Experiencing Traditional Korea

I was still in South Korea and got enough time to visit another tourist spots. I was already touring Seoul and its famous attractions and this time, I am experiencing traditional Korea. Since I explored the capital of the nation, I was looking on a place near the airport. I did the Incheon City Tour.

The first stop was in a traditional park or garden.

Wolmi Traditional Park was formed into natural eco-friendly park from historic park at the edge of neo-modern period. It has various facilities, traditional garden with Korean style houses, walking way surrounded with nature.

The entire park was wide that touring around the grounds took about an a hour or more added up with some major information about the park and the history of the country. Guests got the opportunity to wear hanbok or traditional clothes. We were strolling within the park showing the houses for rich and poor families back in old Joseon dynasty. It was like an immersion to old fashioned Korea.

The second stop was at an international market.

Sinpo International Open Market is famous for the unique foods of Incheon originated including fried chicken and many others which enable everyone to enjoy typical street Korean food.

The market was lively and full of flavors. Just by walking inside the market, I can smell delicious and really aromatic Korean dishes. It was great, guests even get free taste before purchasing them. Prices were affordable and when it comes to cleanliness, the market was tidy.

Experiencing Traditional Korea was a success. I got the best of both worlds, the modern and the traditional side of South Korea. It was amazing to sightsee and be informed about the history of the country. I am a traveler who is more of knowing the history and immerse on the culture and the city tour I got was able to meet both.

Check my YouTube channel and my vlog when I was exploring South Korea.

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Sparkling Korea! ‘Seoul’

South Korea has been on my favorite list of countries to travel. I’ve been dreaming about it for the main reason that I’ve been hooked with Korean drama series on TV way back before I left the Philippines. It even made to the point that I was studying their language and on how to write the Korean alphabet. I did a lot of research and back in 2013, I went to South Korea Consulate to ask if it’s allowed to submit a Visa application thru them but unfortunately, they don’t and it should be done thru South Korean Embassy which is in the capital city of the Philippines, Manila. But this time, I got the opportunity to visit the country  since I got a Korean entry visa easily using my permanent resident status in t he United States. Its travel slogan before was used to be Sparkling Korea which really stuck in my head but since it took me almost half a decade to get there, so, now, I am calling my trip, Sparkling Korea! Seoul.

Seoul is the capital of South Korea. Seoul is by far the country’s largest city and one of East Asia’s financial and cultural epicenters. The city has a fascinating blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology. It is also home to endless street food vendors, lively vast nightlife districts, and extraordinarily high-pressure educational system and serene Buddhist temples. Indeed Seoul is a city filled with stark contrasts. With its contrasts, Seoul has a long history of dynasty. It is widely visible on well kept temples and infrastructures.

Seoul skyline

When I got the chance to set foot in Seoul, I made sure to visit the most famous tourist location and movie location too, the Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest royal palace built in 1935 and served as the main palace during Joseon Dynasty. It was built about 100 years before the Forbidden City in Beijing, China was built. But it was destroyed during Korea- Japan War in 1592 and restored in 1865. The palace is still considered as being the most beautiful and grandest of all palaces in South Korea.

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Gyeongbokgung palace is wide and huge. It may take almost  a day to totally tour the whole palace grounds but every halls and rooms are different and is assigned to different positions and royalties during the Joseon Dynasty. Geunjeongjeon is the main throne hall and the most photographed location of all the palace grounds and is also famous for movies and Korean TV dramas. We only stayed there for almost 2-3 hours but we were running just to cover the main history of South Korea and the said palace. The tour guide was helpful and informative but we skipped some minor details and still got the chance to ask questions. After we were done in Gyeongbukgong palace, the tour bus went to other popular destination, the Insa-dong.

Insa-dong

Insa-dong is a famous traditional street, lined with a large number of antique shops and folk art galleries. It is a neighborhood of the Jongno-gu district of Seoul. Insa-dong was the largest market for antiques and artworks in Korea and it is still now or probably one of the largest markets.

While we were Insa-dong, we were introduced to this traditional Korean restaurant. The food choices were unfamiliar to me but I chose the beef bulgogi which is a  made up of thin sliced, marinated beef grilled on a barbecue or stir-fried in a pan in home cooking. I selected it coz I have tried it before and it was delicious but that beef bulgogi I got in that Korean restaurant was amazing and more tasty and delicious. I did enjoy dining over there. After we had lunch, we went to do some souvenir shopping. It was fun and I felt the Korean vibe.

As a conclusion of my Sparkling Korea! Seoul experience, it was one of the best trips I had. It was memorable not because of the location but because one of my dreams came to reality. I didn’t expect too much when I got to Seoul, I was only wishing to set foot in one of the progressive countries of East Asia, South Korea.

