Some people say traveling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer, and I wholeheartedly agree. If there's anything better than traveling itself, it'd be to collect these moments in your travel through photographs that speak a thousand words.
Courtesy of Korea Tourism Organization Singapore, I visited Korea early this October and went to a number of spots – all of which are both unique and pictureque – and I thought I would share them with you guys! Here are the top 10 places that I really loved and I hope you do too!
1. Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village
Address: 38, Donghwamaeul-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon
Located in Incheon, Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village is one of the more popular touristy spots that not only screams "kawaii" but has a very interesting history as well! Like many of you probably are at the moment, I wondered to myself "Why is this particular village so uniquely designed to be all princessy and cute?"
Well, you'd be surprised to know that this lovely village in fact, used to be a 'rich village' but grew to became stagnant as many of the young people gradually moved out. Hence, in an effort to improve the development of the village, renovations were done and this village is now flourished with paintings and decorations of classic fairy tales.
Couldn't help but to take a photo with the frog princ...ess! Didn't realise I got the wrong frog until the rest of them pointed out that the frog prince was in fact on my right.
My favourite installation in the Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village has got to be this umbrella roof! It was a pretty cold and cloudy day, else the photos would've been a lot brighter! I think this might be the perfect village to visit during winter for photos that'd look like it came straight out of a fairy tale storybook.
2. Pocheon Herb Island
Address: 35, Cheongsin-ro 947beon-gil, Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi-do
One of the places situated at the outskirts of Seoul is Pocheon Herb Island, which is in my opinion one of the more interesting places to go to especially if you're looking to indulge yourself in spas and beauty services in Korea – as featured in my previous blog entry. Pocheon Herb Island is not only a place to rejuvenate your mind and body, but a picturesque spot perfect for your OOTDs as well!
The entire island is pretty much filled with flowers, fairy lights and closely resembles a dreamy wonderland.
Extra brownie points for the gorgeous maple leaves I found at Pocheon Herb Island! It's still somewhere in between the pages of my book I reckon.
3. Black Pig Korea
Address: 44-3 Yeoeuido-dong, Seoul
Well, this isn't exactly a unique nor picturesque place (unless you consider the oh-so-glorious food to be) but this is one of Seoul's most renowned samgyupsal (grilled pork) barbecue places and I totally would understand why it ranks high above the others! Love me a slice of succulent pork belly wrapped in fresh lettuce alongside an array of side dishes – true blue Korean style! If you're looking to visit a quality K-BBQ restaurant, Black Pig Korea is definitely recommended by both locals and tourists alike!
4. Cafe The Bean
Located in a quaint corner of the busy Hongdae is a coffee shop and roaster called Cafe The Bean, and yes I tried my hands on being a barista for the first time! The language barrier definitely did not stop the cafe owner from guiding us on how to create our own cup of latte from scratch. From compacting our coffee powder, to sifting it, foaming milk and even latte art – I'm proud to say I've at least tried (albeit not too successful) them for myself!
My favorite part of the barista class has got to be latte art! Tried to draw some twirly petals after failing to create that classic latte leaf, and I have to say it's really not easy! I have new found respect for baristas who serve not only good coffee but are experts in latte art as well. Have you ever tried being a barista? If not, the next time you're in Seoul, pop by Cafe The Bean for an afternoon of fun with coffee.
5. K-Style Hub
Address: 40, Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
I've actually been recommending this place whenever people ask me about Korea! One of the more interesting places to really immerse yourself in the culture of Korea, K-style Hub has all the information you will want to know as a tourist! From virtual photo-taking with your favorite K-pop idols (think G Dragon, PSY etc) to experiencing virtual reality in the renown tourist spots and even trying out traditional Korean outfits (yes, I tried a hanbok!) – you'd find yourself in for an unexpected treat!
The 5-storey building is divided into different sectors for different purposes!
Second floor: Medical tourism marketing zone, Virtual Reality experience zone, K-Star Zone
Third floor: Science of Food Exhibition Hall
Fourth floor: Festive corner, learning space (for cooking or food DIY classes)
Fith floor: Exhibitin and sale of artwork and products from artists, Hanbok experience
Missed out on trying a hanbok the last time I was in Korea, and I was absolutely thrilled to be able to try it this time round FOR FREE! If you're in Korea and chance upon a group of girls (sometimes boys as well) in their hanboks, chances are there's a hanbok rental store nearby. If I'm not wrong, it costs around $15-$20 per four-hour rental, but prices may vary if you'd like to opt for a hairdo and rental of accessories.
Great news is, you get to try out a hanbok for free within K-style Hub if you're just looking to take pictures of yourself in them and not walk around the busy streets of Seoul in a hanbok. Of course, I went for a blue and gold hanbok and found myself closely resembling an asian Elsa.
