Archive for January, 2010
Jermil has really wanted to go “ice skating” (just “skating” to we Canadians) this winter, and coincidentally in the December issue of “Seoul Travel and Culture” magazine, they suggested some venues for skating. We decided to check out what Gwanghwamun Plaza in Seoul had to offer.
Getting to Gwanghwamun Plaza and other information:
· Take the Seoul Subway Line 5 to the Gwanghwamun stop, and leave the station from Exit 2 or 3
· Hours: Mon – Fri, 10 am – 10pm and Sat –Sun, 10am – 11pm
· Open from December 12, 2009 to February 15, 2010
· Admission costs 1, 000 won and that includes admission AND skate rental! What a deal!
The skates were slightly dated, and I suspect the ice hadn’t seen a zamboni all day, but we had a good time nonetheless! Live at the scene, we present to you an on-ice video (and pictures below)…check it out!
Ever since we travelled to Beijing in June 2009, Jermil and I have been on a quest to find some flavourful Chinese food in Korea. Walking around in Sinchon, Seoul today, we stumbled upon a sign for Well Chai-New Style Chinese Restaurant. The menu had food titles written in English, and the interior of the restaurant was modern and inviting, so we thought we would sample the cuisine.
How to get to Well-Chai:
Take the Seoul subway Line 2 to Sinchon station, and leave the station from Exit 3. Walk straight and at the first major intersection, turn right. Walk for a few minutes and on the left side of the road you’ll see a big yellow sign that says “Nolita”, the elevator for Well-Chai is in that entrance way.
Why you should try the Chinese food at Well-Chai
Both Jermil and I ordered from the lunch menu that was reasonably priced (8 000 – 10 000 won per dish). We got the “pork garlic pork” and “barbecue beef”and both of us were delighted with our meals. Here’s why we recommend Well-Chai:
• The quality of both the pork and beef was very good.
• We were impressed with the delicious sauces in which the pork and beef were prepared.
• We loved the plentiful stir-fried vegetables that were part of our lunch platters.
• Our meals came with a generous portion of authentic Chinese fried rice.
We also ordered a separate appetizer of crab dumplings (crab rangoons) that were served with a tangy dipping sauce, and they were amazing! Good Chinese food is not easy to come by in Korea, but we really enjoyed Well-Chai, and the food reminded us of some of the flavours were sampled in Beijing!
We need your help!
Of course, since we were in a Chinese restaurant in Korea, we were served several kimchi side dishes, including, what we think was the spicy Korean version of egg drop soup. Jermil really enjoyed it, and our waitress told us the name of it, but we can’t remember it! If anyone has had this spicy soup, and knows the name of it, let us know in the comments!
I’ve seen this scene all too often and I just had to blog about it.
While wandering down a busy on a freezing Saturday evening, I see a girl in a short skirt outside a store called The Face Shop (english | korean) yelling into a microphone. I can only assume she’s giving the details of the specials that are going on and trying to entice you to come inside and check them out.
Sometimes, they take turns yelling at the people who pass. Mostly, they yell over each other. It’s weird because they aren’t direct competitors business-wise. One sells lotion and the other sells ice cream. But they seem to be at each other’s throats!
Who is the winner? The answer is clear once you check out this video.
We hadn’t made a plan on where to go once we got there, but that isn’t any different from 90% of the places we go.
When we hopped off the train, I looked in my Lonely Planet Korea and figured we should go check out an old fortress wall called Sangdang Sanseong. We took a taxi from the Cheongju train station and got there in about 20 minutes.
We walked along the fortress wall for about an hour and took tons of pictures in the steamy hot Korean sun. Then we found a bus stop and took the next bus back towards civilization.
During the taxi ride out to Sangdang Sanseong, we saw an area full of museums and decided to get of the bus at a stop near those and check them out.
The museums consisted of dinosaurs, old gems and stones, the solar system, a greenhouse, old tribal masks, and halloween masks.
I found Cheongju to be a great way to spend a lazy summer Saturday. I know of a few more sites that we missed out on like the Cheongju Zoo, the Korean Craft Museum, Heungdeok Seongdang, Yongusaji Iron Flagpole, and Jungang Park. (Read about them here and here and here.) If any of you have checked out these places, let us know what you thought about them in the comments!
What makes Insa-dong unique?
According to Seoul’s Best 100 guide, ‘in 1998 Insa-dong was designated a traditional culture district in order to preserve its look of a traditional Korean market place’. On Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays, it is a car-free zone. Many Sundays, festivals are held here.
How to get to Insa-dong
Take Seoul Subway line 3, and get off at Anguk Station. Head out Exit 6 and walk straight for about a minute, and you’ll pass a tourist information booth. You’ll see the main courtyard-style street of Insa-dong almost immediately after on your left.
What to do Insa-dong
Rub the frog statues for good luck as you enter the area.
Shop: most people come to this area to peruse the copious amounts of souvenirs. A lot of the merchandise looks mass-produced to me, but there are some stores with some good finds. Look for traditional Korean paper dolls there; they are quite beautiful and tastefully constructed. I also found chopsticks, chopstick rests, fancy tissue box covers, placemats, and tea strainers to bring home for my friends and family. The prices were reasonable, you can bargain a bit and the gifts were a big hit back home.
Drink tea: you can find many traditional Korean tea houses where you can sip on tea, relax and take a break from shopping.
They have tried to maintain an old-world feel in Insa-dong and a lot of the signs are in Korean only…even Starbucks.
Have you ever been to Insa-dong? Did you find or do anything special while you were there?