This was the first time we took the subway without the help of our "translator", but it went very well. Looks like my Korean classes wasn't a total waste! *so proud of myself* To get to Hoegi, my brother's place, we had to go through a lot of stations and transits. Tiring but worth it. What is this place you might ask? Well.. It's a small and peaceful area. Suburb I might say. The main attraction is actually Kyung Hee University. You might be wondering what the hell am I doing in a Uni? Let me show you why:
*Hall of Peace a.k.a The Harry Potter Building, lots of Korean award ceremonies were held here!*
Beautiful isn't it? Honestly, I feel like I'm in Hogwarts. Old castle and enchanting gardens. And the view is just "spellbinding". Get it? No? Moving on..
The last time I visited this place, it was autumn and it was all covered in golden and orange leaves. Here's some photos I took last year.
*Looks totally different right?*
I know, it doesn't look really appetising in this phot. But, this stuff is delicious! It's Korean's version of Bak Ku Teh. Haejangguk is actually known as a hangover cure in Korean cuisine, usually drank after a night of heavy drinking. It's made from ox bone broth with soybean paste and lots of veggies. Taste? Beefy and spicy! This soup comes with a bowl of rice and of course other Korean side dishes, but there's a lot of ways you can eat it. First, the civilised way, soup and rice are ate in separate bowls. Second, MY way, I ate most of the meat in the soup first, then I dunk all the rice into the remaining soup and made it in to porridge. Sounds sloopy right? But I personally think it tasted better like that, plus my method saves time and keeps the table clean. haha..
"AHHH! Lotte World!!!" is what I would say if I was still twelve. For those who didn't know, Lotte World is a theme park like Genting but bigger. You can get to Lotte World using the subway to Jamsil Station. The admissions fee is 25,000 won/ RM75 per adult. Get info on other rates here. The saddest part is that most outdoor rides are closed during winter. So, we only paid for half a park.*tsk tsk, what a waste* But, I must say, the rides looks more challenging and scarier. Bad news was that the queues are very long! Yes, I said "are" because no matter what time or season it is, there's always a long queue. We managed to hop on a ride or two, and it scared the living daylight out of me!
Oh yeah! There's a ice rink there, but we didn't go ice skating, instead we stood on the balcony laughing at those who fell down. Quite entertaining! *Hey, I'm only human, how could I resist not to laugh when someone falls flat on their ass? I know most people would. haha..*
After Lotte World, we headed to the place that PSY made famous! Yes, Gangnam! Gangnam is the wealthier part of town. Lots of celebrities live here and the living standard here are higher compared to others. Everything here is very classy and organised, the whole area is neatly divided into blocks unlike other parts of Seoul.
* see? all in perfect blocks*
*where as, other parts of Seoul looks like this*
OK, enough with the Geographic facts! All I can say is, this is the place where rich fat cats go. High end retail shopping and leisure all the way. Oh! And this is definitely the place for people interested in doing plastic surgery. We saw a handful of plastic surgery clinics in just one block!
I'm going to keep this short because this very typical tourist stuff. So, this is the one place that all tourists would visit, GyeongBokGung. Entrance fee is 3,000 won/ RM 9 and you can get here using Subway line 3 (Gyeongbokgung Palace Station, Exit #5) Again, this is my second time here.*yawn* However, like Kyung Hee University, it looks different under all the snow.
* it was the coldest day out of the whole week while we were in Seoul, -12 degree Celsius*
*My next trip to Korea should be in spring, then I can just say I've experience all 4 seasons. Screw Summer, it's summer everyday in Malaysia. Planning mode ON*
Next stop was Insadong. Insadong is where tourist go buy trinkets, art and souvenirs. Not much I can say about this place, but it's a must-go-to-place if you're visiting Seoul for the first time. I had fun there the first time I was there. Food there are pricey and taste so so, I had better. If it's possible, avoid dining there, totally not worth it.
The highlight of the whole trip: We went skiing! Usually people would plan to stay at a ski resort overnight, but it was a little expensive, so we decided to go to the nearest ski resort we can find for a day trip. *Thank goodness, it was only day trip, keep reading and you'll know why.* It took us an hour by bus to reach Bears Town Ski Resort. The name sounds western, right? Visit their website to learn more.
Anyways, it cost 50,000 won/ RM 150 for the whole package which include the rental of the ski or ski board and ski attires. I had a choice of picking of ski or ski board, and I chose skis. *big mistake* I tried it out a few time at the bottom of the slopes. It wasn't that bad. So I took the lift to the top of the slopes. Here's a picture of me before I realised what I've got myself into.
*Awww..Beautiful. But wait! I have to ski down this slope? gulp*
"Here goes nothing," and there I went. And probably just 10 feet away, I crashed. Took me 10 minutes just to get up again. Another 15 feet further, again, ass flat on the ground. Falling down wasn't the hard part but getting up with two long sticks attached to your feet is the challenging part. I was constantly falling down and getting up that I've only managed to ski down just a quarter of the slopes when the guys caught up with me on their second round. Yes, you heard me, SECOND round, when I haven't even reached the bottom of my slopes once! They stopped and were there to assist me, making sure I'll make it back in one piece. Wait.. Let me rephrase that, they were suppose to assist me down the slope. Instead, they ended up laughing at me. But who can blame them, I even laughed at myself. Half way down, I was too tired to continue, I gave up and opted to walk down the slopes to the waiting area. I don't think sports is suitable for me. However, the boys had so much fun they stayed out there till closing time.
* I'm so jealous of them*
It's pretty much a shopping day. We did our shopping at MyeongDong and later in the afternoon we headed to Hongdae for more shopping. The price range is the same as Myeongdong, only Hongdae has more boutique where Myeongdong are mostly retail. But price range can go really high in Hongdae if you stumble across vintage or one of a kind items. Hongdae is quite a happening place at night, lots of clubs and bars there. Around 9pm, lots of people from around Seoul were coming to Hongdae, the subway station was so crowded and everyone were dressed to party!
Our last night in Seoul, we stayed up late drinking. We had some siblings bonding time. It's going to be awhile for us to see my little brother again. I miss that bastard already.
*I love these people to pieces!*
Winter in Seoul was seriously fun. But I do feel like we couldn't go to a lot of place because of the weather *As a second timer, I didn't mind* Then again, there are some activities you can't do in other seasons, like skiing, winter fishing, skating etc. Different activities for different seasons, that's all I can say. So, if you're planning to visit Korea for the first, I would suggest going in Spring and Autumn for the full experience.