Monday, May 21, 2012

Solo Saga In Seoul (Getting lost comes naturally)

Day 5 of our Korea Chronicles is "free day". Anything goes. My friends planned to explore Hongdae or shop some more, and I wanted to see more palaces and cherry blossoms. There were other palaces and I was thinking they hold the key to finding more cherry blossoms. I said I’ll have some solo time exploring the city and we’d just meet again in time for the shuttle back to the airport

I really learned to appreciate solo travel after my first solo trip in Europe. Having travel buddies is fun but I craved for the peace and freedom offered by solo travel. I just have to muster the guts again to befriend the strangers and take my pictures.

After four days of navigating the streets of Seoul, I was quite confident that I can reach my destinations with no issues. Or so I thought.

I got off Chungmuro station and headed to the direction of the Namsangol Hanok Village. There’s no entrance fee and I just entered and explored the place.

At the entrance of what I thought was Namsangol Village
There were no tourists. I was kinda expecting teeming hordes of kids but there were none. So that was a relief. Perfect for some solo time out.

Not a fan of spicy foods here. I was surprised that Kimchi was fermented up to three weeks??? Whoa!

The title should've been a clue...

I spent around one hour taking pictures of the place. The plants, the houses, the path. I thought, the place was small and quiet to be a major tourist attraction.

I stepped outside and stopped. I read the sign: KOREA HOUSE.

I missed the sign
So...I didn’t go to Namsangol Village???? Grrrrrrrreat.

So that was an hour in a place which is not my destination. No wonder no tourist was in sight! Maybe the caretakers there thought I was was lost, but they let me do all the picture taking there. I went back to the station and looked at the map. I should’ve walked in another street. So I did. And I found the tourist infested village. Entrance was free.

My dilemma immediately materialized upon entering the gate. I paused and wait for someone to take my photo.

The place replicates the traditional village in Korea. It was kinda the same thing with the palace.

Pink petals on the ground!
And this is why I love Korea.

Awkward pose. Well, the girl taking the picture suggested that I hold the branch.

Red-orange grounds. I thought it was spring? This one reminded me of autumn.

The park was teeming with the school kids. But I don't think they'd be willing to take my picture.

The village had joggers, businessmen with coffee on a lunch stroll, students and tourists.

Like a picture of a 1000-pc jigsaw puzzle.

I found myself back at the entrance/exit gate. I planned on visiting another palace although I had a hunch that it would be the same thing. But, my sense of direction and attention failed me. I probably got distracted with something that’s why I got lost on my way back to the subway. But I found this sign which inspired me to head off the unknown path. The sign says the Namsam Park is just 960 meters away. 

I recall that a sign near Zaza Backpakers says that Namsam Park is just 400 meters away. Perfect! I can walk my way back, and I get to explore a park!  I love walking and the weather was not that cool and it was a perfect way to explore the city. I had to ask for directions three times, but I eventually found the park.

Pink treeessss!!! Ahlovettt!!!!

At the crossroads. The tower seems so far and Dongguk University seems so near. It also sounds familiar. So I took that route.

It was a far walk. Good thing the weather was fine and the cherry blossoms kept me happy. Eventually, I heard my tummy grumble. It was already past lunch time and my intestines reminded me of that.
Smile kahit gutom! The camera was cautiously placed on the handrails.
I realized that Namsam Park isn’t just a square normal park. It is a park that goes round. The bus going to Seoul Tower passed the Namsam park.

Finally, I reached the path exiting the Namsam Park which leads to Dongguk University.

Reminds me of my college days. 

I was lost. I had to ask 3 people who could speak in English. The youth can understand English. I found my  way to Dongguk University station and rode the train to the familiar streets of Myeongdong. 

My first expense for the day: Lunch in Lotteria, a local Korean fastfood chain. Cost me ₩ 6,400 for this big beef burger meal. They had Bulgogi burgers but after my morning adventure, I wasn’t feeling too adventurous with food.

So I ended up getting lost and doing something unplanned. Maybe getting lost is my natual talent. :D


  1. i;ve never been to to kOrea yet,
    many attempts but the timing wasn't always right.
    your photos gave another slice of how beautiful the city is. ^0^

    sent an email regarding visa,
    hoping you could help. tnx.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Love your blog sis ^_^

    that is SONG JOONG KI from LOTTERIA :)

  4. im planning to go to korea this november, what clothing/attire is recommended?

  5. im planning to go to korea this november, what clothing/attire is recommended?

  6. Hi Neng! I believe Korea in November is quite cold: 10 degrees and below during the day. I would suggest clothing layers. Thermal clothing will also help. Good luck!

  7. Hi, May I ask when exactly did you go to Korea? Cause I was thinking to go there end of April this year, just thinking if there'll be cherry blooms then :)

  8. I was there during the third week of April 2012. :) I think there will still be cherry blossoms at that time.


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