6. Grevin Museum
Address: 23, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
Hailing from France, the Grevin Museum in Seoul is the fourth subsidiary in the world and also Asia's first Grevin Museum! Pop by and lookout for both hallyu celebrities as well as international celebrities and public figures including Nelson Mandela, Tom Cruise, Barrack Obama.
Apparently I'm the newly elected president (hahhaha I'm kidding!)
Tom Cruise aka my bae <3
If you're a fan of Descendants of the Sun, you'd be happy to hear that they're in the midst of sculpting your favourite boys from the special forces! Not a huge fan (but I am a fan) of the show but I definitely would go back to Grevin Museum just to take photos with Big Boss!
7. O'sulloc Tea House
Address: Seoul-si Jung-gu Myeongdong-gil 48
Specialising in their ever-so-popular matcha green tea, O'sulloc Tea House aims not only to present the taste of Korean traditional tea, but also guide its patrons into the world of tea drinking.
Stepping into the 3-storey cafe, I found myself amongst a crowd of green tea fans all seated and enjoying their warm cuppa with some sweet treats. Clueless as to how popular the green tea were, I realised when we had difficulty securing seats for 6 of us! We resorted to splitting up because yes, the cafe was THAT popular!
Aside from the cafe interiors being all picturesque with every spot perfect for your OOTD shots, another thing I loved about the O'sulloc Tea House was the little shopping where customers could bag home their favorite tea products. Had to get a jar of the highly coveted green tea milk spread since it was apparently very popular amongst Singaporeans and priced much higher in Singapore! Got mine in-store for only around 8 SGD!
And let's just say I totally understand why O'sulloc Tea House serves one of the best green tea in Korea. As someone who's not into matcha, I absolutely loved my cup of warm green tea latte and I might possibly be a matcha convert now! If you're a green tea lover and hasn't tried O'sulloc, you really have to give it a try!
8. Heyri Art Valley
Address: 82-105, Heyrimaeul-gil, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do
Situated at the outskirts of Seoul is a city called Paju, which is also the home to Heyri Art Valley. Constructed by a team of artists consisting of architects, painters and musicians, Heyri Art Valley is one of the popular tourist attractions in Paju with over 30 museums and galleries.
One of the museums that sparked my interest was definitely the Fairy Tale Museum that had us time-travelling back to our childhood! With many modern and classic fairy tales featured in the museum, I definitely enjoyed myself at the museum while reminiscing the story-telling sessions I had as a child. And yes, that's my weak attempt at punishing the big bad wolf – no prizes for guessing which fairy tale he is from!
We also dropped by the Trick Eye Museum and had so much fun posing with the displays and artwork. I wish we had more time to explore Heyri Art Valley as there were so much more galleries and exhibitions that we missed out! If you're looking to experience something different from the bustling city life, a trip down to this art valley would make for a good respite!
9. Han River
Nearest Subway: Yeouinaru Station (Seoul)
When urban meets nature. Ahh, there's something about this scene that's just so lovely. Visited Han River twice during the second half of my trip in hopes of being able to experience cycling by the river, but sadly the bicycle shop was closed on both days we visited. Nonetheless, my friends and I had so much fun just strolling by the river and enjoying the breeze.
Of course, the picturesque blue skies and water made this location ideal for OOTDs! Extra points for the faux cherry blossoms in the background that made my photo extra fancy.
We also chanced upon a swan boat rental shop by the river and spent a good 40 minutes just pedalling around Han River! Each swan boat is about 20SGD for a 40 minutes ride, and our money was definitely worth it as we got the best view of the sunset that lovely evening.
10. Namiseom Island
Admittedly, it was pretty cumbersome getting to Namiseom Island as we literally had to take different modes of transport – two types of trains, a cab and a ferry – to get to this popular island. No regrets though, as it was one of the most rewarding afternoons spent in Korea for me!
Would've taken a photo with these tall beautiful trees if not for the massive crowd on a weekend.. Pictures really do not do this scene justice at all!
My friends and I rented bicycles and cycled around the island for the afternoon – of course, not forgetting to stop by the picturesque lake for some outfit photos.
Thank you Korea Tourism Organization Singapore once again for this rewarding trip! It was definitely an eye-opener visiting some of these places in Korea that I otherwise wouldn't have known about.
It was a tough decision as I truly enjoyed each of 10 spots I recommended, but my favourites have got to be the Grevin Museum as well as Namiseom Island! I would also recommend Heyri Art Valley and K-style Hub as two of the must-go places if you're planning to visit Korea!
With these 10 unique places and picturesque spots listed, which one is your favourite?