On this post, I am not really going to tell a story but just to show some photos that I randomly took while walking in some areas of Seoul and other places while doing nothing or just looking for something. And this will be the last standard post that I had with the topic about South Korea unless I come back again to this country that I fall in love with. For single photo or image post, South Korea may still appear in random pictures which I usually published everyday.
1. Incheon International Airport
After we got off the plane and walked to the arrival area of the airport, there were few people around since we arrived past 8PM in the evening.
2. Nonhyeon Bus Stop
I captured this photo because we were trying to see if we were able to use the bus instead of train to go somewhere until we realized we never understand what’s the information in front of us.
3. Jeonggak Station Exit
When we were on our way to Insadong, we got off at this exit as we understand its somewhat the nearest exit in Jong-ro to the market until we found Tapgol Park along the road.
4. City Hall Station Exit
I had this photo after coming from Insadong market and we planned to go to City Hall Station to buy a discounted ticket to Everland at Hotel President. All of us were fascinated with the hanging umbrellas displayed at the exit stair we took after getting off the station. We also found a modern style of entrance/exit transportation card reader.
We had some time to walk around the area where we saw City Hall itself. We saw one of the main gate of Deoksugung (no photo captured), a palace that we haven’t had a chance to see though we have ticket for it.
5. Seoul Metropolitan Library
6. Hotel President
This was the place where we bought our discounted ticket and memory of the Philippine Tourism center near City Hall area.
7. Taepyeongno 2(i)-ga
This was the street that we passed through while we were on our way to Sungnyemun Gate. I enjoyed the short walk in this street because both lanes has Korean restaurants. After walking at the side of Sejong-daero, we saw Namdaemun Market.
8. Gyeongbokgung Station Exit
During our first day adventure in Seoul, the photos captured while we were on our way to Gyeongbokgung Palace after getting off the train.
I captured the photo above after we came from Gyeongbokgung Palace on our way to Sejong Center.
8. Sungnyemun Gate
We saw this gate while walking along Sejong-daero after we came from Hotel President where we bought our Everland discounted ticket. This gate is said to be one of the eight gate that surround Fortress Wall of Seoul which surrounded the city in the Joseon dynasty.
10. Seoul Station and Surrounding Area
Photos taken after we came from DMZ Tour, got off at Seoul Station, walked a little until we found Concos The Galleria where we had our lunch before returning to our hotel to pick-up our luggage for our flight the night of that same day.
11. Seoul City Tower
One of the building around the area of Seoul Station, captured this photo when we returned from an activity we attended in Seoul.
I captured this while walking along Gangnam-daero after our Everland adventure. To be honest, we stayed in a hotel which in Gangnam area but unfortunately we never really had time to explore it. The only chance we had after we came from Everland, we walked along the road and discovered we stayed in one of the busiest district in Seoul.
13. AK Plaza – Suwon Exit Station Mall
Snapshot captured while we were trying to figure out how to go to Hwaseong Fortress. It is one of the noticeable building as the location is both foot and automobile traffic area.
It’s our last day in South Korea and because we just had less than 24 hours, what we planned before the night of our return flight to Manila was a tour in the most heavily militarized border in the world which is the border between North Korea and South Korea called Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
As I am aware that security is the most important factor for me for this tour, I booked the one and only tour we had during our trip in South Korea. For me even I knew that we can go to the said border by just jumping to the KORAIL train, I still planned it with a tour guide because of the main reason that we must at least knew someone who knows how to speak English and who will guide us in one of the tourist friendly but heavily guarded area and maybe dangerous place in the world. There are lots of travel company that offers DMZ tour and I just selected one of them. We got the half-day tour of DMZ as we still need to go to the market to shop a little so we can bring something when we return from our 9 days trip abroad.
The night before Saturday, we arranged all of our things in our luggage as it was our last night in the hotel. We decided to leave our stuff at the hotel before our tour the next morning so we were hands free while traveling to Korean border. And then we will return to the hotel then straight to the airport.
Even we were tired from the past days of adventures, we still woke up early because the tour was time-sensitive and we do not want to miss our tour.
From our hotel, we jumped-in again to our favorite and nearest train station which was Non-hyeon. And then, we took train going to Bupyeong-gu and went out at Isu (Chongshin University) station. From Isu, we took Line 4 going to Seoul station.
