Anya Hasse Yo (Namaste)
It will take about 2 days for your tour guide to openly talk about North korea.
You are looking for shopping and need to get better exchange rate for your $ currency then it is advisable to get the same exchanged at airport or inquire with your tour guide as who gives good deals in the downtown. You get your 1000 USD exchanged to Korean Won and suddenly become millionaire WOW….
The colourful lovely looking shorts on streets may attract you to purchase few for your 5 years old son which you explain with all the difficulty with your hand expressions to the attendant and the answer comes oh no these are for adults and so as the skirt size which generally Korean girls wear. Please do not get confused.
It is common site looking men running for public transport in proper suite unlike India as the suite bearer will only come out of his cars once the chauffer opens the doors.
The depression of the trip come when you hardly see anybody obese or with dancing belly. Every one is busy with himself/herself.
Faces are flat eyes are short and nose is carved deep inside the face itself. The most boring part is that you do not found the gossip groups on roads, in shops, or not even in the train or bus. Youngsters are busy with their palmtop/iphone and this tells us why these gadget companies need to develop so much of VAS applications.
I saw a lot of kids and all looks very very cute. I can call them CHINKI ANGREZ having glossy skin surface.
Downtown Seoul is divided in 2 parts as old and new Seoul. This very expensive real estate does not allow you to sight any short building; all are high rise including the residential complexes.
There are no dogs or cattle on street not even the birds. I could sight only 2 birds together inside the fort. How do one feel home hummn.. “How does the dust look like” can be a question from Koreans; the poor car cleaners and maids has not real migration opportunity there from our subcontinent or African countries. This reminds me that it is hard to see race having dark colour but Indians and Nepalese has entered via Korean’s belly by cooking so called Indian food. Having Indian Food outside India-please be thankful for whatever at least you are not eating Khimchi.
Korean food is totally different then Indian. Khimchi is of 100 kinds. Adjacent to the entrance doors of housed you will commonly see earthen pots covered with the lid. These contains fermented sauces stored for entire year long i.e. Red Chilly Paste, Soya Sauce, and other forms of vinegars etc. Any thing blanched, mixed, poached or served with these Sauces is Khimchi.
70% of the country is mountains and 30% is plane in patches. It is beautifully green at the country side and amazingly colorful in cities. The streets are full of flowering good quality planters and lot of trees. These humans looks manic when you see all the trees being given external support of very lovely looking logs to keep them straight. Invariably all trees have these kinds of support in entire Korea in cities so these trees do not bent. This support is so carefully placed that it has proper cushion not let the tree harmed. The loose soil around the tree is nice square shape having lovely laid pavements at ground level only. the loose soil is covered with rott iron/hard plastic perforated patterns tightly fitting in the square so the soil does not come out neither your feet get into the same. So manic so the large, old, withered tree stem was repaired with cement plaster and kept erect inside one buildings green lawn. If you get a chance to look at the terraces of low buildings from your hotels window, the same look very clean and painted with colourful epoxy.
95% Street vendors on myuongdong fashion street sell female stuff and one see an 80% women population buying/selling in stores and streets. Where have you guys gone !!!
I checked in 4 times at different airports in Korea and all 4 times I was frisked by a female of course with some baton kinds of equipments. Girls are seen laying barricades and porting equipments on trolleys at Yesou expo site. Yesou Expo center has recently been made for international trade fairs having an Indian and Pakistani Pavilions alongside. The main corridor is about 20 meter high and the ceiling and the ceiling and the ceiling and the ceiling and the ceiling … huh.. is an LCD penal with a span of 450 meter X 21 meters showcasing amazing quality visuals. The most interesting pavilion was marine life pavilions …..
Language is an issue hare and government is encouraging English language in schools, anyone interesting in the teaching job.. no… probably one have to work even in teaching job there.
I am yet to understand as what are main issues of enmity between both the Koreas apart from emotional issues and family’s aspiration to keep reign in their hand. North is a communist state while south is a democracy and president cannot be reelected more than one term of 5 years.
