De Delftse Pauw

There were many factories in the 17th century that produces Delftware. Nowadays, there are very few companies that still produces them entirely hand painted, and Delft Pottery De Delftse Pauw is one of them.

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We initially wanted to go to Royal Delft which I had been to before. My mother loves potteries and I wanted to bring her there but we keyed in the wrong address in the GPS and ended up here. Somehow we always end up accidentally finding Delft pottery places. Same thing happened before when I went to Royal Delft. We got lost and found it. That’s another story for another day. Now, this place is also a Delft Pottery factory but smaller and more charming. The special here is the peacock design. The building faces this canal here. 

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Established in 1650, this place is located along the”De Vliet”canal in a traditional Dutch building. We saw some people practicing canoeing and some pretty ducks. The people practicing canoeing were really friendly. They waved at us when they saw us taking photos.

The blue and white building is just so pretty! Here, there is a free guided tour every 10 minutes. The staff at the reception were all very helpful and friendly. We waited for awhile and a group of students came for a tour and joined us. We went up the narrow steps and were shown around the factory and the tour guide explained about how Delftware is made.

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It takes a high degree of skill to paint Delftware where the designs are really intricate. We were shown samples of the work in different stages. At the top of the building lies the show room and gift shop. There were so many beautiful Delftware. You can buy some at factory prices.

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Unlike Royal Delft, admission to this Delftware factory is free. If you want to learn or know more about Delftware and are on a budget and want to do it for free, this is the place to go. It is smaller though and its not so crowded as Royal Delft.

Details:

Delft Pottery De Delftse Pauw

Address: Delftweg 133, 2289 BD Rijswijk (Delft Noord)

Website: http://www.delftsepauw.com/

How to get there:

By car:

  • HIghway A13 – Den Haag – Rotterdam.
  • Exit Delft Noord in the direction to Delft, follow signs “Delfts Pottery de Delfse Pauw.
  • GPS navigation code (zipcode/postal code) : 2289 BD – Delftweg 133, Rijswijk (ZH) – Delftweg 133

By tram:

  • Tram No. 1 or No. 19 – stop at “Brasserskade”

Operating Hours:

Low season: 1st November to 22nd March

  • 9.00am to 4.30pm – Monday to Friday
  • 11.00am to 1.00pm – Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays

High season: 23rd March to 31st October

  • 9.00am to 4.30pm – Monday to Friday
  • 9.00am to 4.30pm – Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays

 

Admission Fees:

  • Free

Parking Fees:

  • Free parking

Spectacular Keukenhof

This has got to be the most beautiful garden in the world! I think everyone should at least visit once. It only opens its doors in spring in mid-March to mid-May each year. So, you’ll have to be here on those days to be able to see this spectacular garden. It is absolutely beautiful! There are going to be a lot of people but it doesn’t diminish the beauty of the place.

We got here early and spent the whole day here. I took so many photos. Everywhere is just photo worthy. I told my best friend that I wanted to come here with my mother and she told me to come at the end of April since that will be the time when most of the flowers will be in bloom.

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Keukenhof is also known as the Garden of Europe. It is one of the largest flower gardens in the world. It is located in Lisse, the Netherlands. There are so many flowers planted here, not only tulips. According to the website, there are approximately 7 million flower bulbs planted annually with a total of 800 varieties of tulips!

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There were so many cars and buses already parked when we got here. It was super cold and once I stepped in, the beauty of the place makes me forget about it. The atmosphere, the flowers, the colours and the smell is just amazing.

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There are so many things you can find here while you get lost in the beauty of the surroundings. There are flower shows, inspirational gardens, unique artwork and exhibitions. You can learn more about the origin of tulips and the tulips itself.

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We got ourselves these small bunch of flowers the staff made for us. The money we paid for it goes to charity. There is a play area for kids too.

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You can find a Miffy shop here! There are cute miffy souvenirs. And by coincidence , I actually brought my own Miffy along with me to take some photos here. Miffy is a character from a Dutch children’s book. I read them as a kid and am a huge fan.

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Every year, there are different themes. They will plant and arrange the flowers inspired by the theme. So, you can expect it to be different every year. Those who live nearby are so lucky. If I were to live near here, I would visit every year!

