Continuing from Part 1 read….
Safe arrival to Gimpo Airport as scheduled at 13:30 hrs. The ride was relatively short and uneventful as expected.
Doing the usual routine after plane landed and proceeded to take an AREX train bound for Seoul Station.
The train ride takes about 22 mins from Gimpo Airport Station. Really convenient to travel via public transportation when in Seoul City.
As I am slightly early for my apartment check-in, decided to catch a quick bite on Level 3 Food Court inside Seoul Station.
Rich Soybean Paste Stew with Soft Tofu
Kimchi & Cheese Pan-Fried Rice
I always needed to have my fix at this food court whenever I am in Seoul Station. Strictly no compromise.
Proceeded for my check-in after a satisfying meal. I am staying back at the same Serviced Apartment Seoul Station for the next 6 nights after my good experience from the last trip.
Like the spacious room and the layout of this apartment.
I love this location especially for its close proximity to Seoul Station and the price is reasonable too. Best part, Lotte Mart is just right across the apartment.
View of Lotte Mart from my room.
After checking in, zoom off to lay my hands on Shake Shack at Dongdaemun just beside Doota Mall.
Finally, I had my share without having to brave the snaking queue at Jewel. 😀
I must agree that their burger is really champion. 👍No wonder it is so popular back home. High end fast food joint. 😯
Thereafter, went off to do rounding at Ssamziegil in Insadong.
Cooling off with a green tea bingsu and dessert at Osulloc.
Enjoying the night view along Insadong street.
Savouring my favourite snack (definitely a must eat during winter).
Beautiful night view of the clock tower in front of Seoul Station.
Spending the rest of the night at Lotte Mart before retiring for the night.
Day 7 – We will be doing a half day morning DMZ Tour.
You will need to make prior reservation for the said tour. I booked through trazy.com for this tour.
This tour will include exploring the “Demilitarized Zone” separating North and South Korea. See the war monuments of Imjingak Park and the Bridge of Freedom where prisoners and hostages were exchanged. Visit Dora Observatory where you can have a closer look at North Korea.
As the tour pick up is at 08:00 hrs, we settle for an early breakfast at Burger King.
Trying out one of their new menu item, Tong Shrimp Whopper. The burger is deliciously good too.
We are now ready to embark on the highly anticipated DMZ.
The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a piece of land running across the Korean Peninsula between South and North Korea. This area is the existing proof of what has caused a lot of pain to millions of Koreans.
Imjingak Park is located on the banks of the Imjin River in the city of Paju, South Korea.
The park has many statues and monuments regarding the Korean War.
Dora Observatory is located near the 3rd Tunnel and is the northernmost observatory in South Korea where you can see North Korea closest at hand.
View of North Korea from the observatory.
Panmunjeom is the place where the South-North Conference or the Military Armistice Council Conference was held. It is located 62km northwest of Seoul, the capital of South Korea and 215km south of Pyeongyang, the capital of North Korea. Although Panmunjeom is the common name of the area, the official site is the Joint Security Area (JSA) where neither the South nor North has jurisdiction.
Surrounding areas near Dora Observatory.
DMZ Theatre & Exhibition Hall is an exhibition centre that features a large replica of the DMZ with a small theatre showing a documentary about the funnels.
The 3rd Infiltration Tunnel was originally built by North Korea for a surprise attack on Seoul.
Among the 4 tunnels that South Korea has discovered, the 3rd one is considered the most threatening one.
Start of the walkway to the 3rd Tunnel. You will get to experience walking down the 3rd Tunnel.
Unfortunately no camera is allowed when you are infiltrating the 3rd Tunnel.
There is a long walk of about 350m of tunnel passage way before another 170m to reach the end of tunnel to catch sight of the MDL (Military Demarcation Line) which winds 241km across the Korea Peninsula from East to West is surrounded by the Demilitarized Zone. Under the provision of Armistice Agreement (cease-fire) signed on July 1953, both sides pulled back 2km from the last line of military contact (MDL) to insure peace.
Dorasan Station, a railway station on the Gyeongui Line, is the northernmost stop on South Korea’s railway line. Located 56km from Seoul and 205km from Pyeongyang.