We arrived at Seoul station 10 minutes before 8AM. We met our tour guide after some difficulties of understanding where to meet at the station because Seoul Station is one of the busiest station as it is centralized to metro and provincial trains. Our tour guide bought the ticket for our train and we waited until we go down to the platform to board the train.
When the time has arrived, we go down and walked straight to DMZ train. At the back of my mind, I knew that our trip was safe but still I guarded myself as I was with my youngest sister and with my mom. As we mount the train, I was amazed at the ambiance inside the train, because outside, train color are plain white and black and some people potrait, which is opposite of what is inside. The wall color inside the train was so warm that made the passengers feels relaxing and joyful, the wall displays flowers, ceilings colorful heart shapes and the floor painted with lively color of water-lily leaves. The seat covers were flashy and vibrant flower shapes.
Our ticket has seat number and one of our ticket has gaps with the other two tickets, but our guide told us that if the seats were empty, we can seat together which what happened as the train started to desert the platform.
At the time we were waiting inside the train, I already felt the tour was quite exclusive as I can sense that the crew were most likely part of South Korean military which guarded the train with its strict implementation, one requirement on the tour is the passport, without it, you will not be able to join the tour. Within our trip, the crew that we saw inside the train, checks our passport and tickets.
It was the first train that I experienced where you can see the front or back view of the railway of the train. And while we were on our way, most of the views that I saw after we left metro area were farms in between. So I can imagine that most likely the place near DMZ are agriculture oriented places which I understand because how a government plan to developed a place which near in most threatening place in their country which is their border.
Along the way we saw few stations before we arrived at the Dorasan (tour destination station), the nearest station where the border is and the last station of South Korea, because the train line (Gyeonggi) is connected to the next station that already belong to North Korea. The following stations in Gyeongui line in Southern Korea are: Neunggok, Munsan, Uncheon, Imjingang and Dorasan.
Before the Dorasan station, we had been told to leave the train at Imjingang station for our identity check. All the passengers left the train and queued for the passport verification. After our passport validated, we returned to the train and went to the last station. Before arriving at the last station, there were some military personnel jumped-in to the train and some of them talked with tourist. One of the officer went to our table and sit together with us. I was glad he knows how to speak English. He was friendly and he asked some information in amiable way until he realized we are Filipinos. He seems happy that some foreigners are curious to their border. He actually took pictures of our passport cover and told us that was his souvenir that we came from Philippines.
After leaving Imjingang Station, we passed Imjingang Bridge and Imjin River. Here I saw structure but I was not sure during the trip but when I searched internet for DMZ, I realised that the one that I saw were the ruins of the bridge that had been destroyed because of war as Imjingang Bridge was two-way bridge before, but now it just only one way.
At Dorasan Station, we already felt the military presence as we enter the station. There were Korean soldiers assiting visitors when entering the station. At the station we waited a little as our guide arranged our seats for the bus to the DMZ. And in few minutes we hopped on the bus that will bring us to the border. At the bus, some checks has been done as well and then we hit the road to the border.
I cannot explain what I felt while we were in the road and awaiting to arrived in our destination, I thought things about the separation of Korea, as I saw its historical drama, both part of Korean peninsula contributed to its development as one country. I am familiar of their dynasties and kingdoms, even aware how it became one country. While watching historical dramas and reading historical notes of Korea, I learned how it was divided. I remembered that there is another country with similar case with North and South Korea before, I am referring to Germany. Germany had been divided into two during World War II, but now it is a united country and in our time, it is one of the country that considered progressed country. I thought Korea divided because of the same war and my mind flew of thinking what if Korea has been united like Germany? Maybe, it will be the same as Germany which is rich and fully developed country. As I saw the side of South Korea and how it is at the moment, though I am not aware about the North Korea as the news are the only medium to know about that country. I am quite sad of division happened to the peninsula.
We had two stops in our DMZ Tour: First, was the “Third Tunnel – Third North Korean Infiltration Tunnel” and last, the Dora Observatory.
There are two ways to go inside the Third Tunnel: One is using a sled rails (blue caps) and the other one is from the lobby (yellow caps) where people will walk all the way to the tunnel. Our guide led us to the group that used the sled which was really cool for us since we were just sitting in the sled until we reached the end of the rails. Then we continued walking to the tunnel which quite easy. We knew it’s not allowed to take photos but we did a little snapshots at the end of the sled rail as the tunnel trail was too narrow to be able to take photos and because the flow of people coming in and out of the tunnel was non-stop.