Check out the website here for the opening dates if you are planning to go. If you love flowers and gardens, I greatly recommend you to do so!

 

 

 

Getting lost in Den Bommel

Spring is the Netherlands is BEAUTIFUL! This is when you can see the beautiful tulips and other flowers in bloom. Since its The Netherlands, tulips is what you need to see here. There are so many types and colours. Its absolutely breathtaking to see the colourful fields.

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My best friend lives in Rotterdam and sometimes I fly over to spend time with her. This time, I brought my mother here to see the tulips at Keukenhof, which is one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. My mother loves tulips and had always wanted to see them in a natural setting. So, I brought her here to make one of her dreams come true. Now, my best friend went a step further and drove us to Den Bommel to see more tulip fields. This is just a taste and to get mom excited to see the tulips in the fields first before we bring her to Keukenhof the next day to see them beautifully arranged.

Tulips were first cultivated by the Turks and were originally a wild flower growing in Central Asia. It was introduced to the Netherlands in the 17th century. It became a booming industry and as they say, the rest is history.

We left early and drove to Den Bommel. Our goal was to see the tulip fields but we got more than we bargained for. Sometimes when you get lost, you just might make some great discoveries. We set the GPS for Den Bommel and drove there. The sight of the tulip fields just takes my breath away as soon as I saw them. There are no words to describe the view. I just couldn’t wait for my friend to park the car and go over to see them in front of me.

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There were tulips as far as the eye can see. I can only imagine how hard the farmers work to plant so many of them this way. So please be careful with them and just take a look and try not to destroy them and the hard work the farmers did. 

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There are a lot of tulip fields here. We tried to drop by to get a photo of every tulip colour we could find. As we drive, when we see a field of tulips in a colour we haven’t seen up close, we’ll follow any road towards that direction hoping to get there. Sometimes we got lost and find other things along the way.

We found a lot of things we didn’t expect. We found a windmill! Its another icon of the Netherlands. There is a signboard with the description of the windmill and there is a small map below the description that states other windmills in the area. 

We found an apple and pear farm too. There wasn’t any fruits since its not in season. We were driving along this beautiful road surrounded by trees and saw the sign to this place.

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We also discovered a small beach with a small field beside it that is full of dog poo. We had to watch our steps. I guess I don’t need to say what we had to do with our shoes before we got back in the car. 

There was another place we saw with some sheep gazing. We stopped to take a photo and they came over as soon as they saw us. They were really friendly and oh so cute.

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There was a lake full of swans and we stopped for awhile to take a look. I think the sound our shoes made stepping on the gravel scared them and they flew away. Sorry, swans.

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We also found an old airplane crash site. There were cows and their calves gazing on the field. The calves were so cute and energetic. They were running and jumping all over. One of them fell into a ditch. My friend and I quickly prepared ourselves to get dirty to help it out but it managed to climb back out by itself.

And of course we found more tulip fields! There were white ones, purple ones, pink ones and my favorite, the red one with a bit of yellow and white at the edges of the petals that made it look so vibrant.

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The last field we found was filled with red tulips in full bloom. The sweet smell of the flowers hits us just as we opened the car door. Tulip fields are muddy too. Even walking alongside it will leave your shoes in a mess and eventually your car too. So, be warned.

They are beautiful, aren’t they? Its amazing what you can find when you get lost. Den Bommel is a really nice area to get lost in. I think its best during tulip season since you can see the fields of colours. We drove around until its almost dark. Then, we set the GPS for our drive back. My mother loves this place and so do I!

Have you seen tulip fields or a field filled with flowers? Its just amazing, isn’t it?

Up next, yes, Keukenhof! The reason I came here in spring time. Come back to read about it.

 

What’s next?

I was thinking of which location I had visited that I would write about next. Korea was the most recent place I went to. So, I made it the first place I wrote about. As for the rest, they are places I went to before that I had wanted to write about but didn’t make time for. I’ll write about them while planning for my next trip.

I haven’t been to many places but I am still lucky to be able to go to those that I did.I’ve never really thought about travelling until a life changing thing occurred and I felt that I really needed to get away. Then, fear stopped me. Fear of going somewhere unknown. All the ‘buts’ and ‘ifs’ kept hindering me.

