During early June this year, our Korea Tourism Organization HQ has hosted a Korea MICE Expo to promote and strengthen more on the MICE industry in Korea. KTO has hosted more than 100 buyers this time around, from all across Asia and other continents as well. After the expo ended, we took our hosted buyers for a short post tour, routing to Seoul and Gyeonggi for 2 days and 1 night for site inspection and experience program. It might be short but it was great enough for us to explore the Seoul area and its vicinity. Our first location was to ourK-Style Hub, which is located at KTO Seoul HQ near the famous Cheonggyecheon Stream.
Easily accessible by public transport, K-Style Hub is the one stop information center, to cater for all tourists' needs, from a tourist information center to a Hallyu experience, Hansik exhibition and experience hall, medical tourism information and many more. We were quite excited to visit the K-Style Hub as we heard it has been newly renovated especially for foreign tourists. We were invited for cooking class there and we had the chance to learn how to make Korean traditional cookies! It was really fun making it in various colours and shapes. After that, they taught us how to wrap in Korean traditional paper wrapping. After having the cookies, the staff nicely served us with Korean citron tea which tastes absolutely nice! After our cooking experience, we had a tour to the Hansik exhibition floor and to the medical tourism floor. Our participants have their body mass and proportion inspected during the check up and they were really impressed after that. K-Style Hub opens from 9AM to 8PM all year round and the staff may assist you in several major languages like English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
They even have a new program for the visitor where you can rent the beautiful hanbok there for FREE and walk around Seoul city area in one hour ^^ Great news for Muslim visitors! You may perform your prayers here as they just renovated the prayer’s space that includes water faucet for you to perform your wudhu’ comfortably, with separated rooms for men and women.
We continued our schedule with lunch at the CHON restaurant at Insadong area, which serves scrumptious traditional Korean meals. We totally indulged in our vegetable bibimbap and seafood meals and the restaurant has such calm and peaceful atmosphere since it is located at one of the quiet alleys in Insadong. It might be a little tricky to find but don’t forget to visit this restaurant if you are in the area ^^
We proceed with our next schedule which is to COEX for venue inspection. Located in Gangnam, it also consists of the largest underground shopping mall. We were assisted with English docent and she assisted us to several great halls that can be used for MICE venue and event.
After COEX, we continued our inspection to the to the next MICE venue which is the Some Sevit. The famous artificial islands that stood out in Hangang River area, it flaunts its beauty at night when the LED lights just light up the Seoul night view. We were guided with English speaking staff to explain on the venue area in the unique building. It consists of several halls and outdoor venue for event space for incentive and social groups. We had our dinner there as well to experience and learn more about Some Sevit through presentation, as the courtesy of Seoul Tourism. After we have done with our first day schedule, we moved to our hotel which is the Lotte City Hotel, located almost near to the Myeongdong area.
We started our second day schedule with heading to MBC World which is located in Sangam-dong Mapo-gu, near the Digital Media City (DMC). It was a pretty exciting experience for us as you can explore so many things there! Deemed as the new Mecca for Hallyu, it is also for famous for shooting location for famous drama like ‘Kill Me, Heal Me’. We got lucky when we arrived that day as there was a drama shooting going on for the new MBC drama “Lucky Romance”. At the 1st floor, there is MBC Broadcasting Center that introduces you to many kinds of MBC major programs like Hallyu Experience Zone, Stage Experience Zone, and News Experience Zone. The theme park’s main attractions include the hologram theater, where holograms of K-pop stars such as Big Bang and Psy appear on stage just a few steps from the audience. You can also experience being on stage with K-pop stars in holographic form and learn dance moves from them. We had fun watching Big Bang hologram concert and even sang along to them! It was truly a great experience as we had fun taking photos at the variety programs zone and 3D art zone. Kindly make a reservation if you would like to visit here ^^
After we have done visiting the MBC World, we continued our journey to Paju to visit the Third Tunnel at DMZ. We felt quite excited as we passed through the army check-up point to get into the area. Our tour guide explained that The 3rd Tunnel was discovered in 1978 by South Korean army and it is estimated that approximately 30,000 soldiers could move through the tunnel per hour. We also learnt about the painful Korean War that torn the Korean nation apart. We felt the grief of the separated families as we learnt about Korean War in the film room before going down to explore Third Tunnel. We were informed that the North Korean army even painted the tunnel with coals to camouflage it into mining area. It was really cold and dangerous in the as we walked deep into the tunnel. We finished our schedule with lunch with Gyeonggi MICE Bureau representative at the Imjingak station. We had great Korean meals like bulgogi dish dwenjang jjigae. After that, we took our buyers to Paju Premium Outlet for quick shopping since the area is nearby. Our overall 2 days 1 night inspection itinerary was great and fruitful even though it was done in such short time.
Hot Places regarding to Descendants of the Sun(DOTS)
The drama 'Descendants of the Sun (DOTS) has caused huge sensation across countries in Asia and other continents as well. There were so many people anticipated for the drama which led us to explore more on the shooting locations of the drama during the DOTS Fam Trip (22nd May, 2016 to 27th May, 2016). We invited participants from travel agencies and Media to develop the content for the drama attraction.
Let's start to introduce the places which we have visited.
After we arrived in Korea, the first place that we visited was Imjingak. Facing with North Korea, this is one of the most northern tourist attractions in Korea with an observation deck, Freedom Bridge, Third Tunnel and Joint Security Area(or JSA) in the vicinity. The park was built to console those who are unable to return to their hometowns, friends and families because of the division of Korea.
Imjingak is not the DOTS filming location, however, it is still a unique place in the world which has been one of the major attractions in Korea.
Camp Greaves (DOTS)
Camp Greaves was the first visit of DOTS filming location. It is located in the restricted area for civilians. After our ID cards have been verified by the South Korean soldiers, we finally could go in to the Camp.
An ex-U.S. military base was turned a Youth Hostel. The camp is equipped with a gym, a restaurant, barracks and seminar rooms. To commemorate DOTS, now the place offers a variety of activities such as military uniform wearing, dog tag making and photo taking.
We enjoyed the military uniform wearing activities. Wearing the military uniform, we looked every nook and corner within Camp Greaves.
Camp Greaves is operated by Gyeonggi Tourism Organization. Mr. Oh from GTO explained every scene of the Camp while he uses the right part of the drama. We pretended as Captain Yoo(by Song, Joong-ki) and took pictures. It was a fun time for all of us.
IFEZ PR Center(DOTS)
With a good experience from Camp Greaves, we headed to Songdo city in Incheon. Our first inspection location in Songdo was IFEZ PR Center. This is the filiming location where Song joong-ki and Jin-gu got a gun shot scene in the drama. IFEZ PR Center located on the 33rd floor of the G-Tower introduces the development plan and progress status of its project of Incheon Economic Free Zone. The view from the center was so nice and clear. We imagined how it looked like when the actors were filming here and all of our participants felt excited about it.
Songdo Central Park (송도 센트럴 파크)
Next, we headed to Songdo Central Park to get on the water taxis. Central Park is located between the business zone and the residential complex in the Songdo International Business District. Water taxis operate to circulate the central park every 20 minutes on the artificial canal (length: 1.8㎢, maximum width: 110m), which was built by bringing the seawater in for the first time in Korea. On the water taxis, all the participants spent their free time while viewing new developed city and unique buildings that look like the ones in the theme park. It was an enjoyable and healing moment. By the way, I was curious whether Captain Yu and Doctor Kang had experience the water taxi here while they were in working here. Maybe not. However, all the places here inspire us to imagine them.
NC Cube Canal Walk
Then, we visited NC Cube Canal Walk. NC Cube Canal Walk is a street-type shopping mall where customers enjoy shopping, café and restaurant with the surrounding of beautiful canal and scenery. While we were there, we had a chance to watch a shooting scene. Actually, the actor was not famous but it was a good experience to watch them how to shoot . Ms. Seo from Incheon Tourism Organization explained that many shootings were done here so, it means that if you visit here, you might also have a chance to meet Song Joong Ki , Lee Minho or other K-Kop stars. So do Visit here if you would like to spot the Korean stars ^^.
After walking NC Cube Canal Walk, we moved to Dal.Komm Coffee in Songdo. This café is the filming location of DOTS where Song Joongki surprised Song Hyekyo by appearing near her house after he was back from his mission. Plus, this is where they had a drink of dal.komm Coffee where Song Hyekyo explained their differences and decided to end their brief relationship.
When we arrived there, dolls represented Song Joongki and Song Hyegyo were in the tea table like Song-Song couple did. In addition, one side of wall was fully covered by DOTS images. Excited by looking at the posters, all the participants took tonnes of photos in the café.
Song-Song Cocoa which Song-Song Couple drank during the drama is the best-selling item in the cafe. We ordered it like the Song-Song Couple. Apart from the drama, Song-Song Cocoa is so sweet and soft. I strongly recommended to try it.
Oakwood Premier Incheon (DOTS)
The last visit place of the first day was Oakwood Premier Incheon. In Oakwood Premier Incheon, the scene which Song Hyegyo hit the president of the hospital who asks 1 night offer was taken. Fortunately, we can view the suite room which was shooting place. The room was so luxury and everyone wish to stay the room in the future.
