In continuation of my previous post on my trip to Suncheon during the winter break, this post will be about our second day in Suncheon! We had a pretty crazy first day and the second day was just about to get even crazier! We visited 3 places and this post will be all about our first destination: Suncheon Bay Wetlands Reserve.
We woke up around 5am to get ready and by 6am we were already out from the hotel. Our first stop of the day is Suncheon Wetlands Reserve. Prior to the trip I have checked online and apparently it takes around 1.5hours to get there from our hotel because we need to transfer buses. However, the hotel staff told us it was pretty near by bus (around 20minutes ride) but she seemed unsure so we just went ahead with our journey. We aimed to reach at 8am (right when it opens) but….
In an amazing twist of events, we got there by 6.50am -.- The wetlands area is a pretty rural area (like duh…) and even the convenience stores there like 7-11 and GS25 was not open at that hour. The wind was blowing and the weather seemed like it was going to rain on us soon too. There was still an hour before the place opens and it is impossible for us to just sit outside in the dark with the cold wind blowing at us.
Fortunately, there was a restaurant nearby and the ahjumma kindly allowed us to sit around until it was time for us to go! I am so grateful that there are still kind people around that would go to greater lengths to ensure we are comfy. She even offered me and my roomie coffee and chatted with me for about half an hour too!
So we went in and the first place we went to was the museum located next to the entrance. The museum covers information like different types of mudflats, living organisms living in the mudflats and migratory birds that we can see in Suncheon Wetlands~
After a quick run through the museum, we went to the neighboring observatory where we can use binoculars to look towards the vast wetlands area where all the birds are. There were a few black eagles lurking around but a majority of the birds we saw were either ducks or storks.
When we were at the observatory, we also got to be part of the art and craft experience. Since we had some time in our hands, we participated in postcard making using plants. There are also other experiences offered like bookmark and handkerchief making too! For ours, it cost 1,000won each.
Not sure if you have noticed by now, but the main highlight of this place are the REEDS! About 2 minutes walk from the museum/observatory building, we were greeted by a quaint area full of reeds that makes a perfect backdrop for insta-worthy pictures!
We walked further and saw a shaded tunnel that would lead to an outdoor observatory.
The reeds does not end here…
We walked further and there was a wooden bridge…
THAT LED US TO THIS
After a long stroll along the endless reed fields, we got hungry so we went into one of the restaurants nearby for lunch! Since we are near a mudflat, the most common dish available was of course seafood like crab, squid and cockles. Both of us ordered cockle bibimbap and we were served a wide selection of side dishes and seafood dishes.
After a hearty lunch, we took the bus and head straight to Suncheon National Bay Gardens!
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!
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!
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.
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~
We walked further in and the road led us to a pavilion on top of the wall.
Just when I thought we reached the highest point of the fortress, we saw the road leading to a rock stairway…
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.
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…
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.
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.
The museum is pretty small with only one floor of display rooms. Take a look on the items on display below~
There is also some Hanok buildings within the museum compounds too. The buildings are said to be a few hundred years old.
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!
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~
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!
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!
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!
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!
Being the last month of winter, February marks the end of our winter semester, which also mean we will be saying goodbye to one of our classmates, Ruby and both our Korean teachers. The photo above is taken during the goodbye lunch we had in our favourite buffet place called Ashley’s. It was a light hearted event filled with laughter and touching tributes to our teachers. One of our teachers even teared up when she opened our gift and she even brought it around with her the next day to show it off to her friends hahaha (that’s what she said).
We are all sad to part with our Korean teachers because they have been the best teachers we could ever had so far. Thanks to them, many of us scored pretty well in the January TOPIK test as they have gave us a good foundation to the language. I will always remember the happy times we had in class and the jokes they make to cheer us up whenever we feel the morning blues and the games and movies we enjoyed together~
More related pictures:
P/S the duck is really reallyyyyy good
The next day after the goodbye lunch, we had our last classes with our teachers. And one of them even gave us a notebook and a personalized letter!!!
It was a good six months with our teachers and classmates. As we are coming to the end of our winter vacation, it is time to gear up for upcoming spring and the new challenges installed for us! The memories we made as a class will always be cherished~
In the first 2 months of my stay here, I have been to numerous university festivals organised by different faculties from Chosun University. Back in Malaysia, we had university events and flea market type of events going on in the university from time to time. But in Korea, the scale is far more bigger than any in-campus festivals I have been to back home~
Throughout September and October, there was at least 1 festival per week run by students on a faculty level. Usually these festivals last about 2 days, and the last of the festivals would be the biggest one that is organised at the university level that would feature a way more famous artist performance line up and it lasted for three days. The festivity normally starts in the late evening and run till late at night. It is a time where students from different faculties come together and have fun, all while enjoying student performances like dancing, magic show and singing, playing arcade games and also drinking and eating! And since we are in Kimchi land, of course K-pop performances by boy/girl bands are part of the itinerary! At the end of most festivals, there were fireworks performance too!
Check out the photos~
Food trucks here serve really nice and premium food like steak etc, which means it is more expensive and cost around 7,000-10,000won depending on what you order, But the food is often prepared on the spot when we order and it taste really delicious. But sometimes, we also like to order from student-run food shops. They normally serve cheaper food options like ramyeon, pancakes and also alcohol from beer to soju hahaha. I heard from my Korean friend that university festivals are a time where it is allowed and not frowned upon to drink alcohol or get drunk in the university compound and they have seen drunk people sleeping around the campus the next day after the festival too haha.
They also have a photo area for us to selfie~ (of course!)
Towards the end of every night when it was almost time for K-pop artist to take the stage, everyone would crowd in front to get the best possible view. I, of course had to go because I kiasu want to experience the vibes at the front line so for every festival I went I stood really close to the stage. But still, even at 173cm there were still taller guys standing in front ALL the time T.T
Right after the last artist have performed, it is time to say goodbye with a firework display!
Super in love with going to festivals because it is a chance for us to take a break from our usual schedule and have fun with our friends without having to go out of campus. Hopefully I will get to attend more fun and interesting festivals when I head to Seoul later on this year!