Mind you they are/were probably the most superstitious creature on earth. Most of the historical monuments were destroyed in Korean War which are reinstated and showcased beautifully.
I did not find a single Toyota and found only one Honda (owner was Indian) car during my trip. Most of the cars are Hundai and KIA.
The below is the itinerary for our trip and destination wise experience.
The Hangang River, which runs through the center of the city, is also a distinctive landscape of Seoul that offers a myriad of resting areas for citizens. This only divides the city to its north and south. The Seoul tower is a communication tower located at the top of a mountain and is third tallest tower of the world including the height of mountain .. Good Citation by Koreans ….
The city has 9 subway lines as main public transport option. Almost every street has 24 hours convenience store and the most prominent name is 7/11 stores. This city has a night market and it is having large malls selling all kinds of stuffs for shoppers. Insadong Street and Myeong-dong streets are shopper’s paradise. Lotte department store is the most famous one but expensive for my kind of travelers. This sells amazing quality materials and so very crowded always. This is an 11 story huge building. the basement has small shops but so huge so that one can easily lost inside this.
We went for watching the NANTA performance which is earning regular admiration from last few years and found the audi jam-packed. These young performers creates music by using kitchen utensils and perform good aerobic acts. The humor and comedy is at its best despite not understanding the language and most of the act does not really need/have dialogues. The Indian restaurants are easily available and have some of the staff from India too.
The next day’s trip started with long bus ride to Lotte Amusment park. I found soooo many kids there even on a working day and largely the kids were in the school uniform (probably schools were bringing them for excursion) it was heartening to see these lot of cute guys going inside the washrooms in 100s of numbers having 4 urinal pots only in the section. Koreans do everything in line and run in herd.
This amusement park is huge and need 1 full day to explore full. The monorail runs on hanging rails to experience the ride and taking people from one place to another. This park has 2 sections indoor and out door and connected with monorail. We could try only one ride and probably the most interesting one due to time constraint. This was a long tunnel and one need to ride on a boat which keep running on its own. Some kind belt under the water keep pushing the forward but not visible. This belt is only visible on steep slopes. The tunnel is zigzag and curve. Some pitch dark areas and boat falling down in the water. There are horrendous characters and some Aladdin kinds of horror story being displayed by moving real size animated figures. These figures are only illuminated and rests of the tunnel has no separate lights. If I were a kid I must have given a tough time to my parents while in boat and then ride into this again. What I enjoyed is that the things are created out of nothing with just sheer vision and commitment.
If I am not wrong this is the world’s largest indoor theme park which is open 365 days a year.
While approaching the Changde Okgung Palace it was an hour long visit to Samsung Dlite. This is a portion of their office showcasing the latest products. Some of their products are yet not in India and these are one of the finest quality. I tried shopping some products which are already here in Indian market but I found them more expensive then being sold in India (surprising). You keep walking on the floor and suddenly found some of the floor tiles gets glow up with twinkle twinkle little star feeling. Aisles has thread kind of lights and only glow when you pass by these. The colour of these lights has gradient effect as keep approaching farther with soothing music. Technology at its best.
Changde Okgung Palace ( the fort) impress the traveler who has some inclination towards history. Every thing constructed with wood and almost similar patterned layout which one found in Indian Palaces. The great difference is the colours being used. Green and red has its domination and all buildings are with slanting roof. The guide will keep telling you the difference between ladies building and king’s building by their roof pattern. All 4 corners of main buildings are projected long outside and have some animals + 1 monk’s portraits sitting on these projected portions. The larger nos of these portraits means the more important building. the superstitious Koreans relates these animals and Monk protects the buildings and its belongings from different different natural problems like fire protection, flood protection etc.
The palace also has a museum showcasing ancient Korean culture and life.
The guards in the Palace are dressed in traditional Korean Attire which are vibrant dark coloured gown like cloths. There is full dress guard changing ceremony every afternoon for close to 30 minutes with drums and bands along with old war gears.