The hotel was only about 20 minute-drive from Incheon International Airport, Oakwood Premier Incheon commands the most spectacular views as it is located on the upper floors (36 ~ 64) of the building.
For our first stay hotel in Wonju, Gangwon-do, we departed to Wonju. However, we had dinner in the hotel with a nice view.
Arirang Train (아리랑 기차)
The next day, we started with A-train. A-train, or Jeongseon Arirang train begins operating from January 22, 2015. The A-train departs from Cheongnyangni Station at 8:10 am, and runs from Cheongnyangni Station to Jeongseon Station and Auraji Station. (no train on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, except when coinciding with the operation of Jeongseon 5-day Market and public holidays)
After boarding on A-train, we enjoyed some coffee and snack on board. It was a good choice for the long journey as we could spend a good time with our travelling partners.
Samtan Art Mine (DOTS)
After we arrived in Jeongseon, we transferred to our bus again and headed to Samtan Art Mine. Samtan Art Mine refers to Samcheok Tanjwa, one of major coal mines in Korea which used to be a main hard coal producing place. Samtan Art Mine changes to artistic museum.
You can enjoy some arts from Africa here at the museum. Some artistic work regarding to miners' life displayed there, as well. It was so impressive and meaningful to us. A long history and exotic arts made us feel refreshed in the deep mountain valley. We heard that some artists stayed there and do their creative job.
Moreover, the Samtan Art Mine was DOTS shooting place. While they were here, Song, Joongki used one of the rooms. All of us pay attention to explanation of the guide and trace the travel line which Song, Joongki did. The room was not special, however, only the reason which Song, Joongki was there, made it so special to us. We took a lot of photos and made happy memories. Also, the place, Song, Hyegyo was captured, was also a good place to visit. We took a picture like her on the chair.
After Samtan Art Mine, we had a lunch of traditional local food in Jeongseon. The menu was Gondrebap which was rice with Gondre, or vegetable from the near mountains. It was so nice and all of us felt that the food was so healthy and fresh.
Hanbo Coal Mine (DOTS)
The church and the field hospital scenes were filmed in Hanbo Coal Mine in Taebaek. Actually, Taebaek was a small town with a coal mine in Gangwondo.
When we arrived there, some of the drama posters are hanged and we knew that the place is the filming location of DOTS. We found that main poster was taken here.
However, the church is demolished due to safety concern. However, the local government officer explained the plan to be reconstructed the church before this July, 2016.
We hope to finish the construction as their plan. Next time , if we visit here again, we hope we can take pictures in front of the church.
365 Safe Town
Hanbo Coal Mine was the background of a natural disaster. After looking around Hanbo Coal Mine, we visited 365 Safe Town. 365 Safe Town is a one-of-a-kind safety awareness theme park combining education, entertainment, recreation, and leisure into one public park. It is the world’s first edutainment facility dedicated to teaching the public safety lessons about fire, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.
During the visit, we learned CPR and indirect experience of Earth-quake. For family tourists, it is highly recommendable place.
It was our second time to try out Korean local food and we decided to eat Dakgalbi. Dakgalbi or Chicken barbeque is a famous local food in Gangwondo area, especially, in Namiseom .
However, we found a little bit different Dakgalbi from the original one. In Taebaek, Dakgalbi was made a different way. It is named as a Muldakgalbi (or dakgalbi with spicy soup). It was a little bit spicy however, good food with a rice. After eating all the chicken, the restaurant staff suggested the stirred- rice with a spicy soup. It was so nice. If you like a spicy food, I recommended the food.
On third day, we started from Sky Ranch in Pyeongchang. Pyeongchang was famous for their high altitude. Many Koreans visit Pyeongchang in the summer time. The weather of Pyeongchang in the Summer is so cool and pleasant comprared with the weather of other areas which are so humid and hot.
Pyeongchang Slogan is 'Happy 700' For this slogan, 700 means its altitude. It gives the message that even in summer your stay and your travelling will be nice. Visit and enjoy the nice weather of Pyeongchang like Genting highland.
Sky Ranch (하늘목장)
Next visit was the Sky Ranch. Established in 1974, the Sky Ranch has a 40-year-old history with a huge ranch of 900 million. Currently, about 400 Holstein cows are bred up along with a hundred of hanu (Korean Cow) in a eco-friendly way.
The ranch located in a high land, so the weather is so nice and even in summer , the weather is so nice and really a good place for walking here.
Alpensia Ski Jump (알펜시아 스키 점프대)
Alpensia Ski Jump is the symbol of 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic. Located in Alpensia Resort, it was originally planned to be the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
When we visited there, we can go to the spot which the player to jump. Really high and fine view make all the people enjoyable.
Ojukheon House (오죽헌)
In Gangneung, we went the Ojukheon House. Ojukheon House gets its name from the many black bamboo trees that surround it. It was here where Sinsaimdang (1504-1551) lived and where her son Yi I (penname Yulgok; scholar and politician of the Joseon Period) was born. It was built during the time of the 11th King of Joseon, King Jungjong (1506-1544), and remains one of the oldest wooden residential buildings in Korea. It was designated as Treasure No. 165 in 1963 and has been maintained by the descendants throughout the generations.
Sinsaimdang is a representative mother image for Korean. Soon, the drama of Sinsaimdang will be shot and the heroin of the drama is Lee youngae, who was heroin of 'Jewel of the Palace'
I am looking forward to drama and want to check the place again comparing with the places in the drama.
Galgol Hangwa Village(갈골한과마을)
After visiting Ojukheon, we visited "Galgol Hangwa Village" . The village is like any other rural village that recalls memories of one's home town to Koreans. We learned about Korean traditional snacks and had a chance to make our own snacks.
Korean Style Restaurant
The dinner for tonight was so special. We visited a Korean traditional restaurant and the food was so authentic. Every food was made by the restaurant owner. The atmosphere of the restaurant give a strong impression to us and we looked around and took a photo to leave the good memory.
With a nice food, we move to famous coffee street.
Anmok Coffee Street (안목커피거리)
Recently, Gangneung is famous for their coffee. The main point of coffee street is Anmok Beach. Anmok Beach is a street lined with a variety of unique coffee shops. In its beginning, the now aptly named Anmok Beach Coffee Street had only a few coffee machines. The visitors of the beach tried coffee machine and know that the vending machine coffee in the street was so nice and upload their experience to their own SNS. It was shared with others and the street was getting so famous.
Around five years ago, coffee shops began to open up one after another, and now there are over 20 coffee shops. Apart from franchise coffee shops, there are also individual shops where coffee is roasted and dripped, offering a wider variety of coffees. Just across the street is a white sandy beach and the beautiful blue sea, making for a great place to take in the surrounding natural beauty over a delicious cup of coffee.
We visited the street after 8 PM, and we found a lot of tourists, mostly Koreans. We enjoyed the great ambience and indulged in our coffee and stories.
The next day, our 4th day started and we moved to Seoul in the morning. We arrived to Lotte World Aquarium at Jamsil, Seoul. The Lotte World Mall was really huge and it was not so crowded so it is a nice place for shopping.
Lotte world Aquarium
We visited on Thursday and there were not so many people there. We can see the unique looking fish. Also, a lot of hand-on experiences are provided. Especially, fish-feeding bottle experience was so fun. The experience fee was 2,000won (approximately 7RM) was recommendable.
650 species of 55,000 different marine life forms up close, visitors can feel the ocean in an urban area at Lotte World Aquarium.
Youll by Jeongdong theater
We ate lunch in the Jamsil and move to Myeongdong Area. In the Itinerary, 'Youll by Jeongdong theater' was included. Youll is a fusion performance and newly performed in Jeongdong theater.
After dinner in Hongbogak, we had a free time in Myeongdong shopping street and that is how our fourth day finished.
Finally it is our last day. We went to 'K-Style Hub'. K-style Hub is the previous KTO headquarters building. A good accessibility and newly renovated interior is quite attractive to us.
Entrance fee was free and some VR contents and Beauty consultation place are so appealing. Especially, K-star section was so interesting. Taking a picture with K-pop is so fun and enjoyable to all of us. Also, the sign by Song, Joongki was there and he said 'welcome to K-style Hub'. He was the honorary Ambassador of 2016 KTO.
K-Style Hub has the information to meet all tourists' needs, from a tourist information center to a hallyu experince, hansik exhibition and experience hall, medical tourism information and more. Expounding upon the center of just providing information, K-Style Hub also aims to provide various chances to learn about Korean culture and food, as well as easily participate in traditional experiences.
After visiting K-Style Hub, we are finally done with our schedule. I hope any other people also enjoy the places and feel the same feeling that I have it.
KTO Annyeonghaseyo Spring 2016 FAM Trip - Part 5: Yeongju/Cheoram/Jeongseon/Seoul
V TRAIN EXPERIENCE - DEPARTING FROM YEONGJU STATION TO CHEORAM STATION
The next day morning it was raining and the sky was gloomy. We were hoping for the weather to be nice for our V Train experience but it was beyond our control when it comes to weather prediction. Nevertheless, we started our last journey in Gyeongsangbuk-do province by taking the V Train from Yeongju Station. Our destination was the Cheoram Station located in Taebaek in Gangwon-do province. Our train tickets were purchased online by the local agency in Korea. Make sure to check the train schedule via the Korail website before you make your reservation okay? Furthermore, we also used the tourist train coupon provided by Korail outlet in Malaysia so basically our tickets were free. YEAY!
