Last December 2015, KTO KL has organized an exciting fam trip to Korea only for Malaysian travel agents that specialized in Incentive/MICE Travel. We invited 24 travel agents accompanied by a professional photographer and a few KTO staff from the Incentive Team.
The purpose of this FAM Trip is to get together with travel agencies to experience the unique journey of Busan & its vicinity, Jeju Island, Gyeonggi province and Seoul city. The main attractions of this trip would be unique venues inspection, first-hand experiences and also visit to new attractions.
We started our journey in Busan on 30th November and stayed at Best Western Haeundae Hotel for one night. Upon arrival, we went straight for our lunch session with Busan Tourism MICE Bureau representatives at ‘The Party’ Premium Buffet Restaurant. The restaurant is located at underground level of Pale de Cz in Centum City near the Haeundae Beach. It is a popular spot for birthday parties and family gatherings. After 7 hours of exhausting journey and two flights to Busan, it is nice just to enjoy the cozy ambience and unique interior where all the framework structure inside the restaurant is exposed. The lunch buffet costs 29,000 won ($25) meanwhile dinner is 35,000 won ($35). Make sure to make reservation first before visiting the restaurant.
After our lunch we moved to our first attraction which is the Oryukdo Skywalk. It is a 15-meter glass bridge comprised of 24 glass plates and shaped like a horse’s hoof connected to the iron columns, overlooking the great sea view of Busan. They do provide shoes cover in order to avoid incident from the slippery floor. With the theme of "Walking over the sky”, the place was nice to visit as we were thrilled with the transparent floor and amazing view of the sea wave and the vast Busan sea.
Next, we tried out the yacht tour at the Diamond Bay as it is one of main attractions for MICE groups. Xia Junsu, one of the JYJ members is actually the ambassador for the company Diamond Bay! The company currently has two yachts operating (MIDAS 720 & 722) and each of it can accommodate 70 pax of capacity, meaning 140 pax can experience the yacht tour at one time. The rate differs depending on the type of tours (R Tour: 50,000 Won & M Tour: 70,000 Won). It is a two-level yacht inclusive of a bar built-in inside. It was great to have the tour during evening time as we got lucky to catch the beautiful sunset view over the Gwangan Bridge. Overall, the yeacth tour has left quite an impression to the travel agents that joined the trip and some of them have introduced the tour to their clients after the fam trip.
Next we visited the Busan Cinema Center which is located at Centum City. We were informed by the manager that that Cinema Center theater is available to be used for big group for seminar and their outdoor space for gala dinner as they the huge transparent screen outside and tables can be set up there for gala dinner event as well.
We next head to Resto 120 for our dinner and conveniently located right next to Busan Cinema Center. It is a buffet concept restaurant serving variety of Korean dishes. They have chefs that can cook for you on the spot and they are using more than 120 various ingredients to create such delicacies with a touch of Korean flavour. The food selection is good and there are plenty of choices even for one type of dish.
The next morning, we headed to Mt Geumjong to experience the autumn nature and cable car in Busan. The place has such calm atmosphere as there is hillside forest there while we were heading to the cable car station. The cable car is quite spacious and it can accommodate 30 pax at one time. It took around 15 minutes to reach the peak of the mountain. We were told by the tour guide that there is an ancient Buddhist temple located in the forest at the peak. The participants did enjoy their time being up there as they were surrounded with serene nature and vast view of Busan city from the top of the mountain.
Although Gamcheon Culture Village is not in our proposed itinerary, we tweaked our schedule so that we could visit this little gem in Busan since none of us has been there. It was a very beautiful and quirky residence full of colourful homes, cafes, and galleries, perfect if you want to stroll around and take pictures around the neighbourhood. You should definitely get a map (costs around 2,000 Won) and go on stamp hunting activity and if you manage to get all the stamps in the map, you can redeem a souvenir from the tourist information center.
