use the digital telescope to look the further view.

Creative wall
Done exploring Namsan Area, we decided to go home. Taking the cable car, we moved down and left Namsan. We walked through the same road, but went downwards. The cold weather made us freezing and need something warm. We stopped by the small shop selling ttokpokki and fish cake, bought some and ate them during the walk. That was the comforting feeling ever, took the fish cake with the hot soup have recharged the energy before going home. We were contented after a long yet fun day exploring a little part of Seoul city. Before going home, have some window shopping to cosmetic shops was kind of great idea.

When I looked back the time when I was going to Seoul in 2012, which is four years ago, the access to information these days are much easier to find. There are a lot of information in magazines, search engine, smart phone applications, moreover many social figure and influencer, people who are sharing their experience for specific things such as living in Korea, holiday trip, which place to go and what you could do there through viral media like YouTube and Blogs. Even the last four years we didn't have mono pod yet or selfie stick as today. So we need  to ask other tourist or native people around for help to take the picture of us together. 

In the era of fast moving technology and social trends I believe that people will get an information easier. Especially about Seoul and the tourist attractions. By experiencing became tourist without a tour guide, me and my friends learnt many things. We learn about time management, planning, teamwork, tolerant, taking risk, adapt and survive in unpredictable situation. Besides, we enjoyed every seconds of journey we were going through, it was the moment we will always cherish in life time. I'll see you soon, Seoul, I guest half of my soul left there :)

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