More write ups if you are thirsty for more knowledge.
There is this hall of fame near Dorasan Station to commemorate the South Korean contributors who funds the railway building project due to North Korean lack of funds.
Here we go, departing Seoul from Dorasan Station to Pyeongyang.
Well that brings an end to the DMZ Tour with the last visit to Dorasan Station. This is certainly an interesting and educational visit tour. Highly recommended to put this on your itinerary program on your next visit to Seoul. 👍👍👍
Lunch is at one of the local Korean restaurant (From City Hall Station take Exit 7 and walk straight for about 100m) which serves cheap and good food.
Appetizer to go
The entire meal only cost us KRW 17,500 😯
Head off to Common Ground to search for my favourite cube bread, Milkcow in Boots. Unfortunately, the said shop was no longer in sight and now it became a shop that changed to selling mandu. 😂😂😂
As a consolation, Dore Dore is still around for my afternoon tea break. I love their cake especially their Rainbow Creamcheese.
Oooooh….this is so good!
Common Ground is the first unique “pop-up” shopping place made of shipping container and is the largest container shopping mall in the world.
Street snacking on my fish cake on the side street while enroute to Samseong Station, COEX Mall for my dinner fix.
This is a huge mall with lots of F&B outlets and retail shops. You will also find a big library in the centre of the mall. Shoppers can easily spend a full day here shopping to your hearts content.
As for me, the main purpose of coming here is to get my Turkish dinner fix at Kervan.
Twin Pide (Cheese & Beef)
Chicken Shish Kebab
Lamb Shish Kebab
Dondurma (Sticky Turkish Ice Cream)
I really loved both their Chicken and Lamb Shish Kebabs. I am sure it will blow your socks off too. 😉
Definitely a great way to conclude Day 7.
We are now in Day 8 of our trip. This morning we will be travelling up to Gimyujeong to have fun in Gangchon Rail Park.
Powering up with a morning starter at Dunkin Donuts.
They do offer a good selection varieties for hot foods.
How to go to Gangchon Rail Park from Seoul Station?
Take a subway from Seoul Station bound for Gimjujeong Station. The ride will take close to 2 hours with 2 transfer change at Hoegi Station and Mangu Station respectively.
From Gimjuyeong Station, it will be another 5 mins walk.
Gangchon Rail Park is built on the discontinued train line, and is a popular tourist attraction where visitors can pedal along old railroad tracks while taking in the lovely Bukhangang River tracks and cycle through tunnels & scenic countryside.
A great place of fun & activities for the family.
It is strongly recommended to make advance reservation for your rail bike ride online to avoid disappointment as it can get really packed on weekends.
Rail bikes getting ready for their owners to board.
Boarding point for the rail bikers. We booked our ride at 11:00 hrs and now we are ready to go. 😉
The ride will take about 50 mins to complete on a single way track.
You can cycle and enjoy the beautiful scenic views along the way.
On the way, you will pass through 4 different tunnels.
1st being a short tunnel ride.
2nd tunnel is known as a Happy Bubble Tunnel.
You will get to see bubbles bubbling out from this tunnel.
Afterwhich, you will enjoy beautiful lightings until the end of this tunnel.
Caught hold of the train that chain back the rail bikes back to starting point.
Then comes the 3rd tunnel, starry lighted tunnel.
Finally, the 4th (last) tunnel – disco lighting tunnel.
Have fun with the disco music lighting tunnel.
Arriving at the rest stop area for our shuttle train back to old Gangchon Station.
Enjoying the scenic views of Bukhangang River and light munch at the rest stop area before being ferried back.
You will get to enjoy a slow scenic ride along Bukhangang River bank on the Romantic Train which takes about 20 mins to reach the old Gangchon Station.
It is indeed a nice experience going on a rail bike. Really enjoy it to the fullest.
As the train ride back to city area is gonna take a while, settled for a quick lunch bite at Mom’s Touch to be on a safe side.
The train journey is sure long for this outskirt trip. Next we are heading over to Gwangjiang Market.
Gwangjiang Market is one of Korea’s traditional markets and is popular with tourists as a food haven.
Importantly, you can savour all the various favourite food street snacks in this market.