For your information, the ‘V’ in V-train stands for "valley," as it travels through the remote mountainous areas of Gangwon-do and Gyeongsangbuk-do. The V-train, connecting Buncheon in Gyeongsangbuk-do and Cheoram in Gangwon-do, runs through scenic valleys. The train is non-stop and makes only 5-10 minute stops at Yangwon Station, the smallest train station in Korea, and Seungbu Station, which has particularly beautiful scenery, so that passengers will have time to take pictures. So make sure you use the restroom before departure since the train will not stop at any other stations before Yangwon Station and Seungbu Station.
The special thing about V Train is you can view the outside scenery by pulling down the windows and the seats are also adjustable. How cool is that? We definitely had fun while riding the train even though the weather was not really okay during our trip.
LUNCH @ NEOWAJIP (VEGETABLE BIBIMBAP SET)
Once we have arrived at Cheoram Station, we then directly proceed to a restaurant located in Taebaek area called Neowajip for our lunch. If you look at the restaurant from the outside, you will never know that there is actually a delicious restaurant inside. Remember, never judge a book by its cover, right? Anyway, we had a mountain vegetable Bibimbap set served with local Soybean Paste Stew and other various types of side dishes. The interior of the restaurant really makes you feel like you are in someone else's house.
Address: 208-9 Sangjang-dong, Taebaek-si, Gangwon-do, Korea
Phone: +82 33-553-4669
Google Map: Click HERE
SAMTAN ART MINE (DESCENDANTS OF THE SUN)
About less than 30 minutes from the restaurant, we then proceed to Jeongseon to visit a special location which was used as one of the filming locations for the global hit Korean drama for 2016, the 'Descendants of the Sun'. If you have watched the drama, you will definitely able to recognize the scenes where this location have been featured in.
Located at the foot of Hambaeksan Mountain where was the main producing place of anthracite, Samtan Art Mine has transformed an abandoned mine which is unique and special point of the place, into a cultural art complex. The name of ‘Samtan’ refers to Samcheok Tanjwa, one of the major coal mines in Korea, and ‘Art Min’ refers to ‘Coal mine’ in English and has the meaning of a mining coal turning into cultural art space.
Throughout the nation, many cultural art places are located but Samtan Art Mine attracts visitors for being an actual mine site, which was closed in October 2001 after its first opening in 1964 when it was developed as a industrial establishment. Likewise, it is meaningful that the mine site became an artistic site despite its historically poignant history.
And of course, other reason to visit this location is because of the drama! Here at Samtan Art Mine, you will get to see the actual locations where they filmed the drama and even the room that was used by the main actor, Song Joong Ki when he was there! Believe me, you will be as excited as we were!
DINNER @ HIT THE SPOT (ITALIAN CUISINE)
Once finished our touring at Samtan Art Mine, we then directly proceed to Seoul which took us almost 4 hours to arrive. We then went to an Italian restaurant called 'Hit The Spot' for our dinner located in Yeouido. This time we tried the Italian cuisine after many days of Korean food. The food served here were nice and have the authentic taste. The best for me would be their pizza!
Address: 28-1, Yeouido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, Korea
Phone: +82 2-2055-4100
Google Map: Click HERE
PANG SHOW! PANG PANG CRUISE!
After the delicious dinner, we then proceed to the E Land Cruise located at the Hangang River for the Pang Show! Pang Pang Pang Cruise experience.
For your information, Pang Show is a hands-on variety performance that invites the audience to participate in the baking of “pang” (bread). The show originates from the popular Korean TV drama “King of Baking, Kim Tak Goo” (2010), which has been televised across twelve countries in Asia.
The performers and audience join hands to bake bread together while enjoying an exciting performance of drumming, B-boy dance, acrobatics, and comic acting. After the show, warm, our fresh-baked “pang” that we prepared by ourselves were served to us and of course it tasted so delicious!
We ended our last night in Korea at Lotte World Hotel located in Jamsil, Seoul. We were really had fun throughout the trip! By discovering the new destinations, we hope the participating agents will get to develop new travel packages so that YOU (yes you our readers!) can experience all of these too!
See you again on our next adventure!
All photos are copyrighted and belongs to Korea Tourism Organization (Malaysia).
KTO Annyeonghaseyo Spring 2016 FAM Trip - Part 4: Andong
ANDONG HAHOE FOLK VILLAGE
We started our journey in Andong by visiting our first destination which was the famous Andong Hahoe Folk Village. We were joined by Mr Kim, a local tour guide for the village. For your information, Hahoe Village is home to descendants of the Ryu clan of Pungsan and is well-known for its traditional houses.
Well-known as the birthplace of renowned scholars of the Joseon Period such as Gyeomam Ryu Un-ryong and Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong, the village became even more famous after Queen Elizabeth of England visited the village on April 21, 1999. Hahoe Village (translating to “Village Enveloped by Water”) gets its name from Nakdong River, which flows around the town’s perimeter. Hahoe Village, along with Yangdong Village in Gyeongju, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List under the category of “Historic Villages in Korea” on July 31, 2010. The best time to visit the village would be in autumn season as Andong Mask Dance will be showcase during that time.
LUNCH @ ANDONG GANGODEUNGEO (Braised Mackerel)
Besides Andong Jjimdak (braised chicken), braised mackerek is another dish which is also well-known and a must try in Andong. So for our lunch, we went to a local restaurant located in the Andong Hahoe Folk Village. The braised mackerel was really nice and fresh! It tasted a little bit different from other braised mackerel that I have tried before! Definitely a must try when you are in Andong!
Address: 301-2 Haheo-ri, Pungcheon-myeon, Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea
Phone: +82 54-823-1500
Google Map: Click HERE
After lunch, we went to hike on the Buyongdae Cliff where we could see the whole view of Andong Hahoe Folk Village from the top area. For your information, Buyongdae is a cliff about 64 meters high situated where the Taebaek Mountain Range ends. From the summit, you can get a bird’s eye view of the Hahoe Village in Andong. The name was taken from an ancient history of China. Meaning lotus, the name Buyongdae is said to be given for Hahoe Village’s configuration which is like a lotus flower. Located near Buyongdae are Ogyeonjeongsa House, Gyeomamjeongsa House, and Hwacheon Seowon Academy.
ANDONG TRADITIONAL PAPER FACTORY & EXHIBITION HALL (Making Andong Hanji Experience)
Andong is also well-known for its traditional paper which is called as 'Hanji'. To experience the process of making the Hanji, we went to the Andong traditional paper factory to get a glimpse of it. Located at the entrance to Hahoe Village, the factory is an area preserving Korean tradition and customs, has done its best to manufacture traditional Korean paper. Andong Korean paper is made of Korean paper mulberry and clean water. Andong Hanji is very proud that it maintains exceptional quality, and the highest production capacity for Korean traditional paper. Hanji has been widely used as drawing papers, calligraphy, window paper, floor paper, book paper, wallpaper, wrapping paper and many more!
ANDONG CONFUCIAN LAND
Andong is well-known for its Confucianisme. In order to fully understand what Confucianisme is all about, we visited the newly opened Andong Confuican Land. Confucian Land was built for the purpose of introducing Confucianism to local and international visitors to Andong. Construction took three years to complete, and the building is three stories tall and has an area of 13,349 square meters. Here, we were able to directly and indirectly experience various aspects of Seonbi culture through educational programs to introduce their ancient rules. Seonbi was a dignified and learned individual. It specifically refers to a certain status in the hierarchy following the philosophy of Confucianism during the Joseon Dynasty.
DINNER @ NUTINAMU (Seafood Chicken Soup)
We then proceed to a seafood chicken soup restaurant called Nutinamu for our dinner. The hot soup definitely was a great choice for us to counter the cold night.The combination of chicken and seafood in a soup was suprisingly delicious!
Address: 610 Susangdong, Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Phone: +82 54 857 3338
Google Map: Click HERE
WOLYEONGGYO BRIDGE (SUNSET & NIGHT VIEW)
To visit this destination when you are in Andong is a must as this place has breathtaking views during sunset and night time! And it is a favorite spot for photographers from all over the world as well! Wolyeonggyo Bridge is the biggest and the longest wooden bridge in Korea based on the memorable love story between Lee Eung Tae and his wife. The shape of the bridge is similar with 'Mituri‘ (traditional shoes) which Lee's wife made by using her hairs and buried together with her husband. It is best to visit the bridge at night as the view will be more beautiful with the lights. There are also cafes that you can go near to the bridge area while waiting for the sunset. Definitely worth it!
We ended our night at Yeongju Hotel located in Yeongju as we had to take the V train from the Yeongju Station on the next day morning. Check out the next post for our V train adventure as well as the filming location for the popular K-Drama, 'Descendants of the Sun'!
All photos are copyrighted and belongs to Korea Tourism Organization (Malaysia).
