AUTUMN is indeed the best time to visit Korea. At a comfortable temperature ranging from 10~20 degrees Celsius, it is very cooling and all you need is just a jacket or two~
The really best time to visit it would be when all the leaves will be in different shades of red and yellow but we were only semi lucky and only about 30% of the trees have turned red/yellow.
I found this website which has a summary of the predictions: http://www.pbase.com/dbh/autumn and according to the website, the peak of colours in Seoul would be on 26 October, which was the date I left Seoul.. Oh wells~ I’m still thankful to catch my 30% of red/yellow leaves!
What is Rail Biking?
The first patent for rail biking can be dated back to 1869 (http://www.railbike.com/history.htm) and in recent years, this activity has been brought back into a spotlight, becoming an increasingly popular tourist attraction! Instead of dismantling the old and un-used railway tracks, you can transform the tracks into a healthy recreational activity!
According to my research with whatever information I can find online, there are 5 rail biking attractions in Korea.
For this trip, we visited the one in Yangpyeong, which is also the nearest to Seoul (1 hour bus ride)
This is my first time cutting a video for my blog~~ Hope it is nice and not too dizzy.
I haven’t fond a way to make my hands less shaky.. I guess it was hard since I was paddling at the same time.
Directions from Seoul
(I couldn’t google any information about directions to this place at all!! But fret not, I dropped KTO an email and they replied promptly!)
Address: 경기 양평군 용문면 삼성리 126-5 ,126-5 Samsung-ri, Yongmun-myeon, Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi-do
1. By Bus (6,100W)
From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (Gangbyeon Station, Line 2) or Sangbong Intercity Bus Terminal (Sangbong Station, Line 7), take a bus going towards Yongmun Intercity Bus Terminal.
It will be a 7 minutes walk from Yongmun Terminal to Yangpyeong Rail Bike place.
2. By Train (1,850~1,950W)
From Yongsan Station (Line 1),Oksu Station (Line 3), Wangsimni (Line 2) , take the Jungang line to Yongmun Station (Last stop). From there, it will be a 10 minutes walk.
20,000W for 2 people, 29,000W for 4 people.
The distance of the railway tracks is 3.2km and it will be a round trip. There will be a rest stop at the end for about 10 to 15 minutes, and then you will cycle back the same path for another 3.2km back to the starting point.
This is definitely worth a try! The view is breathtaking and you get to cycle at your own pace (restricted to how fast/slow the person in front/behind you), enjoying the cool breeze blowing through your hair. You get the view of mountains, lake and the countryside! There’s also shelter on top so you wouldn’t get too wet if it rains. Let the pictures speak for itself =)
The colours of autumn.. Do I call it the golden autumn or sun-kissed autumn?
Farming at Greentopia
I’ve checked with KTO and this place does not really cater to individuals on free & easy trips =( Nevertheless, here is my experience!
We visited this farm on the afternoon after our rail bike adventure.
There were 4 activities planned for us that afternoon~
1. Sweet Potatoes Digging!!
This is a relatively easy activity. We had to use a spade-like equipment and dig the soil for the sweet potatoes. It is actually not that easy as we had to be really careful, otherwise the sweet potato would be damage. There’s a huge surprise element to it because while you’re digging, you can only see the tip of the sweet potato and you will never know how big it is until u finish digging!! We were comparing to see who dug out the biggest sweet potato~~ We spent about 15 to 20 mins on it before packing up and go.
Just when we were about to leave, I can’t remember who it was that discovered a snake by the tree and suddenly all of us were on our toes, becoming extremely cautious with our steps. Then, we realised that the snake was dead, probably due to the heavy rain the night before.
2. Pear Picking
We were given the chance of entering the pear orchard and pick 2 pears of our choice! The farm owner (I am really bad at remembering names) taught us how to pluck the pear. You don’t just hold the pear and pull. You will have to turn the pear upside down, then twist it off! Korean pears are the best pears!! It is sweet, juicy and delicious 😀 I brought the pears home~
3. Flower Pancake Making
I never knew the existence of flower pancakes before~But it’s kind of interesting to know that there are some flowers which can be eaten!! The ingredients were all prepared for us and all we had to do is to take a little of the dough, roll it and flatten it into the shape we wanted. Then, we decorate it with the flower petals. Guess what I did, the shape of my beloved rilakkuma which.. of course didn’t turn out to be how I wanted it to be =( Well, at the very least, it looked like a bear and people think that it is cute =p Our pancakes look so cute before we started frying it.. We did not listen to instructions and placed more than 6 pieces into the frying pan (trying to be efficient) and all of it end up sticking together and when we try to pull them apart, they got deformed and my poor bear was.. destroyed. HAHAHAHA.
They gave us jam to eat together with the pancake. The jam was so delicious that I can’t even remember the taste of the pancake. All I remembered was that it tasted a bit like nian-gao (Sticky cake), cripsy on the outside and sticky in the inside. I was feeling so sad when I had to bite off the bear’s ears, cheeks, eyes..
Suddenly I remember the times in US where I spent 20 mins to decorate the marshmallow men, only to be gobbled up by the small kids whom parents bought it at $3.50 USD each. When I see them bite off the head, or the hair of my marshmallow.. :'(
4. Pear Jam Making
I always love eating Jam but I never knew how to make it and today we had the chance of making our very own pear jam! The lady in charge gave us a introduction about the different type of jams and why strawberry is the most common and readily available jam. It is because they contain the most of something.. which is essential for jam. (Alright bad memory)
The steps are really easy, just that it is time consuming if you ask me to DIY at home myself.
Step 1: Grate the pear, pour it into the wok and turn on small fire and stir continuously.