We then headed to Goraesa for fishcake-making experience activity. We were quite excited about it as this was the first experience activity in the itinerary. The Goraesa store has been renovated nicely and it has a nice modern interior that may attract the tourist. We were informed that they have another branch in Busan as well. The session started with a demonstration from the staff there on how to mince the fishcake dough and mold it with the utensils provided. We did not notice that the dough contained ham as one of the ingredients so we had to change it to pure fishcake dough for the Muslim participants. Despite that we totally enjoyed the whole process and shaping and cooking it to savouring the homemade taste without any artificial flavor.
Feeling hungry after all of the walking and experience activity, we headed to Jagalchi Fish Market to have our lunch there. We revived our energy back with a scrumptious seafood cuisine with the pot filled with generous amount of seafood like clam, shrimp, crab, mussel and many more! If you ever visiting Jagalchi market in Busan, don’t forget to drop by for some seafood specialty here ^^
Next, we headed to Gimhae Clayarch Museum for tile-art making experience. This is such a great activity for family with young kids as you will be decorating a square board with colourful tiles to form a painting! We really had making this while waiting for our domestic flight to Jeju as this attraction is near the Gimhae airport. The classroom is quite spacious and can accommodate more than 50 pax at one time and it costs around 10,000won per person. It takes around 30 minutes to finish decorating one tile size and the process is quite easy and fun for both adults and family with kids. We even get to bring home the art piece that we made there.
The next day after our arrival in Jeju Island, we went to visit the Jeju Olle 7-Course the first thing in the morning. We only managed to explore the area near the entrance due to time limitation but it was great enough to check out the view from up there. The routes pass through various landscapes along the way including small villages, beaches, farms, and forests. Many routes encompass some of the island's oreums, which are low parasitic volcanoes and historical sites dating from ancient times through to the modern era.
Sea-Rex Kayak Experience
We then moved to Jungmun Resort area for the Sea-Rex Kayak experience for our team building activity. The staff there provided very detailed explanation on how to row and direction of rowing. We were given safety jacket and gloves and each boat can accommodate around 8-9 people. We were informed that the winning team for this kayaking activity would receive a prize from them so we were quite thrilled about it. Before the competition started, they divided us into 3 teams and instructed us on how to row after we completed the warm up session. They pulled our boats to the starting point at middle of the sea before the competition began. We were lucky that the weather was good and sunny and the wave was quite calm, making us feeling secure to proceed with the kayaking activity. The competition was fun and Team2 ended up winning the competition and received the prize.
After our lunch with Jeju MICE Bureau Team, we visited Sanghyowon Garden which is located in Seogwipo City and it was recommended as one of the venues for MICE event in Jeju Island. It was a nice place to enjoy the peaceful garden view and surrounded by nature, and if you walk around 20 minutes, you will discover a beautiful café called Gusangnamu Café, hidden at highest point of the garden. We were informed that this place is open for outdoor event venue for incentive group as well and the entrance fee is just around 9,000 Won.
For those who enjoy artistic modern sculpture and historical piece of Korea, we truly recommend to visit Bontae Museum in Seogwipo area as it boasts the signature style of Tadao Ando which used exposed concrete and simple geometry to bring out the eccentric modern feel while being surrounded by nature. The museum exhibits traditional Korean culture like handmade crafts, clothes from Chosun dynasty era, modern art and furniture collected for 40 years by HaengJa Lee, who is one of the daughter-in-laws of Hyundai Group. They do provide English docent for those who like to know more about the art sculpture and history of displayed traditional pieces. It is a great place if you would like to wind down and relax since they do have a café as well with good ambience so that visitors can enjoy the nature while sipping their coffee away.
Special for K-Pop lovers, Play K-Pop is the latest attraction in Jeju Island that combines K-Pop and digital media which would be interesting for all range of audience. The Hologram concert and ‘Live 360’ were definitely the two main attractions at the Play K-Pop. Upon entrance, they will provide you with a pass which you may use to access the photo booth and print out the photos you have taken before leaving the K-Pop Play attraction. to We were truly fascinated by the 3D show and the Hologram concert, not forgetting photo moments with all the YG artists visual like Big Bang 2NE1 and others. It costs around 15,000won for individual, 13,000 won for teenagers, and 12,000won for children rate.
