All travellers have a place that they wish to visit at least once in their lifetime and mine is South Korea. The recent trip there was totally eye-opening for me – it was more than what I had expected compared to the Korean drama series that I have been following.
The first half of my trip in this developed East Asian nation was spent in the Gyeonggi province, well known for its tourism attractions. Situated close to the Demilitarised Zone or DMZ (the zone that borders North Korea and the most heavily armed area in the world), the region is also an ecological paradise. Gyeonggi province, which is split in two by the majestic Hanggang river, has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It contains significant number of ancient relics
Paju (skin anniversary skin town)
Paju City is only an hour away from Seoul using public transport and is famous for military and security tourism in the DMZ area. Slightly lesser known sites like Paju Book City, Heyri Art Valley and Gyeonggi English Village are also becoming increasingly popular travel destinations, making the city of Paju one of the most frequented travel spots outside Seoul, especially after the opening of the huge Skin Anniversary Beauty Town in 2011. Those who enter Skin Anniversary Beauty Town will be issued with a card containing individual bar code and information. It is essential to have basic analysis and scientific diagnosis for our skin done before choosing the suitable type of individual customised skin care. As the largest beauty town, Skin Anniversary can accommodate up to 2,000 visitors at any one time, where visitors can olpt for Korean face massages, free make up, photo-taking with 3D trick background and variety of cuisines.
HEYRI ART VILLAGE
Heyri Art Village, brimming with Bauhaus-inspired art galleries, museums and cafes, is where you can find the works from some of Korea’s most esteemed artists, musicians and architects. Less than 10 minutes away from Skin Anniversary Beauty Town and stretching over acres of unspoiled land, many of its buildings are no higher than three stories.Home to more than 370 creative artists (writers, artists, cineastes, architects and musicians) , this place unites together music, books, art, instruments, buildings, toys and so on. During the tour, I spotted a couple of friends stopping by at the Chocolate Gallery. The chocolates themselves are the artworks and come in the form of truffles, cakes, cookies, brownies and so on. For the readers who have the chance to visit Heyri Art Village, it is recommended to visit the place during weekends because most of its performances, galleries and museums are open that time. Heyri is huge, so it is better for you to plan ahead and select beforehand what you want to visit.
PAJU PREMIUM OUTLETS
Paju city has become a hotspot for shopping when Paju Premium Outlets were open earlier this year. Compared to the one in Yeoju, Paju Premium Outlets offer more diverse brands. Many luxurious labels such as Coach, MaxMara, Marc Jacobs, Armani, Hugo Boss, John Valvatos, Elie Tahari, Isabel Marant, Lanvin Collection, Banana Republic and Gap are included in the range of the outlets’ offerings. Men’s collection is also enhanced with Theory Men’s and Nina Ricci Men’s. On top of that, Jil Sander, Tory Burch and Calvin Klein Collection stores are the only outlet stores in Korea. Spanning up to 31,000-metre square comprising three levels that houses 165 brand stores and 21 restaurants and food/beverage outlets, visitors will be truly spoilt for choice.Before you start shopping, please check how much cash you have in your wallet because you may have the tendency to overspend when being here.
Everland amusement theme park, located in Yongin, which is a suburb of Seoul, is the biggest theme park in South Korea. Everland, which is operated by Samsung Everland, includes a lot of different rides and facilities and come in three distinct themes: Festival World, Caribbean Bay and Speedway.The atmosphere was similar to Disneyland with music playing all around, bubbles gently floating in the cool breeze, kids waiting in line for cotton candy, the clickity-clack of roller coaster cars slowly making their way to the top of the tracks and the excited screams of the riders free falling to the bottom! My favourite is the Safari World where you can see different wild animals up close, especially the adorable bears that did all kinds of tricks like waving, standing, kissing, etc.
Daytime : adults 38,000 won / Teenagers 32,000 won / children 29,000 won
Nighttime : adults 31,000 won / Teenagers 26,000 won / children 23,000 won
Namiseom is a tiny half-moon shaped island located in Chuncheon, South Korea. Situated 63km away from Seoul and in the heart of Han River, Nami Island was named after General Nami, a brave Korean historical character who courageously fought in battles and died in the age of 26. Not far away from the entrance to the island lies the grave of General Nami.The beauty of this island was widely broadcasted in the popular Korea drama “Winter Sonata”, focusing on the romantic settings that served as background in the show. A photo gallery that runs along one of the roads displaying the pictures of various scenes shot on the island and statues of the show’s leads, Bae Yong Joon and Choi Ji-Woo, commemorate the show being shot here. Consequently, the island becomes a popular tourist attraction and a must-visit destination for couples. For those who prefer not to walk, the island provides bikes for rent at 3,000 won for 30 minutes or 5,000 won for 1 hour.At Nami Island, love is really in the air.