Dora Observatory is located at the top of Dorasan (Mount Dora) where you had a chance to see North Korea border from a distance using telescope and binoculars.
With the two places we stopped, there were lots of tourist like us that visited DMZ, I can say that most likely the reason of coming to that places were curiosity and experiencing the atmosphere of being in Korean Border.
After buying postcards which I usually does in every travel I was in, we returned to the bus and came back to Dorasan station where our train to Seoul was already waiting.
I knew that there were more to see in DMZ but because of limited time we had, the half-day tour we had in the border was really worth the time.
–First thing to see at Petite France from the Entrance
–Petite France village
–Petite France village
Petite France was the another drama site that we visited. I heard the name of the drama but I haven’t watched it. The drama title in English is “My Love From Another Star” and as per my sister it was a love story of an alien and human (with that idea we can think of the story that it is fantasy drama, right?). The Korean actors who played in the drama, I am not yet familiar as well. In my country, the drama was quite famous specially for the teens and young adult. My youngest sister was the one forced me to convince to visit the place since she’s watching the drama and the site was near in Nami Island.
Since we were in the area of Gapyeong after we visited Nami Island, I agreed to visit Petite France. The name is interesting and the brochure of photo regarding the small French village seems to be unique and beautiful. From Gapyeong Wharf after we crossed the river when we left Nami island, we took a cab straight to Petite France. We took this path as we need to be back in Seoul before or exactly 7PM that day. The travel time from the wharf to the village was estimated of 30 minutes drive.
We arrived at the village and my first impression, the location has french ambiance as it showcase its colourful buildings which stand out in the area as Petite France is located at the hill-side near in Hoban-ro road at Cheongpyeong-myeon in Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do province. My sister was really excited and I felt the same thing as I was in a place which first time and unique for me.
We walked to the ticket booth at the entrance and we bought tickets so we can enter the village. After we enter Petite France my sister first thing to notice is the human like stand which shows the two main character of the drama “My Love From Another Star” with the hole on its face as it serve as photo booth to replace the face of the main character(s) by the person that will stand at the back and post their face for photo shots.
As we have limited time, we tried our best that at least within an hour we see as much as we can.
Here are the following buildings and other areas we saw inside Petite France
A. Ticket Booth (Entrance)
–Snapshot from Outside of the Village
–Snapshot from Inside of the Village
The entrance of Petite France is colorful and with lively colorful, I felt that it invites people outside to come in and discover the village.
B. Europe Puppet House
C. Fountain Square
D. Orgel House
E. Puppet House
–Scenery captured at the Butterfly Park near the Accommodation Vicinity (top most area in the village)
The scenery above at the Butterfly Park was one of my favorite part in the village because I found a scenic view which is the natural beauty of Gapyeong River that made me stood there for sometime appreciating its was wonderful vista.
G. Outdoor Theatre
H. Kang MA-E Cafe
I. Beethoven Virus Film Location
–Inside Beethoven Virus Film Location
J. France Traditional Playroom
K. France Traditional House Exhibit Hall
–Inside France Traditional Exhibit Hall
M. Beethoven Virus Film Location, Outdoor Cafe and Waterworks / Medieval Costume Experience
The scenery from the Observatory was next of my favorite because of the overlooking view I had while I was there which allowed me to peek the whole village itself.
N. Petite France (Some parts of the village)
O. Antique Exhibit Hall
Q. Petit Prince Road
We did walked around the village because we wanted to see as much as we can with so little time that we had, we still bought the ticket even we knew most of the shows were finished.
Before reaching the top most area of Observatory, we have to climb a little so we got a chance to observed what the village look like from the top.
In summary, all of us enjoyed the village because of its colorful place that offered visitors with great atmosphere, fun and exciting experience. We were aware that other buildings offers a lot of things that we still haven’t seen yet but because the village is closing, we never witness other exciting stuff. As for what we had seen so far, we were already satisfied in the village. If I will be given another chance to come back to this village I will spend one day of it so I can watch other shows and see other exhibits available in the place.
When South Korean drama entitled Winter Sonata was aired in my country, more than 10 years ago, the drama has been hit to the TV viewers maybe because Filipinos can relate to the story as it depicts love and life story which can happen to anyone. I never watched Korean Drama before but when Winter Sonata started airing in my country, I was curious why a lot of my countrymen watch it. I tried to tune once and I watched it again and again. The said drama is one of the non-historical drama that I knew by heart, main reason aside from the story was because of the main actor Bae Yong Joon. I was a fan of him.