Fear is a terrible thing. It keeps us from moving forward. Only if you fight fear, you’ll find out more about yourself and realized that it wasn’t so bad or you fail and learn. Either way, you gain either a reward or a lesson. I managed to get that out of the way with encouragement from those around me. I decided to just do it and see what happens.

Then came the first trip and from there, I was hooked! Once the travel bug bites you, there is no cure. Even if there is, I don’t want it. Hahahaha…. I found out things about myself that I never knew.

Travelling really teaches you a lot. About the world, about life (yours and also others) and a whole lot more. I’ve never regretted it. It gave me the motivation to move forward.

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So, what’s next? I think I know which one now. A place that gave someone else close to me the motivation to live as it did for me.

Look out for it. It’s a beautiful place with one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Can you guess?

Have a great day and I hope you manage to fight your fears and live life to the fullest! As for me, I’ll do the same and I hope I can improve my writing and my photography as well. And for those who blogs about their travels or anything else that you are passionate about, keep writing, please. Your stories inspires me.

 

Pretty Paper Napkin Flower

Blue n white paper napkin flower

Now, we are celebrating Eid al-Fitr or called Hari Raya here. Eid al-Fitr is an important religious holiday for us Muslims that marks the end of our holy month of fasting which is also known as Ramadan. I’ve been busy the last month observing Ramadan and preparing for Hari Raya. There was spring cleaning and baking cookies and cakes for the guests that will come visit. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated for a month. Relatives near and far will visit our homes and we in turn visits them.

I had some time before some guests visits and I had some paper napkins for the guests to use. Sometimes, you need paper napkins to better dry the hands rather than the soft tissues since we Malays use our hands to eat. We use to put it in the paper napkin holders or just fold it into triangles and slot it into the vase and make it look like a coconut tree but this year, we ran out of vases since mom had filled all our vases with flowers. She had also forgotten where she kept the paper napkin holder. So, I had to come up with another way to arrange my paper napkins for the guests to use. I remembered seeing this done at my best friend’s house during her daughter’s birthday party, so I decided to use this method. The paper napkins are folded and arranged into a flower. Most people who came and saw them were impressed. Some even don’t want to use them as it was too pretty.

Here is how I made it.

 1. Start with a square paper napkin. I love IKEA ones since there are so many colours and patterns. Of course, feel free to use any paper napkins that you want. Position it as in the picture.

2. Fold it into half upwards to form a triangle.

3. Then fold it down and inwards as shown.

4. Do the same for the other side. 

 5. Turn it over.

6. Fold the two edges up.

7. Fold it into half again with the folded edges in the centre.

8. Flip it and puff up the pockets as shown.


9. Find a base to use. It can be a plate or basket. Arrange them in a circular manner. For the next row, slot the sharp edges into alternate pocket slots to keep it together. Do the same for the next row and so on. Do as many rows as you like. Play with different colours and napkin patterns.

10. And there you have it! A beautiful paper napkin flower to impress your guests!

This blue and white one is actually the second one I made. I did a purple and pink one as shown below. It’s used up now, by the way. For this one, after I arranged it, I folded a layer of the edges to give it a blooming flower kind of feel since the purple napkins were too plain to me.

Purple n pink paper napkin flower

Try it out the next time you are going to have guests coming over. I hope you have fun folding and making them. I’m sure it will be one of the talks of the party.

As a last note, for those celebrating Hari Raya, Selamat Hari Raya to you!

Crazy shopping at Dongdaemun

One place you should NEVER miss if you like shopping is Dongdaemun Market. This is a big area filled with shopping centers big and small. They sell anything and everything, for retail and wholesale. But the best part is, most of them opens at around 10.30am and closes around 4.30am or 5.00am the NEXT DAY! Yes, I didn’t type it wrongly. If you can’t sleep at night, you can always come here to shop. You can shop until you drop or your money runs out, whichever comes first. hahahahah…

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I admit I went crazy here. I purposely choose it as the last place to go so that I know how much money I had left and I can spend all my Korean currency left in my wallet.

Dongdaemun market had been designated as a ‘Special Tourism Zone’ and it is a popular shopping district. The market are divided into five shopping districts, A,B,C, D and a shopping town. There are more than 25 shopping malls over 10 blocks with more than 20,000 specialty shops and manufacturers.