KTO Annyeonghaseyo Spring 2016 FAM Trip - Part 3: Mungyeong
MUNGYEONG SAEJAE PROVINCIAL PARK
On the next day, we headed to Mungyeong City, which was our next adventure place to discover in Gyeongsangbuk-do province. We departed at early in the morning since there were many places that we had to visit in Mungyeong. Our first destination was Mungyeong Saejae Provincial Park. The weather was cold and the air was really fresh!
The Mungyeong area is home to Mungyeongsaejae, a mountain pass connecting Mungyeong City and Goesan County. During the Joseon period, Mungyeong Saejae played an important role as the gateway in and out of Gyeongsang Province. Saejae, meaning “bird pass,” refers to “a pass so high and steep that even birds find the crossing difficult”. The Mungyeongsaejae-gil road inside Mungyeongsaejae Provincial Park is well developed and suitable for hikers of all ages. The park tour guide followed us along the journey to explain more about the beautiful place. We took the park boogey car to explore the huge park.
MUNGYEONG FILMING SITE
If you are a fan of Korean historical drama, then you must visit this place! I am a super fan and I was like a kid when we visited the Mungyeong filming site!
The Mungyeong filming site is where KBS makes historical drama films set in the Goryeo era. The reasons to choose Mungyeongsaejae for the filming site were because the terrain of Joryeongsan and Juheulsan were considered to be similar to Songaksan in Geseong (in what is now North Korea), the capital of Goryeo. Also, well-preserved ancient paths were very suitable for filming historical dramas as well.
So far, KBS epic TV dramas such as Taejo Wang Geon, The Dawn of the Empire, Age of Warriors, Dae Jo Young, King Geunchogo, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, King Sejong The Great, King Gwanggeto The Great, and period movies such as Scandal and the Romantic Assassin were filmed here! Nevertheless, many other Korean historical dramas were filmed here! Believe me you will be able to recognize the filming site if you happen to see in the dramas!
LUNCH @ MOSHINJEONG (Korean Traditional Vegetarian Food)
For our lunch, we went to a Korean Traditional restaurant which is famous for its delicious Korean traditional vegetarian food. The food tasted suprisingly delicious and you will forget that the food served were actually made all from vegetarian ingredients and contains no artificial flavors at all! Besides that, the restaurant is also well-known as a traditional wedding ceremony venue in the area. We were also joined by the Mungyeong city Director and staffs where we felt honored to have them with us!
Address: 518-1 Sinhyeon-ri, Maseong-myeon, Mungyeong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea
Phone: +82 54-571-1845
Google Map: Click HERE
MUNGYEONG COAL MUSEUM
After the heartful lunch, we then continued our discovery journey in Mungyeong city by visiting the Mungyeong Coal Museum. For your information, coal is our only natural energy resource and has been contributing to the progress of the national economy by playing an essential role in providing fuel and boosting the national infrastructure industry. However, as alternative resources develop the demand for coal is decreasing.
This museum was built to preserve important historical data by collecting artifacts and documenting the history of the coal industry in one place and provide a learning environment to understand the coal industry as a whole for posterity.
GAEUN FILMING SITE
Located in the same area as the Mungyeong Coal Museum is the Gaeun Filming Set. Gaeun Filming Set includes reproductions of houses and fortresses of the Goguryeo Period based upon historical documents and meticulous research. Naturally, buildings are designed using flashy colors, which were typically found in tomb murals during the Goguryeo Period. To go to this filming set, we took the cable tram since the set is located at the top of the hill. It was amazing how the whole area view looks like when we arrived at the filming site.
Filmed in this set are popular soap operas such as Yeon Gaesomun, Hong Gil Dong, Iljimae, Six Flying Dragons and many more! So, for the historical drama fans, make sure to include the filming sites in Mungyeong city as places to visit when you plan your trip to Korea, okay?
MUNGYEONG RAIL BIKE
Mungyeong is full with nature view and for that we went to try the Mungyeong Rail Bike activity which is located about 10 minutes bus ride from Gaeun Filming Site. There is another rail bike area but according to the tour guide that followed us, this one is better than the other one. So, do take note on this okay!
The Mungyeong Rail Bike is a specially-designed bike that runs along the very same tracks that were once used by a trains carrying coal across the country, nearly 20 years ago. We pedaled along the tracks and through the tunnel where we got to enjoy the beautiful landscape of Jinnam Gyoban in a more unique way. For your information, Mungyeong Rail Bike is the first railway cycling recreational site in Korea. Amazing right? I strongly suggest for you to try this activity during spring and autumn seasons so that you can enjoy the fantastic beautiful nature scenery to the maximum!
MUNGYEONG CLAY SHOOTING RANGE
Another fun activity to experience in Mungyeong is the clay shooting! After the rail bike, we went to Mungyeong clay shooting range to try out the shooting activity. This shooting range is one of the few clay shooting range in Korea, along with the shooting ranges for handguns and air guns. For your information, the guns that we used for this activity were the real one. How amazing was that, right? Whatever it is, safety is definitely the first priority when you want to try this activity. Before we started the experience, one of the rangers showed us the right way of handling the gun to avoid any unwanted accident from happening during the activity. For female shooter, a shoulder protector was also provided since the gun is quite heavy to handle. Nevertheless, we had so much fun and the activity is definitely an adrenaline rusher! For those who likes to challenge themselves should try it!
DINNER @ MYEONGGA JJIMDAK (Braised Chicken)
After the long day in Mungyeong, we then proceed to Andong which is located almost 2 hours of bus journey from the Mungyeong city. Once we have arrived in Andong, we then directly went to have our dinner which was the famous Andong Jjimdak or also known as the Braised Chicken. Here in Andong, the braised chicken is like the food that represents the city. So, to try it, we went to a local restaurant called Myeongga Jjimdak. For your information, this restaurant can provide the braised chicken dish using the HALAL chicken as long as they receive your request earlier. Very convenient for Muslim travelers, right? And yes, their Andong Jjimdak was super delicious!
Address: 178-10 Seobu-dong, Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea
Phone: +82 54-859-4481
Google Map: Click HERE
After the delicious dinner, we then proceed to Andong Grand Hotel to rest. The weather in Andong was colder than other cities that we have previously went before. Our adventure in Gyeongsangbuk-do province will be continued on the next post so don't stop reading yet okay!
All photos are copyrighted and belongs to Korea Tourism Organization (Malaysia).
KTO Annyeonghaseyo Spring 2016 FAM Trip - Part 2: Daegu
PALGONGSAN CABLE CAR
On the next day, we started our day by departing to Daegu from Gyeongju. The first place that we went was the Palgongsan Cable Car. Standing almost 1.2㎞ and bordering five differentcities and districts of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province,Palgongsan Mountain is one of the major mountains in the southern region.Palgongsan Cable Car runs a distance of 1.2㎞ from the base of Palgongsan Mountain to an elevation of 800m. Since we went there during the Spring season, there were cherry blossom trees along the way to the cable car area. The scenery was so beautiful!
DAEGU SEOMUN TRADITIONAL MARKET
Next, we went to Seomun Traditional Market, located in the Daegu city. Seomun Market (formerly known as ‘Daegu-Keun Market’) of Daegu is steeped in history. Along with Pyeongyang Market and Ganggyeong Market, Seomun Market was one of the three main markets during the Joseon Dynasty. The specialties of the current Seomun Market include fabric-related items like silk, satin, linen, cotton, knitted goods, & men's and women's wear. You will also be able to find a decent selection of crafts, silver products and dried seafood. The market is so big that we wished we could spend more time there to shop!
LUNCH @ BUSAN SEAFOOD GUYI RESTAURANT (GRILLED SEAFOOD)
For our lunch, we went to a grilled seafood restaurant located Daegu shopping area in Dongseongno. If you are a fan of seafood and would like to try it while you are in Daegu, then you should visit this restaurant. The seafood served were fresh and they staffs even demonstrated to us the way they prepared the grilled octopus on a skewer. Don't forget to include the fried rice at the end of your grilled seafood experience because the taste was amazing!
Address: 91-11 Dongseongno 3(sam)-ga, Jung-gu, Daegu, South Korea
Google Map: Click HERE
MASK PACK MAKING EXPERIENCE @ SKY LAKE COSMETIC CAFE
Located nearby our lunch place was a cosmetic cafe called 'Sky Lake'. The cafe belongs to a middle aged Daegu lady started a beauty product business using 18 kinds of oriental herbs under the name of Sky Lake (Hanul Hosu). Her products are well known for the mild and healthful ingredients so that even little children can use it. The products manufactured at a small factory near Daegu are sold at a café under the same name of Sky Lake while exporting the products abroad such as China, Japan and Hong Kong. We got to experience the mask pack making using the natural ingredients provided by the cafe. We had so much fun and excited during the learning process! The cafe owner even helped to assist us throughout the experience!
FOOT BATH EXPERIENCE @ YANGNYEONGSI MUSEUM OF ORIENTAL MEDICINE
Daegu is well known as the city of oriental medicine and because of that we also went to learn about the history of oriental medicine at Yangnyeongsi Museum of Oriental Medicine. The museum is full of useful information and you will even get to experience the on side medical check up. A name brand that represents Korean traditional medicine, Yangnyeongsi is an international hub of commerce for traditional medicine ingredients. It is an interactive museum which on the upper two levels with re-creations of traditional clinics, video quizzes and hands-on learning opportunities It's a visually exciting introduction to oriental medicine such as insam (ginseng) and reindeer horns, and the people who popularized it.
