My South Korea Tour Day 2 – Bukchon Hanok Village and Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do

 Itinerary

Bukchon Hanok Village ==> Constitutional Court of Korea ==> Baek In-je House Museum ==> Pyeongchang, Gangwondo ==> Yongpyong Ski Resort ==> Alpensia Ski Resort

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Bukchon Hanok Village

This day started with a short visit to Bukchon Hanok Village.  According to our hostel staff it is just near our place. We can just take around 20 minutes walk to go there. However, since we were not very familiar with the place and we didn’t want to be too late for the bus trip in Gangwon-do, we took the subway from Jongno 3(sam) ga to the next station, Anguk station. Just take a walk for few meters. You can ask people around where Bukchon Hanok Village is and you will know it’s pretty easy to find. There were also some brass signs giving direction on the pavement. We didn’t see it until we stepped on it on our way home. So, don’t just look up for direction, try to look down (literally!). You might have stepped on it already.

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“Court” Ladies from Philippine SC to the Constitutional Court of Korea.

The Constitutional Court of Korea. In search for Bukchon Hanok Village, we took the street along the Constitutional Court of Korea. They say that lovers who pass this area end up being separated. (This is because this is the place where people get final judgement for divorce.) I have noticed that government offices in Korea have plenty of flags surrounding it. (Well, in the PH we mostly have just one, unless it’s independence day.)

What is Bukchon Hanok Village?

The word Bukchon literally means “north” in Hangul. It was named as such for being the northern village of Jongno and Cheonggye Stream. This is a residential village of the high-ranking officials during the Joseon Dynasty. Bukchon has several neighborhoods Wonseo-dong, Jae-dong, Gye-dong, Gahoe-dong and Insa-dong.

Bukchon Hanok Village represents the 600 years history of Seoul. It lies between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung. This area was not created for tourism. It remains to be a residential village. However, with features from TV shows and dramas like Personal Taste, it has become a top tourist destination for many. In fact, there has been a rapid increase in coffee shops, galleries, restaurants and other tourism facilities in the area. People are advised to tone down their volume when walking on this area because it is the home of many Seoulites.

Baek In-je House Museum

Baek In-je House Museum. Baek In-je’s house is a representative hanok during the Japanese occupation. It reflects a modern hanok style house. It has a land area of about 2460sqm. The house is composed of sarangche (men’s quarters), anchae (women’s quarters, and byeoldangche (detached quarters) It is said that unlike the old hanoks, this house has unique attributes such as that the men and women’s quarters are not detached. Also, the anchae rooms  was built in two-story structure.

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Anchae (front)
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Byeoldangchae (Detached Quarter)

 

 

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At the back of Anchae

 

 

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A closer look at Anchae

 

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Empty condiment jars.
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A typical kitchen

 

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At the garden

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Living room inside sarangchae (men’s quarter)

 

Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do Tour

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With out host, Howard.

Holiday Home. Terrace on the Cloud.  (5413, Gyeonggang-ro, Hoenggye-ri, Daegwallyeong-myeon, 25341 Pyeongchang , South Korea).

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Photo © Terrace on the Cloud

It took us about 2 hours and a half to get to our destination in Pyeongchang. However, as it was our first time to have an out of town tour, it was full of excitement and anticipation. As Philippines is a tropical country, we don’t have a chance to enjoy cold weather. We left the Philippines in the middle of summer so going to a cold country such as Korea is a good escape. Yes, when everybody took a picture of their summer bods in the beach, we bundled up and went to Gangwon-do.

Before our trip to Korea, we kept constant monitoring if, really, there is still snow in Pyeongchang. We used the webcam of Yongpyong ski resort to monitor it.

Alpensia Ski Resort

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Our First stop was the Alpensia Ski jump. For  KRW15,000 fare, Howard offered to take us to our destination. On our way, we passed by Alpensia Ski Jump stadium. Alpensia will be the host of this incoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018. 

 

Yongpyong Resort (Dragon Peak)

Our holiday home is well situated near Yongpyong and Alpensia Ski Resorts. When we arrived at Yongpyong Ski Resort, Howard brought us to the ticket counter for gondola ride. At that time Yongpyong gave discount to VISA card holder. However, they only accept certain cards. We were so lucky because our host lent his credit card to us and we got around 30% discount. We paid only KRW48,000 for four (4) pax! We just carried over the expenses to our billing. He was the best! He made everything convenient to us.

 

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Taken from our gondola going up.

It was April 9, 2017 when this photo was taken. The snow was already melting so we were so happy to see it before it’s all gone. Our fear of heights was overpowered by happiness brought by the beautiful view we saw.

 

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View from the top.

It would be really stunning to see this in winter when the area is painted white by nature or spring and fall when it is painted with different colors.

