Winter Vacation – Day 1 in Suncheon

Today is the last day of our 10 day winter break. Me and my roomie just got back from a very tiring but awesome 2 day trip from a nearby town near Gwangju called Suncheon. It is about 1 hour 20 minutes bus ride away from Gwangju U Square Terminal. We have been planning this trip about a month before our vacation since we needed to save up some money and make a detailed plan to make sure we get the most out of our spendings haha.

On the first day, we got up at 5.30am to make our way to Gwangju U-square Terminal to catch the 7.45am bus. We bought the tickets on the spot and it cost 7,000won per person. While waiting for the bus to arrive, we bought toast from Isaac for breakfast!

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Our bus tickets
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Sleepy but excited faces

It was a very gloomy day with rain in the forecast. I found out about the rainy weather 3 days prior to our departure whereby we have already booked our hotel so we had to embrace whatever weather that is installed for us. True enough, when we arrived in Suncheon, it was gloomy and very windy while the sky threaten to rain.

But no rain can dampen the excitement of the long awaited winter vacation!

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Acting coy while waiting for the bus to our first destination

Upon arrival at the bus terminal, we bought our return ticket to Gwangju, which cost 7,000won as well. Right after that we scrambled to find a bus station because we didn’t want to miss the bus. During my pre-trip preparation, I found out that buses in Suncheon can have up to 60-80mins waiting interval so since we had a lot to cover, we had to time our journey well so we don’t spend too much time waiting. But there is only so much I could check and get ready for before the trip so in the end we just tried to adapt our itinerary according to the bus schedules while we were there.

Anyway, our first stop is Nagan Eupseong! After about an hour bus ride from the bus terminal bus station, we are dropped off directly at the South Gate where the ticketing office is. We bought the integrated ticket which cost 12,000 won per person and this ticket is valid for 2 days for entrance to Nagan Eupseong, Ppurigipeunnamu (Deep Rooted Tree) Museum (the one next to Nagan Eupseong), Suncheon Open Film Set, Wetlands Reserve, National Bay Gardens and Suncheon Recreational Forest Reserve.

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Picture of the integrated ticket

It was gloomy and very chilly upon arrival. As it was a weekday and it was still very early, there are not many people around so we got to walk around as if we owned the place haha! The whole of Nagan Eupseong Folk Village is surrounded by a stone fortress and we can even climb up to the highest peak of the fortress! Foe now, I’ll let the photos do the talking~

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At the South Gate entrance
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South Gate Entrance
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So many houses inside the village
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One of the many homestays available
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Welcome to the village!
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Stone fences separating the houses
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Lotus Pond with no lotus LOL!
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Tree in the middle of Lotus Pond
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Candid shot of me posing on a wooden bridge
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Lotus Pond Area

We walked further in and the road led us to a pavilion on top of the wall.

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View at the pavilion platform
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Very beautiful pavillion
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Solo shot
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The pavilion is connected to the watch tower (like those you see in war dramas where soldiers shoot arrows lol)
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A view of the fortress
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The pavilion
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Colourful roof with intricate artwork
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View of houses on the fortress wall

Just when I thought we reached the highest point of the fortress, we saw the road leading to a rock stairway…

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Road to the stairway
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Overview of the houses
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Rock stairway en route the highest point

Even though the rock stairway was super steep, we managed to climb up in about 5 minutes while looking back from time to time. The irregular steps remind me of my experience when I was hiking up the Great Wall of China, but of course this was probably ten times easier because it is just a short hike up and the stairs were pretty sturdy. The peak is probably the highlight of the entire place because from there, we can see the entire village in it’s entirety.

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Midway through the stairs
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Still midway
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Yes, still midway hahahaha
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The TOP!

Lucky for us, instead of having to climb the super steep stone stairs again to get down, there is a slope at the other end that would ultimately lead to another set of stairs that are less steep for us to go down. We continued walking around the village and we came to an area where other buildings and pavilions are located. We also walked past the filming location for the famous drama called “Jewels in the Palace” but it looks pretty normal…

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The pavilion with a traditional drum
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Guess who became recruited as a Royal Guard
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To defend the cities from criminals!
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Also defending pots of sauces! ^^

Right after we finished scouting this place, the wind started blowing strongly and the rain started!!!