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Go to the tourist centre first to get a map like I did. Then, you can plan your attack. I only had 3 hours here and I only managed to cover 3 malls. I didn’t take much photos since I was busy shopping. I bought sweaters, blouses, dresses and shoes here. The prices are reasonable and some shop owners  allows me to negotiate.

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I also took a break under a bridge at the Cheonggyecheon Stream before walking over to the toy street to get some toys for my nephews. Cheonggyecheon Stream is a long public recreation space in the downtown area of Seoul. It used to be a neglected waterway hidden by an overpass. After it was restored, it had become a small respite of natural beauty in the city. It passes by some places of interest like the Changdeogung Palace, Insadong Street and Seoul Plaza and you can take a long stroll to these places by the Cheonggyecheon Stream if you prefer walking rather than riding the subway.

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I would definitely come back here again for more shopping.

Details:

Dongdaemun Market (동대문시장 )

Nearest Subway Station: Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station or Dongdaemun Station

How to get there:

  • If you were to reach here by Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, take Exit 14. This station is served by Line 2, 4 & 5.
  • If you were to reach here by Dongdaemun Station, take Exit 8 or 9. This station is served by Line 1 & 4.

Operating Hours:

  • It depends on the different shopping centers.
  • Most opens around 10.30am or 11am and closes around 4.30am or 5am the next day.
  • Most are closed on Mondays and holidays.

 

It had been another great holiday and break. From beautiful landscapes to historical sites and palaces and the modern structures and shopping, I think there is something for everyone here in Korea.

Serene Changdeokgung Palace

Day 10:

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Changdeokgung Palace, the “Prospering Virtue Palace” or “East Palace” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located at the east of Geongbokgung Palace within a large park. There is the palace building area which is wide and wondrous and a secret garden at the back of the palace. To enter the secret garden, you will have to join a guided tour that is available at certain times and there is also additional charges. It is best to make a reservation online for the secret garden tour.

This palace is the second palace established after Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was built in 1405 by King Taejong, the third ruler of Joseon. The palace lies at the foot of a mountain. It was the most favored palace of many Joseon princes and being here, I can guess why. The palace grounds are not as big as Gyeongokgung but it is beautiful and somehow it seems more relaxing here. I guess it might be due to the beautiful garden and also the way the buildings blend with the beautiful surroundings.

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The palace also went through its ups and downs. It was burnt down during the Japanese invasion in 1592 and reconstructed in 1609. It was burnt down again in 1623 due to political reasons. It was also attacked by the Manchu Qing. It was rebuilt and repaired after every damage true to its original design which we fortunately get to see today.

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The buildings are beautiful, aren’t they? The palace buildings are strategically placed. At the front of the palace lies most of the main halls, offices and official buildings. At the center are where the royal private courts and houses are placed, surrounded by the other buildings and courts in case any outsider breakthrough.

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I was here in the morning and there weren’t many people here yet. It feels nice to walk and take photos without a crowd. Just stepping in, I can feel the grandeur of the place. I love the simplicity of the buildings and the flowers in bloom gives a romantic feel to the place.

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I didn’t visit the secret garden since I was pressed for time. I had to catch my flight in the evening and I had another place I wanted to drop by. But what I could see from beyond the walls gave me a hint of how beautiful it is. I wish I had more time to explore the secret garden too.

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There is also a moonlight tour on full moon days. That would have been an amazing experience. Hmm… I guess next time I come here, I’ll make sure it’ll fall on one of those days.

Details:

Changdeokgung Palace (창덕궁)

Address: 99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 종로구 율곡로 99 (와룡동)

Website: http://eng.cdg.go.kr/main/main.htm

Nearest Subway Station: Anguk Station

How to get there:

  • Anguk Station is serviced by Line 3, go out by Exit 3 to reach the palace.
  • Walk straight along the road and you’ll pass by Hyundai Building. The palace is just across the next lane.
  • For other modes of transportation, see here.

