An evening in Sinchon

Spring is finally here!! The weather is finally humane enough for hanging out (at least for me), and the flowers are blooming everywhere and it’s beautiful~~

So to commemorate the beginning of spring I went with my friends to watch the film Twenty starring Kim Woobin, Kang Haneul and 2PM Junho! Some of the cinemas in Seoul offer English subtitles for Korean movies so be sure to check it out before heading down ^^ The Sinchon CGV is one of those that offer movies in English subtitles (for certain showtimes), as well as Hongdae CGV as far as I know.

Korean film Twenty starring Kim Woobin, Kang Haneul and 2PM Junho!

Korean film Twenty starring Kim Woobin, Kang Haneul and 2PM Junho!

Popcorn is a must for me when I come to cinemas ㅋㅋ Large popcorn + 2 drinks + nachos is only W10,500!! Much cheaper than Singapore I think.

Popcorn is a must for me when I come to cinemas ㅋㅋ Large popcorn + 2 drinks + nachos is only W10,500!! Much cheaper than Singapore I think.

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[WOW Korea] Some must-try Korean Food in Winter!

Winter has almost arrived in Korea, and while the great temperature range in the day is driving me crazy, I am actually waiting quite expectantly for snow since I missed out on it entirely last winter when I was in Japan for my exchange. Another thing to look forward to would be the food! Sometimes there are just some food that tastes better when you have it in certain seasons (like having naengmyeon when the weather isn’t hot yet is just weird), and so here I’m recommending three winter must-haves in Korea!

1. Odeng (오뎅)

Source: blog.naver.com/neep/120200402604

One of the most popular must-try street food! Especially tasty in winter. Source: blog.naver.com/neep/120200402604

When Korean street food is mentioned you might think of ddeokbokki first, but when winter comes around odeng (fishcakes) is what people look for! It may seem crazy to be standing out in the cold eating from street stalls like this:

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[WOW Korea] Day 3 – Jeonju, rich in cultural heritage and delicious street food!

[Transport]: Getting to Jeonju

From Express Bus Terminal station (Line 3 and 7), go to the Honam Line (Exit 8 of the subway, to the Central City Terminal) and take a bus for Jeonju. It costs W14,000 and takes about 2 hours 40 minutes to get there.

Alternatively you can take the KTX from Yongsan station, it costs W32,900 and takes 2 hours to get there. The cheaper Mugunghwa trains would cost W17,600 and take 3 hours 15 minutes.

 

[Attraction] Learning Korean paper art

First activity of the day was learning Korean paper art! We had the chance to make pencil cases from 한지 (Korean traditional paper)! To our surprise, it can stick with just starch water or at least just a little bit of glue ^^ Hanji is one of the prides of Korea due to its durability, where there is an old saying that paper lasts a thousand years and textiles (such as silk or hemp) last five hundred!

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Pencil case made from hanji (Korean paper)

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It even has hangul on it 😀

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[WOW Korea] Day 2 – Gimje Horizon Festival, where history, culture and fun meets

After a good night’s sleep at the Gochang Hanok Village (refer here for more information), we headed out for breakfast!

[Food] Breakfast: Pungjeon

You might have heard of hangover soup (해장국) in Korea, which works wonders for hangovers, but is also a good meal otherwise too! There are too many types of hangover soups to list, and we tried the bean sprouts hangover soup for breakfast! I’m a huge fan of beansprouts, so I really loved this version of hangover soup. Moreover, the soup is not too spicy but not bland, giving a soothing but filling meal for breakfast!

A hearty breakfast to begin the day!

A hearty breakfast to begin the day!

The egg is placed below the steamed rice, and by taking a few spoons of the soup and mixing it with the now half-cooked egg you get a delicious treat! I’m still really amazed at how that worked out 😀

More information on the restaurant: http://map.naver.com/local/siteview.nhn?code=31378935

[Attraction] Seonunsan Provincial Park and Seonunsa Temple

After a hearty breakfast, we took a nice morning walk at Seonunsan Park to the Seonunsa temple. The name of the temple means to meditate among the clouds (禅云寺) and it’s 1000-year old! With the beautiful mountains in the background, it certainly feels like a peaceful place for meditation ^^

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[WOW Korea] Day 1: Gochang, a hidden attraction

It’s been quite some time since I’ve travelled with #wowkoreasupporters to a 3D2N trip to Gochang, Gimje and Jeonju, and now that I’m done with midterms I finally have some time to sit down and tell all of you about the places! I am honestly excited for the blog post since I’ve really enjoyed myself on this trip, and I hope that through my post many more of you would discover these less known places in Korea ^^

As we went over a long weekend, the originally 3 hour trip became a 6 hour ride T____T So please take note, if you’re planning to travel over the long weekend, train is definitely recommended as the roads will be so congested!

[Transport] Getting to Gochang

From Express Bus Terminal station (Line 3 and 7), go to the Honam Line (Exit 8 of the subway, to the Central City Terminal) and take a bus for Gochang. It costs W15,900 and takes about 3 hours 40 minutes to get there.

There is no train station in Gochang, but fret not! You can take a train from Seoul station to Jeongeup station, then take a bus from Jeongeup to Gochang (buses run every 20 minutes). The train would cost between W12,900 to W22,000, and the bus costs W2,000. The journey would take about the same time as the bus as well.