Aside from historical places that I wanted to visit in South Korea, we did a side trip in few places where some of the famous drama was held. One of the place was Nami Island (or Namiseom) where some of remarkable scenes of Winter Sonata series which remembered by the viewers. For what I learned, the island become a tourist destination in South Korea because of the said drama.
When we arrived in the island, I never expect historical information to discover, but I did learned something. The island was named after General Nami, who died because he was falsely accused of treason during the reign of King Sejo. At the island, I read some information about the said General and it seems that the treason case against him was removed during King Sunjo (son of King Jeongjo / Yi San). That piece of history is quite interesting to know.
From our hotel we took Line 7 again and started our journey from Nonh-yeon station to Sangbong. There was a comedy experience we did, as we understood instructions incorrectly and from Sangbong, we went out in Mangu station as we thought we need to transfer the train going to Gyeongchun, but to our discovery, the train in Sangbong also goes to the station we intended to do, we did an unnecessary switching of train. Well that was one of our moments of experience to laugh at while touring in South Korea.
After we took train in Mangu station, it was almost an hour before we reached Gapyeong station. During that travel, I just realised how far the scope of Seoul Metro Train. Because for me Gapyeong station distance is really far from metro. And I also witnessed along the train line the residential buildings besides hills and mountains which made me feel awe for what I saw. I can sense Seoul was not enough to accommodate South Korean metropolis that is why residential buildings are nowadays can be seen even its far in Seoul.
We went out in Gapyeong station and from there I found some tourist brochure to know more about how we can go to Nami Island. There is a regular bus that goes through all tourist spot in Gapyeong area. But we still decided to take a cab as we have limited time to visit all the places that the bus is offering. After taking a cab, we just surprised that terminal to Nami Island was just nearby, since it is near from the train station, the fee was minimal and we had saved time.
We walked to the terminal and some people probably recognised that we are Filipinos and they greeted us in our language which made us feel at home. We bought our ticket and then walked to the docking area or what they call Gapyeong Wharf where the ferry that will bring us to the island was waiting.
While waiting for the ferry to leave the terminal, we saw a zip line tower (Zip Wire Tower) which is another option to go to the island instead of a boat. Since we already bought tickets, we don’t have a choice to cancel the trip even my sister and I wanted to try zip line.
We enjoyed the trip and in few minutes we arrived at Nami Wharf is Nami Island. People started to disembark the ferry and we did the same. Near the entrance gate, there were information centre, restaurants and other stores to enjoy. We started our walk in the island park. First, we passed the Tourism Bureau. Next thing we saw was the Tomb of General Nami. We walked along the famous Central Korean Pine Lane where there are lanterns hang on one side. Along the lane we also found different flags and we found my country’s own flag.
Korean Central Pine Tree Lane
And from the said lane, we either turn left or right to see more of different things in the island park. First stop was at the Ostrich Fence. Then, the nearby site of Yeoncheon Jeongok-ri Site.
Next thing we saw was the famous Winter Sonata First Kiss site which showcase the bench used of the main character of the drama where the first kiss happened. Then it was followed by the First Kiss Bridge where you can see the Glass Sequoia, Eco Farm and Yeonryeon Pond.
— First Kiss Bridge
We continued our wandering in the island park until we were back in Korean Central Pine Lane. Then we saw the UNICEF Sharing Stage and UNICEF Hall. Next to the area were restaurants, galleries and stores. Next stage we saw was Youth Stage Belgrade.
–UNICEF Sharing Stage
–Youth Stage Belgrade
We stopped for a while to take a break near at the playground. Then after the lunch, we walked to the famous film site of Winter Sonata which called the Metasequoia Lane. Here we saw different stuff related to the drama such as the huge photo of the main character along the Metasequoia Lane, their statues, bicycle used in the shooting and event the woods were also displayed. There is Winter Sonata store as well. Every romantic moments in the drama has been showcased.
— Winter Sonata Stuff
After enjoying the Winter Sonata Site, we started to walked back from where we came from as we still plan to visit another drama site near the island. We walked in the same lane that we took while enjoying the island park.