Went over to Itaewon next for rounding. Itaewon is a popular international area with foreigners. You will be able to find international cuisine restaurants here.
There is a flagship Line Friends store here as well and is extremely popular with young adults.
The Line Cafe is a super cozy place to be in for relaxation.
In the store, there are also lots of photo spots for selfies, wefies, etc. 😊
Oh yes, BTS fans, their merchandised line, BT21 consists of various products designed based on characters created by BTS. It is a must to be here if you are one of their ardent fans!
Spending the rest of the night at Myeongdong after Itaewon.
Without fail, it is a must to have the manjoo at the Myeongdong Station exit when in Myeongdong. Their custard bread is just so perfect. Yum yum.
Followed by street snacking in the night street market.
This is definitely one of those must do activities (rituals) as well when in Korea.
Not forgetting another important task in coming here……
Yes, it is none other than stocking up for my cosmetic products from Laneige and Nature Republic.
Shhhhh…..Let you in a little “secret”…..
This is how I maintain my up-keeping. 🤭🤭
To feel less guilty, we decided to walk back to the apartment to burn the additional calories. 🤣🤣
While enroute, we passed by Namdaemun Gate. This is Korea’s National Treasure No. 1 and Namdaemun Gate is its unofficial name. More commonly known as Sungnyemun Gate, it is the largest castle gate stone structure with an arched entrance in the middle.
Look at the beautifully lighted up night view of the Namdaemun Gate.
Really great for picturesque. With this, it brings Day 8 to an end.
Day 9 – Pampering ourselves by waking up to our natural alarm clock this morning after a long day yesterday.
Fuel charging at Seoul Station Food Court to prep the start of day.
Today, we will be covering Chinatown, Ewha Uni and Hongdae.
Incheon’s Chinatown is situated approximately 30km west of Seoul. This place offers colorful aesthetic and numerous attractions.
The area is renowned for its cuisine, ranging from traditional Chinese fare to fusion dishes and many of which are culturally and historically significant.
There are a couple of things to see here. Paeru – Chinatown’s enormous entry gate which is right opposite subway Incheon Station
Samgukji Mural Street has a colorful display of murals glazed into tiles on the walls along the street.
The murals portray significant moments from Three Kingdoms Period in China.
You will be able to walk down the street lane to read up (provided you understand Korean 😀) on the history in chronological sequence.
Ok, I can sense that some of you are already struggling trying to read. 😱Fret not, let me help you out with the synopsis in English below.
Phew! Hope this helps! 😅
Having lunch at the famous Gonghwachun as their Jjajiangmyeom (black soy bean noodles) is undoubtedly one of Korea’s most favourite dishes and is believed to have originated in Incheon’s Chinatown.
Ginseng & Crabmeat, Shark’s Fin Soup
Boiled Meat Dumplings
Sweet & Sour Pork (糖醋肉)
Fried Rice with Shrimp
Star of the meal – Jjajiangmyeom (Noodle with Bean Sauce). Taste is different from the usual Zhajiang Mian that we are used to having.
Next, went over to Ewha Woman’s University.
Ewha Uni, Korea’s famous woman’s university is commonly called Ewha Woman’s University Fashion Street.
This street is a popular fashion destination for young women and certainly a shopping haven for the ladies.
So, is Ewha Uni for women only?
What better way than to cool the system off with a cup of fresh watermelon & juice on a sunny hot weather. Super refreshing.
Hongdae is a neighbourhood known for its youthful and romantic ambience, underground culture and freedom of self-expression.
It has an outdoor stage for indie band performance and dynamic culture of young people.
Key purpose in going there is to have my fix on Cultwo Chicken. 😀
Unfortunately, seems like Cultwo Chicken is no longer in sight too. 🤣 It is now known as Rotary Chicken Saloon.
Having said that, the outlet setup and interior seating still retains the same as previous outlet. Most probably, it could be due to a change of ownership. That is surely a great consolation at least (for me).
The appetizer being served is still the same as the cracker which is the tell tale sign for me that things are still the same here. To further prove my point, the cutlery still bears the Cultwo prints.
