With our school hosting the NAE U11 Games over the Chinese national holiday, we were given a day in liu, which we used to head to South Korea and explore Seoul. An over night flight and arriving in time for breakfast at our hotel in the Myeongdong district. It is really easy to get a ticket for a seat on a 'bus' (a luxurious coach with reclining big seats) which takes you to/near your hotel!! We were at an Ibis Styles which overlooked the area where the Seoul Tower sits above the hill and my favourite part about the hotel was the balcony you could sit and eat your breakfast overlooking the city and the hills.
We headed out on the subway to Gangnam district, which is quite business like and different to how I imagines South Korea. We did find the iconic dance memorial! Then we went around a park which had some good views of the city and some interesting information on the cities past.
Next we headed back the otherside of the river to one of the palaces, Changdeokgung, which was very pretty but we did not spend lots of time here. It was lovely to see couples having their wedding photos done in traditional Korean dress. (I will add photos from my camera at a later date).
Hanok Village is an ancient village in South Korea with lots of great older buildings, which are still lived in. There are lots of little alleys and shops which you can wander around as well as a lot of Koreans hiring traditional dress to take pictures throughout the village. This was probably one of my favourite parts of our time in Seoul and I loved the iconic spot where you can see modern Seoul amongst the traditional village. This adventure was topped off by a traditional Korean dinner of pork schnitzel and all the trimmings before walking back to the hotel after a long day with minimal sleep!!
Day 2: DMZ and Urban River
We went on an organised trip to the Demilitarised zone which is 40minutes north of Seoul. It was fascinating seeing, hearing and reading about the history between North and South Korea and being in a place like nothing I have ever seen before. We visited the area where you could walk over to the border and they had recovered a train which was bombed and shot at in the DMZ when it was taking aid to S.Korea. Then we went to a look out point which was right on the border and on a clear day you can see across to the North Korean flag. We did an underground walk down into one of the tunnels which the North Koreans had dug to infiltrate S Korea and still to this day deny that they built it for this. They even painted the granite on the walls black to pretend they were digging for mining purposes!! The last point on the tour was at a train station, which at the moment only has one train going from Seoul and returning again. It has been built in hope that one day there will be a trans-Korean railway to the capital in North Korea.
Upon return to Seoul we explored our district which had lots of hidden gems and street food and we found ourselves on the Urban River which had lots of people sat beside chilling out and some street music on too. It was a lovely place to just people watch and you can walk about 10km down alongside it.
Back in Myeongdong we ate in a Korean Bar and enjoyed some Korean cocktails before heading back through the electric streets and enjoying all the stores of cute Korean socks!! Seoul was an absolute delight, the transport, people, fashion, shopping, food and sight seeing all fantastic!!! I wish we could have had longer to explore more of South Korea, if we can come back, we will!