Based from information from online and some brochure, I got the impression from the name itself that Everland is like a magical world that you wanted to visit and feel like a young child again. With that thoughts in my mind, the three of us probably quite excited. We already visited a lot of theme parks from my country and other countries as well and each theme parks left something in our heart. I was really curious what Everland will offer that time.
We decided to set Everland adventure on Friday, second to the last day of our South Korea trip. Since we already bought ticket prior to the big day, we just checked in the brochure how to go to the theme park. From our hotel, we took Line 7 again as we usually starts our travel going to Bupyeong-gu office, then we got off at Express Bus Terminal to transfer to another line. Then we took Line 3 going to Ogeum and we got off at Seoul National University of Education. Lastly we took Line 3 going to Konkuk station and we dropped off at Gangnam station. This travel that we did, when we returned from Everland, we realized how near the Gangnam station from our hotel, but since we did not knew it before we took the long way.
Outside Gangnam station, we found the bus terminal going directly to Everland theme park, we took Red Bus#5002. We waited for sometime until the bus arrived. We were lucky as we lined-up in the queue and were near at the front of the queue as it seems that there were lots of people planned to go to the theme park that day as it is Friday. We used our T-money card in the bus, in few minutes the bus were full and we’re on our way to the theme park.
On our way to Everland, we passed Carribean Bay which is another theme park near Everland but our ticket does not include it. The public bus dropped us at the bus terminal near at Everland, then we transferred to park shuttle bus that brought us to the main gate of the park.
We got off at the front of the main gate of Everland. The facade of the gate gives the impression to the visitor that the theme park is a magical land like Disneyland. We spent few minutes to take photos of ourselves at the front of the gate. After taking photos, we walked at the gate and we presented our ticket to enter the park.
–Front of Main Gate
–Main Gate (Way Out)
–Garden at the middle near the main gate
As we entered the park, we felt excited as we already enjoying what we had seen so far. My mom and my sister saw flower garden at the middle after passing the gate and as usual as I am the photographer, I have to take photos of them. The first place to see in the park based on our map is called Global Fair. Here there were two attractions listed, first the “K-Pop Hologram” and “Pororo 3D Adventure”. In the hologram, there was artist displayed but since my sister and I not familiar with the said artist, we never entered in the hologram as we wanted to see much as we can. There are shops with unique and magical style that can be found within the Global Fair area. We passed different Gardens and Flowers. One of the lovely thing we saw was the colorful and huge Magic Tree. There were restaurants as well such as Venizia and Oriental. There is Human Sky terminal which used to transfer from Global Fair to Zootopia.
–Lacium Memorium (One of the shops)
–Lacium Memorium and Vicinity (Way Out)
–Tower Photo (One of the shops)
–Vicinity and K-Pop Hologram
–Gardens and Flowers
–Pororo 3D Adventure
Came from American Adventure
–Global Fair Vicinity
–Oriental Pororo Salad Bar
–Oriental Pororo Salad Bar and Human Sky terminal
Came from European Adventure On Our Way Out
–Global Fair Vicinity
–Between American Adventure and Global Fair
–Flowers and Magic Tree
–8 Seconds shop
After reaching American Adventure area, we stopped for a while and took a break, we bought cold drinks while looking on rides nearby. My sister tried Championship Rodeo rides, we thought that it was simple but after rides we felt crazy and dizzy. We had fun in that ride. Other rides are Hurricane, Rolling X-Train, Columbus Adventure and Let’s Twist. Sky Cruise terminal can be found as well which used to transfer from American Adventure to European Adventure.
We went to Sky Cruise to immediately transfer to European Adventure. After reaching the said area as we enjoyed the magical garden because of its colorful and beautiful flowers that spreads in the whole area. We took a lot of time in each area that we did not noticed that time was passing.
–View of European Adventure from Sky Cruise rides
–With Grand Stage
–Royal Jubilee Carousel
Other areas in Everland were closed at the time that we arrived such as Zootopia. We came in the place but no more animals and no more shows anymore. We were a bit sad but we understand that the theme park were quite big and after we spent so much time in the beautiful garden in European Adventure, we run out of time to see a lot of the park. But still in total, we enjoyed our visit in Everland.