As mentioned previously, you will not go wrong with fried chicken in Korea. It could be blessing in disguise. 😀
Ordered their crispy fried chicken and original style fried chicken instead of the sauced based type as this will give a gauge on the standard for comparison purpose.
Verdict? Still awesomely delicious.
Spend the rest of the evening rounding up at Hongdae before ending an early night in preparation for tomorrow’s early morning trip to Jeonju.
Day 10 – We will be travelling outskirt of Seoul and spend a day trip in Jeonju.
It will take about 2 hours by KTX from Seoul Station. I have made prior reservation for the train tickets online via http://www.korail.com.
Since it is going to be a day trip, I have booked the return train ticket to depart Seoul at 07:05 hrs and departing Jeonju at 16:22 hrs.
Had a super early breakfast at KFC before boarding KTX.
Getting ready for boarding. Time to catch up on my sleep for the next 2 hours. 😴😴😴
Arrive in Jeonju at the scheduled arrival time at 08:59 hrs.
Jeonju is the 16th largest city in the western part of South Korea. It’s known for the Jeonju Hanok Heritage Village, an area of traditional houses, craft shops and food stalls.
It is also a UNESCO City of Gastronomy.
Incidentally, Jeonju is the home of the bibimbap.
Due to time constraint, we can only cover Jeonju Hanok Village for this trip.
How to go to Jeonju Hanok Village?
From Jeonju Station, you can hail a taxi for about KRW 6,800 which takes about 15min.
Jeonju Hanok Village is located in the city of Jeonju and overlaps Pungnam-dong and Gyo-dong.
It is especially beautiful for its unique roof edges, which are slightly raised to the sky.
The food provided here is very traditional which adds to the traditional ambience. At Jeonju Hanok Village, visitors can enjoy traditional Korean life and traditional foods like bibimbap, the most well known dish from the Jeonju region.
Fun time street snacking.
Chilling out at Ediya Coffee with a nice bingsu dessert.
PNB Chocopies – PNB Bakery started in 1951 and they are famous for chocopies. What are chocopies exactly? They are 2 fresh baked cookies sandwiching a flavoured whipped cream dipped in dark chocolate. There are a lot of flavours and my personal favourite being white chocolate.
Statue of Comfort Woman – In order not to forget the painful past of ‘Military Sexual Slavery by Japan’, the citizens dedicated to erect this peace statue which calls for the cessation of war & violence, the realization of peace and the security of human rights.
Lunch is at the famous Hankook Jib Restaurant. Main reason for this Jeonju trip. 😯 This popular place is known for their bibimbap – Jeonju bibimbap with raw meat and dolsot bibimbap. It is located on the outskirts of Hanok Village.
History of Hankook Jib
Hankookjib restaurant began selling Bibimbap in 1952. It was the first ever restaurant to serve Jeonju Bibimbap. Led by Boon Rae Lee the founder, Hankookjib has been in business for three generations. Their bibimbap has become the most famous dish representing Jeonju as well as Korea. Their rich and flavourful tastes come from famous homemade soy sauce and red hot chili paste. The soy sauce was made with carefully selected ingredients and fermented in a Korean ceramic jar for well over 70 years. The red hot chili paste was made with low sodium Gomso Bay salt. Some of the famous visitors include the late president of Korea Park, Jeong Hee and generations of Presidents and the founder of Samsung Lee, Byung-Chul. Began with the second location open in Lotte department store (flagship store) in 1979, Hankookjib has been expanding ever since. Hankookjib became the only Korean restaurant to be introduced in Michelin Guide in 2011.
Traditional Korean home meal – the raw beef is really tasty. My first time experiencing it. 👍
Star of this meal, Jeonju Bibimbap
More sight-seeing places in Hanok Village.
Jeondong Catholic Church
Omokdae, a place where you can look down the Hanok Village.
What you get to see at Omokdae…
Scenic views of Hanok Village from Omokdae.
It is been a great day trip so far. Now time to head back to Jeonju Station for my scheduled KTX back to Seoul.
Proceeded to spend the night out in Garosu-gil.
Garosu-gil is known for upscale boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants.
Settled for dinner at Yoogane for their chicken galbi.
Typical preparation of chicken galbi and the finale of fried rice using the remnants.