 

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Smile though your hands are going numb.

 

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Pardon my scarf. I didn’t really know how I was wearing it. I just need to keep my self warm in any way because my hands were already going numb.

 

 

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To end the day, we had a sumptuous early dinner at Yongpyong Dragon Valley hotel. It was a bit pricey because we chose grilled beef. Gangwon-do is known for Hanwoo beef, the best quality beef. (I will have different post for the food I’ve had during my trip.)

 

K-drama Moments

At this point, only K-drama fan of my generation could probably relate. LOL! So… our gondola ride took us to Mt. Balwangsan. Here, you would see Yongpyong Dragon Peak which is a famous site for many Korean drama series such as Winter Sonata, and most recently, Goblin. My cover photo for this blog post actually shows the fence near the area where Kim Shin hugged Eun tak.

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#WinterSonata
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#JunSangMyLove

 

Going Around Yongpyong

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Travel Tips:

1. Hanok Village. There are so many places to experience Hanok Village. I can think of Jeonju and in Korean Folk Village in Yongin. However due to time constraint, we decided to go to Bukchon Hanok Village.

2. Winter Olympics 2018. Pyeongchang is the host City for the 2018 Winter Olympics. It is said that by the end of the year the railway connecting Incheon International Airport and Pyeongchang (and Gangneung) will be completed.

3. Activities. Pyeongchang is home to Samyang Ranch (Asia’s largest green pasture) but we were not able to go there. 

4. Side Trip. You can also have a day tour to Gangneung which is a city facing the east sea.

5. Hanwoo Beef. When in Pyeongchang, don’t forget to try Hanwoo beef, Korea’s best quality beef from the cattle raised in the highlands of Gangwon Province. It’s a bit pricey but it’s worth the taste and experience.

6. Bus Fare: as I can remember I think it’s just 12500W (one-way)

7. Terrace on the Clouds. Howard, our host picked us up from the bus terminal in Heonggye-ri to the hotel for free but we paid him around 15000W to Yongpyong resort. From Yongpyong to Alpensia we spent KRW13000 for taxi fare. Tap card is accepted. Also, you can ask the taxi hotel lobby if you want to get a cab.

8. Gondola Ride. If you have VISA card you can get 30% discount for gondola ride… so we paid only 48000W for the Gondola ride. By the way, Howard used his card to pay for us and we just added it to our bill ^^.

9. How to get to Hoenggye: From Jongno 3(sam) ga, take a subway to Gangbyeon Station. Upon arriving in Gangbyeong station, walk across to Dong Seoul terminal Platform 1-3. You can tell the driver to drop you off at Hoenggye-ri /hwing-gyee-ri/.

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My South Korea Tour – Day 1 Suwon & Yeouido)

Itinerary

Arrival   ->  Suwon Hwaseong Haenggung   -> Yeouido Cherry Blossom Picnic Festival  ->  LG Headquarters (LG twin Towers) -> Han River

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Touchdown at Incheon International Airport. Cannot contain my happiness ^^.

Philippines and South Korea has 1 hour difference. We left Kalibo International Airport (KLA) in a red eye flight (around 1:50am) Philippine time and arrived at Incheon International Airport a bit earlier than scheduled. Unfortunately, this was also the time when the influx of international tourist arrived so we spent over 30 minutes to around 1 hour in the immigration.

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Incheon International Airport Jongno 3(sam) ga via Gongdeok Station

HOSTEL. Khaosan Seoul Insadong Guesthouse, Gwansu-dong, Seoul, South Korea. According to the instruction sent by our hotel it is just 30 steps away from Jongno 3(sam) ga station, which is true indeed. From the airport, we went to our hostel directly. We have contacted them for early check-in and they were OK. However, as it would be Saturday morning, our hostel emailed us that it’s going to be difficult to have a vacant room to leave our luggage.. They told us to just leave our luggage in the receiving area, and the valuables in their office. (With emphasis on “We have CCTV.” LOL) And, it was safe indeed. The Staffs were very accommodating. In this trip, we basically planned to spend most of our time outside and just go home to sleep. Our room was comforting for me so I have no complains.

Suwon Hwaseong Haenggung

Jongno 3 (sam) ga to Suwon Station
Jongno 3(sam) ga going to Suwon Station

Traveling to Suwon City. From our hostel, it was very convenient to go to Suwon because it took us only 1 ride.

Please see below for more information from Subway Korea Mobile Application.

Fastest Route: Line 1, Blue Line
Time Required: 1hr 9mins

Stations: 25 stations
Transfer: None
Fare: 1950 KRW (Tap Card); 2050KRW (Cash)

Suwon is a beautiful City located in Gyeonggi-do (Gyeonggi-Province), and there are so many places to visit there but we were only able to visit the Hwaseong Haenggung.

