Thanksgiving in Seoul

Trip Start May 18, 2006
Trip End May 30, 2007

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Flag of Korea Rep.  ,
Monday, October 2, 2006

While Matt headed back to Australia for the Korean Thanksgiving "Chuseok", I headed up to explore Korea's capital Seoul !

Finishing work Monday, with the rest of the week off, I headed over to Mokpo where I would spend the night with a friend before catching the KTX (bullet train) to Seoul the next day. Now, I had been warned that it was going to be a busy time to travel, and the usual 40min bus ride took over 1 1/2 hrs, which preceded a long wait for a taxi which lead to me being rather late for dinner....but better late than never.

To avoid the business, I had opted for a rather early train 6:30, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but it was definitely an early start, one which I don't want to repeat in a hurry. The train was awesome, we hit a top speed of about 300km/h, whisper quiet and very smooth. I made the 500 km journey in about 3 1/2 hrs.

I had heard soo much about Seoul and was soo excited to explore a BIG city after being in Gangjin for so long it seemed. And it was my first time navigating without Matt, he had bets on I would get lost, etc....but I did him proud.

The subway was awesome, I checked into my Hostel and headed to nearby Insadong, to look around it's souvenir and craft street and have a nice lunch. It was really strange, I had heaps of options for lunch, but I had a craving for Korean food....I found that it was a bit more fancy in Seoul an our town, and more expensive. In the afternoon, I headed to the famous Dongdaemun Market, I must admit I was a little disappointed, the clothes weren't very good quality and weren't that appealing.

Then I headed to the Downtown Shopping district, "Myeong-dong", now that was a bit more like it. I didn't buy much but it was nice looking around the stores. I got my haircut and then walked up Namsan, a small hill/mountain which Seoul tower is on. The views were great.

Next day was spent taking in the amazing "Gyeongbokgung" and "Changdeokgung", with it's secret garden, these were by far the most impressive sites I have seen in Korea and I was lucky to see the changing of the guard which was cool.

Next stop on my tour was the 63 building, I had an interesting time getting there. I picked the subway, which on the map looked the closest got there no worries but as I exited I popped up in the Fish Market....Now with the up coming holiday, this place was going there I am with a very unplanned stop on my itinerary dodging buckets of fishy water getting thrown around. It really rivaled the one we had seen in Tokyo, even though I didn't want to be there, I had to see the humour of the situation. So I make it out alive of the fish market, and I am on the street, I look up and see the building I want, problem is there is about a 16 lane freeway, with all sorts of on and off ramps etc between me and joke. So after about 15 mins of looking for some sort of over or under pass, I ended up jumping in a cab, to get to the other side.

The 63 building gave a great view, even though it was a little hazy, the river in particular looked good. I did miss Matt when I was up there, as I had no one to share my beer with on top of Seoul.

The next day, I was excited to meet up with the guys from Gangjin, in the foreigner's area "Itaewon". I went to the war Memorial museum which was really interesting. That night we headed to an Indian restaurant, and I had a Lamb curry that I wanted to marry it was that good!! Next stop was a Canadian bar, and we walk in and there was a huge group of people we knew it was great. Many drinks and a good time had by all. It was soo good to relax, and listen to some decent music in a familiar atmosphere.

Heaps of places were closed the next day, I headed to a huge underground Mall and then caught up with everyone for dinner and another night out....this time "fish and chips", it's the simple things that keep me happy.

Headed back the next day to sleepy little Gangjin, leaving the big city behind. I was disappointed I didn't get to do a DMZ tour that I wanted to do, but that was the week there was a shots fired at the I was kinda happy after hearing that.
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