Step 2: Add in (a lot of) sugar and keep stirring.
Step 3: Add in some lemonade (or something like that) and continue to stir
Step 4: Once you think that everything is evenly mixed, you can pack them into glass containers
I’ve been eating my pear jam quite often and I’m almost finishing it.. I kind of wished I bought some home that day.. Pear jam is like so rare. Never seen anywhere selling pear jams off the shelves before.
My review on Greentopia
It was really great to be in the countryside. I do have many memories of the countryside and nature and it is really relaxing and enjoyable to breathe in the freshness of the air (especially in the morning and after the rain). I would definitely recommend it to people, especially family with kids, as they can really learn a lot from the hands-on activities.
Han River Cruise
Do you like the music of this video? If you’re interested, there’s a lot of snippets of music from Kangta (former member of HOT, the voice korea judge, SM ent artiste and director).
The last time I visited Korea, I cycled along the Hangang which was really fantastic!! The landscape surround Hangang has been carefully planned and developed such that it has been voted as one of the most scenic places in Seoul. It is estimated to be 514km long, and there are parts (also in Seoul) where it is more than 1km wide. Today, there are 27 bridges built across the Hangang in Seoul!
Having visited this attraction in Autumn, it was really cold due to the strong wind!! However, the view was so pretty that the shivers and chattering were gone before we even realised it. Well, actually the cruise that we were taking was not the usual boat for public. It was actually used by the first lady of (some country) the day before!! I guess we were getting VIP treatment for this trip =p
The most iconic building that you will spot will be building 63 which is a very tall golden colour building! I came to know of this building because of WGM nichkhun~
I guess the scenery would be even prettier if you manage to catch the sunrise/set or (best) the fireworks festival which happens early October~~~ Maybe next time..
Directions: Refer to Visit Korea website
My review of Han River Cruise
If you have the time, it would definitely be great to go on board this cruise to view Seoul from the Hangang (which could be really memorable). The view is really fantastic and you will be able to see the skyline of Yeouido (Seoul’s Central Business District).
However, if there are time constraints, you can consider visiting Banpo bridge at night to catch the rainbow fountain show! It has a magnificent display of lights. It’s very interesting to see how they synchronize the music with the fountain display~ (When I was in Busan last year, there was a musical fountain show which was synchronized to Big Bang’s song and everyone was like really impressed with it!)
|April-October (Duration: 15min)
* Weekdays: 12:00, 20:00, 21:00
* Weekends: 12:00, 17:00, 19:30 (July & August only), 20:00, 20:30, 21:00, 21:30
** Actually, I haven’t got the chance to visit this place.. But I’ve heard a lot of positive reviews about this free attraction!! Please don’t miss it if you have the chance!
Heyri Art Village
This village is located at Paju, which is really near the De-militarized Zone (DMZ). On our way back from the village, we actually spotted quite a few soldiers being very busy along the borders~ There were some clashes going on between both parties while we were there.. Oh wells!
Heyri is a place constructed as a cultural town for writers, painter, artists, architects, etc. There are many art galleries, museums, workshops, art classes, themed restaurants/cafes (Yes! the BOF filming spot).
Directions from Seoul
From Hapjeong Station (Line 2) Exit 2, Take Bus #2200. Journey is about 50 minutes and you will alight at Heyri Art Valley.
Activity 1: Art & Crafts Lesson – Pendant painting
I can’t really recall what this was.. but it was something to do with glass? Like shattered glass or something like that.. Glass is made from sand..
This is my final product! The one at the left corner.. The tree that I painted with the remaining colours.. Is redundant =p
Anyway, after we were done, they baked the pendant for us and I kind of forgotten to take photo of the final product but it looks really pretty =)
Activity 2: Trick Art Museum
This is a museum where you can take photos such that you seem to be part of it! Due to the way they draw their 2D paintings, you can appear to be part of the painting in photographs~~
Haha, no photos of me because I’m shy =/
For Trick Museum like this.. it is actually very popular in Korea and there’s one in Hongdae as well~ I haven’t visited it before but I found some information from Visit Korea’s website here. (Yes their website is very useful!) This is the official website for the museum and there are a lot of photos!! Do take a look if you plan to make a visit. It can give you inspiration on your trip there. You’ll get a good laugh actually.. Some are simply amusing =p http://trickeye.com/gnuboard4/bbs/board.php?bo_table=te_bloger
Activity 3: Visit to Han Hyang Lim Onggi Museum
So.. what exactly is Onggi?
According to Wikepedia, it is an earthenware which is more commonly used to make storage containers. Do you remember those grey containers that da chang jin use to store the sauces? There was this episode on how she placed charcoal inside and achieve a miracle. Yes, Onggi refers to those storage containers!
I’m sure this would look familiar~~ The curator of this museum gave us a tour about how the different shapes and sizes of the onggis came about. Usually, the differences were due to the different locations as to where the onggis came from. For some onggis, there are chinese characters on them, and some have different patterns and she gave us a thorough explanation on everything~ Due to our multi-nationalities, our tour duration was multiplied by 3 because we had the explanation in Korean, English and Chinese!
The exterior of the museum was even more beautiful and we spent a lot of time taking photos~ With the sun setting right in front of us, the shadow shots were really perfect.
The sun is setting~~
This is my favourite sunset photo for this trip!!!
With my favourite photo~~ I’ve concluded Part 1 of my Asian on Air Experience in Korea~~
Please give me feedback/comments on my new blogging style if you have any.
I hope that my new way of blogging would be useful for people planning their trip to Korea.
Do come back to keep checking for updates while I start working on Part 2 – Eat like a Korean (Completed!)