While we were there, we got to experience the traditional foot bath where for 15 minutes and yes the outcome was such a fatigue reliever! We felt more energetic and less tired after the treatment! Definitely what we need after all those visiting activities and walking!
DAEGU E-WORLD (83 TOWER)
If you are in Daegu, make sure to visit the Daegu E World! E-World (formerly Wooband Tower Land) is a theme park built around Woobang Tower (Oct. 1987). The area around the tower was remodeled as a European-style park and opened to the public in March 1995. Nestled just behind E-world Daegu’s theme park is the 83 tower. During Spring season, It is best to visit at night as it will be filled with various colors of LED lights and cherry blossom flowers. The scenery was super beautiful and romantic once they turned on all of the LED lights at night! There is even the Euroseum where you can take crazy photos with 4D images.
DINNER @ SAMSOO JANGEO RESTAURANT (GRILLED EEL)
For our dinner, the staffs of Daegu Metropolitan City brought us to a fancy restaurant which served super delicious grilled eel! The eel was so delicious and we just can't stop eating it! Besides that, the other dishes served for us were also tasty and different from what we have tried before. Using only the best ingredients to prepare their food, no wonder this restaurant is popular among the locals here!
Address: 1190-3 Suseongdong 4(sa)-ga, Suseong-gu, Daegu, South Korea
Google Map: Click HERE
After the delicious dinner, we went to Daegu Interbulgo Hotel to spend our night there. The next day we traveled to another exciting place in Gyeongsangbuk-do! Check out my next post to know more!
All photos are copyrighted and belongs to Korea Tourism Organization (Malaysia).
KTO Annyeonghaseyo Spring 2016 FAM Trip - Part 1: Gyeongju
Annyeonghaseyo everyone! How are you? We hope you are doing fine whenever you are! We are back with our new travelogue entry! Excited to know where we headed to this time? Keep on reading this entry to know the details, okay? ^^
Recently, Korea Tourism Organization (Malaysia) together with Air Asia X have organized a Familiarization (FAM) trip with selected travel agencies from Malaysia.
The purpose of the FAM Trip was to get together with the local travel agencies to experience the Spring season as well as the attractions in Gyeongsangbuk-do areas.
The areas that we covered in Gyeongsangbuk-do were Gyeongju, Daegu, Mungyeong, Andong and Yeongju including Cheoram which is located in Taebaek, Gangwon-do as well as some locations in Seoul. Nevertheless, our main focus for this trip was the Gyeongsangbuk-do areas.
Excited to know more? Keep on scrolling this entry until the end please! ^^
GO!GO!GO! LET'S GO!
Look at the cabin packed with people! And YAY There were stories about Korea in Air Asia’s Travel 3Sixty (April 2016) inflight magazine!
On the night of our departure, the flight schedule was from Kuala Lumpur to Busan. Since we were going to explore the Gyeongsangbuk-do areas, entering Korea through Busan would be the right choice since it is nearer compare to if you enter through Incheon (Seoul). By the way, a big thanks to Air Asia X for sponsoring our flight tickets! *bow* Our flight that night was super full! And we thought that it must be because of the SPRING season in Korea! ^^
WE HAVE ARRIVED IN BUSAN!
Our super excited faces! Little did Jay (with tie) know that we will be a nightmare to him for the whole trip! ;p
We arrived at Gimhae International Airport in Busan at early in the morning. After settled with the immigration and collected our luggage, we then met our local tour guide named Yoon Jong Hyun (his English name is Jay) at the arrival hall. He is from a local travel agency called TourSeoulKorea (TSK). Without further ado, we directly took the coach bus and went to Gyeongju.
GYEONGJU: THE GOLDEN CITY!
The journey to Gyeongju took us about 1 hour of journey from Busan. Once we arrived there, we were amazed by the view of cherry blossom flowers! The flowers were fully bloomed and were lined up beautifully at the side of the road! Since we had more time before the official lunch, Jay (our tour guide) decided to let us enjoyed the scenery by dropping us at an area near to the lunch venue. It was near to Bomun Lake and for your information Bomun Lake is a must place to go if you want to enjoy the beautiful spring flowers! We were blessed with nice sunny weather and clear sky too!
Beautiful spring view of Bomun Lake!
Such a breath-taking view!
Look at how excited we were!
After we had a blast time taking millionth of selfies with the flowers and cups of Americano from the nearby Starbucks, we then proceed to the official lunch venue which was held at the Hilton Wooyang Museum. The lunch gathering was invited by the Gyeongsangbuk-do Tourism Corporation (GTC) where VIPs from GTC as well as a representative from Korea Tourism Organization (HQ) and also travel agents from other countries were present as well. The purpose of the lunch was to welcome all delegates to Gyeongju as well as to intro about Gyeongsangbuk-do to the audience. It was also in conjunction of the Gyeongju Cherry Blossom 2016 Marathon which was scheduled to happen on the next day.
Welcome speech by Mr Kim Dae You, President of Gyeongbuk Tourism Corporation (GTC)
Speech by Mr Kang Sung Ghil, Executive Director from KTO
Toast speech by Mr Munning Jamaludin, Vice President of Pacesetters Athletic Club, Malaysia
Mouth-watering meals were served by Hilton Gyeongju
We directly proceed to visit our first destination in Gyeongju which was the Yangdong Folk Village. It took us for about 30 minutes of bus journey from the lunch venue. The village is the largest traditional village in Korea. We got to see the wealth of cultural heritages and scenic surroundings including the Mt. Seolchangsan and the 45 homes aged over 200 years old that have been preserved in their original state. It is a rare opportunity to view nowadays. Some families are still living in the village until today too. Wow.
We then moved on to our next destination which was the Cheomseongdae Observatory. The moment we arrived at the destination, we were mesmerized by the yellow-coloured canola flowers field. For those who don’t know, it is also known as the rapeseed flowers. Unable to control our excited feelings, we took the chance to preserved the gorgeous scenery through our camera lenses. Stood proudly in the middle of the land is the Cheomseongdae Observatory. According to our tour guide, the Cheomseongdae is the oldest existing astronomical observatory in Asia and there are 362 stones were used to build it! Those stones were actually represented the 362 days in the lunar year. We were shocked when we got to know that the observatory form has never been replaced or changed at all since it was built. Talking about years of originality! Phew!
Field of beautiful canola flowers at Cheomseongdae
From the Cheomseongdae Observatory, we walked to our next destination since it was just nearby. Along the way, we enjoyed the spring view and cold breeze while walking slowly to the location. We saw a local couple wearing traditional Hanbok in the public and even tried on the local ice cream which was really good! After about 5 minutes of walking, we then arrived at the front gate of our target location. It was the Daereungwon Tomb Complex where the large ancient tombs of Kings and nobles of the Silla Kingdom are being kept. The most famous tomb would be the Cheonmachong. We even went inside the tomb where we got to see the remains and royal crowns which demonstrated the lavish lifestyle of the King. A local staff who is an expert about the area explained to us on the history of the tombs and details about the Silla Kingdom. According to her, the size of the tomb represented the status which means the bigger the hill, the higher status the person was. Some of the tombs were unrecognizable as well and left to be nameless. Don’t be surprise if you see a lot of hills-looking land while you are in this area, okay? ^^
Since it was close to the night time, we quickly proceed to our next destination which was the Gyochon Traditional Village. Mind you that it is best to visit the village before 5:00pm in the evening to experience the local activities offered at the village. When we arrived there, the activity shops were already closed. However, we can still looked around the village which is famous for the Choi clan. Some of the Hanoks have been upgraded as restaurants and experience centre. If you happen to be here, don’t forget to try the Gyeongju Gyodong Beopju Liquor (non-Muslims) and the traditional glass creation experience!
The night has turned colder and we were hungry for dinner. To fulfil our hunger, we went to a restaurant called Bomun Hoban Ori (보문호반오리) which is popular with Marinated Duck and Mushroom BBQ menu. For duck meat lovers, you will definitely love this! And for those who never tried or not a fan of the duck meat, you should give the awesome meal a try! You will completely be charmed by it like we did! However, if you can’t take it, there are other options of menu that you can choose from where it will be featuring the variety of mushrooms and vegetables! The price was also reasonable!
Address: 504-14 Gyeonggam-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea
Google Map: Click HERE
After the hearty dinner, we proceed to our last venue for the day. Located at Gyeongju World Expo building, a performance show called Silla: Basilla was a show that we thought a must watch for tourists to Gyeongju! With glamorous stage props, colourful lighting and spectacular music, the show will definitely worth to watch! All of the characters were portrayed using only silent movements where it will be easier for the audience to understand the performance contents! The show was about a love story between a Persian prince and the Silla princess which also included the elements of culture from both sides. Furthermore, the actors, actresses and dancers were all so good looking and were awesome in portraying their characters!
Finally, we ended our first day at Gyeongju Hyundai Resort!