Operating Hours:

General Tour (Palace Building Area):

  • 9.00am to 6.00pm (February to May & September to October)
  • 9.00am to 6.30pm (June to August)
  • 9.00am to 5.30pm (November to January)
  • Tickets sales close 1 hour before closing time.
  • Closed on Mondays

Secret Garden:

  • 10.00am to 5.00pm (February)
  • 10.00am to 5.30pm (March to May & September to October)
  • 10.00am to 6.00pm (June to August)
  • 10.00am to 4.30pm (November to January)
  • Tickets sales opens at 9.00am close 1 hour 30minutes before closing time.
  • Closed on Mondays

Notes:

General Tour (Palace Building Area):

  • There are self-guided and guided tours available.
  • Each tour takes about 60 mins.
  • The English tours are at 10.30am and 2.30pm.

Secret Garden Tour:

  • For English tours:
  • Tour time and course are subjected to change due to weather conditions.
  • There are only 100 tickets available per tour. 50 tickets are sold at the ticket office and 50 online. To prevent any disappointments, it is recommended to book online.
  • To visit the Secret Garden, it is only through a guided tour.
  • For English tours: –
    • March to October – 11.30am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm & 3.30pm
    • November to February – 11.30am, 1.30pm & 2.30pm
  • The tour takes about 90 minutes.

There is a special moon light tour only during the full moon. Only 100 people are allowed to participate. Look out for the details in the website. It costs 30,000 Won and takes about 120 minutes. Tickets are only by reservation.

Admission Fees:

General Admission (Palace Building Area only):-

  • 3,000 Won for Adult (19 to 64 years old)
  • 1,500 Won for Youth (7 to 18 years old)
  • Free for children under 7 years old, seniors above 65 years old, those wearing a hanbok and on culture days (the last Wednesday of each month)

Secret Garden (Palace Building Area & Palace Garden):-

  • 8,000 Won for Adult (Over 19 years old)
  • 5,000 Won for Seniors (Over 65 years old)
  • 4,000 Won for Youth (7 to 18 years old)
  • This is inclusive of General Admission Fee

Up next, the last place I drop by to explore, Dongdaemun.

N Seoul Tower for a view from above & shopping in Myeongdong

N Seoul Tower is located in central Seoul on Namsan Mountain. It was opened to public on 15 October 1980. It is the highest point in Seoul at 236.7m. From the observatory, you can see the panoramic view of Seoul from above. This tower is a symbol of Seoul.

I took the subway to Myeongdong Station and saw this cute mascot as I got out the exit of the subway.

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Then its an uphill walk up until I saw the sign for the Namsan Cable Car station. But first, more stairs. Oh boy!

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We took the cable car up and while waiting, I went got a nice view of the surroundings.

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It was a short ride on the cable car to reach the tower plaza. The views here are really amazing. Once I stepped out from the cable car building exit, the view from the wooden stairs going up captivates me. We stopped for some photos before climbing up the stairs.

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The first place we reached as was climbed up to the plaza was the roof terrace where all the colourful love locks are.

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This is a popular place for most visitors. Couples buy locks and write their names on them and place the lock there to symbolize undying affection for each other. This place is also a filming location not only for local Korean dramas but some international dramas too. My travelling buddy was the most excited here because she saw this in her favorite drama and seeing it for real is something else. So I got myself a seat and let her take photos to her heart’s content before we continue up. It is quite crowded here.

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We got ourselves the nachos combo tickets. Its something to snack on while watching the view and chilling out. It feels like I was going to watch a movie with it though. The nachos, popcorn and drinks can be collected at the sweet bar at the basement before going up the lift to the observatory.

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There is a gift store at the observatory tower where I got some cool souvenirs and a candy shop! There is also a post box where you can post some postcards or send a letter and there will be a special stamp on it. You can buy the postcards, letters and stamps from the gift shop. I got these hanbok letters. My friend’s daughters loves them when she received it.

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We stayed a bit longer until the sun sets before we went down.

There is another Alive Museum here too. I had already went to the one in Jeju, so I gave this one here a miss.

If you want to see a panoramic view of the city from above, this is the place to go to.

From here, I took the cable car back down and walked back the same way to Myeongdong shopping street. It is just across the road from where I exited the subway to walk to the Namsan Cable Car station. If you want to just come here, use Exit 6 instead.