Check my YouTube channel and my vlog when I was exploring South Korea.

IATA Code: ICN – Incheon International Airport

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Location Identifier uses a 3-letter code to identify locations of airports throughout the world.kr1

ICN or famously known as Incheon International Airport is in South Korea or Republic of Korea.

My 2015 Countries That I Would Love to Visit List

My 2015 Countries That I Would Love to Visit List

I got the chance to land at Incheon International Airport. Incheon International Airport has an IATA code of ICN. It is located in the island of Incheon close enough to get to Seoul which is the capital of the country of South Korea.icn18 icn17 icn16

View up in the plane

View up in the plane

As I was having my layover in ICN, I got the opportunity to experience the K-vibe or Korean vibe. Since Korean culture has been widely known in Asia due to its great and amazing K-dramas, culture, pop music, fashion styles, and handsome and beautiful artists. It was obviously shown everywhere in the airport with pictures of famous artists such as Lee Min Ho and the boy group, EXO.

Lee Min Ho's Ad

Lee Min Ho’s Ad

EXO's Ad

EXO’s Ad

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The airport was huge with lots of gate terminals but it was also jam-packed. There were travelers here and there. icn14

Information Booth at the center of ICN terminals

Information Booth at the center of ICN terminals

It might be due to the fact that most Koreans love to travel. In the airport, there were also more stores you can see.

Souvenir store

Souvenir store

Souvenir store in ICN

Souvenir store in ICN

Stores that sell from souvenirs to food were present in every area of ICN. Hence, I took the liberty to try one of their restaurants. I went to dine at Food Court and ordered the Traditional Bibimbap for USD5. It looked pretty to me. The same thing I saw on how it was made and served in Korean movies. But, it made me confuse on how to eat it. I should have tried to order the famous Omurice which was introduced by the Korean drama, Rooftop Prince, yet I insisted on trying the traditional dish of Korea. As I tasted the food, it was a little bit weird since I don’t know how to eat it. I just mixed everything what is in the big bowl and added some sweet meat and it tasted OK.

Food Court

Food Court

Traditional Bibimbap (mixed rice)

Traditional Bibimbap (mixed rice)

I went back to the terminal gate while waiting for boarding announcement. I got to see the big screen of the airport’s arrivals and departures. ICN serves every major airport in the world from Asia to Europe to North America to Australia.

Boarding Gate

Boarding Gate

Big Screen tells it all

Big Screen tells it all

Asiana Airlines

Asiana Airlines

They also cater domestic flights but a passenger needs to ride the train to domestic terminal gates.

Train

Shuttle Train in between International and Domestic Terminals

If you happened to have a long wait for your layover, you can have yourself do the tour. There were booths located just near the transit signs when you get off from the plane and also near money changer counter. They gave you pamphlets of tourist attractions. I don’t know what are the rules and requirements to take advantage of the tour but it sure looks nice to have seen Korea during your long layovers rather than waiting at boarding gates.icn01icn04
As a summary, there were a lot of things going on in ICN. Yet those were all for the good image of the airport. I never saw dirt or litters on the floor of the airport and it was really nice. They even have charging stations for mobile devices at boarding gates making it a friendly airport for travelers.

Diverted Frustrations

Before I left for the Middle East, I was planning to go somewhere up northeast in Asia. If you can still remember my bucket list, one of those is to visit a UNESCO world heritage site. I’ve been doing research and I found out there are a lot of those attractions somewhere in Northeastern Asia. Thus, I planned to visit South Korea and it’s ever famous palaces and temples. I’ve been reading reviews on hotels, hostels, inns and lodges. I’ve been checking on airline rates and quotes on different airline sites. I’ve been ‘googling’ on maps on what route to take going from here to there in SK. I even studied ‘hangeul’, their language and how to write it and also planned my trip in getting my tourist visa in Cebu. Then, one day it was a bit tiring due to traveling too early from my place to another province which lasted for 4 hours.

Upon arriving in the Consulate Office of South Korea which is located in UC Banilad Mezzanine, I directly went inside and greeted them in hangeul and to my surprise, there were all Filipinos, of course they should be Filipinos ;). I asked them and about to hand my visa application when my smile just disappeared upon hearing the words the front desk uttered. I can remember she said, ‘I am sorry but we don’t process visa application here in the Consular Office. You need to apply thru our embassy in Manila or seek aid with our accredited travel agencies.’  I just smirked at her and told her, ‘that is OK.’ I stepped out of the office and thought about the things I’ve been doing for this trip. All of those efforts had gone to waste and my frustrations grew bigger and bigger.