We started our morning with a visit to Ecoland to see the Gotjawal forest and tour around the forest area with the famous Baldwin train. Although we were looking forward to visit the place, the weather was not on our side on that day. Out of five courses, we could only visited the first one as it has gotten too dark and rained with ice bits making us difficult to continue our journey since most of the places there are outdoor. There are so many things to see and experience there such as the Eco Bridge, Hovercraft, Eco Windmill, Bare Foot on Scoria, Floating Café, topiary art works and many more. This is such a great place for family with kids since you can learn about the ecosystem and nature there.
Next, we head to the tangerine farm for first-hand experience. Winter time is the perfect season for tangerine and with affordable entrance fee costing around 10,000 Won and vast area of farm, it is the nice time to visit the these farms in Jeju! Entice your tastebud as you taste the goodness of Jeju tangerine on the spot and you can even pack some of it home!
Our next activity was to try out to make natural perfume on our own at Jeju Café Story located near the Weoljongri Beach area. The whole building is quite spacious and they have two classes which can accommodate up to 50 pax in each of it. We were instructed to mix the natural oil and dried flowers in a small roller-ball tube and the whole process was easy and pleasurable. Our lunch was even more interesting as we were served with abalone fried rice with organic flower and organic cactus juice and tangerine juice mixed together. They also have a shopping section where you can purchase skincare and household fragrant that are made with natural and organic ingredients.
Deemed as the playground for adults, it is a sculpture theme park where you can see various sculptures that depict sexuality and eroticism with fun annotations. It was a nice place for adult groups and couples as the attraction is full of humorous yet sexual sculptures.
We headed back to Seoul to continue our fam trip journey but first we went to Incheon Gyeongwonjae Hotel for our main purpose of the fam trip, which is to introduce Hanbok & K-Beauty as part of the team-building programs to Malaysian MICE travel agents for MICE groups traveling to Korea. The event started with the makeup class session led by Korean makeup artist. She demonstrated on two of our participants, both male and female. The rest of group followed the makeup instruction by watching it on the big screen. Overall, the venue was quite good since the traditional structure of the building suits the main theme of our event that day. Next, the participants tried out Korean traditional outfit which is the hanbok. We divided the group into 5 teams and organized the hanbok show as part of the team-building program. The hanbok instructor first demonstrated to all of us on how to pose and walk with hanbok. The best 2 teams who walked on the runway with the most enthusiastic has won the competition and received some prize from KTO. We ended our event with group photo in front of Incheon Gyeonwonjae and lunch together with hotel inspection followed afterwards. It was such a memorable event for all of us, to be given opportunity to try out traditional outfit and experience the latest Korean makeup trend.
Gwangmyeong Cave is actually an abandoned gold mine turned into a popular tourist attraction which has geological features and thematic areas set up in the cave. This place become more popular after TV program ‘Running Man’ was filmed here. They have lights exhibition, aquarium, wine tunnel, and exhibition space for seminar. It was quite a unique experience for the participants when they explored the huge cave and arrived at the section where the wall was painted in gold to portray gold mine that used to be executed there. The cave also had free wine tasting and they sell several kinds of excellent wine there.
Suwon Cultural Center
We visited Suwon Cultural Center for a quick cultural visit and venue inspection. We were informed that the function of the center is to spread cultural awareness and instill Korean culture and values to both locals and foreigners. They also preserve the culture by teaching classes like Hanbok-making, pottery, samulnori, and others and also organize cultural events from time to time. The place is quite nice for MICE venue as they have the same concept as Incheon Gyeongwonjae Hotel and the area is big enough to accommodate large scale group.
