So I haven’t been in tip-top shape for more than a month now, which has led to a trip to the doctor, only to get such a generic advice to take a rest (along with a prescription of antihistamine – among others – that I can’t take as often as I want because it knocks me out). Apparently my mental health and physical health needs some TLC, but unfortunately, I’m drowning in a sea of adult responsibilities. So I’ve been chewing on my gummy vitamins (the best kind of vitamins, if I may say so myself) and drinking a crazy amount of energy drinks and coffee like it’s my lifeline. I sometimes wish I can live life as vicariously every day, the way that I do whenever I travel.
For our fourth day in Seoul, my sister wanted to take another day trip out of the city so off we went to Korean Folk Village. The Korean Folk Village is another tourist spot focusing on (obviously) traditional Korean culture from Joseon era. It’s more than an hour away by bus from Seoul, and although there were a couple number of ways to get here, my sister said that the most convenient way was to take the bus that passes by this route. Weirdly enough, it’s actually fairly easy to take buses in Seoul. Bus stops display information, either by way of paper or an actual screen, with which buses will stop there and the timetable (or if you chance by a more modern bus stop with a screen when the bus will be arriving). You also just need to pay attention to the announcement and make sure you press that STOP button in time to be able to get off at your bus stop. While a lot of the stops are in Korean, most stops that are nearby tourist spots utilize their English name in the announcements as well. Nevertheless, my sister’s lack of navigational skills has led her to over research directions – mostly to avoid another round of whining courtesy by me and our brother when she manages to get us lost again.
Unlike the palaces, there are no complimentary entrance fees when you decide to don a hanbok while exploring the village. Hanbok rental here is a bit on the pricier side than the ones I saw around Gyeongbokgung. Rental cost 15,000 won per person for 4 hours of use, and they didn’t even rent the complete outfit (my brother didn’t get to wear pants with his hanbok). While both my siblings decided to go for royalty, I went for a more modern take on the hanbok and didn’t get my hair braided this time. (The hanbok was modern enough that if I saw this combination in a dress form, I would have bought it with no hesitation lol)
While the village surprisingly had amusement park rides in one part of it, we decided to stick with our theme of visiting the cultural part of the village. It was honestly a bit disconcerting to have stumbled upon the rides in this village, though. Haha! The village was intended to show how life was during the Joseon period. It had regular houses, farmhouses, houses for the officials, a school, and I think government offices. There was also a museum of how they lived their life, and the different traditions they held, as well as the superstitions (fertility food, etc).
Unfortunately, there were a lot more of the village that we did not get to explore because a Netflix ORIGINAL series is being shot. It would be fair to guess that it’s going to be another epic Korean period drama, and I’m actually quite excited to watch it since a lot of the Korean series that Netflix has acquired are the better ones (such as Black and Hwayugi), so I have high hopes that it will be a captivating watch. Because we did not just waste our time to go here and be thwarted by the production crew to be disappointed, Netflix!!!
One of the things that you shouldn’t miss in the village though was the shows! We missed the traditional wedding because we got lost, but made it in time to watch this performance. I don’t remember what it’s called, but it was captivating. Everyone performed so well, and there were even some stunts involved that the audience sat there in awe of the show. Ater the performance, the dancers then stayed to take photos with the people which was quite nice.
When our four hours with the hanbok was up, we decided to head back to Seoul and drop by Cheonggyecheon. We headed to the jump off at Cheonggye Plaza and the way there was quite a nice sight too.
Cheonggyecheon Stream is actually quite a popular spot for Korean dramas. I swear South Korea has a way of turning abandoned spaces into something everyone can enjoy. This stream used to be a hidden waterway which was initially covered because it was an eyesore and collected trash, but they renovated it and opened it for the public’s indulgence by 2005. Now I can’t imagine anyone littering here as it is quite clean when we went. I was honestly expecting it to be more green since it was technically already Spring, but I never quite get the season I want. 😛 You can actually walk from Cheonggye Plaza to Myeongdong or even Dongdaemun Plaza, since it was 8.4 km long. However, we just wanted to walk here until we got to Myeongdong.
When we got to Myeongdong, the first thing me and my brother did was look around for snacks that we wanted to try while our sister was eyeing all the BTS merch she could get her hands on. Myeongdong is always a better visit when it’s nearing night time because the place is practically dead before noon. I finally got to try out some of the snacks that I always fail to try because I end up getting full way before I’ve tried everything that looks interesting. I sometimes wish that my stomach was a bottomless pit and that I can get thinner from eating, but it’s unfortunately, not how life works.
For dinner, we ended up heading back to Hongdae and trying out one of the barbecue places. One of the places had Gordon Ramsey’s face plastered on their windows since he went there to eat while he was in Seoul, and we ended up trying it out. We had different kinds of barbecue meat but didn’t really manage to take photos of everything before digging in. What is it about Japanese and Korean cuisine that grilled meat always seem to taste better when cooked that way. Although it’s not even close to being as fantastic as the meal C and I had during my last visit to Seoul, it was still a memorable meal.
We were so full from the snacks we ate, and all the meat that we consumed for dinner that we walked around Hongdae to try and help our bodies digest everything.. which led to seeing more snacks to try, and eating some more. I never fail to gain weight whenever I visit Seoul. We also did a bit more damage to our wallets by doing some more shopping while we’re at it. First my tummy, then my wallet. What are you doing to me, South Korea?
And that’s it for our fourth day in Seoul. It’s not as eventful as the previous ones, but it definitely was not the worst day I’ve had in Seoul. Haha! Once again, I’m really sorry for not being able to keep this blog up to date. The remaining posts about Seoul will probably be out a week or so from publishing this because finding the time to sit down and string sentences together to make something barely coherent is just not in the cards right now. How is everyone, though? I hope you’re all doing well. You guys have all my gratitude for always reading my random ramblings about life, and managing to read through this one too. Have a happy weekend! 🙂