After the show of martial arts at Sinpungnu, we looked at the map in our hand again to check what else we can visit in Hwaseong Fortress heritage site. We decided to go around the fortress without being aware how long it will take for us to finish the tour. From Hwaseong Haenggung, we turned left until we reached Paldalmun one of the four main gates in the fortress. Paldalmun is the south gate and based from Wikipedia, it houses a bell called Paldalmun Dongjong but we were not able to see the bell since we were not able to come inside the gate. This gate was not damaged during Korean war.
Paldalmun (South Gate)
From Paldalmun, we did some trek in Paldal Mountain using the road halfway and stair on the other half. On the way, we stopped in different fort, post and secret gates in the fortress namely: NamChi (Southern Turret), NamPoru (Southern Cannon Fort), SeonamiChi (Yongdodongchi – Turret East of Yongdo), SeonamGangnu (Southwestern Pavilion), SeonamilChi (Southwestern Turret), SeonamAmmun (Southwestern Secret Gate) and SeosamChi (Western Turret III). Along the way, we stopped as well in Memorial of Korean Independence to check the area and to have rest a bit. We continued our walk until we reached SeoJangdae Tourist Information Center. Then, we found the Bell of Hyowon for Filial Piety. Based from the guide that we have, the bell represents Suwon as a city of filial piety. I found out as well that King Jeongjo has a desire to move the capital from Seoul to Suwon.
On the way to SeonamGangnu
SeonamGangnu (Southwestern Pavilion)
SeonamAmmun (Southwestern Secret Gate) From SeonamGangnu
SeonamAmmun (Southwestern Secret Gate)
Memorial of Korean Independence
March 1st Independence Movement Memorial
Entrance to SeoJangdae Tourist Information Center
Bell of Hyowon for Filial Piety
The walk and trek continue until we saw other post, fort and secret gates at the top of Paldal Mountain such as Seoporu (Western Sentry Post), SeoAmmun (Western Secret Gate), SeoJangdae (Western Command Post) where we have a great view of Haenggung from the top, SeoNodae (Western Crossbow Platform), SeoiChi (Western Turret II), Seoporu (Western Cannon Port), SeoilChi (Western Turret I), SeobukGangnu (Northwestern Pavilion). Another main gate we passed which is called Suwon Hwaseomun (West Gate).
Seoporu (Western Sentry Post)
Surounding Views From SeoJangdae (Western Command Post) Area
Hwaseong Haenggung Views From SeoJangdae (Western Command Post) Area
SeoJangdae (Western Command Post)
Seoporu (Western Cannon Port)
Some snapshots of Fortress Trail
SeoilChi (Western Turret I)
SeobukGangnu (Northwestern Pavilion)
Snapshot From SeobukGangnu (Northwestern Pavilion) area
Trail View From Suwon Hwaseomun (West Gate)
Suwon Hwaseomun (West Gate) Snaphots along Fortress trail
SeobukGangnu (Northwestern Pavilion) From Ground
View From Suwon Hwaseomun (West Gate)
SeobukGingsimdon (Northwestern Watchtower) and Suwon Hwaseomun (West Gate)
Then, we passed as well the following: SeobukGingsimdon (Northwestern Watchtower), BukPoru (Northern Sentry Post), BukseoPoru (Northwestern Sentry Post) and BukseoJeokdae (Northwestern Gate Guard Platform). Next main gate we saw was the north gate which is called Janganmun (Bungmun – North Gate) which is the largest such gate in South Korea. Janganmun gate is part of the fortress that has been destroyed and reconstructed.
SeobukGingsimdon (Northwestern Watchtower)
BukPoru (Northern Sentry Post)
BukseoJeokdae (Northwestern Gate Guard Platform)
Janganmun (Bungmun – North Gate)
From Janganmun, we passed the following: BukdongJeokdae (Northeastern Gate Guard Platform), BukdongChi (Northeaster Turret), BukdongPoru (Northeastern Cannon Fort), Hwahongmun (Buksumon – Northern Floodgate) where we had a great view of Suwoncheon (stream), DongbukGaknu (Suwon Banghwasuryujeong – Northeastern Pavilion), BukAmmun (Northern Secret Gate), DongbukPoru (Northeastern Sentry Post), DongAmmun (Eastern Secret Gate), DongJangdae (Eastern Command Post), Yeonmudae Tourist Information Center and the last of the four main gate which is Changnyongmun (East Gate). This gate was destroyed during Korean war as well and has been completely restored. We also found from a far the DongbukGongsimdon (Northeastern Observation Tower).
