Thursday, June 14, 2012

11 Days Korea Trip 2011 Free n Easy - Day 5, Seoul

5 Dec 2011 (Mon)

Seoul / Nami Island / Samcheok

We quickly had our breakfast at the hotel as usual. Then we walked to the Tapgol Park (탑골 공원) or Pagoda Park, whatever you called it, at Insadong. We had bought our bus tickets on the very first day we arrived at Insadong on Day 3. We noticed that some passengers that did not booked in advanced were turned away as the bus was fully booked.

As we had 'rehearsed' our route to here beforehand, so it was quite easy for us to locate the Tapgol Park and you may check out the map here

Frankly the Tapgol Park looked more like an temple from the outside and if not careful, you may miss it;
This is a very good landmark (Pagoda Hotel building) opposite the Tapgol Park;
You can see the miniature Pagoda in the park here;
It was easy to spot the Nami Island bus;
As we were early, we took a walk around the park;
We had to show our tickets before boarding the bus;
It was a long journey to the Gapyeong Wharf (가평관광), about 1hr 45mins, as we were travelling out of Seoul. We had to take a ferry from the Gapyeong Wharf to Nami Island. For those that do not know where is the Nami Island, read on. The Bukhan River (North Han River) is a tributary of the Han River that flows through both North and South Korea. How the Nami Island was formed on the Bukhan River, read this.

The shape of the Nami Island is like a semi-circle or half moon shape;
Does it look like a ferry;
The lower deck;
We still preferred the upper deck;
The Zipline Tower in the background. Taking the Zipline is another way to the Nami Island.
Almost there;

Nami Island;

Only 15 to 20 minutes journey, and we had reached Nami Island;
The entrance gate;
Dawn Redwood Trees (can grow up to 20 -25 meters high, with thick leaves, and has very straight single trunks. It is often used to line streets.). It is also known as a fast-growing tree that sheds all of its leaves seasonally each year.
No we were not taking this vehicle;
The first squirrel we spotted;
Directional signs;
Toilet in the background;
White lotus flower in a semi-frozen pond;
Another squirrel on the tree;
Posing with the squirrel in the background;
And now it's rabbit;
An interesting bridge with green bottles at the side;
Side view of the bottles;
Bird nest and the bird;
And now the Ostrich backside!
More on squirrels;
Frozen pieces of ice;
Walking around the island;
Of course it's another scene from the Korean drama Winter Sonata;
Tired, take this round the island;
Bird house?
You know why was she laughing? She was borned in the year of Rabbit;
Nice scenery;
My daughter loved the sausages here;
We had our lunch here, not so fantastic yet expensive;
This cost 17,000 won;
More of these "Winter Sonata" trees;
A duck?
As usual, stamp "passport"...
If you are tired, you can rent these;

Squirrel in a dustbin feeding on thrown away food;
She like never get tired of squirrel (behind her on the tree);
This squirrel can even posed for us;

There is no subway or MRT in Nami, only this train;
Final pose with the ostrich before leaving;
I'm most fascinated by the toilet in Nami Island, they even have story books for the children in the toilet;
Boarding the ferry back to Seoul;
Finally leaving Nami, don't think will be back for a 2nd visit. I find it rather boring;
I just like this shot, very natural;
Making another Winter Sonata figuring;
We thought the corn looked nice, but...;
If you are adventurous enough, you can take the Zip Wire to Nami instead of ferry;
No I didn't;
It took us quite some time to get a taxi from here at Gapyeong Wharf as we didn't book the return bus;
It costs only 3,500 won from the Gapyeong Wharf to the Gapyeong Station;
She is now a professional subway line reader;
The train finally arrived after 15 to 20 minutes wait;
Ok, this was what we did : Take the Gyeongchun line to Sangbong Station. Transfer to the Jungang Line and take the train to Cheongnyangni Station. Once at Cheongnyangni Station, you'll need to exit the terminal, walk out the entrance (exit 1) and down the steps t the #4 entrance for subway #1 ine 1 (also located at Cheongnyangni Station). Transfer to line 1 and take the train to Jongno-3(sam)ga Station. Exit the train at Jongno-3(sam)ga Station (exit #1). So do I look like lost;
We had to rush to the Seoul Express Bus Terminal to take the express bus to Samcheok. And I would said it was more fun in Samcheok than Nami. Samcheok is at the South East of Gangwon and Gangwon is located on the East side of Seoul;
We depart from Jongno-3 (sam)ga Station and take Line 3 to Express Bus Terminal (고속터미역). Exit 1 to Express Bus Terminal. On the way, we shopped at this underground shopping mall;
At last, the Seoul Express Bus Terminal (삼척고속버스터미널);
After reaching the terminal, it is best to ask around where to book the tickets to Samcheok as it was rather confusing looking for the booking counter;
Here are the tickets, total 41,800 won. Adult is 16,700 won while my daughter (12yrs old considered children) 8,400 won. This price was for General grade bus which means 23 seater. For lesser seats which mean luxury will cost more. You can cheak the bus schedule to Samcheok or anywhere at this site.
We ate early dinner here as the journey would be long;
As usual too tire to eat, so 3 bowls of ramen;
Make sure you wait at the correct bus berth;
Not too bad afterall. We left Seoul Express Bus Terminal at 5pm and the sky was already dark;
About 1.5hrs, we reached a stop (for quick release at toilet and short break probably 10 mins). I'm not too sure where was this place (Donghae? I remembered the signboard put 2 places);


We reached Samcheok Express Bus Terminal at 8.30pm about 3.5 hrs journey from Seoul. It was a very small bus terminal;
There was a tourist promotion booth towards the end of the express bus terminal building but was closed for the day. We planned to stay at a Jimjulbang (찜질방) to at least experience it but couldn't find any nearby. Also couldn't find any hotel, so guess we had to stay at a motel. When we reached there, saw some with the motel sign lighted on, but as we went round choosing one, more and more had their lighted signs off ( probably fully booked already). So it's best to quickly settle down for one that was nearby.
Nothing much to see and do at the express bus terminal surrounding;
We had some quick bite at a nearby convenience store before continuing to look for a motel.
Finally got one and we really cannot be fussy anymore though the cigarette smoke smell very strong in this motel, even in the room. It costs us 30,000 won for one night (lucky only 1 night);
Room was small and nothing fancy to talk about as it was just a place to sleep for a few hours;


Weijiang said...

Hi! I really like your informative posts. I would just like to ask how did you get your tickets for the Namiseom shuttle bus? I called their office from here in Singapore to reserve a seat and I'm told that I'll get my tickets when I make payment to the bus driver on the spot. But I'm still a little worried without the tickets on hand. And do you know if the bus driver spoke english?

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