Todai Seafood Buffet, Myeongdong Branch
After finishing up with our inspection schedule on that day, we finally are moving to the great Seoul city. Since everyone was hungry and freezing due to cold weather, we went to Todai Seafood Buffet Restaurant to warm up ourselves with great seafood dishes like sashimi, sushi, baked scallop and even the pricy snow crab! Todai has a few branches in Seoul and the one that we went was in Myeongdong. They do serve meat dishes too thus making the price kind of worth it. For adult price rate, it costs around 26,000 Won for lunch, 37,000 Won for dinner, and 38,000 Won for weekend rate (VAT included).
It is one of the new attractions recommended by Seoul MICE Bureau and this is definitely not like a regular wax museum as it features some modern interactive programs like the flight simulation that was greatly enjoyed by the participants. The entrance fee is quite reasonable pricing at (adults: 23,000KRW teenagers: 18,000KRW child: 15,000KRW). We learnt about the process of making wax figure and there are over 80 almost real like figures in the museum. This attraction received positive responses from the participants after the fam tour ended.
Somesevit is one of the famous landmarks in Korea. It is actually an artificial island which is located near the southernmost part of Banpo Bridge. This landmark attraction has several halls and restaurants for exhibition, seminar, and gala dinner like FIC Convention Hall, Vista Restaurant and a few more outdoor venues on top of the building. Throughout May to September, there will be Banpo Bridge Fountain Show so it is nice to visit the Hangang Park surrounding the island area for riverside cycling and chilling. You can also visit the CNN Café at the Gavit building for some coffee while enjoying the night view and the lighting show of Banpo Bridge.
We had the chance to visit the Korea Furniture Museum in the calm Seongbuk-dong neighborhood. With such quiet environment, you will be fascinated by the collection of furniture that includes chests, bookcases, chairs and dining tables, made from varieties of wood like persimmon, maple and some decorated with lacquer, mother of pearl or tortoise shell. The guided tour should cost around 20,000 Won and it requires advance reservations for an hour long guided tour.
What else is perfect for cold weather than the signature samgyetang dish? We had the chance to try out this famous boiled chicken ginseng soup at the Goryeo Samgyetang at Gwanghamun Branch. With thick and smooth soup texture and rice, ginseng, and red date stuffed inside the young chicken making it a healthy dish for everyone, especially great to recover energy during freezing cold weather or hot summer. Since we have a few Muslim participants during our trip, we requested for the samgyetang to be made with halal chicken. You may do that by contacting the restaurant for reservation. The normal samgyetang price is around 14,000 Won so make sure you try out this dish if you are visiting Korea soon!
We roamed around Samcheong-dong area for some quick shopping and coffee break. Located near to the Bukchon Hanok Village, it is a must visit for tourists if you want to see modern and traditional building structure perfectly blended together and to feel the warm romantic vibe of Seoul city. There are tonnes of coffee shops and independent boutiques to select from so don’t forget to include this in your Korea itinerary ^^
Another great MICE venue in Seoul is this marina club that offers various leisure boats and services. They have various type of yacht (8-person cruiser yacht, 12-person power yacht, 24-person boat) which can suit the small size mice group. They have a few convention rooms as well overlooking the river view and café and restaurant. The marina club that offer various leisure boats and services. This is a good venue for seminar and gala dinner for small size group.
If you would like to experience the romantic side of Seoul, why not visit Yeouido Park near the Hangang Cruise? You can enjoy cycling activity or just relax and unwind while enjoying the Han River view. We hopped on the the Hangang River Cruise which includes lunch buffet as part of the program. There are various kind of cruise that you can select from including the performance cruise and the night time cruise. The price rate is affordable too so make sure you don’t miss out the cruise in your itinerary ^^
Overall, the inspection trip has been fruitful to all of us to create good content for incentive travelling in Korea. We would like to thanks those who have been assisting this trip and hope that all participants had a great time visiting and experiencing various fun cultural and team-building activities in Korea!