Korea Trip Day 1
We assembled at Changi International Airport 樟宜国际机场 for our 8 Days 6 Nights trip to South Korea and Jeju Island tour by SA Tour. We took Asiana Airline, departure Singapore at 10.35pm and arrived at about 7am in Seoul Incheon International Airport 首尔仁川国际机场. Korea’s time is an hour ahead of Singapore.
Seoul is the Capital of South Korea, the “Land of The Morning Calm”
Seoul is considered to be a leading global city, ranking among the top ten global cities in the Global Cities Index of 2010.
Seoul is one of the world’s top ten financial and commercial centers, home to major multinational conglomerates such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai-Kia. In 2008, Seoul was named the world’s sixth most economically powerful city by Forbes.
Seoul has many Korean historical and cultural landmarks. The Joseon Dynasty built “Five Grand Palaces” in Seoul: Changdeokgung 昌德宫, Changgyeonggung 昌庆宫, Deoksugung 德寿宫, Gyeongbokgung 景福宫 and Gyeonghuigung 庆宫.
Among them, Changdeokgung was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 as an “outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design”.
The main palace, Gyeongbokgung is currently being restored to its original form. The palaces are considered exemplary architecture of the Joseon period.
Although many walls and fortresses of the old city were demolished, some palace and fortress gates have played a role in the city’s heart such as Sungnyemun and Heunginjimun. The gates are more commonly known as Namdaemun (South Great Gate) and Dongdaemun (East Great Gate).
Namdaemun was the oldest wooden gate until a 2008 arson attack, and is currently undergoing reconstruction. Situated near the gates are the traditional markets and largest shopping center, Namdaemun Market and Dongdaemun Market.
SEVEN LUCK CASINO
Seven Luck Casino is attached to Millennium Seoul Hilton which is only available for foreigners (passport required). Some casino voucher was given to each visitors. On top if it, we have lost 10,000 won, sound a lot right, actually is about S$10 only oh. :p
Cheonggyecheon is a 5.8 km creek flowing west to east through downtown Seoul, and then meeting Jungnangcheon, which in turn connects to the Han River and empties into the Yellow Sea.
During the 1948-1960 presidency of Syngman Rhee, Cheonggyecheon was covered with concrete for roads. In 1968, during the presidency of Park Chung-hee, an elevated highway was built over it.
The concrete covering the river was excavated and removed and the river stream was opened to the public in September 2005 and was lauded as a major success in urban renewal and beautification.
Creating the environment with clean water and natural habitats was the most significant achievement of the project. Species of fish, birds, and insects have increased significantly as a result of the stream excavation. The stream helps to cool down the temperature on the nearby areas by 3.6 °C on average versus other parts of Seoul.
DONGDAEMUN MARKET 东大门市场
When you are in Korea, don’t miss this 106-year-old market in Seoul, one of the oldest in the city and among the key wholesale markets in the entire South Korea. Dongdaemun means Great East Gate because it was the eastern entry for the walled city during the Joseon Dynasty (1392 – 1910).
The Dongdaemun Market began as clothing wholesale in 1905. Today, it has grown large with 26 shopping malls, 30,000 specialty shops, and 50,000 small and medium manufacturers over a 586-square-meter area. Covering 10 blocks, the entire Dongdaemun Market is roughly as large as 100 football fields.
Dongdaemun market is a popular destination, comprising of traditional markets and shopping centers that sell a full range of fashion items at the lowest prices. Name it: silk, clothes, sporting goods, office supplies, toys, electronics, and just about anything. In 2002, it was designated as Special Tourism Zone.
The market is divided into two sections: the retail and wholesale divisions. The retail shops are located on the side where Doosan Tower is located. Tourists frequent the shopping malls are Doosan Tower, Migliore, Freya Town, and Hello apM.
Doota Mall is the leading fashion icon offering many domestic brands. It has floors dedicated to adult clothing, accessories, bags and shoes, and children’s items.
Dongdaemun Shopping Complex is worthy of visit with its amazing variety of fabrics. Clothing starts on the 1st floor to 8th floor and 9th floor is the food court.
GIMPO DOMESTIC AIRPORT 金浦国内机场
We proceed to Gimpo Domestic Airport for Jeju Island, flight time is about 1hr 15 mins.
JEJU ISLAND 济州岛
Jeju Island is located off the southern coast of South Korea and is South Korea’s first and only Special Autonomous Province.
Jeju Island, also known as the “Island of the Gods“, is a popular vacation spot for Koreans and foreigners.
It remains the top honeymoon destination for Korean newlyweds, and is also regarded as one of the top honeymoon destinations in the world. Despite attempts to market the island as “the Hawaii of Korea,” climatologically and geographically it bears little in similarity to the Hawaiian Islands.
YONGDUAM DRAGON ROCK 龙头岩
Yongduam Dragon Rock is one of the most unusual lava formations, it looks like a roaring dragon rising from the sea into the sky, hence its name.
Legend of Yongdoam Rock, an envoy was sent by the Dragon King who lived in a huge palace nearby to gather the elixir of life from Mount Hallasan. When the dragon came and tried to gather the elixir, the guardian spirit of Hallasan shot down the dragon.
The dragon was fleeing and fell into the sea. Immediately it turned into a rock with its head still surging towards the sky.
Geologically speaking, when the lava was erupting it was hardened and formed into a dragon-shaped Yongduam. The island is also beloved by botanists since rare plants such as Seomgatbunchi and Hedyotis biflora can be seen growing wild.
After dinner, we checked in Jeju Pacific Hotel at around 7pm. I was sick and keep coughing for whole journey, some teammate said it may caused by the dry air in Korea.
Link: Korea Trip Day 5
Link: Korea Trio Day 6
- Pictures from the Korea Hair Show in Seoul (afroblush.com)
- Seoul Eats: gaining weight in the Korean capital (brittonandreini.wordpress.com)
- BENIKEA Honored by Receiving Korea Tourism Organization’s Best Quality Service Member Hotels Award (prweb.com)
- Coffee Shops and a War Museum (carlylarson.com)
- Going fast, and slow, in South Korea (thestar.com)