All the main buildings has 3 doors to enter and the middle door is only for royal residents. So as to the walking ways.
Post this Palace visit we explored some markets and markets with no money in a developed country …. I reserve my comments and leave this to your imaginations. I did exercised my one of the hobby of face reading and people reading in the city of many people many cars …. the Great Seoul.
Morning started with the bus transfer to KTX (Korean Fast Train) this train reaches up the speed of 303 KMPH. Wow you still feel unshaken. This is the maximum speed this train reaches in patches but the average speed must be only 130-140 only. the screen fixed in the compartment keep showing you the speed only if reaches beyond 200.
We had our Indian Lunch (packed thalis) in the train which was arranged by Korean Tourism. Good bye Seoul. It was fantastic hospitality. Korean tourism and our guide rocks.
Korea has only 20% of its population as smoker. One need to find the designated place to smoke on the road where a trashcan is placed. There is a fine if found smoking elsewhere. The Korean –Air representative told me that there is no promotion in Samsung for the people who smoke J. All hotel rooms had no-smoking tags wherever I stayed.
Almost all the roads are without dividers and round-about, triangular shape islands etc. the reason can be there are no pigeons and one does not need to the place to feed these birds.
We boarded from Yongsan Stn. (Seoul) to Suncheon via KTX (the Korean High Speed Train) an almost 3 hour journey. We passed through a nos. of tunnels, farmland and small residential areas. I could see some of the colonies having TV antennas which are obsolete here. A curious one among us asked to our guide as how many tunnels are there in Korea and she replied THOUSANDS…. It is a hilly terrain and laying roads and tracks is tough.
From Suncheon to yeosu is a hour long drive by bus and we stopped to see a traditional Korean Village named Nagneupseong fortress. You will find this the only traditional village where people live. This seems to be quite popular sightseen as you will see quite a lot of locals visiting this place. This was a village surrounded by a wall to protect themselves from Japanese intruders. Colony is in its traditional best having the chief’s house in the foothills of highest peak surrounded by the houses of officers. The high ranked officer’s house roof is black colour and rests of the normal population will have roofs made up of hay and grass.
It was the pre opening full dress rehearsal at Yeosu Expo site and the expo organizing committee treated us special guests from India. Probably they are aware about our economy which is fourth largest basis Purchasing Power Parity (consider European Union as combined). A representative of organizing committee made our tour simple and this is amazing site to see. you can also see the largest aquarium of Korea in their marine life pavilion where you pass through transparent glass tunnels having fishes all around.
A giant wheel shape structure show its colors in the night which is used for laser show. You can witness one from your hotel’s window if lucky to get room accordingly. I was…
Below are some pics clicked…
This trip concluded with a tiring day and us being checked into the hotel. The dinner was organized by the expo organizing committee and host was no other then the Director General of Marketing division of Expo.
Invariably all dinners were offered to us between 7 PM and 7:30 PM. A long table with amazing colourful food was laid. I tried my first ever full Korean Food. I tried almost everything barring the tail and the head of the fish which is considered to be the most delicious portion by Koreans. There was 10s of verity of these foods on table followed by the main course. I was thinking that there main course will of what gravity when the starters are this elaborated. I trolley came with white ceramic bowls covered with beautiful lid having sticky rice and another trolley with soup bowls ….. that it. You are thinking right the main course is just limited to soup and rice.
Morning started with our visit to Odongdo Island which very close to expo site and this island does not have any inhabitants. People come here to walk …long walk…make the walk more longer by riding lighthouse stairs (though lift is available). Very green very scenic, walk ways are paved with all wooden planks
The small signage read the name of the tree as penis tree. You may relate it better, had the other of the photo was available.
One must visit the another interesting part of Yesou which can be explored walking through very narrow streets and stairs of this residential colony. this promenade near the Port of Yeosu, down the Namsan Park. Here, you have a nice 45 minutes walk in narrow streets with the walls covered by paintings.