Even though the strong winds were blowing our umbrellas with great force, we pressed through the rain and wind to areas where we can experience stuff like pottery making, cloth dyeing and traditional outfit rental. But all the activities we are interested in were closed because of the rain and cold weather so we ended up just visiting the pottery house to buy some souvenirs.

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Quaint pottery house
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Outdoor furnace
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Items for sale
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Clay figurines
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Look at the cute pigs!
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Indoor furnace that kept the store warm

After that, the rain got too heavy and we were getting drenched under the umbrella. We decided to walk to the museum nearby to get some shelter and to see what is there to offer. It was a waste that the experiences offered in the village were closed or unavailable due to weather. If I have a chance to go back in the future, I would definitely try the cloth dyeing, weaving and also pottery!

So we walked back to the South Gate and walked about 200m on a muddy path to the museum. Since it was raining the road was really muddy with puddles of water but we managed to get through in about 10 minutes.

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Road to museum
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Museum Entrance
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Exterior of museum

The museum is pretty small with only one floor of display rooms. Take a look on the items on display below~

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Me and roomie ❤

There is also some Hanok buildings within the museum compounds too. The buildings are said to be a few hundred years old.

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Rainy day but the photos must go on
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Traditional houses
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Can you spot the rain drops?
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Neighboring house
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Small door frame behind me

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Outside of the museum

The best facility available in practically all the places we went is the lockers (some are for free, some costs about 100won for unlimited time). We got to know about the existence of lockers in this museum (and subsequently in other places) thanks to the pretty and kind staff that advised us to place our bags in the locker so that we can walk around freely without our baggage!

The rain didn’t stop even after we spent an hour in the museum. So instead of waiting, we wanted to head to the next destination in the itinerary, which is the recreational forest. But because of the bus schedule, we had time to grab lunch before hopping on the bus!

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Just the side dishes (p/s the fish was AWESOMEEEEEEE)
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My lunch – Kimchi Soup
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Pre-lunch selfie

By lunch time, we had been under the harsh wind and rain for an hour or so, which explains why we look so tattered with our messy hair. After the hearty lunch, we went back to the bus station to catch the next bus…….

BUT IT DID’NT WORK OUT BECAUSE… both of us went on the wrong bus (wrong direction) and we fell asleep in the bus until it took us back to town!!! I guess it must be fated because it was raining cats and dogs and it was impossible for us to walk through a forest area because of the strong winds too. I count it as a blessing in disguise because we then decided to just chill in a cafe over a cup of coffee and waffles! Perfect way to chill in a rainy afternoon~

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Bus stop at Nagan Eupseong
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I am not exxagerating if I recount our day as going through an apocalypse
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Decorations in the cozy cafe

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Still smiling after 4hours of rain

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My cappuccino with cinnamon powder sprinkled on it

The rain still didn’t subside after our tea session. Hence we decided to return to the hotel by bus and take a break before heading for dinner. We booked our hotel online for a really good price (28,800won per night). The hotel name is Hotel Noblesse and it does emit a very “olden day” vibe because of the decorations and exterior. Nevertheless, the receptionist was really friendly and she even gave us a free upgrade from a twin room to a deluxe room with 2 separate beds! What’s better is, instead of 2 single beds, we got 1 queen size and 1 single bed! After a coin toss, I got to sleep on the queen bed!!! ^^ The hotel provides really complete amenities like toothbrush, toothpaste and even hair spray and face masks! We got a care pack that includes stuff like hair ties and facial cleansers too!

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Hotel entrance
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YASSS VIP ROOM
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Big beds for the night
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Things in the carepack photobombed by my roomie’s hand

It has been a really long time since I watched TV in a room. Both of us got so comfortable and in the end we decided not to even go out for dinner. Instead, we ordered Mcdonald’s!!!!! Every single McDonald meal is cherished because McD don’t deliver to our dorm and so far it is only my fourth time having McD since I came to Korea. The deliverman was even kind enough to deliver right to our door!

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They had curly fries!

After a hearty meal while watching Discovery Channel on TV, it was time to rest and chill before sleeping, And of course, what else can we do in a hotel room? Mask time of course!

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Mask times are our favourite activity, no matter which room we are living in

After two masks (yes we tend to go a bit crazy sometimes), it was time to sleep early because we had to wake up at 5am the next day!

To be continued…

 

 

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