GYEONGJU HYUNDAI RESORT
Address: 477-2 Sinpyeong-dong, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea
Website: Click HERE
We started our second day in Gyeongju at a very early morning. It was because we were participated in the Gyeongju Cherry Blossom 2016 Marathon! For most of us, it was our first time entering a marathon event outside of Malaysia! Once we arrived at the event venue, it was already packed with participants from all over the world! It was easy to get lost in the crowd if we didn’t stick together in a group! All of us joined the 5km of walking while one of our member tried the 21km half course. And we were also grateful to meet the President of KTO, Mr Chung Chang Soo as he was there as well! Since the weather was super nice with cold wind and beautiful cherry blossom flowers along the race course, we didn’t feel like we were in a marathon event at all! Plus, all of us were given the medal as a token for participating in the event. Nevertheless, all of us felt proud to apart of the event. For full story on this, you can click HERE.
After the marathon event, we were stuck in the traffic jammed for about 2 hours due to the traffic control by the authority. Our hotel was about less than 10 minutes from the venue but due to the traffic, it took us longer than usual. We freshen up ourselves and then proceed to our lunch which was at Neul Bom (늘봄).
Address: South Korea, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Gyeongju, Seonggeon-dong, Gangbyeon-ro, 339-1
Phone: +82 54-773-3692
Google Map: Click HERE
We then proceed to our next destination which was the Bulguksa Temple. To our surprise, they were many people visited the temple on the day that we were there. Designated as the World Cultural Asset by UNESCO in 1995, the beauty of the artistic touch of the stone relics are known throughout the world. The place seems to be peaceful and calm with the nature surrounding the temple.
After visited the Bulguksa Temple, we headed back to the Gyeongju City for the Shilla Millennium Park. It took us longer than usual due to the bad traffic condition. We couldn’t make it for the performance time which was the highlight of the park. However, since we were already there, we continued to check out the park. If you would like to know about the culture and history of the Shilla Dynasty, then this would be the place that you have to visit! Besides that, there is also an outdoor set that was used for the famous Korean drama, Queen Seondeok too! We strongly advise you to visit here before the performance time so that you can enjoy the park to the fullest! Click HERE to check on the performance schedule!
We drop by at Gyeongju World Amusement Park to check out the place. And being the largest theme park in the Southern area makes it a great place to go if you are in Gyeongju. We met the Manager of the theme park, Mr Kim where he showed us around and even let some of us tried the ‘Phyton’ roller coaster! We wished we could spent more time there though! ;(
For the dinner, we went to ‘Dubu Maeul’ (두부마을), a restaurant which is specialized in preparing ‘Dubu’ or Tofu. The name also speaks for itself. The restaurant served food based on tofu. It also comes with a pot of stew mixed of seafood and tofu. All of the food served were delicious especially the Dubu Patty!
Address: Ma-dong, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea
Google Map: Click HERE
After dinner, we then directly proceed to Anapji Pond, a beautiful place to go for a night view in Gyeongju. There were really a lot of tourists, be it the locals or foreigners when we were there! According to the history, the pond was originally built in Wolseung Fortress. However, the fortress was destroyed. Thanks to the findings of the large spherical shapes which indicated that there were 3 islands had been located in the pond, the former glory of Anapji Pond has been restored. And yes, because of the findings, we got to see the beautiful view in this generation too! For photographers, this place should be in your list for your camera shot!
We then went back to our hotel and rest for the day. It was our last night in Gyeongju and we will definitely cherished the memories that we made here <3
All photos are copyrighted and belongs to Korea Tourism Organization (Malaysia).
On early April, Air Asia X (AAX) has organized a fam trip for media representatives in collaboration with Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), Daegu Metropolitan City, Gyeongsangbuk-do Tourism Corporation (GTC) and Busan Tourism Organization (BTO). We invited 8 medias accompanied by AA staff and KTO staff.
The purpose of this fam trip is to publicize the south-eastern part of Korea as a Muslim-friendly tourist destination to Malaysian. Other than that is to introduce new tourism attractions and activities like flower festivals, marathon race and V-Train.
Olleungdo (올릉도) Seafood Stew
We took our flight on the early morning of 6 April from KUL-PUS and reached Busan Airport around 8 in the morning. As soon as we reached, we started our journey to Daegu which took us around 2 hours. We had our lunch at Olleungdo once we arrived in Daegu, and met representative from Daegu Metropolitan City. This restaurant served mainly seafood in this restaurant such as seafood stew and spicy braised seafood. The food portions allows you to share between 4-5 people and it cost around 50,000-60,000 Won per serving including side dishes, rice and water. This restaurant also allows Muslim to have their prayer on its private space at the side of the restaurant. You just need to inform them earlier.
Address: 9 Dusan-dong, Suseong-gu, Daegu
대구광역시 수성구 두산동 9
View in Google maps: Click HERE
After lunch we moved to our first attraction which is Suseong Lake. Suseong Lake is famous especially during spring season with is wide cherry blossom tree all around the lake. You can see a lot of family, couples and even friends hang around this lake to enjoy the chilly weather. They also offer duck boat ride and some fees need to be paid for that. At night you can watch fountain show with music which available from May to October (twice per night). Alongside the lake you can find a lot of cafes where you can just sit there with a cup of coffee to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
After strolling around at Suseong Lake for the cherry blossom scenery we then head to Seomun Traditional Market. Yes, it is a traditional market but don’t be surprise they have a lot more to offer than just groceries. Seomun Market was known as ‘Daegu-Keun Market’ and it is one of the markets during the Joseon Dynasty. You can find a lot of affordable stuffs here from street foods, souvenirs, trendy clothes and of course fabrics! Specialty of this market is fabric-related items like silk, satin, linen, cotton, knitted goods and so much more. So it is one of the best place if you want to find Hanbok as well, cause you can get lower price here.
After we had our shopping time at Seomun Market we then head to E-World. It features a waterfall, fountains, lighting displays, and flowers, as well as rides, exhibition and performance halls, and restaurants. E-World has several plazas characterized by different themes; major plazas include Entry Plaza (at the park entrance), Central Plaza, Children’s Plaza (playground), and Young Town Plaza.
We came at the right season which is Spring! Like other places in Daegu E-World too is surrounded by Cherry Blossom tree. You can spot pink color everywhere here, with the colorful light at night that surely will give a romantic feeling to visitors.
Nestled just behind E-world Daegu’s theme park is the 83 tower. You will need to take the cable car to go on top. If you are looking for something different to do other than spend your day and night downtown the 83 Tower is the place to consider. Over and above the fact that it is right by an amusement park the tower has enough activities to keep you busy for a whole day in itself.
We then went to Euroseum, located on the second floor. Euroseum is very similar to Seoul’s Trick Eye Art Museum. Get ready to put your creativity to the test and have fun with innovative 3D artworks and optical illusions. Here you can get some creative pictures being chased by dinosaurs or eaten by a fish which is the perfect way to set the tone for a fun date.
Bap Doduk (밥 도둑)
We next head to Bap Doduk for our dinner located 15 minutes drive away from E-World. This restaurant is known for its seasoned raw crab since 1997. The menu here is very simple we had the seasoned raw crab, soybean paste stew with rice and a lot of side dishes. Korean meals are well known for their side dishes, It sometimes can be up to 10 side dishes per meals. We even celebrated two of our participants since their brithdya is just around the corner. Happy birthday again to you both Tatie and Aniza!
Address: 3-3 Dusan-dong, Suseong-gu, Daegu
대구광역시 수성구 두산동 3-3
View in Google maps: Click HERE
After a long day we finally checked in to our hotel at Interbulgo Hotel in Daegu. The room is very cozy and warm. They uses warm colors for most of the decorations in the room. We stayed there for one night. This hotel is actually located roughly around 27 minutes away from Daegu downtown, Dongseong-ro. This hotel also provides a prayer room for Muslim who needs to have their prayer conveniently. The prayer room is located at lobby just behind the reception. Kindly inform the receptionist in-advance if you need to use the room. The next morning we too had a halal breakfast meal specially prepared by the chef for us.
The next morning we went to Dongseong-ro Street for facial mask making experience at Sky Lake. Skylake is actually the manufacturer of traditional oriental medicine cosmetics, beverage & etc. Skylake is also known for chemical free product where to the point that all the products made can also be eaten just like that. The media had the chance to experience themselves making the facial mask following the instructor guide one by one. Participants been divided into pair in this activities. After we are done each one of us can take back the facial mask as a souvenir! Before we left the place we check out the front part of the shop where they displays their products on the racks. They have tons of skincare and beauty products to look out for, from head to toe.
Address: 11-1 Yeonam-ro 12-gil, Buk-gu, Daegu, South Korea (Sangyeok-dong)
대구광역시 북구 연암로12길 11-1(산격동)
View in Google maps: Click HERE
Mosimjeong Traditional Cuisine (모심정)
We then travelled to Mungyeong from Daegu and it takes around 1 hour and a half journey. Once we reached Mungyeong we straight went for lunch at Mosimjeong (모심정), Gyeongbuk Traditional Food Experience Institution. We would say this restaurant is very unique not just in terms of the food that they serve, but also because the restaurant is built in a form that resembles “hanok”, a traditional Korean house. They have a large space of parking lot in front for the restaurant and surrounded by mountain. The view is very calming and a perfect place if you want to spend time away from the busy city. Since it is a bit far from city, this restaurant is able to be reached if you drive a car.
