Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Picturesque Pyeongchang and Nearby Attractions

There is so much to see and discover in Gangwon with blessed astounding natural landscapes, pristine and clear waters beaches, dramatic mountains, peaceful valleys, cultural rich and more...

It’s no surprise that visitors and locals selected Gangwon-do as a getaway from the hustle and bustle city life and keep coming back for more. Discover the most beautiful places and be greeted with unique charms throughout all the seasons.

Known as the first place to receive snow falls and the the last snow to melt, Gangwon-do is the perfect place to enjoy winter sports and activities. There are 8 ski resorts scattered around this province. Yes, 2018 Winter Olympics will be held here~!!!

=== Pyeongchang-gun ===

Follow the walking trail and climb the steps to the peak of Daegwallyeong Skyranch (대관령 하늘목장) for the best breathtaking scenery from 950m. Beautiful sight of wind-mills and endless snow blanketing the whole place promoting some romantic atmosphere in the air. It's totally rejuvenating to your eyes and heart.

This iconic wooden shack is the background setting for the movie "A Man Who Went to Mars." where the two main characters finally fell in love. This is the most popular spot to snap instagram- worthy photos.

Nature and animal-lovers must not miss this haven for animals and human at this charming and clean countryside. Daegwallyeong Sheep Farm is the perfect place for family. Kids will surely fascinated and create lasting friend-sheep for having great opportunity to get up close, pat and hand-feed flocks of furry sheep.

Why not having recreation, education and adventure in one place? Visit Uiyaji Wind Village  situated on top of Daegwallyeong.They have various programs such as eeding of sheep, making ice-cream, cheese, pizza, ice cream, candle, soap, riding an ATV, and others. It's a great way for whole family to spend some quality time together.

 === Gangneung-si ===

Ojukheon (오죽헌) was home to Lady Sin Saimdang and the birthplace of the great Neo-Confucian scholar, Yulgok Yi-I. The recent K-drama 'Saimdang, Light's Diary' sheds light on Saimdang's life was filming here.

Although she's featured in Korean ₩50,000 banknote, but during her era where Confucian was held as social ideology that emphasized on  'yang' (male dominant), she's more recognised for her amazing personality as devoted daughter, good wife and wise mother of seven children instead of an outstanding artist and talented calligrapher.

Do check out her delicate paintings such landscape, birds, animals, grass and insects, and calligraphies including artworks of her talented family at Ojukheon Municipal Museum, which is just behind Ojukheon house. [Read more...]

Related Posts: Confucian: Calligraphy, Art and Culture

This 300 years well-preserved Hanok House is a typical noble family residence with 99-kan. Seongyojang (선교장) was built in 1703 by Mugyeong Lee Naebeon, the 11th descendent of Prince Hyoryeong, brother of King Sejong. In the past, the site was accessed by boat that crossed Gyeongpoho Lake, therefore it's called Seongyojang which literally means a "Boat-Bridging House."

Hwallaejeong pavilion and Seongyojang were one of famous backgrounds for sageuk dramas including Hwang Jin-Yi (황진이), Princess Hours Gung (궁), Princess’ Man (공주의남자) and  Saimdang (사임당, 빛의 일기).

Recommended to experience Hanok stay to enrich all senses and presents a feeling of back to old Joseon period. Seongyojang also offer various traditional and cultural classes which is family-friendly where you can learn Korean culture and at the same time having fun bonding time together.

Jumunjin Beach (주문진 해수욕장) is located in the northern-most part of Gangneung. Popular for family vacation because of shallow water, white sand and pines on the beach accentuates beauty of Jumunjin.

Jumunjin Breakwater became a popular attraction after Korean drama "Goblin: The Lonely and Great God" because visitors especially lovers going there to reenact the scene when Ji Eun-tak summoned Dokkaebi. [Read more...]

Jumunjin Fish Market is a small traditional market at this fisherman village where you can purchase freshly-caught seafood at reasonable price. There are also restaurants inside this market, which you can select the live seafood from the tanks and they'll cook as your instructions whether to serve it as sashimi, soup, grill or fry.

Gyeongpodae (강릉 경포대) is a large pavilion featuring a “paljak” roof. This pavilion is divided into 6 sections in the front, and 5 sections on the sides, with 28 pillars surrounding the structure.

It's famous and cherised for the spectacular view of Eight Scenic Points of Gyeongpo overlooking panoramic view of the mountains, Gyeongpo beach stretches 42 km long and feel the extensiveness of East sea, scenery of pine grove in Gyeongpoho lake. It's also perfect spot to admire full moon on the 15th day of the first lunar month. [Read more...]

Jeongdongjin Beach (정동진해변) is famous town near Gangneung which is one of the most popular places for watching the sunrise on New Year's Day. It's name Jeongdongjin because it's located on east (dong) of Gwanghwamun Gate in Seoul.

Besides Hourglass that takes 1 year for sand in the hourglass to drop down completely, it's also known as the closest train station to sea in the world. Do check out this website if you want to explore  travel destinations such as Jeongdongjin Beach, Jeongdongjin Railbike, Jeongdongjin Time Museum, Mukho Lighthouse and Nongoldam-gil Street (Deungdae Damhwa Village) and enjoying pictureaques viewa of East Sea by Sea Train.

=== Samcheok-si ===

Samcheok Beach (삼척해변) has a vast clean white-sand, shallow water beach spanning 1.2 kilometres long and 100 meters wide and surrounded by pine trees.

Along Samcheok Romantic Road, you can find few seafood restaurants serving Gangwon speciality Gomchi Guk Snailfish Soup. [Read more...]

Jukseoru Pavilion (죽서루) means "Bamboo West Pavilion" sitting on the edge of a cliff  is one of the eight major attractions of Gwandong District. It offers fantastic view of Osipcheon Stream and  nice view of Samcheok city.

There are 26 signboards inscriptions written by kings and famous ancient scholars hanging here, such as:  King Sukjong, King Jeongjo, Yulgok Yi-Yi, Heo Mok, Yi Seong-jo and Yi Gyu-heon.

 Filming location of recent K-drama "The King in Love (왕은 사랑한다)"

=== Donghae-si ===

This beautifully formed rock towers high into the sky and resembles a candlestick, from which it gets its name. "Chotdae” (촛대) means Candle, while “Bawi” (바위) means Rock.  

Chotdaebawi Rock is most famous tourist attraction in Donghae to enjoy the magnificent beauty of the sun slowly peeking its way over the edge of the rock face. It's so picturesque and KBS (Korean Broadcasting System) used it as a background for the "Aegukga" (the Korean national anthem). [Read more...]

Few minutes walk from Chotdaebawi Rock, you'll find this beautiful Haeamjeong Pavilion (북평 해암정), which was built by the founder of Samcheok Sim family in 1361. After he left his public office, he spent the rest of his life teaching junior scholars and enjoying the beauty of nature here.

Majestic Mureung Valley (무릉계곡) stretches 4 kilometers, unfolding a colorful spectrum of river topography, from Hoam Pond to Yongchu Falls against the backdrop of Dutasan Mountain and Cheongoksan Mountain creating mystical and serene atmosphere. In fact, Mureung means “Paradise” in Korean.

Judging from the spectacular scenery with unusual wide flat rocks formations, green valleys, clear water, and witness with your eyes of insanely beautiful calligraphies of names, family surname and poetries in Hanja engraved on 5,000 square meter bedrock canvas I do believe they said “All ancient poets, monks, painters and travellers in the country have been there at least once!” [Read more...]

This one-thousand year old Samhwasa Temple (삼화사) is located near the entrance of the Mureung Valley, therefore it's known as Mureung Dowon (Arcadia in Peach Tree Garden). It's home to national treasures No. 1277 (Three story stone pagoda) and No. 1292 (Steel Sitting Buddha Statue). 

Great news that this historicl temple offers temple stay programs where you can learn more on Buddhism teaching, experience of temple life. It must be awesome way to rejuvenate mind, body and soul with such a beautiful mountains and serene valley that surrounded this temple.

=== Taebaek-si ===

Locals and tourists alike flock down the train to admire breathtaking panoramic view from 855m above sea when O-Train stop for 10 minutes at Chujeon Station. 

Although it's such a mesmerasing romantic winter scenery, but make sure you board the train on time if you're continuing your journey because the train will depart exactly as per schedule. [Read more...]

