Social Icons


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Highlights of Korea Winter 2012

it's that time of the year again!
to plan a year-end trip to reward yourself for a year of hard work and effort :)

whether it is with friends or family, what is your take on travelling?

wanna share something I saw on the Korean variety show 2 Days & 1 Night;
(I love this show!! because they travel all over Korea to showcase the beauty of the country)

'뭣 하러 별 5개짜리 호텔에서 자는지 모르겠다. 별이 이렇게 수만개인데'...
"Why sleep in a 5-star hotel, when you can sleep under the million stars in the sky?"

(Yoo Haejin, originally by cartoonist Huh Young-man)

my exact sentiments on travelling :)

in this post, I would like to share the "million stars" I've encountered during my first winter trip to Korea. Below is a summarised list of 10 memorable things that happened to me in Dec 2012 (you can read the detailed daily posts I have posted in my blog - this is just a summary). I tried to rank them, but I couldn't decide! Yes, winter might be cold and bitter, but there are many things you can do in Korea! It is the country that never sleeps :)


1) Jeju Island - Spring? Summer? Winter?

Jeju Island will always hold a special place in my heart because of an incident that happened in summer 2012, when we hitch-rode friendly couple Mr and Mrs Kim's car on the way to Seopjikoji.... 

this time we won't be lost because we have GPS!

Look how blue and pretty the skyline was!

at Seopjikoji, where there was a slight feel of spring...

and yes, yellow rape flowers in December! what a pleasant surprise!
brightened up our cold winter :)

happy =D

meanwhile on the other part of the island...

Jungmun beach - strangely feel like a summer resort here!
I'm confused! but I'm not complaining :P

Jeju, the magical place just an hour away from Seoul~

background music: "The Blue Night of Jeju-do" by Sung Sikyung

I feel like going back to Jeju right now!!


2) Free hugs, anyone?

This is not new, but definitely not something we see everyday!
While in Myeongdong on New Year Day's eve, we chanced upon a FREE HUGS event!


Look at the amount of people! basically they were in lines and you go through the line to hug each and every one of them :D there would have been more than 30 people in the line...


Free hug with a stranger, maybe.. but a back hug with a stranger? 
now that's really unforgettable, isn't it?


3) Countdown to 2013

On the same night (New Year's Day Eve) we attended the Bosingak Bell-ringing countdown event.

there were performances off and on stage

far from the stage but still enjoying every minute of it!



The massive amount of guards "glowing in the dark"

and the experiencing of standing in the cold for a long, long time in the middle of the night :D 
come to think of it, it's kind of crazy..

새해 복 많이 받으세요~~~

sorry it's really shaky because the Koreans are really tall and I was struggling to take footage..

and the snow-deprived kids :P


4) Mr Taxi, taxi, taxi

Oops, wrong taxi :P

I'm sure many of us had heard stories about taxis overcharging tourists, it happens in many countries, not just Korea. I would like to remind tourists to be alert about such incidents, especially from places which are populated with tourists. You won't want unhappy incidents to happen during a vacation do you!

My sister and I were overcharged for taxi ride from Dong Dae Mun the night we landed in Seoul. We kind of argued with the taxi driver and I told him I would call my Korean friend for help (when in fact I don't even have roaming or data plan haha where did the courage come from?!) BUT the unforgettable thing about this incident was we actually spotted the same taxi driver at Myeongdong on another day!!! So we took a picture of his car plate and got our hostel owner Mr Cho to report the case!! Haha isn't that amazing?! Instead of remembering it as an event that made us mad, it brought us wicked memories! Next time I'll be a smart tourist and call 120 Dasan Call Center for help :D or choose the newly launched night buses operated by Seoul Metropolitan Government :D


5) Winter, the romantic season


awww.... proposal at Myeongdong - this just warms the heart, doesn't it?

Not forgetting, Nami Island - one of the most romantic places on Earth!



6) Winter Activities


Skiing is officially one of my favourite activities :D
Singapore, please snow T.T

We wanted to hire an English-speaking skiing instructor but there was none available :( we ended up learning skiing ourselves. it was fun! although I ended up crashing into one of the ski classes that was on-going on the slope... *facepalm

We also went night skiing (apparently no one does it?! because the slopes and areas were all empty). Probably because it was freezingggggggg cold!!! 

drama filming at Yongpyong Ski Resort.. now what drama was it??
we never managed to find out...

and finally! Dragon Peak!

Almost Paradise~
아침보다 더 눈부신
날 향한 너의 사랑이
온 세상 다 가진 듯 해

Look how beautiful the view from Dragon Peak is! I can never forget this sight.

Outdoor ice-skating


the #cheapthrill 1,000 won outdoor ice-skating to Kpop music at City Hall!
(sorry for my bad skating skills, I ain't any Kim Yuna LOL)


7) Street Musicians in Hongdae

This is Kim Dong-ho and Tae Jun Ik busking by the streets of Hongdae.

It was on the last night before we left for Singapore that we saw them. By then, we were only left with cash for taxi back to hostel. I was really sad not able to reward their busking efforts and not being able to tell them I really like their music, due to language barrier :( When I went back to Singapore, it took me two months to search online and I finally managed to find out their identities!!! Now I am even friends with them on facebook and I can view their busking videos without being in Seoul. Of course, listening live is the best...

I really like Korea's street busking culture. And Koreans are really good singers aren't they?!
(Tall Koreans in front of me again!)


8) Sauna - Jimjilbang

Jimjilbang (more detailed post here) is open all year round, but it's especially comfortable to come during winter because you get some good warmth! It is also a common dating place.. lol!

with our favourite snacks



9) Food-Steps

we found out that Korean cuisine is a lot more than just bibimbap and spicy food...

piping hot seafood hotpot in Jeju - heaven!

Black Pork BBQ and Cold Noodles in Jeju

BIG mandu dumplings

Ginseng Chicken soup

Oops :P too delicious!

Eating hot rice cake by the fireplace at Nami Island LOL

Tteokguk on New Year's Day, homecooked by Mr Cho!

Eating the moving Sannakji at Noryanjin


10) Picture Perfect

Last but not least, the many beautiful scenes of Seoul...

Dong Dae Mun with falling snow

Sungkyunkwan University, Hyehwa


Gyeongbokgung Palace

Cheonggyecheon Stream

Bukchon Hanok Village

Noryanjin subway station

on a train to Jamsil


I think my post is just in time for anyone to plan a winter trip to South Korea :D

Having experiencing winter now, I would really love to travel to Korea during autumn.. I haven't been to any country during that season, I bet it's gonna be really beautiful with the falling leaves.

till then, it's daebak winter in Korea for me. #1!

ending the post with a hilariously coincidental photo we took..

my royal omma :D

Thank you Korea, we had lots of fun :D

(watch my compliation video below!!)

Background music: Winter Wonderland by Jason Mraz

No comments: