A Travellerspoint blog

The start of my week in Seoul!

Good evening everyone,

Let me begin by telling you how my morning went. We began the day by heading to the famous Namdaemun Gate (Great South Gate). It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Korea(1) and it is located near downtown Seoul amidst the traffic. The Namdaemun Gate is one of the four main gates of the old city wall.(2) It was completed in 1398, and then it went under a major restoration in 1447 and again in 1997.

  • PICTURE of Namdaemun Gate

namdaemun_gate.jpg
Picture taken from flickr.com by: SuzÿQuzÿ

Nearby you can find the Namdaemun Market, which is one of the largest and the most popular market in Korea.(1) Their was so much people all gathered in one spot that I was very overwhelmed with the amount of goods being sold at such a reasonable price. I bought a few
[*]cute shirts, some pottery with great art, sunglasses and a few art supplies.[*]
There were so many items to see and buy that we spent half the day just looking through them.

namdaemun_market.jpg
Picture taken from http://english.tour2korea.com

For your information: $1.00=is about 743 Korean Won

As for souvenirs, I found a cute bag with the traditional embroidery work and jewelry. They were SUPER cute and I just had to have them. Check them out:

souveniers2.gifsouvenirs.gif
Picture taken from http://english.tour2korea.com

Later on the evening, we headed over to the traditional Lotus Lantern Festival. It is celebrating the birth of Buddha which began back to the Three Kingdoms Period (57BC – AD676). The festival first started when Buddhism was the state religion during the Goryeo Dynasty (918 -1392) and to celebrate, colorful lanterns were strung and festivities were held across the country from palaces to small villages.

We visited the Exhibiton of Traditional Lanterns and this is where all religions around the world will enjoy seeing the display of lanterns made with hannji. It is free of charge and is open from April 29 to May 5 for two hours. It is held at Bongeunsa Temple.

lantern.jpg
Picture taken from http://english.tour2korea.com

At night, Seoul City Hall Plaza will be decorated with a large light symbolizing the birth of Buddha on April 18 before the official lotus lamp lighting ceremony. Here we saw the beautiful lotus lights and luckily, we were at Seoul during this time.

lotus.jpg
Picture taken from http://english.tour2korea.com

That's all for today goodnight!

Posted by korea1 16:50 Comments (0)

We're here. . .

STUDENT PROJECT!

-17 °C

The start of my week in Seoul!

We finally arrived! I really hate flying on airplanes and it literally felt like it took forever to get here. We flew out of Calgary to Vancouver with West Jet and then headed to Seoul, Korea flying with Korean Air. Boy, were we ever exhausted, but were here and that’s all I was really looking forward too.

So as soon as we landed, our friend from high school had met up with us and had agreed to take us into his home while we were in Seoul. We had considered looking into accommodations and decided it was best for us to just stay with Jon and plus it would be saving us money! However there were two unique types of accommodation that we found quite interesting.
First was a Temple Stay were it offers tourists, like ourselves a chance to live in a Buddhist temple and learn and experience firsthand about Korean culture and the lifestyle of Buddhist monks.
Another type we found was called a Hanok (traditional home) stay. This is where oversea visitors can get the opportunity to experience the old Korean life style. All furniture, windows and other items are reproductions of a traditional Korean house.

Both sounded like it would be such a great experience, but John was kind enough to take us into his home.

However to those considering travelling abroad some documentation required includes a valid passport and you must obtain a Korean VISA before entering.

Upon arrival to Korean, while on the plane you will be given an Arrival Card for passport control while your in Korea as well as each passenger and crew must also fill out a Quarantine Questionnaire just so they are aware of which countries you have been too.

As for customs, a written baggage declaration must be submitted to a customs officer upon entry. Passengers must clear customs through either a green, white, or red channel. Once you have been declared remember that certain items have limitations such as:

    1 bottle (not over 1 litre) of alcoholic beverages
    200 cigarettes (50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco)
    2 ounces of perfumes

To all passengers entering Korea who are carrying foreign or Korean currency valuing over USD 10,000 must declare it to a Customs official.

The first thing we bought at Seoul was the Seoul City Pass. We knew we would need it for all the travelling we would do at this city and for a 3 day pass it costs us 35,000 won which we can use in total 60 times for the next couple of days. Yay!

souelcitybus.jpg
Picture taken from: http://english.tour2korea.com/

However other modes of transportation within this city include:

[*]Rail
Subway
Bus
Taxi
Car Rental
Ferry (to get to islands)
[*]

Well that’s all for now. I know all the information above may seem a bit overwhelming, but you must follow these rules when you’re travelling abroad.

It’s our first official tour day tomorrow and I am very excited! Here's a map to show you how our 4 week trip will look like.

korea_map.jpg

I will keep you all updated, don’t you worry. Goodnight.

Posted by korea1 07:34 Comments (0)

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