* Train
On our first trip to Korea in 2012, we purchased KR Pass. It's available for foreigners to travel around cheaper and more convenient by railroad without limit of travel sectors. KR Pass is appicable for KTX, KTX-Sancheon, ITX-Samaeul, ITX-CheongChun, Samaeul, Mugunghwa, Nuriro, O-train, V-train, S-train, DMZ-train, A-train, Westgold-train trains. The pass is not available for use on subways, SRT or temporary tourist trains.

KR Pass can be purchased from Korail's website.

* Bus
Gangwon province has come up with “One-Stop-Service” called “GoGoGangwon” bus. This GoGoGangwon bus takes you directly from Seoul to local festival spot (Coffee Festival, Hyoseok Cultural Festival, Chuncheon Dalkgalbi & Mukguksu Festival) in Gangwon without any transit!

For information on bus schedule, fare and bus terminal, you can check Kobus website.

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Monday, 31 July 2017

Joyful Day in Jeonju 1

Jeonju has much to offer than just Bibimbap. I love everything in this village especially the traditional Han-style vibe in this small city. It's a must visit destination in Korea which I always recommended my friends whenever they plan to go to Korea.

The first reason why I recommend it is because you don't even need to worry of transportation in this village, because you can just walk from one place to another place. It's so convenient that even someone like me who hate walking and no sense of direction can do it.  

Secondly, if you're tired walking just stop and have drink and some snacks that available at every corners. Remember to pamper your stomach because the food here is incredibly yummy and have lots of selection ranging from traditional to unique fusion meal.
  Jeonju Nambu Market.

After checked out and leave our luggage at WannaBe Design Hotel (워너비호텔), we went to Nambu Traditional Market to have our breakfast.

Luckily this stall was open, because lots of them still closed when we're there. 

Waiting for hot food to keep our bodies warmer.

 Patjuk Red Bean Soup and Seafood Kalguksu.

I prefer sweet red bean soup which I had at 서울서둘째로잘하는집  
in Seoul or 외할머니 솜씨 in Jeonju.

We only order these 2 dishes, because we wanted to taste others delicacies. They all seemed delicious, however we didn't have much time to join the queue.
 Pungnammun Gate (풍남문) is jus a walking distance from Nambu Market.

Didn't rent Hanbok's veils (쓰개치마 =  sseugaechima) from Bettl Hanbok
therefore can only use my fur jacket as sseugaechima. 

  Sonyeosang, statue of a girl representing sexual victims during 
Japanese military sitting in front of Pungnammun.

Remembrance booth of the Sewol ferry incident (Day 593).

Fish Bread 페스츄리 에빠진 붕어빵.

Leisurely strolling around charming Jeonju village after breakfast and found this cute fish bread on the way to Gyeonggijeon

Fish Bread (붕어빵) - ₩2,700 / piece.

We bought 4 pieces of different flavours for ₩10,000. There's option for 6 pieces at ₩15,000 too.
This fish bread is bigger than normal fish bread sold at the street and the filling was generous too.

 Candid photoshot of these two kiddos that always avoid taking photos.

Gyeonggijeon is a must visit historical site in Jeonju.

Please click this link if you want to read more about Gyeonggijeon Main Hall, and this link for Royal Portrait Museum which enshrined portrait of King Tae-jo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty. You might also like to visit this link to know more about The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty which stored inside Jeonju Sago.

 I purposely stopped in front of Doldam-gil (Stone Wall Walkway)
because it's perfect and matching background to snap photos in Hanbok.

 Ladies in colorful hanboks.

In just a merely one year, I can see the big difference in this Hanok village, where there are a lot of stores renting Hanbok. Therefore, about 30% of people in the street were swanning in their beautiful hanbok. I really love the atmosphere where I felt like the time was turned back to Joseon era or I was filming Korean drama where you can see pretty agassi or handsome yangban and hanok houses.

To be continued, please stay tuned...

Sunday, 23 July 2017

How and Where to Learn Winter Sports in Korea?

[Korea] - [Buyeo] - How and Where to Learn Winter Sports in Korea? | by Meheartseoul
Too bad that not every country experience winter. For countries located near equator like Singapore only recognized two seasons which are wet and dry seasons. Therefore, it has been my dreams to visit countries where you can build snowman!