With my frustrations, I diverted it and continued watching Korean Drama series after that incident until I arrived here in the Middle East. I am still planning to visit South Korea one of these days but it will appear that I won’t be able to put a check mark on one of my things-to-do on my bucket list this year. That is sad.

Anyway, I just drowned myself with Korean TV series and I just finished and added three series on my watched list.

First. The romantic teen tandem of Park Shin-Hye and Jung Yong Hwa. It was televised last 2011 but my friends told me to try it, so, I watched it.Heartstrings_Promotional_Poster

It was good, talking about one-sided love but kinda too childish for  me. Maybe I’m too old for this 😉

Second. I’m addicted to Gugak series now due to two recent tv series being shown in Korea recently. I’ve watched Jang Ok Jung: Live for Love.Jang_Ok-jung,_Live_for_Love-poster

It was heartbreaking and definitely one of the best Korean drama series for this year. Two thumbs up for coming up with a great performance and everything that comes along with.

Lastly. The second Gugak series is Gu Family Book starred by Lee Seung-Gi and Suzy. It is a historical action packed fantasy series.Gu_Family_Book-poster

It was better but not to an extent of getting glued to it.

So, those were the series I’ve been watching to divert my frustrations of not getting the plan done. I just keep my fingers crossed so that next time I will be able to keep my planned  trip, bucket list come to reality.

What Am I Gonna Do At Home

With this current weather condition and the middle of winter season, it is not unusual to have common colds, fever, cough, sore throat and flu. I also got these due to cold weather. Nowadays, viruses spread easily and are more potent than before. As my upper respiratory tract infection progresses, I tend to rest more at home with nothing to do. Then,  I just started thinking what am I gonna do at home since I cannot travel with this type of condition I have. I am weak, feverish and my bloody runny nose makes me more uncomfortable. So, I ended up lockdown at home til I’m good to go. With this week confinement, I haven’t done anything productive. I finished writing this post and most of the days of my week, watched a lot of television series. My eyes are glued with Korean TV series now, with just 5 days I was able to watch 4 TV series and those were:rooftop-prince-17-bolum-izle

Rooftop Prince

My first Korean TV series and I ended up with sleepless nights. The story was great, the plot, the scene, it was definitely addictive. I think I have watched this within 2 days only, my eyes were literally on the screen without a blink watching this. There were no dull moments and as the story goes, it became more interesting that the viewers will look forward on what’s going to happen next, out of curiosity. It was indeed one of the best Korean series I’ve seen so far. Not to mention the soundtrack, songs were topnotch. I placed those songs on my iPod and played it like countless times in a day. Songs were performed by Baek Ji Young titled After a Long Time, Happy Ending by Jay Park and Ali’s Hurt.

Next was, 194838_156816874454612_199687395_oThe Moon that Embraces the Sun

For me, it lacks impact to the viewers. Storyline was not that complicated. At first I have doubts of watching this series but due to high viewer rating when it was aired in South Korea so, I watched this out of curiosity as well. The first half or first 10 episodes were great with humour, and the chemistry between two main child characters was amazing. Yet as the story goes deeper, it lacked spice and became bland in my opinion but still gave it one thumb up for everything.

Considering that I love Fantasy-Period-Romantic genre, third on my list was,315447_127945744015375_849513714_nArang and the Magistrate

It was an action packed, one of the best TV shows I’ve seen also. Everything was perfect, first 5 episodes might be tiresome but it has a purpose since they were building up the plot as it goes to the next episodes. It was brilliant  with minor glitch at the end since the ending was too unexpected. I may think they did a hasty pack up for this TV show with that kind of ending, kinda disappointed though. But still I gave it two thumbs up as an overall experience watching this series. I also like the soundtrack with Baek Ji Young’s Love and Love and K Will’s You are Love.

After my Joseun Era TV shows, I shifted back to current time and viewed,536704_449728668377547_1828288828_nI Do, I Do

It depicts love between career and motherhood. Romantic comedy it is. It was nice. All 16 episodes were amazing and I can’t stop watching them. I have no negative feedback to say about this TV show cause it was flawless. The story was good not so provocative and I just finished watching this not a long time ago.

Now, I’m currently watching Sungkyunkwan Scandal.36300_240597862735069_1129477621_nLet me see what this show has to offer for a sick viewer like me.

Enjoy your day, guys. Make sure to take care of your health and always be fit, take vitamins, fruits, vegetables and drink a lot of water <a simple reminder from a sick *sniff sniff* homebound blogger>. =)