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Myeongdong is a famous shopping district here. It is bustling with people. There are many shops you can find here. This is also the place to go to get Korean cosmetics. There are many brands to choose from and many promotions. From Face Shop to Innisfree to Holika Holika and Aritaum and loads more, you can find it here. There are some brands that I can’t find back home. It is cheaper than back home in Singapore! I had fun stocking up though my wallet was complaining. When you buy from their shop, you get free samples along with your purchases. My shopping bags were full!

There are also other shop selling clothes, shoes and accessories too in case you are not into cosmetics. There are also snack carts along the streets that sells all  kinds of street food like kebabs, crepes, grilled corn and so much more.

Details:

N Seoul Tower (N 서울타워)

Address: 105, Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 용산구 남산공원길 105 (용산동2가)

Website: http://www.nseoultower.co.kr/eng/

Nearest Subway Station: Myeongdong Station

How to get there:

  • Myeongdong Station is serviced by Line 4, go out by Exit 3.
  • Walk all the way uphill from the lane on the right side of the Pacific Hotel.
  • You will eventually see the cable car sign on your right and go up those stairs.
  • Take the cable car up to N Seoul Tower.
  • For other modes of transportation, please refer here.

Cable Car Operating Hours:

  • 10.00am to 11.00pm

Cable Car Ticket Cost:

  • 8,500 Won for Adult return ticket
  • 6,000 Won for Adult one-way ticket
  • 5,500 Won for Children or Elderly (above 65 years old) return ticket
  • 3,500 Won for Children or Elderly (over 65 years old) one-way ticket

Operating Hours:

  • 10.00am to 11.00pm (Monday to Friday & Sunday)
  • 10.00am to 12.00am (Saturday)
  • Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.
  • Operating hours may change depending on weather or business schedules.

Admission Fees:

Observatory: –

  • 10,000 Won for Adults
  • 8,000 Won for Children or Seniors

N Sweet bar: –

  • Tower Combo: 2 Observatory tickets + 1 large Popcorn +1 large drink = 21,000 Won for Adults / 17,000 Won for Children/Seniors
  • Nacho Combo: 2 Observatory tickets + 1 Medium Popcorn + 2 Medium drinks + 1 Plate of nachos = 23,000 Won for Adults / 19,000 Won for Children/Seniors
  • Alive Museum Combo: 2 Observatory tickets + 2 Museum tickets + 1 Large popcorn + 1 Large drink = 33,000 Won for Adults / 26,000 Won for Children/Seniors

Alive Museum: –

  • 12,000 Won for Adults
  • 9,000 Won for Children / Seniors
  • Package with Observatory = 16,000 Won for Adults / 12,000 Won for Children/Seniors

Next up, Changdeokgung Palace. Its my last day in Seoul too.

Charming Namsangol Hanok Village

Day 9:

Another area where you can see traditional houses is at Namsangol Hanok Village. It is also known as “A Village of Traditional Houses in the Namsan Valley”. It is located at the northern foot of Namsan Mountain and near the office where I rented my hanbok. I had to return my hanbok today, so after I dropped by to return it , I walked over to visit this hanok village since it is nearby anyway.

You can walk over easily from Exit 3 or 4 of the subway of Chungmuro Station to get to this village. As for me, I just walked straight ahead from the KIA Motors building and cross the road towards Exit 3 and the gas station and walk ahead in between the skyscrapers. From the entrance of the lane, you can see the entrance of the village.

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Unlike Bukchon Hanok Village where there are still residents or where they use them as cafes or restaurants, this village is more like a open air museum kind of place. The traditional houses here have been restored to preserve the original atmosphere of the area and there are a wider range of houses from royalties to commoners.

There are five restored traditional Korean houses representing the different social classes were moved here. You can also find a pavilion, a pond, a garden and time capsule here. You can see various types of displays of furniture and household goods that can be found during the Joseon Dynasty. Entrance is free! The N Seoul Tower and the mountains can be seen from here.

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There is a amphitheater kind of seating area once you enter the village and I had a short rest to eat my lunch (a sandwich I had bought along the way) before I start exploring. I wasn’t the only one. There was a group of elementary school children having their packed lunch there too. They were soooo cute!

