War Memorial of Korea 전쟁기념관 - Korean War Continues On

Korea wasn't the top of the list of countries I wanted to go but fate has it that I landed in this scenic and interesting peninsula for a semester. Beyond the over-priced coffee and bouts of nationalism. Korea can be a very fun and economical travel destination for a nice road trip with plenty of solid unpretentious Korean food.

Great Han Gate

SEOUL | 서울
Seoul is the financial heart, the political powerhouse… the epicenter of South Korea. It is probably your gateway to the country itself (the other being Busan)

Dakhanmari, Korea has more than just samgyetang, dakhanmari is another kind of chicken soup. Yeongyang Center, a restaurant specializes in chicken serves samgyetang and roast chicken for at least five decades.

Besides samgyeopsal and samgyetang or bibimbap. Another quintessential Korean dish is the Budaejjigae.

It is difficult not to link Japanese and Korean cuisines at the sight of the samgak gimbap. Just don't call it onigiri!

Paris Baguette, is probably the largest bakery chain you can find in South Korea. Of course there are alternatives such as Pourtoi Bakery or the famed Le Alaska. For homesick Singaporeans like us, we tried Ya Kun Toast but I enjoyed snowmounteen's version more.

La Celtique located in Sinchon, serves up some pretty tasty French crepes. Round the corner, you can find British-style Fish and Chips with pea mash at the Battered Sole.

Tony Roma's and Brick Oven Pizzeria are just some western restaurants you can find in the increasingly cosmopolitan Seoul.

Korean Street Food, one of the joys of visiting Seoul or South Korea is the opportunity to snack on these street food. Another equally not-to-miss eating venue is none other than Noryangjin Market with its abundant seafood.

One of the dishes I quite enjoyed in Korea would be the Yuhwang-ori-jinheuk-gui, a speciality of the Nolboo Yuhwangori Jinheukgui. Located in another corner of Gangnam is Yummy Thai which serves up delicious Thai food with jasmine rice!

Seoul has many so-called fine dining venues. One could opt for the more sophisticated Jung Sik Dang or the homely OKitchen.

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Changgdeokgung, one of the three major palaces in Seoul. You could also visit the Jongmyo, a peaceful ancestral shrine housing the ancestral tablets of the Joseon rulers.

Cheonggyecheon, a man-made/natural stream that has an interesting history that is now a a park that connects central Seoul to the Han River. The stream cuts through the old district of Jongno, where you can find historical landmarks such as Jogyesa.

Located near Yongsan, Itaewon is known for its multinational community.

The War Memorial of Korea, a museum dedicated to the Korean War and the armed forces of ROK.

Located about a 45 to an hour ride away from Seoul is Namiseom Island, known for its role in the film, Winter Sonata.

If you are into architecture, do drop by the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art designed by Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel and Rem Koolhas. Another work of Rem Koolhas, the Museum of Art can be found at the Seoul National University.

To catch a glimpse of the future development of Seoul, you could drop by the International Finance Centre, designed by Arquitectonica.

Classic 500 is one of the top-rated serviced residences in Seoul by Tripadvisor.
Fraser Place Central Seoul, a conveniently located serviced residence located a distance away from Seoul Station.
JK House, an affordable hostel located in the vibrant Sinchon district.

Gyeongju - Daereungwon Royal Tombs

Located in the southeastern part of South Korea, Gyeongju was once the capital of the ancient King of Silla. It is the home to several two famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple.

When in Gyeongju, you definitely cannot miss encountering the ever-present Gyeongjubang also known as Hwangnambang.

If you are alone and want to splurge a bit on a local Bibimbap, there is the Gondalbi Bibimbap from Gyodong Ssambap.

More importantly, the real reason to visiting Gyeongju should be sightseeing and the two must-visit attractions in Gyeongju are its UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the famed Tumuli which can be found within the city itself.

Beyond the city is probably South Korea's most famous temple, the Bulguksa and lastly the Seokguram Grotto, a temple on the mountain with a grotto housing a stone buddha.

For my visit to Gyeongju, I stayed at the quaint Homo Nomad Guesthouse located near the tumuli.

Sinyang Beach, Jeju

Jeju is probably the next most famous tourist destination of South Korea after Seoul itself. With its natural beauty (and over-saturated tourist venues), it is not hard to see why.

There are a few options to get to Jeju, and the most popular option is by air with airlines like Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Busan Air, Jeju Air, Tway Airlines and Eastar Jet, you have plenty of options to fly there. Just take note of the holiday period like Chuseok, we failed to notice that and we have to opt for the more expensive Asiana Airlines.

There is also a ferry option from Incheon to Jeju and Mokpo to Jeju which is more popular.

You can't miss this and it is the one reason to visit Jeju : Halla-san.

Besides the majestic Halla-san, Jeju is also known for its Sunrise Peak, otherwise known as Seongsan Ilchulbong.

For architecture fans you would delighted to find one of Tadao Ando's works in Jeju, the Genius Loci. Sadly, the Casa de Agua designed by Ricardo Legorreta is no more.

Jeju has plenty of tourist attractions. Yeomiji Botanical Garden is one such classic example.

Seoraksan National Park

In my humble opinion, I would say skip Jeju and visit the relatively undeveloped Gangwan-do region located in the northeast part of South Korea. It has fantastic Hanwoo beef, fresh seafood along the east coast and my favourite Chuncheon Dakgalbi. Did I mention gorgeous scenery?

Rivaling Jeju's Halla-san and probably giving you a glimpse of the Diamond Mountains north of the border is Seorak-san with beautiful, sculptural rocky peaks.

Further south of the province, is a relatively easy to climb mountain with beautiful scenery, the sacred Taebaeksan.

For our visit to Seoraksan, we stayed at the Goodstay Smile Resort.


Poppy said...

Thanks for the tips!!!

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