Winter Vacation – Day 2 in Suncheon (Suncheon Bay National Gardens)

I am finally back in action after being super busy for most of March! March flew by like a breeze and now we are in the midst of spring already! I just finished my mid terms today and it is time to finish what I have left off previously, which is the posting about my winter vacation to Suncheon! #oneseasonlate

In continuation with the previous post, the second location that me and my roomie went to on our 2nd day was Suncheon Bay National Gardens! This place is segregated to a few sections and it covers a large area where we can experience different activities. There are many themed gardens around, a stream that cuts across the garden, an animal viewing area etc. We only managed to cover a few spots due to time constrains but it is so beautiful I would probably go again if I have the chance.

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The entrance
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Us at the entrance
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How a garden looks like in winter (aka BARE)
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Titled: A tree’s heart

Upon entering, we either choose to go left or right. The left area leads to where the animals are whereas towards the right were the gardens. We eventually went to the gardens area because both of us saw a lot of animals already in our previous trip to Everland. As we walked along the path, we reached the Korean Garden~

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The big bridge that led us into the garden
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Entrance to garden (it says Korean Garden at the door frame)
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Obligatory photo with door

P/S Anyone who has travelled with me knows my obsession with nice doors HAHAHA #doorobession

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The small pool in the middle of the garden
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Bright and sunny day = happy selfies
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The quaint pavillion next to the pool
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See what I mean by #doorobsession
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Ok so I found out that my roomie is also obsessed with doors HAHA
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Details on the walls
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“Into the bright future”
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“Oh it’s too bright, let’s turn back”
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The backyard which looked less maintained
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Still need to take a selfie

After walking around the Korean Garden, we noticed a pathway that leads us to the hill behind the garden. We decided to head up to explore more and it seemed like the higher we went, the lesser people there were… until it was just both of us left!

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Road up the hill
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It took us about 15 minutes to slowly hike up
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This is where it felt a little creepy

So when we were walking along this path, I felt a cold chill over my spine. It was really windy and the strong winds were hitting the tree leaves. The rustling sound and wind blowing sound actually added up to the creepy vibe and I thought it wasn’t a good idea to continue on walking because there was NO ONE else in that area. But I am not sure what  has gotten into my roomie and she was on exploration mode that day (she didn’t feel anything though) so she just grabbed my hand and we went along until…

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We went into a Cypress forest to take some artsy photos
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Another view of the Cypress forest
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After walking out from the forest, it was another road that is leading is to somewhere else

So in continuation of the creepy vibes that I felt, as we walked further, we actually saw a cemetery. #notkidding

But after walking away from that area, I immediately felt OK so no more creepy vibes from now onwards! We continued our journey and eventually ended up on the observatory deck, where we could see the full view of the garden and part of Suncheon!

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One part of the National Bay Garden
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The other part
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Photo with Roomie

The wind started to get really crazy at that time but it didn’t stop us from going forward. After exploring the hill area, we decided to head back down to explore more.

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More artsy photos
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The hill as we went down
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Lots of Love ❤
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Welcome to MY garden
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The wooden bridge that led us back to the main area
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Sunny + windy weather

We decided to walk towards the monorail area because we wanted to take a ride. But the monorail will take us to another area pretty far away so due to time constrains we gave up on the monorail ride. Instead, we explored other places like the art museum (front only because we were too stingy to pay more to enter), the Bridge of Dreams and also the nearby greenhouse!

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Entrance of Art Museum
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Continuation of #doorobsession
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Stork statues beside the lake
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Stork +1

After skipping the art museum, we walked nearer to the monorail station area and visited the pretty greenhouse~ I love flowers so going to the green house made me really happy! I’ll let the photos do the talking on how pretty it is!

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Wish we could stay longer but since we only had about 40 minutes left, we decided to quickly walk across Bridge of Dreams and venture to the other part of the garden.

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The colourful Bridge of Dreams

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This bridge is a collection of drawings by 140,000 kids from 16 countries. These drawings are basically these kids’ dreams.
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Got feel mou?
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The colourful tiles make me feel carefree like a kid again
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One more with the dream drawings
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Cute drawings of kids
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More drawings
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Manage to spot this prettily drawn and coloured flower
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Can’t get over how meaningful these drawings are
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Ok last

After crossing the bridge full of these drawings mounted on both sides of the wall, we came to the other side of the garden, where there were more themed gardens like the French Garden, Mandarin Garden and so on.