[Food] Lunch: Sugung restaurant

Honestly by the time we got to the restaurant it was almost 3pm, and everyone was famished. So even though I was not a fan of shellfish, I had a go at the Manila clam bibimbap (바지락비빔밥) and I can tell you that it was the best choice of my life because it was just. so. super. good!!

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I took one look at the clam and I was really apprehensive since I really couldn’t take shellfish. But one bite and I was just won over!!

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[WOW Korea] Singaporean Coffee Shop in Korea?

This week’s WOW Korea mission is to introduce a restaurant with specialty from our home countries. There are not many Singaporean restaurants here, and they tend to be very expensive too so I haven’t been to any of them. So I would instead introduce to you a Singaporean cafe that I have visited a few times!

The first time I saw the word “Kopitiam” (it means coffee shop in Hokkien and it’s a commonly used word in Singapore) while walking along Edae I thought I must have seen it wrongly. But I heard from other Singaporean friends and realised that there was really a “Kopitiam” in Edae!

Kopitiam Singapore Toast and Coffee

They have changed the interior a few times since I started going, but their menu has remained true to Singaporean flavors. It appears to me as a kind of fusion between a Korean cafe where they have the usual Americano and green tea latte, and a Singaporean-style “kopitiam” where we would have coffee or milk tea and some kaya toast to go with it.

Iced milk tea in the summer with kaya toast!

Iced milk tea in the summer with kaya toast!

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[WOW Korea] Introducing Gapyeong-Chuncheon!

For this week’s mission, I will introduce the Gapyeong-Chuncheon area briefly!

This area is within the boundary of Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon-do, so they are just a short distance away from Seoul. Taking the ITX to Gapyeong would take only about 40 mins!

The most famous attraction in the area has got to be Nami Island!

Nami Island in the autumn. Credit: KTO

Nami Island in the autumn. Credit: KTO

Nami Island is a small man-made island located in Chuncheon, Gangwondo. It even has its own “passport and visa” as they intend to make it into a small “Republic” of its own, perhaps as a small getaway from the city life. It was made popular by Hallyu drama “Winter Sonata” which filmed there, and has since become one of the must-gos for tourists if they have time for a small out-of-Seoul trip.

There are many things to see despite the small size of the island. Not only is there beautiful scenery of the mountains and greenery on the island, there are also many museums and galleries that you can explore! Many people also choose to rent bicycles to enjoy a day with nature, or you can easily walk one round too since the island is not big. There are also those who choose to stay for a night or two at the resort as a weekend getaway.

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Clearing the Immense Backlog

In a bid to procrastinate when you have a mountain of work to complete (I’m sure many of you have had the same experience), I took the excuse to come back to the blog!

First off, I am so sorry to everyone who has emailed or commented, because I took an impossibly long amount of time to reply you guys. There are some emails even from March which I have yet to reply (Please forgive me!! ㅠㅠ) I have to say that the exchange to Japan last fall semester did allow me to relax a little, but it also made it a little more difficult to get back on track to the academic rigor in UIC… I am now replying the emails and comments so please wait a little more!

On another note, it’s been almost 3 years since I’ve started my life in Korea and in UIC, and I just have about 1 more year left. There are so many things that I would like to share with all of you before I leave, but senior year will probably be crazier than it already is for me now ): I will still try my best to update more often though.

What I have no time to say in words, I shall leave in photos. Spring came really early to Korea this year, temperatures were so warm that the cherry blossoms bloomed exceptionally early this year! (Usually they bloom towards the end of April, this year they were in full bloom in early April!) I took a trip down to Busan and Gyeongju as well since my sister visited, as well as some interesting places in the vicinity of Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon-do (the two provinces really close to Seoul). I hope that these photos will give you a better idea of how life in Korea can be! 😀

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Packing – What to Bring and What to Leave out?

A comeback after a really long time! I always feel apologetic that I don’t have time to post much during the semester because of schoolwork, and during the breaks because I am usually working temporary jobs D: But by request from one of my readers (and new hoobae coming to UIC) I have decided to spend some time talking about packing! 😀

You might be thinking, of course I know how to pack! I just dump everything into huge luggage right?

I wish the story was this simple.

In fact, I hate packing so much that I don’t know if I’m actually the best person to be talking about this. But in any case I will talk about the things you should definitely bring to Korean and things that you don’t really have to!

Items you DON’T have to bring to Korea:

1. Clothes/Bags/Shoes/Accessories

Of course I’m not telling you not to pack any clothes to Korea, but your belongings will only increase exponentially if you bring too many clothes to Korea. (And you will start to get a huge headache when you graduate and think about how you’re going to bring everything home, like me T___T) Reason being that Korea is a shopping heaven. Korea is one country which places a lot of emphasis on fashion, and college students are especially susceptible to such fashion trends. Baseball jackets may be in trend this winter, but next winter you might see everyone in trench coats. It would be best to just buy your clothes in Korea, instead of using your luggage allowance bringing hordes of clothes from home, thinking that you won’t buy anything in Korea. Nope, not gonna happen. Especially when clothes in Korea are pretty affordable too.

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