Address: 13, Bongsaeng 1gil, Maseongmyeon, Mungyeong, Gyeongsangbuk-do
경상북도 문경시 마성면 봉생1길 13
We then went to the Coal Museum in Mungyeong, probably 15 minutes drive away from the restaurant. This museum exhibits history of coals and explains its important contribution to Korea’s rapid industrialization now and then. The information actually helps visitors to understand the vital role that coal has played in shaping Korean modern life. In this museum display 6,730 collection of mineral, fossil, equipment, documents, books & etc. We also took a ride on an underground train which bring us to the real-life sized underground coal mining exhibition.
Right next to the museum is the Mungyeongsaejae KBS Drama Studio. We took an electric car to go there. This studio or shooting set was built by Korean Broadcasting System in 2000 in Yongsagol to film a historical drama about the Goryeo Period.
The studio was built in Mungyeongsaejae because its mountains (Joryeongsan and Juheulsan) resemble Songaksan in Gaeseong (the capital of the Goryeo Period) and the area is filled with numerous traditional roads. Major dramas and films shot at the studio include Taejo Wang Geon, the Dawn of the Empire, the Age of Warriors, Dae Jo Yeong, Scandal, and Romantic Assassin.
Andong Myeongga Jjimdak (안동명가 찜닭)
We then moved to Andong which took us around 2 hours journey and had our dinner at Myeongga Jjimdak in Andong. The restaurant prepares for us special dish which used halal chicken meat. We had a happy meal that night because most of us have been craving for chicken! Normal price for one serving of braised chicken is around 25,000 Won which can be share within 4-5 people since the portion is so big. It comes together with rice and a lot of side dishes.
Address: 184-4, Seobu-dong, Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
View in Google maps: Click HERE
After a hearty meal we head to Weolyeong Bridge to a stroll for its night view. The bridge is 387m in length and is the longest pedestrian overpass made of wood in Korea. Woryeonggyo Bridge harbors a tragic yet beautiful legend about a wife who made a pair of Mituri (hemp shoes) out of her hair in heartfelt yearning and condolence for her late husband. In commemoration of her pure and noble love, the bridge was designed in the style of Mituri. At the center of the bridge is the Woryeongjeong Pavilion.
It is so romantic to walk pass this bridge whether it is at night or during the day. Specially during spring season, around the river/lake it is surrounded with cherry blossom tree. After we had a walk we went to the cafe just opposite the bridge to get our cup of coffee.
Andong Grand Hotel
Back to the hotel that we stayed for one night, which is Andong Grand Hotel located about 10 minutes drive away from Wolyeong Bridge. The hotel have more modern interior compared to our previous hotel. Very cozy and warm perfect after a long day for all of us.
V-Train Experience (Yeongju-Cheoram-Buncheon)
Today is the day that we are waiting for! We had breakfast at hotel and straight depart to Yeongju station to experience the V-Train. Our return journey took us about 2 hours and 30 minutes and the journey is approximately 185km long. The view along the ride is amazing because you can witness the valley scenery as it travels through the remote mountainous areas of Gangwon-do and Gyeongsangbuk-do.
V-train is non-stop and makes only 5-10 minute stops at Yangwon Station, the smallest train station in Korea, and Seungbu Station, which has particularly beautiful scenery, so that passengers have time to take pictures.
Train stops: Buncheon – Bidong stop - Yangwon – Seungbu – Cheoram
Tojong Daechu (토종 대추)
After we had our V-Train ride we then went for lunch at the final station which is Buncheon station. We had bibimbab with Soybean Paste Stew there with of course a lot of side dishes. We tried corn tea here for the first time and it taste not bad at all. We then departed to Gyeongju from Buncheon which takes us about 3 hours and 45 minutes journey.
Address: Buncheon Station, Santa Village, Buncheonri, Socheonmyeon, Bonghwagun
분천역산타마을, 경상북도 봉화군 소천면 분천리
View in Google maps: Click HERE
We need to have a quick dinner since we are rushing for our theathre performance later that night. We had our dinner at Ssukbujaengi which is not far from our hotel. The restaurant is very authentic as well since it resembles hanok house and look very vintage inside and out. They served Japchae (glass noodles), together with some other fusion Korean food such as kimbap and yogurt salad. The price per serving here range around 15,000-20,000 Won and can be shared with 4 people.
Address: 585-5, Bobullo Hadong, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do
대한민국 경상북도 경주시 하동 보불로 585-5
View in Google maps: Click HERE
We then move to Gyeongju Jeongdong Theatre for the non-verbal performance, BaSilla. BaSilla is The story of the ancient Persian prince, a princess of Silla and the heroes of their time unfolds on the fantastical and spectacular stage. From the love between the Persian prince and princess of Silla that spans over 20,000 kilometers to invasion and resistance, the pain of losing one’s country, revenge and finally, the birth of a new hero, this epic story is played out on the stage in a moving performance that celebrates the joy, anger, sorrow and pleasures of life.
After that we went back to our hotel and stayed that for one night. The hotel we would say is one of the best hotels we have stayed so far. They have amazing view of the Bomun Lake behind the hotel. Together with the cherry blossom view from our balcony, spacious room with bath tub in toilet. Unfortunately we only stayed there for one night.
The highlight of Gyeongju this time around is its annually Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Marathon. It usually takes palce during the peak of cherry blossom, drawing large crowds to participate in the event. We have been told the marathon participated by participants from 39 countries. Runners can choose from the full, half, 10 km, and 5 km courses, which start at the Gyeongju World Culture Expo Park. Gyeongju is a city where Korea’s long history and traditions are still alive. It is home to many relics and UNESCO World Heritage sites as well, making the city an open-air museum full of things to see and enjoy.
After we walk around the marathon event, we then moved to Shilla Millenium park which is just 5-8 minutes walk from the Gyeongju World Culture Expo Park. Shilla Millennium Park is a theme park integrating both education and entertainment about the history and culture of the Silla Period. This place is suitable for all range of age. They offer a lot of activities such as archery and also Shilla Royal Costume experience.
Visitors can enjoy an outdoor set in which the famous Korean drama "Queen Seondeok (2009)" was filmed. In addition, the park houses Ragung, the first hanok (traditional Korean house) hotel in Korea. It became famous when it appeared as Yoon Ji-hoo’s home in the Korean drama , “Boys over Flowers (2009).” The hotel is divided into Suite Hanok and Royal Suite Hanok. Inside each hanok is an outdoor open bath offering comfort and rest to visitors.
Next we went to Daereungwon Royal Tomb Complex, where large ancient tombs of kings and nobles of the Silla Kingdom can be seen around Gyeongju at the Daereungwon Tomb Complex (Cheonmachong Tomb). There are twenty-three large tombs located here; the most famous being Cheonmachong and Hwangnamdaechong.
In an excavation of the area in the 1970s, Cheonmachong was discovered with a painting of a mounted horse. This painting is the only discovered painting from the Silla era. You can also view the inside of Cheonmachong. There are 11,526 remains and royal crowns inside the tomb, demonstrating the lavish lifestyle of the king.
Oase Seafood Buffet at Jagalchi Market (오아제 뷔페)
After touring around the village we then transfer to Busan, and the journey took us around 1 hour and 50 minutes. Arriving in Busan we straight went for dinner at Jagalchi market at buffet restaurant name Oase. Oase offers a wide range a seafood buffet and also other dishes from western foods to Korean foods.
View in Google maps: Click HERE
After dinner we had our shopping time at Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) Square. 쏟 square mostly crowded with youngster since there are a lot of stuffs to shop here. Having been remade as a cultural tourist attraction promoting the advancement of Korea’s film industry, the BIFF Square has contributed to Busan’s newfound status as an international cultural tourist city. The 428 meter-long street stretching from the Buyeong Theater in Nampo-dong to the overpass in Chungmu-dong was divided into “Star Street” and “Festival Street”.
After a long day we checked-in to our hotel which we will be staying for two nights. Homers Hotel sits along the beach at the end of beautiful Gwangandaegyo Bridge, offering not only a cool coastal breeze, but also a picturesque view of the city skyline.
Nearby tourist attractions include Gwangalli Beach and Haeundae Beach, aquarium, and dried fish market.
Early in the morning after we had our breakfast in the hotel, we straight went to one of the attraction of Busan during spring season which is the Changnyeong Nakdonggang Youchae Festival. This year is the 5th time that they have organized such event. The Nakdonggang Yuchae Festival is an annual event held during mid to late April in a canola flower field in the Namji-eup area of Changnyeong. The festival offers live performances; an experience hall of insects and birds; agricultural and specialty product exhibition, sales, and experience, and promotion booth; Namji Cheolgyo Gallery; yuchae photo rally, and other events for visitors to enjoy the beautiful scenery of yellow canola flower in full bloom with the blue thread of the Nakdonggang River.
Our advice is to visit during weekdays, it will be less people compared to the weekend. But if you want to come during weekend it is best to visit early in the morning, because when we left around 10-11AM a flock of people came to visit the place.