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Still a Chinese no matter where I am
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View from French Garden
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Why French Garden so nice one???
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The house in French Garden

Right next to French Garden is a route that led us to a lake with carefully carved little hills. If you are a big Runningman fan, you would realise that they shot one of their episodes here HAHAHAHA. This area gave me a very relaxing vibe because it looks like a holiday resort, with chairs and umbrellas lining alongside the lake area.

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The wind was C-R-A-Z-Y
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The hills that I mentioned (where they shot Runningman a few years ago)
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#holidayvibes
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We wanted to cross the bridge to get nearer but we were exhausted
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So we decided to just lurk around the side
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One more #holidayvibe photo

By then, it was time to leave for the next location so we gotta head back to the bus station. We took a different route to go back so we managed to see areas that we didn’t manage to cover too.

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#bestshot of the day
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The other side of the lake
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The animal area which we didn’t get to visit

After spending about 3 hours here, we took a bus bound for our final location – Suncheon Open Film Set. It was a pity that we did not have enough time to cover everything seeing that this place still has a lot to offer. Overall, my favourite place is the Green House, followed by the Bridge of Hope because it is super meaningful. Every part of the National Garden is picture worthy and I would definitely recommend my friends and family to visit if they have a chance!

Next up, I will be covering Suncheon Open Film Set in my next travel post! Stay tuned~

 

 

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Winter Vacation – Day 2 in Suncheon (Wetlands Reserve)

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!

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The kind ahjumma
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It was still cloudy in the morning (P/S the birds on the arch looked intimidating)
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Us at the entrance (it was drizzling)

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~

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These gigantic bird statues was the first thing that greeted us
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Living beings we can spot in mudflats
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More living beings
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Migratory birds and animals living in the wetlands
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More birds
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The black eagle is HUGE

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.

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We still can’t grow up haha
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Taking a photo with Mother Earth
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Pictures at the observatory
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The view from the observatory
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Can you see the birds flying at a distance?
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Binocular view
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Sundials on display
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Look! That’s the black eagle!

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.

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Our materials
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Before we start
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My artwork!
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Roomie still focusing on hers
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Ta-daa!!! (Roomie’s artwork)

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!

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Small fountain similar to the one we have in Chosun Univ
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Wooden arch that lead to the reed garden
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The reeds were taller than me
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A strong wind started blowing
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Not kidding when I said the reeds are taller than me
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Roomies selfie
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Ok last reed photo for now

We walked further and saw a shaded tunnel that would lead to an outdoor observatory.

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Full body shots of the two of us is a rare gem
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Messages craved on wood plates
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Trying to move my fringe out of my eyes
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Not kidding when I said the wind was strong
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The view from the outdoor observatory. I presume the two round things at the bottom are status of bird eggs
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Everything seemed so serene in the photo but in fact, the wind was piercing cold
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The wind gave me a new hairstyle while my roomie is still looking fab as usual

The reeds does not end here…

We walked further and there was a wooden bridge…

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THAT LED US TO THIS

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Endless field of reeds
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Crossroads that leads us to more reed fields
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Can you see the end of this?
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Perfect weather for a stroll (maybe, minus the wind)
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One with nature

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.

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Spicy vegetable + cockles
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Cockles side dish
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I love this!
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Crab dipped in spicy sauce
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Our lunch table
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Us!

After a hearty lunch, we took the bus and head straight to Suncheon National Bay Gardens!

To be continued…

 

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…

 

 

February 2018 – Photo of the month

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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:

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Took a ride on my lecturer’s car for lunch
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Our lunch room
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The other side of the room
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Our teacher’s reactions when they got the gift ❤
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Ashley’s lunch crowd
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My first round~
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The second plate of my first round~

P/S the duck is really reallyyyyy good

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Hungry kids queuing up for food
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With my teacher ❤
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With another teacher~ ❤
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Our table

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!!!

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My letter and my notebook

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~