Without explanation, we all know that winter is icy cold, dry and humid. But, it didn't stop us to visit Korea during winter. In fact, out of our 5 trips to Korea, twice were in winter season. However, it wasn't snowing during our visit in Feb 2014. It's just snow covering some places that we visited. 

Actually, cold won't bother you much if you wear thermal insulating clothing, winter jacket, protecting your neck with scarf, wear hat and if not enough... you can use hot packs to keep yourself warm! I would recommend you opt to stay in Korean style hotel or Hanok House, because it's nice to sleep on ondol (heated) floor.

Still remember how we flew out from Ashley Queens Restaurant the moment I saw the weather forecast notification that it's snowing. Yes, it's our first time seeing white fluffy snow falling from blue sky. Happily 'dancing' in the snow as we tried to catch as the snow on our palms. 

It's phenomenal moments for us... but, we'd to rush back to the restaurant before being escorted back by police. You know we'd not paid the buffet.  I just used sign language to the staff that we wanted to see snow, not sure whether she understood or not.

Snow is like magic blanket and turning Daewallyeong ranch to wonderland!

Snowscape in Jeonju on 27 Nov vs cold winter without snow on 29 Nov.

 My weird body reacted as if it's colder if it's not snowing.
Completely fine even snow pouring down on me.

There are a lot of activities that you can do in winter, such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, ice fishing and so on. I know, most of us that living in hot countries which ice melted in just few minutes doesn't know how to ski. Worry not, why not pick up a new skill while travelling and it'll be extraordinary and unforgetable experience in winter~^^

Korea has so no lack of ski resorts and mostly scattered around Gangwondo and Gyeonggido. Here are the list and more detailed information from VisitKorea for your easy reference.

Most of these resorts do conduct classes for skiing and snowboarding. You can even get special or discounted price if you're staying in the resort. Or you can get private instructor for one to one, where the instructor can concentrate just to one person instead of a group of students.

 You can check my previous post about Muju Ski Resort here
and also 3 hours private skiing lesson here.

Hubby's pose like he's so satisfied after successfully sliding down from expert slope.

 After the session, you should be able to slide down the hill. Cool, right?! 

Well, not for us... We're still far to be considered as fair in skiing. It's nothing to do with the instructor. He's very good that I think with his skill, he can participate in upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics Games.

I just want to lie down on the snow and make snow angel~! ;P

Actually, we wanted to learn skiing together with kids on our last trip, but too bad that all of us were sick and just stayed in the pension houseand had mild winter activities such as fed animals, built snowman, and had a good rest.

 Playing snowtubing at Elf Pension House.

Yes, my hands are itchy whenever I see thick snow!
Let's make a cool snowman~!

Do you know that building snowman, snowball fighting and ice fishing 
are considered as winter recreational sports? 
It can be casually enjoyed by whole family from young to old. 

Talking about winter sports, world mega scale winter Olympics games will be held in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do which will feature 102 events in 15 sports: 

 Event calendar (Source: Wikipedia)

I wish to be there to witness the spectacular opening ceremony and few competitions like figure skating, Alpine skiing, and Snowboarding. 

Would love to see  the exquisite and elegance figure skating as close as I can. Still don't understand the formula of how they manage to balance themself after super fast spin, turns, twizzles. And the most fascinating is they're like a feather... flying and spining in the air effortlessly and gracefully. Really unbelieveable skills they have by practicing hard! 

Adrenaline rush sport, Alpine skiing was one the reasons and my encouragement to take up skiing class. My ultimate goal is able to slide down the magical white hill without my legs trembling or jellified. 

I'll back to workforce tomorrow, which coincidentally marking countdown D-200 to Pyeongchang Olympics.

Oh yeah, KTO Singapore will be celebrating D-200 with many exciting activities on 8th July 2017 (Fri), 3pm to 8pm. If you want to experience mini hockey and curling, fishing game or just to get information for your next visit to Korea, do visit them and who knows you might win and bring back home souvenirs featuring cute Soohorang and Bandabi as mascots of Winter Olympics and Paralympics Games.

Please click here for more information.

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