Before lunch we drop by Geumjeongsan and took a cable car to the top of the mountain. Geumjeongsan has historically been considered as a mountain conducive to the defense of the country. For this reason, Beomeosa, a leading temple believed to defend and protect the country, was built along Geumjeongsanseong Fortress, the nation’s largest fortress, built in The Three Kingdoms period.
The mountain is not startlingly tall, but has a graceful shape with dense forest and clear water fountains throughout the exquisite rocky cliffs, proudly representing itself as a famous mountain in Busan. Compliment by the cold breeze weather the aerial view is such an exquisite surrounded by the cherry blossom tree. It is very colorful from the top of the mountain. A lot of local citizen came there for a morning hike with family and friends.
We then had our lunch at Cappadocia. They served mainly halal Turkish fusion cuisine. One of the restaurant's most popular menu items is a Korean fusion, Kimchi Kebap. Korea and Turkey were an allied force during the Korean War, and both participated in the 2002 World Cup. Cappadocia works to become a "Little Turkey" in Korea. Not only does Cappadocia serve great Turkish food, but it also offers books and visuals to help customers understand Turkish culture. The owner (Sulaiman Jung) of this restaurant is so friendly and greets us warmly. He is a Muslim himself, thus he understands very well on how to prepare halal meals according to the Islam guidance.
Next to the restaurant is the Busan mosque, Busan Masjid was the second masjid to open in Korea. It was built in 1980 with financial support from Ali Fellaq, the former minister of finance of Libya.
Oncheoncheon Stream (온천천)
Before heading to Busan National University, we drop by to walk along the Oncheoncheon Stream. It is famous stretching along side a stream that flows most peacefully. It is also popular among the citizens for having lots of facilities for exercising, such as a bicycle road, basketball court, a stepping-stone, and trails for joggers. Due to these, many people come to Oncheoncheon day and night to exercise. You may find this attraction more or less similar like Cheonggyecheon Stream.
View in Google maps: Click HERE
After a walk by the stream we then moved to one of the biggest shopping are in Busan which is Pusan National University (PNU) along with Seomyeon and Gwangbokdong (Nampodong). The shopping district is just a walk away from the main gate of the university and the subway station. You can find a variety of shops including international and local brands here. Not to forget more cafes and skincare shops around this area too. Most of the participants had a good time shopping here since it will be their last day in Korea before heading back to Malaysia the next day.
Cheongsapo Hajininae Haeundae
Later that night we had our dinner at the famous shell-fish restaurant by the beach. It is located along side Haeundae Beach, such a perfect place to end our trip. The food still tastes the same like when I visited this place last year during autumn. We have been told that a lot of celebrities visited this restaurant before such as PSY.
We went back to our hotel and packed our bag, since it will be our last night here and we need to leave the hotel early morning the next day.
View in Google maps: Click HERE
Images courtesy from participating medias:
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!
Korea Tourism Organization has organized a familiarization trip (fam trip) to introduce some of the best festivals and new attractions in Korea.
We started this fam trip from Busan with some new hands-on experience place in Gimhae. And then, we went to Jinju and Gimje to enjoy the Jinju Namgang River Yudeung (Lantern) festival & Gimje horizon festival. Following that, we visited Suwon Samsung Innovation Museum as an industrial tourism attraction after stopping by the Jeonju Hanok village.
In Busan, we visited Korean route sites which combine tourist attractions with the industrial characteristics of the innovation centers for creative economy designed by Korean government. Korea has currently 17 innovation centers for creative economy around the country and Busan's innovation center itself features creative tourism attractions by rediscovering existing resources like a backward village (Gamcheon village) & an old bridge (Yeongdodaegyo drawbridge), traditional food (Fish Cake Making), sea landscape (Oryukdo Islands Skywalk, Haedong Yonggungsa temple) and much more.
Gamcheon Cultural Village
We also visited some Korean Route sites such as Gamcheon cultural village, Bosu-dong Book Alley, Gukje market¸ Kkangtong night market, Jagalchi fish market, Lotte town, Gwangbok Branch observation deck, Haeundae beach, Haedong yonggungsa temple and the Yeongdodaegyo drawbridge. During the night, we head over to some nigh-view attractions like the Busan Tower and The bay 101.
Bosu-dong Book Alley
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Jagalchi Fish Market
Observation from Busan Tower
Busan The Bay 101
Yeongdodaegyo Bridge located on the left of the Jagalchi fish market is a newly introduced attraction in our K-travelogue. This is the first suspension bridge in Busan to connect the Nampo-dong and Yeongdo Island. It has not been drawn for the reason like traffic jam for many years. However, it recently began to move again and has become a famous tourist attraction. Around 2pm, siren sounds and it is drawn for 15 minutes. One of the best places to see this bridge raised to the sky is the outdoor rooftop park of Lotte town Gwangbok Branch.
Nampo-dong Pharmacy Alley
Busan Lotte Town Observation Deck
Busan Chalotte Coin Statue
After we finished our 2 days schedule at Busan, we were headed for Clayarch Gimhae museum. It was a sunny and quiet morning and we were greeted with an artistic building which was decorated with ceramic mosaic tiles on the walls outside. Before we went into this museum, we had tried Art Kitchen hands-on experience. It's a Mosaic tile experience that visitors can make their own handicraft with 10 colors of Mosaic tiles, which are architectural materials. After finishing 30 minutes fun experience, we came to appreciate many clayarch (clay+architecture) artworks which were on display in the two museum buildings.
Gimhae Clayarch Museum
Next on, at Jinju. Jinju is located 1.5 hour distance from Busan/Gimhae by car. We were there in time to witness the Namgang Yudeung (Lantern) festival which was going on then. This festival has been designated as one of the best cultural tourism festivals by Korean Government for several years and then was appointed the honorary cultural tourism festival by Government. It is regularly held in the early October for 10 days or more every year. We started our Jinju tour from the main venue of this festival, Jinjuseong fortress. Inside the fortress, Jinjuseong Fortress Battle and traditional marriage parade etc. was reproduced using lantern and traditional performance were played continuously. There were also some free hands-on experience like postcard writing, Chinese zodiac hand rubbing, citizen participation lamp making. We also could visit the Jinju national museum and historical site, Chokseongnu Pavilion there.
Daytime View of Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival
The highlight of Yudeung (Lantern) Festival could be seen in the evening. We went back to the festival venue at 7 pm after taking a short rest in hotel and having a delicious Eel BBQ & Jinju Naengmyeon Noodle as a dinner. Many local & foreign visitors assembled to enjoy the night festival. All the lanterns on the Namgang River and inside the Jinjuseong Fortress were lighting brightly and it created fantastic atmosphere. Fireworks for 10~20 minutes doubled this festival's charm. We made our wish-lantern, floated it on the river and then came back to the hotel walking along a river in the autumn breeze.
Night View of Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival
You can also refresh yourself in the bamboo forest beside Namgang River across the Namgaram culture street and enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Jinyangho Lake from the observation deck in Jinju.
Jinju Bamboo Forest
Gimje is located in Jeollabukdo Province, 1 hour distance from Jeonju Hanok village by car. We travel to Gimje from Jinju for 2 hours by bus and went to the festival venue after taking a hearty lunch cooked with clam, prawn, and others in the Gimje city.
Gimje horizon festival which is regularly held in the early October for 5 days every year was selected as one of the premier cultural tourism festival by Korean Government this year. This festival features Korea's rice farming culture. The expansive fields of Gimje are fertile and offer suitable conditions for growing rice. Hence, Gimje has been the large granary until now.
When we visited Gimje, it was the last day of this festival and the venue was in the middle of the large rice field. We could enjoy straw rope and bag making and also experience rice cake decorating with some colorful pieces of rice cake on it. The highlight was the kite flying along the bank. We all tried to fly kites into the sky on the wind but it wasn't that easy to do it very well. Just one or two among us could fly the kites high in the air. After that, we looked around some small traditional games Korean children and their parents played together around the field.
There were two big dragon replicas standing in the middle of the field which were made followed by a legend about two dragons descending from the ancient times. The legend says that a white dragon protected the rice field and reservoir in Gimje from a fierce blue dragon trying to spoil the farming.
Gimje Horizon Festival
On the next day of the Horizon festival tour, we visited Jeonju Hanok village. It was very charming & peaceful village with a lot of traditional houses. We strolled down this small town appreciating cute cafes, traditional Hanok houses and some historical sites like Jeondong Catholic church, Gyeonggijeon Hall. And then we stopped by the Nambu traditional market located closely to Hanok village. It was filled with fresh fruits, small restaurants, small shops with passion & creativity of youth.
Jeonju Hanok Village
Jeonju Jeondong Cathedral
Jeonju Traditional Market
The last attraction of our fam tour was the Samsung Innovation Museum in Samsung electronics complex, Suwon. It was made up of 4 exhibition parts: Seeds of innovation, Core of innovation, Inspiring innovation, and History of Samsung. We could learn the history of electricity and electronic devices including global company Samsung Electronics' history as well as the current and future technologies. This museum was so nice for us to experience the top notch technology of Samsung electronics. If you are a private tourist, you can enter and look around here on Saturday.
Suwon Samsung Innovation Museum