The western side of the fortress is a mountain side, therefore, we weren’t able to imagine that we completed at least or more than 75% of the fortress. The part that we weren’t able to see is the eastern side. We never able to finish it since it’s getting dark. I was surprised that my mother was able to survive in this walking tour with half of it were trekking, maybe because we enjoyed all the things we saw along the way. When we arrived at Janganmun gate, heavy rain fell and we rested a while in the said gate until someone from tourist office trying to lock the gate. We were surprised at first until the personnel told us that he is going to lock the gate, if we were not aware what is happening and if he did not saw us, we will be ended locked-up in Janganmun, the good thing, it did not happen.
We ended the tour at the front of Changnyongmun which is the East Gate. From there, we took bus going back to Suwon station and followed the same route we did when we come to Suwon.
We had a very tiring day that day but for us it was another great walking adventure tour in South Korea.
For this day, we planned to go to another historical site of South Korea which is outside Seoul, that is Suwon Hwaseong Fortress which is part of Gyeonggi-do province. As I preferred our way to go to this place without getting tour, we ended the tour with pride because we accomplished something in this fortress and here’s what happened to us.
From hotel, we took metro train which was our usual mode of transportation while touring around Seoul. And that time, we did the same thing when went to Suwon. We started at Non-hyeon station which is Line 7 going to Bupyeong. We transferred in Line 1 at Gasan Digital Complex (GDC) and then we got off at Suwon station where AK Plaza is also located. At the front of the plaza I tried to inquire how to go to Hwaseong Fortress and they mentioned to us to take a bus. The people at information center gave us the bus number. When we were out of the Suwon station, it seems the front of the AK Plaza are like crossing roads which means it’s a busy road since it’s near in the mall and you can find as well some public transport terminal around the area and we are confused where to find the bus that will bring us to the fortress. After inquiring with one of the passing students, she helped us and we crossed the road Maesan-ro. We found our bus and we were able to use our T-money card. It took us few more minutes until we were dropped off at the front of Hwaseong Haenggung Square. Here we found Hwaseong Haenggung information center at the front of the main gate. We bought tickets that combined overall access to the Hwaseong fortress. Our adventure started at lunch time and it’s a beautiful sunny afternoon. Using our mapping tour we started our walk from the gate of Haenggung.
Sinpungnu (outside view)
Sinpungnu (from inside Jwaikmun)
Haenggung sometimes called as temporary palace or detached palace, because this palace serves as palace of the King when the King was not at the capital during Joseon dynasty. The famous king who requested this fortress to build was King Jeongjo (or widely know as Yi San in historical drama). Once we entered in Haenggung, the first thing we noticed were two famous characters played in Daejanggeum (Jewel in the Palace) drama standing in the corner which located at Jwaikmun (the area after you entered the main gate or entrance called Sinpungnu). They are Lee Young Ae (Seo Jang-Geum) and Ji Jin Hee (Min Jung Ho) in their character outfit. Since they are famous, people visiting the place will stand either between them or at the side to have souvenir shots even though it’s just photos of them and not real. We took photos of ourselves as well when it’s been our turn.
Lee Young Ae (Seo Jang-Geum) and Ji Jin Hee (Min Jung Ho)
Daejanggeum (Jewel in the Palace) historical drama
Then, we turned right and found Jipsacheong, based on the map that we have in our hand, Jipsacheong was an administrative office for jipsa, specialist for royal rites and reception at temporary palace. Here we saw dolls displayed covered with glass. Those dolls portray different kinds of clothes wore by Royal family (like King and Queen) and other Joseon court officials.
Dolls displaying Royal Dress and Court Official Dress (Joseon Dynasty)
There was a tree standing near the entrance to Jipsacheong and we found some information displayed there about the said tree. And it’s amazing information we found, the tree is called as “The Zelkova Tree” is more than 600 years old and been there even before building the Hwaseong Fortress.
The Zelkova Tree
Next, we went to Jungyangmun area which is the next area after Jwaikmun. Here we saw Royal Guard standing in the middle at the front in the entrance to Bongsudang. We walked until we reached Bongsudang. From the map guide that we have, Bongsudang is the main hall you can find in Hwaseong Haenggung. And here, the 61st birthday of the mother of King Jeongjo was held. Based from the information displayed near the building, Bongsudang was the most important building of the temporary palace and it was where King Jeongjo stayed when he visited Suwon.