Monday, April 24, 2017

4 places to see cherry blossoms in Seoul

March and April are the months where the social media account feed will be flooded with sakura photos posted by friends travelling in Japan or South Korea. I finally get to witness the beautiful cherry blossoms by myself in Seoul, South Korea. (((Hurray)))

The sakura in Seoul is not those pinkish romantic kind of colour but pale pink to almost white colour. It is equally beautiful regardless where it is. 

This post is to list out the places (for my future reference) to see the cherry blossoms in Seoul. Some places may have early blooming while some places are later but it doesn't matter. It is everywhere in Seoul starting from end of March to the full month of April. 

Seoul-forest 서울숲

We took the subway to this station called Seoul-forest. I really like this park as it is crowded and I get to enjoy the beautiful flowers in slow pace. They were in full bloom therefore people were picnicking under the trees or taking a nap. No doubt, people were also busy taking photos of or with the flowers. 

It is a shame that I did not bring my camera with me in this trip hence not able to post photos with a better quality. The weather was so good and I enjoyed strolling around the park to enjoy the comfortable sun shined on my face while the breeze came softly. Besides that, they do play background music for the visitors to enjoy while watching the flowers. So nice!!

There were a few pairs of couple taking their pre-wedding photos at the park on the day of my visit. It must be really beautiful and awesome to have it as the background.

Jamsil 잠실

This is the location of the Lotte World too. The exact place to see is Seokchon Lake 석촌호수 which is shown in the photos below. The crowd at the lake was horribly crazy. It's not easy to get a strategic corner to take a photo with the flowers as the background with less crowd. 

Even though it is so crowded but it was still fascinating to see the whole pathway surrounding the lake was all covered by the cherry blossoms as the roof. It was really beautiful when the wind blows and the petals fall. was like snowing petals. 

This photo was taken by my classmate. The building is the new Lotte Mall at Jamsil with transparent sight viewing deck at the highest floor (if not mistaken) and it has at least 100 floors. Refer to this link for other attractions at this place

Gyeongbokgung 경복궁
I took this opportunity to wear Hanbok (Korean traditional costume) and took photos in the palace when the cherry blossoms were everywhere. It was another kind of beautiful scenery with the traditional buildings. Many visitors were wearing Hanbok so at one point, it was like I got teleport back to Goryeo dynasty except that I can roam around freely in the palace without worries. haha

Free entrance for visitors who wear Hanbok. 

I wore the Hanbok twice on different day with different weather. Blue Hanbok was worn on a cold day and I caught a cold after that. Red Hanbok was worn on a sunny day. Coincidentally the colour represented the weather of the day. 

 Yeouido 여의도

Yeouido is one of the famous places to watch the cherry blossoms. It is beside the Hangang (Han river) therefore people were picnicking on the grass or cycling along the river. The rental of bike for an hour is 3,000KRW. I was enjoying myself therefore not many photos were taken at this place. You may search for it on Instagram for the photos.

Above are the 4 main attractions that I went to see the beautiful nature scenery. There are many other places beside them that I went to but I didn't really take photos. I was merely admiring the awesome scenery and so glad that I get to witness them with my bare eyes.

The flowers fell off as time goes by but some other flowers bloom instead. It is so colourful everywhere now compared to the greyish view that I saw when I first came to Seoul in the early March 2017. It is undeniable that beautiful flowers can make one happy which is why majority of the women love flowers.

Hopefully I get to go back to these places in the future to witness the beauty once again. If not South Korea then maybe Japan? I need advance planning in order to grab the cheaper air ticket during airline promotion. hehe One thing for sure in the next trip is I must bring a camera along and don't count on phone camera alone. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Take up Korean language course in Seoul

Annyeong! 여러분 안녕하세요!

I have decided to pen down my journey to the north, to a country where I have always wanted to go - South Korea. My first Korean drama was Autumn in my heart by Song Hye Kyo, Won Bin and Song Seung Hoon. The second K-drama that got me hooked on was Princess Hours ever since then I hold  onto a long term relationship with K-drama and their OST. haha 

Those dramas grow the interest in me to learn the Korean language more than just visiting the country as a mere tourist. I did not attend any formal course to learn the language but started everything by learning the hangeul online. To get myself familiarise with the pronunciation, I listen to the conversation in the dramas and eventually learn how to read some. 

A few years back in 2013 perhaps, I discovered that universities in Korea actually offer language course for international students. This discovery really excited me but I could not take any action till 4 years later which is now, the right timing. 

I have shared this dream with a few friends and family, am thankful that they give me their support in realising the dream. Not many would approve this as I am no longer 18 and it is absolutely possible to learn the language with a real Korean who resides here at my hometown. However, experience a different culture and step out of my comfort zone are what I really want. As I said, I am not that young anymore so it is either do it now or regret later! 

It shares the same philosophy with people who went for work and travel in other countries, not many understand them. Instead of working, I chose to go there as a foreign student to experience something which I never did. On and off there will be posts written by those who resigned and went for work and travel, share the stories and tell how glad that they went. I told myself to stop the envious and go for it but study and travel instead. 

*While typing this reminds me of my two months life in a PLKN camp. It was not an easy two months but reminiscing it years later and I am glad that I went.* 

I started planning everything exactly a year ago and everything falls into place just recently. Sending in application to the desired university and settling the accommodation in Seoul all by myself make me learned something new. I will share all these in separate posts later. 

Living in a country for few months when I barely understand their language can be challenging but I believe I could overcome it. I have no idea how to put my excitement and fear of this trip into words. I can't wait to explore the city bits by bits and of course, to experience life. This is a golden opportunity for me to weave my story for my future grandchildren. LOL 

Shall update more about my expedition in Seoul next time. Stay tuned! 

[This post is written on 9 Feb 2017 before I go to Seoul.]