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At AK Food Hall we had Bokkeumbap with beef patty on top (I forgot the exact name.)  for KRW9,000

Lunch at AK Food Hall. We arrived in the Suwon around lunchtime so we were limited in our activities. Plus, we were also thinking of going to Yeouido afterwards so we can’t really stay longer. Meanwhile, we opted to have a lunch at AK Plaza. The food hall of this shopping center can be accessed from the Suwon Station.  There are a lot of food selection but it was hard to find a table for four of us.

Bus to Hwaseong Haenggung. After lunch we decided to go to Hwaseong Haenggung. From Suwon Station, don’t forget to go to the tourist information center. They have a very helpful tourism officer there. He advised us to take bus numbers 11, 13, 36 or 39. The fare was around 1300KRW
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What is Hwaseong Haenggung?

Hwaseong Haenggung is the palace where King Jeongjo used to stay when he paid respects at Hyollungwon (Present day Yungneung). It is the largest Haenggung (Temporary palace) in the Joseon Dynasty with 576 rooms, and was normally used for government office. We went to every nook and cranny inside partly out of curiosity and partly looking for our friends ^^. Prepare your feet.

 

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(Top) Park just in front of Hwaseong Haenggung (Bottom Left) Front gate of Hwaseong Haenggung (Bottom Right) A picture with some Korean students.

 

I love that the park was filled with families enjoying their time together in a beautiful spring weather. This was the first historical landmark that we visited so I was very amazed. The busy people in the palace rehearsing for the next day’s activity, and these beautiful ladies in Hanbok here brings me back to the past. For sageuk drama fan, it was really an achievement for me.

 

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Remembering Prince Sado

While strolling around the palace, I came across this rice chest. It instantly reminded me of Prince Sado who was imprisoned and made to starve by his father (King). He died inside this chest. It was too small that I wondered how he could fit in here. Such a sad story of an estranged father and son relationship.

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Make A Wish.

Zelkova Tree. Don’t forget to make a wish.  According to them, this tree is more than 600 years old and very sacred. It has stood and protected Suwon City since before the construction of Hwaseong Fortress.

 

 

Yeouido Cherry Blossom Picnic Festival

Yeouido Cherry Blossom Picnic Festival. This was one of the most culturally shocking experience for us. We are used to enjoying festivals in my country but this one is different because the main and the most convenient (inconvenient at that time) form of transportation was subway. We took the Yeouinaru Station route from Suwon so we could get to the festival much closer but we didn’t expect the number of tourist in the area.  The place is enough for the number of tourist but the entry and exit points of the subway were not. We were shocked and scared that there might be a stampede as it was very difficult to exit on the subway stairs and people keep pushing us. Good thing I had enough strength against falling, otherwise people might just step on me. Nonetheless, it was a memorable experience for us.

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Cherry Blossom Picnic Festival, April 8, 2017

Yeouido is home to KBS station, National Assembly, IFC Mall and YG Republique restaurant but I was not able to go there.  We arrived in the area around 5:30PM and the temperature was dropping. We opted to enjoy the street food, cherry blossom and the Han River.

For this day, we also found a sort of traveler’s treasure (well, that’s just for me)… the LG Twin Towers (LG Electronics Headquarters!) We were just in search for a place to freshen ourselves. At first, I was hesitant to ask if my friends and I could use their toilet. Gosh! It’s for our survival, unless we want to embarrass ourselves in the crowd. Anyway, upon entering the building, we found a big LED monitor advertising LG. We didn’t mind it because after all LG is a Korean brand. However, I just could not stop wondering. I thought I had to speak my mind and and ask my question to the security so I could sleep well.  LOL Indeed, it was LG’s building… and we were at the back (^_^) So, we didn’t miss a chance to take pictures.

 

 

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A sculpture (left) and a bas-relief (right) at the back of LG Twin Towers.
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In front of LG Twin Towers

Han River Experience

I Seoul U ❤

To complete the evening, how about a walk in the area and be amazed by the different randoms street acts of aspiring singers and dancers… maybe future K-pop stars! Who knows you could also experience the fireworks display we saw ala Cheong Song Yi style. LOL

Travel Tips:

1. We bought T money Card for 4000W and have it reloaded with 50000W. We paid a total of 54000W (This is refundable) It saves time from reloading. You can use this tap card when taking a subway (Seoul & Busan) & Taxi.

2. Download Subway Korea App. It’s very helpful!

3. SK is tourist friendly. There are many tourist information centers in the area. Never hesitate to ask them questions.

What do you think of this post? I hope it could help you. Just message me for questions!