There were not many people during the time I visited. This village is beautiful. Once I climbed up and stepped into another gate, I reached an open area with a shop at one end. There are some activities that you can do here like trying out the hanbok or a tea ceremony. Just get the tickets from the shop.

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I love the houses here and the trees with the flowers in bloom makes it even more beautiful.

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This place also makes you go back in time but the new buildings and skyscrapers that you can see from here reminds you about the present. This village is right in the center of modernization. The contrast of old and new is very much astounding.

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I took my time walking around and I left the village. I walked outside and found a garden behind the village. There were more pretty flowers in bloom and a play area. There were traditional games scattered around this small area and some office workers playing with them and having fun. There were instructions written near each game but its in Korean though.

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I walked further up and came across this pathway with concrete walls leading down. Since I didn’t really read much about this place before I came here, I decided to just walk down and see for myself what I can find there.

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I was surprised to find a time capsule here. To me, this is so cool! Storing some things in a capsule only to be opened in the next 1000 years is amazing! 600 items were placed inside this time capsule before it was sealed tight and buried. It was sealed on 29th November 1994 and will be opened again in 24th November 2394. I can only imagine the reaction of the people of the future looking at the items left behind. The time capsule is made of stainless steel, fiberglass and silica gel among other things. There is an interactive machine there that provides more information about it.

If you really appreciate tradition and culture and like to see more traditional houses and see the contrasting classes, this is the place to visit. The houses are really beautiful and this is a nice place to walk around. It gave me a sense of calm just walking here. It is a contrast to the hectic lives just outside the gates. For a sense of tranquility from the hustle and bustle of city life, this is a place to go to and its in the middle of the city too. So, its not too far away.

What do you like to do when you travel? Do you prefer beautiful landscapes or see historical and traditional buildings? Or just like me? I like them both!

Details:

Namsangol Hanok Village (남산골한옥마을)

Address: 28, Toegye-ro 34-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 중구 퇴계로34길 28 (필동2가)

Nearest Subway Station: Chungmuro Station

How to get there:

  • Chungmuro Station is serviced by Line 3 or 4, go out by Exit 3 or 4 to reach the palace.
  • Walk along the road between oh!zemidong (Chungmuro Media Center) and Maeil Business Newspaper Building.

Operating Hours:

  • 9.00am to 9.00pm (April to October)
  • 9.00am to 8.00pm (November to March)
  • Closed on Tuesdays
  • In case a holiday falls on Tuesday, it will be closed the next day.

Admission Fees:

  • Free

Up next, N Seoul Tower & Myeongdong. Its just a stop away!

Bukchon Hanok Village

If you want to see traditional houses called the hanok that dates back to the Joseon Dynasty, this is the place to visit. Bukchon Hanok Village lies on a hill. Many of the hanoks operate as cultural centres, guesthouses, restaurants and tea houses and some still houses residents.

I walked over to the hanok village from Gyeongbokgung Palace. It takes maybe around 15 minutes. The lane towards the village is just beside this police station. I got help from the friendly guides in red at the entrance of the road towards the village. They gave me a map and the route to take to see the village. She told me there are two routes and I decided on the shorter route. From here, its all uphill.

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There are some shops along the uphill road towards the village. We followed the instructions and soon we lost ourselves in the beautiful lanes of the Bukchon Hanok Village. There are a lot of visitors here too. The roofs, walls and the doors of the houses makes me feel nostalgic. Its really beautiful. One of them is open for a visit with a fee.

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Details:

Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을)

Address: 37, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 종로구 계동길 37 (계동)

Website: http://bukchon.seoul.go.kr/eng/index.jsp

Nearest Subway Station: Anguk Station

How to get there:

  • Anguk Station is served by Line 3 of the subway.
  • Go out by Exit 2. Walk straight for about 300m to reach Bukchon Hanok Village.

I actually walked over from Gyeongbokgung Palace. To get there from the palace:-

  • turn right from the main entrance and walk all the way straight.
  • Once you reach the junction, cross the traffic light and make another right and walk all the way straight.
  • Follow the road until you reach the police station.
  • You will see some tour guides standing around near the junction after the police station. You can ask them for directions and a map.

Operating Hours:

  • It is an actual residential area, so its open daily.
  • Please be considerate and don’t make so much noise to disturb the residents living there.