Searching for My “Winter Sonata” Moments in Seoul
My sister is a great fan of Korea. She learned the Korean language during the same time when I learned German. I couldn’t sit still in Malaysia for three whole weeks and decided, that my family and I should have a holiday. Of course, the location has to be somewhere near enough and cold. Malaysia has an average temperature of 33 Celsius. Thus, we always love winter. So, since sister speaks Korean and it was winter in February, Seoul was it!
Don’t get me wrong. Seoul was great but dang, the weather was brutal! It was -11 the first day and when it got worse, the temperature fell to -16! Whatonearth is that!! My dad had to wear two winter jackets. It was crrraaaazzzyyy. I believe, if the temperature was not that cold, we could have seen more! Anyway, let’s just get along with the pictures and video.
On the first day, we visited Petite France and Nami Island on the same day. As Nami Island is an island (duh!), I assume that it will be colder than the city in the next few days. So, preferably -11 compared to -16. Though, I do not know if it makes much of a difference. Hmm…
Find your way to the Cheongpyeong Station and once you reach there, walk towards Exit 1 and you will be able to see the tourist information office. You will find the bus station near by and just wait there for the bus to Petite France to arrive. Bus tickets (900 won) can be bought from the bus driver.
As for the entrance fee to Petite France, it was about 8000 won per person. The whole set up was very pretty, just like in the storybook. I felt like I was in the storybook itself. We spent time eating something small (ddeokbokki aka rice cakes and churros) as food in the one and only restuarant there was really expensive. I think we took photos in every corner and spent about 3-4 hours there.
After that, it was time to move on to Nami Island. The queue for the bus was rather long. So do not be one of the few last ones or else you will not get a place in the bus. There is no proper bus stop. Just stand at the side of the road, where the bus dropped you off earlier.
We were dropped off at this area which was next to a lake. All I remember seeing was a huge car park with lots of shops. Well, the immigration counter to Nami Island is just near the car park, diagonally situated. Oh what? Did I just mention immigration? Yes BUT you do not need your passport. Nami Island which is also known as Naminara Republic is like a made up country. They even have their own currency, passport, etc. To get the “visa” to visit Nami Island, just pay 8000 won per person. The ferry will take you to the famous island.
When I was still in high school, I watched my first korean drama and that was, Winter Sonata. Winter Sonata was immediately a hit and everyone knew about this famous drama. Now, I can say, “Grace was there!! Just at the spot where Bae Yong Joon kissed Choi Ji Woo in the drama” Oh, you k-drama addicts will get me :P
It was absolutely pretty at Nami Island as the whole place was covered with thick snow. That made it hard to walk too as it got quite slippery at certain area. Therefore, it was quite a hassle to watch each step as we walked. Sigh, once again, we were just unlucky with the weather.
Walking Around Seoul – Sightseeing
The next few days was spent around Seoul. We first went to the Gyeongbokgung Palace but since we arrived very late (4 pm), the palace was already closed. What a pity! Well, this is what happens when we (my family and I) talk too much and forgot about the time.
From the palace, I walked to the Bukchon Hanok Village, a traditional Korean village. It was a bit tricky to seek for the village because the location of the village was quite hidden. Luckily, I had the name of the village in Korean and managed to ask the locals to lead us to the right direction. Thanks to two kind ladies, I found the way to the village. So just a tip, remember to have the name of the village in Korean (북촌한옥마을) if you plan to go there.
On the way, just before the village, I stopped at Paris Baguette for a quick bite. The bread, cakes and patisseries look perfect there! Not to forget, the atmosphere is really pretty too. No wonder the korean drama, Cheongdamdong Alice had shoot their drama at this famous bakery. Thinking of it now makes me feels hungry. Yummm….
During the other evenings, I spent my time in other areas in the city. Such as, Myeongdong. My my, it was a crazy shopping area! Especially for girls who love beauty products, this is the place to go. I will tell you more in my next post, which is about shopping in Seoul!!
Do remember to spend some time at the airport because there are just so many activities to fill ur time. I had fun working with korean Hanji art and of course, eating!
There are many other places to visit, such as the famous Noryangjin Fish Market. If only it was not as cold……
Nevertheless, my time there was very memorable and thankfully, the moments are captured in the video below! So, enjoy!!!