There are a few reasons why we love travelling to Korea. Japan would have been great, if not for the situation it’s currently in. Radiation leaks? How serious is it exactly now? We are not too sure, but we are not ready to expose our kids to the uncertainty of the impact the radiation leak will have on the kids.
There are 4 seasons in Korea and it’s interesting to go there in different seasons to see the different sides of Korea. We have been to winter and autumn and I think we still prefer Autumn. We went for winter again this time as my mother-in-law really hopes to see some snowfall and Korea is a good choice as it is not too far away from Singapore. So here’s what we planned for ourselves, after settling the itinary for the kids.
1. Nami Island
Nami Island is our must-visit place each time we go. Although it’s a bit far and not that convenient to reach, but we really love the romantic atmosphere the place brings. Maybe the mind is still strongly influenced by the scenes in the Winter Sonata drama? We hoped to see Nami Island covered in snow for this trip. The last winter trip, the snow were melting and there was not much to see. Unfortunately, it’s the same for this trip but it was much much colder this time. We were told that the weather was particularly cold that day.
We took this buggy ride to quickly pass through the island and get some warmth in the buggy as well. It was really a good choice just that it could only take us around the outer perimeters of the island
We would drop by this place for a hot soup everytime we come to warm up our body in the cold weather. The soup is really good!
Conclusion? Autumn view beats winter view hands-down.
2. Bukchon Hanok Village
I heard about this place from a colleague and was awed by the scenery there. Unlike other Hanok village there where they are mainly display houses, this Hanok village is occupied by residents and we can’t actually go in the houses. But the exterior design of the traditional Hanok houses are already amazingly beautiful.
3. DMZ and Provence Village
We have been thinking of visiting this place for a long time. But reviews of it did not interest us that much. Seems like nothing much happening here. Plus our kids would be bored, bored bored. We finally decided to come here, just to satisfy our curiosity. Having been able to see part of North Korea from this point, really makes one wonder how people in there pass by the years being so closed to the world. And we really wonder whether there will be 1 day where you can really travel into North Korea from South Korea by the train that was built to get ready to transport people to and fro anytime.
The provence village was an unplanned destination. It was nearby the DMZ so we dropped by to take a look. It’s really a nice place to just walk around and popping in the shops there to get some really interesting stuff.
4. Hello Kitty Cafe and Hongdae street.
I saw a lot of photos of people visiting the Hello Kitty Cafe and looked like a really cute place to be in. Turns out, it was a little overhyped. The food was not that good, and there was only mainly snacks for desserts. We stayed there for a short while before we drove off to look for dinner that can actually fill us up.
We passed by Hongdae street and man, my eyes couldn’t stop wandering around doing window shopping until I almost walk off from my family. My hubby was calling me when I realized I had started to drift off. Ok, Hongdae, next time ok? I will be back.
My friends in Singapore told me this place is similar to Arab Street of Singapore. You will see many shops selling artsy stuff, cultural stuff here. We dropped by for a quick look. It’s really quite a nice place too. Interesting stuff to see, interesting food to try.
6. Garden of Morning Calm.
Every winter, there will be some lights display at this place. It doesnt look that great during the day, but come evening, this place becomes a romantic and beautiful place to hang out. It was really really cold that night and we were almost freezing. We had the kids strapped in the stroller, armed with heat pack and stroller cover to block out the wind and their little hands were still icy cold. My elder daughter fell asleep in the stroller and freaked out hubby, thinking she had passed out from the coldness.
Otherwise, it’s really nice and romantic. Good place for a Valentine’s Day date.
Finally, the highlight of what we came for. Snowfall! We were hooked on the weather forcast page everyday a week before we went to Seoul and were quite disappointed that we may not see snowfall for our entire trip. Suddenly, on the 2nd last day of the trip, the weather forcast a high percentage of snowfall just 1 day after we were supposed to leave. Major dilemma! We quickly made some enquires and assessment on extending our trip and lucky enough, we would not have to incur extra cost, other than lodging. No extra leaves to be taken as well. So we decided to extend our stay since this was what we came all the way for. Fortunately, the weather forcast was right. It did snow and it snowed heavily! Much to our delight.
We quickly got the kids and my mother-in-law out for some fun in the snow. Turns out everyone was feeling too cold to enjoy the snow fully. Duh.. But we did manage to get a snowman up and have some photos in the snow. We really felt mission accomplished after that.