One for the road fried chicken at Kkanbu Chicken.
Another of my favourite fried chicken outlet in Korea.
Roasted wings & sticks. Their fried chicken is simply amazing that I can’t help stop but yearning for more.
Continue window shopping at Garosu-gil before ending another fulfilling night.
Day 11, 2nd last day of my trip before home coming. Highlight of today will be the Han River Cruise tonight. I have always wanted to do this cruise but each time I am here during winter season which deters me from doing so because of the cold. This time round since I am here during summer, thought it would be a good opportunity to do this cruise which I long wanted to.
Likewise, I did my reservation online via http://www.kkday.com in advance to select the preferred date and time and the type of cruise. There are a varieties of cruise options available and for this trip, I go with the Han River Music Cruise.
The said package will include night cruise experience, live jazz band performances and bridge rainbow fountain show. The entire duration will take about 70 mins and crusing through the route Yeouido – Banpo Bridge – Yeouido.
While anticipating for tonight cruise, time to get real for now. After trying out the authentic Jeonju Bibimbap yesterday, I decided to try out the local version of the so called Jeonju Dolsot Bibimbap at Seoul Station Food Court for breakfast and see if there is a distinct difference.
Well, apparently there is a variation in the ingredient and taste. The authentic version comes with meat while the usual version served with a fried sunnyside up egg.
Somehow, I still prefer the real authentic version in Jeonju. It is indeed the birthplace of bibimbap. I am glad I tried the authentic one first before I tried the other version. Else, I might be skeptical to try the authentic version.
Know what? This is also my first time trying out bibimbap in my life! 😯
With a happy tummy warming, head out to Lotte Mart to spend time rounding up & stocking up food and grocery items that I would always do. Items typically include Korean SPAM, condiment sauces, soy bean paste, instant noodles, seaweeds & snacks.
After having a good time 扫货 at Lotte Mart, travel up next to Express Bus Terminal for more shopping haven.
Express Bus Terminal is the largest underground shopping mall in Seoul with 600 stores along the 800m long alley. As the name suggest, it is a train and bus station and people flock here for cheap bargains.
Shopping fanastics will surely love this place. You can’t afford to miss this place out.
See what I see…….Shake Shack…….yeah…… (located right beside Shinsegae on level 1 in Express Bus Terminal)
There is no second guess (still have to check it out no matter how full I am 😂) on what to eat.
Without hesitation, ordered their Smoke Shack, Cheese Fries and Shack Attack. 😀
Their burger is really solid. Damned champion.
Continuing with more food trail at Shinsegae food hall.
Time to get ready for our night cruise. We will need to take a train to Yeouinaru Station and use Exit 3.
From there, take a leisure walk about 10 to 15 mins to reach the Eland Cruise ticket office.
Exchanging our cruise ticket at Eland Cruise Ticket Office with the pre-booked e-ticket voucher issued by kkday.com.
Lovely scenic view along Han River.
Boarding through Gate 2 (10 mins prior to departure) for our cruise departure.
Enjoying the bridge rainbow fountain show on board cruise.
Day 12, prepare for home coming. This morning is OTOT. Packing up our luggage and do a city check-in at Seoul Station.
It is rather convenient to check-in at Seoul Station for Asiana Airline. All that is needed is to purchase the AREX ticket in advance on the day of departure.
With the said ticket, proceed to baggage drop off counter followed by clearing immigration.
Comes the scheduled train departure time, head back to Seoul Station for the ride to Incheon Airport.
All done with immigration cleared in a jiffy. The process is super efficient and hassle free. 👍
Since I have about 2 hours more to spare, decided to head off to Myeongdong for my budaejigae meal at 草原.
Time to get back to Seoul Station to board the Express Train bound for Incheon Airport Terminal 1 for my home coming.
It takes 43 mins to reach Incheon Airport from Seoul Station.
Relaxing at Asiana Lounge before boarding.
The food quality here is of standard too. 😋
Well, it has been another good holiday trip as usual. Likewise, always leaving behind with a heavy heart. That is what life is all about. With this concluding trip, it will mean I am about to look forward to my next upcoming trip to Bangkok in 2 month’s time.
Bye Korea for now and I will be back again soon.