Sunday, May 21, 2017

Winter in South Korea (Day Three)

Previous post: 
Winter in South Korea (Day One)
Winter in South Korea (Day Two)

I spent half of my third day at South Korea still in the outskirt of Seoul and the next half day then I got the chance to explore Seoul. On my last day enjoying the outskirt of Seoul, we visited Seoraksan National Park at Gangwon Province.

1. Seoraksan National Park, Gangwon Province, admission fee: Adult 3,500 won

Warm Cafes on Mount Seorak

Seorak comes from the word "Seoul" which means snow and "Ak" which means big mountain. They named it like that because the snow in this area would not melt for a long time after it fell. This area is designated as a biosphere preservation district by UNESCO so I believe you already can imagine how close to nature you will feel once you spend your time here. 

Hiking maybe is not really my main interest but of course I can not deny the beauty this national park got to offered. As I entered the main gate in a cold morning I can see the range of mountain covered in snow standing so tall in the background of some warm cafes offering warm foods and coffee.  

Going to The Top of Mount Seorak by Cable Car

We can go to the peak of Gwongeumseong Fortress by cable car which cost 10,000 won for return ticket and took five minutes one way from Sogongwon Park to Gwongeumseong Fortress.  Gwongeumseong Fortress located at the peak of Dolsan Mountain of Sogongwon area. It is a site of a castle ruins which was built by the 23rd King of The Goryeo Era. 

If you're not a castle ruin sightseeing or a casual hiking activity person, I will still suggest you to take this round trip on the cable car because the trip itself is one experience not to be missed. Along the five minutes journey up to the peak of the mountain you can see the beautiful surroundings of Seoraksan National Park high up from above, just like a bird point of view. My experience, I got it on the winter so it was even more beautiful because the land was covered in snow.

At The Top Station of Mount Seorak

Dress (Cotton Ink), Coat (Zara), Thermal Tights (Marks and Spencer), 
Boots (Marks and Spencer), Scarf (Zara)

At the top station, before reaching Gwongeumseong Fortress by foot, you will be welcomed by cafe selling ice cream, coffee, chocolate, and churros facing a beautiful surrounding of mountain. You could also find an observation deck here in the station, so if you do not feel like hiking further to Gwongeumseong Fortress you could might as well just stay here and enjoy yourself. 

I was planning to continue my journey up until Gwongeumseong Fortress that day, but I wasn't wearing the right shoes, my bad of course. My shoes are good in a fresh snowy road, but on a freezing snow with an icy texture, I will easily got slipped and that day the path to Gwongeumseong Fortress was covered in an icy snow. So after hiking half of the journey, I decided to turn around, for the sake of safety.

So, if you planning to hike into Gwongeumseong Fortress on winter, be sure to wear the right shoes to handle the icy path!

2. Lotte World, admission fee: Full day adult: 52,000 won; after 4 pm adult 41,000 won 

The Indoor Part of Lotte World

This theme park is divided into two main areas; indoor Lotte World Adventure and outdoor Magic Island. They say that this is the largest indoor themed park in the world. The indoor and outdoor park then again divided into districts representing different countries. 

Just like the other themed park you will find many many attractions from roller coaster to carrousel, food vendors, souvenir shops, and of course parades! Once I enter this park, I find my self got amused by the colourful ambience, but I have to admit it that I do not feel as excited as when I am in Disneysea the last time I visited Tokyo. It was not because of the theme park itself, but because I think I do not really familiar with its character and I did not grow up with them, just as how i grew up with Disney's character.

The Outdoor Part of Lotte World

The outdoor part is more beautiful then the indoor one, though, for me.  Maybe it was because of the castle which get even more beautiful as the night crawls in. Because they lit up the light at night. And there were trees and lake and not to mention the freezing temperature in the winter days, it kinds of bring my mind to think deeper. It was the perfect time to spend by exchanging warm words with your loved one as you walk around the area. 

Warm Tteoppokki and Chicken & Cola on a Freezing Amusement Park

It is not perfect to spend a day at an amusement park without enjoying a comfort slash unhealthy but delicious food! And since it was in Korea, it was time for tteoppokki and chicken and cola! I guess you have heard the rumour of how delicious chicken in Korea is and it surely is true!

Me and my brother stopped by at one of the food stall which displayed its tteoppokki and it looked so tempting I did not know how to refuse it. We finished it while walking around and enjoying the outdoor area. I have to say it was a half day well spent at this park. 

Tips: If  you have a limited time in Korea and have already went to Disneyland or Disneysea, you can as well skip this theme park and explore another part of Korea, because in my opinion it was not as magical as Disneyland or Disneysea. But if you have plenty of time, it was worth the visit, though.

The Oh-so-famous Dongdaemun Design Plaza Designed by Zaha Hadid

After Lotte World and dinner, we stopped by at our hotel, Best Western Arirang Hill, to drop our luggage and it was still 9 pm. Me and my brother still can't get enough of strolling around Seoul, we still wanted to see more of it. So we decided to find places which still open until morning in the winter days. Then we chose Dongdaemun area it is! And also, our hotel was still in Dongdaemun area and it took only 2 station to go to Dongdaemun shopping complex by subway. 

We chose to stop at Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station so we can stopped by at the oh-so-famous Dongdaemun Design Plaza designed by Zaha Hadid. As we exit the subway station, we were welcomed by the magnificent architecture of Dongdaemun Design Plaza, with the lights goes on and off in a beautiful pattern at night. 

The building is now used for arts and design exhibitions. It is comprised of five halls: art hall, museum, design lab, design market, and Dongdaemun history & culture park. The park extends into the rooftop of the building so it was beautiful! I enter this place in a hurry for it was already late night so I haven't got the chance to take a decent photo inside. But, really believe me, it is so beautiful you have to put this place in your must visit list once in Seoul!

Enjoying a Slow Late Night at Hollys Coffee

After satisfied of strolling around Dongdaemun Design Plaza, we moved on to the market area. There are a lot of shops, malls, and street food stalls which open until morning here in Dongdaemun so I say that this is the perfect place to spend on your late night wander.

My Ibu asked me to buy a medicine so we stroll around the area while looking for pharmacy and lucky me I found one O' Sulloc cafe which is famous with its delicious matcha latte. I ordered one hot matcha latte and then we continue our late night stroll while sipping on it and it was so delicious, really. It was hard to get the perfect combination of matcha and latte which could satisfied my tongue but it was perfect! It wast bitter and creamy with the perfect hint of sweet!

Then my brother wanted to close the night in an easy and comfortable way, by spending our time drinking coffee at a cafe facing Dongdaemun Design Plaza, so then we stopped by at Hollys Coffee. It was almost 1 am but this place was still so lively. How would you expect to end your day here in Seoul at 9 pm?  I could not think of one. I guess 24 hours is not enough to fully experience Seoul. Can I have more time in a day, please?

To be continue, on fourth and fifth day at Seoul!

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