These walls, streets and slopes are full with paintings which university students come and paint. Most of these paintings are made in such a way that you may try having yourself clicked in specific postures and become part of these 3 dimensional view.
Jeju Island is one of the New7Wonders of Nature.
Jeju is the land of 3 many: Women, Wind and Lava Stone.
Jeju is the land of 3 nothings: thieves, fence and third I forgot J
Jeju-Seoul sector has the highest nos. of flights in the world.
This tropical climatic island having is length of 70 Km x width of 30 Km is the popular honeymoon destination among Korean and Japanese. This is 130 Kms away from the southern cost of mainland and the largest island of Korea. This is an independently governed province of south Korea. The nationals of 180 countries are exempted from visa at this island including Indian nationals (though there is no direct flight available).
The story goes as the fishing population from mainland started populating this island where females were staying at home and men were out in the sea for fishing. The Storms kept washing the men population during its ire and female population kept increasing hence this island has largest female vs male ratio. You will not found any main doors in the traditional houses. The boundary wall is very small height arrangements of loosely kept black lava stones for the demarcation purposes. These loosely kept stones do not fall even in the strongest winds as they are porous and air can pass through these stones. The entrance is 2 pillar post, having loose bars placed in the count of 1, 2 , 3 and 4 between these pillars.
These bars are the indications for the visitors:
If you find 1 bar placed; means the kids are at home and parents are out for work at nearby locations like adjoining farms. Visitors should visit the elders in the field and if required kids can be visited right here.
If you find 2 bars placed; means no one is at house and the family is travelling for short duration. visitor should come in the evening only.
If the 3 bars are placed; means, you are not welcome at home weather we are inside OR out. Family is closed to have visitors OR travelling long distances.
If the 4 bars are placed (which is very very rare now days); means only male visitors are welcome and the house has a female inside. These were generally the houses of widows who lost their husband in sea. Hummn.. if the Punjab was state of India on eastern Ghats and this news was cracked earlier; I am sure the Punjabi was their second popular language at Jeju island.
The famous legend is one, stone’s Gandpa (will find his sculptures being sold in every shop), who is believed to bring good luck if you rub his nose. The main queen’s duty was to produce a strong son in ancient time and it is believed that rubbing the nose of Grandpa bless the couple with strong male child. A lot of honeymooners are seen doing this to the large statue here.
Jeju is an island with the biggest number of secondary craters - there are 368 such crators and all are different. All craters are inactive. Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (one of the most famous and beautiful) is not for the people who are weak to walk or too healthy to walk. We kept riding and incidentally I was first to reach and also first to be disappointed. The weather was too cloudy and hazy. Clouds were right in our hands at the height of 90 meters from ground (not the sea level). We could not see the crater but walk was a joy.
Korean Air has its pilot training center at Jeju, we visited this advanced training facility, had our hands on simulator, Virtual Cockpit and Air Traffic Controlling tower. Our Guide was busy screening the men as her old boyfriend who used to work Korean Navy, was lately planning to become a pilot. Hard Luck Choey…. Why don’t you just phone him…
This reminds me that all Korean males, who do not have any physical disability, are necessary to serve the defense services for a minimum period of 2 years. You will find a gap in the age of male and female students of university, who choose to go for higher studies of minimum 2 years because the male were busy serving the nation.
This training center is in little isolated area and one need to pass through this heaven of nature. Alongside the road; it a common sight to see tubular boundary which are animal farms i.e. stud farms, poultry farms and other of its kind. The farms are full of Rapeseed crop and Tangerine crop. The robust looking horse is a crossbreed of Jeju pony and Chinese horse. Tangerine is an orange family fruit and Jeju has 100s of its verity. This fruit is very sweet in comparison to Orange though there are lot more sweeter things in Jeju.
Jeju has few casinos and only foreigners are allowed to use. You need to carry your passport while dreaming to be rich at Jeju.
This island is full of the wonders created by nature and while visiting any such place you see a lot of young couples. You find them wearing same clothes, same shoes, same caps/hats and off course with deliberation to each other only; means they are on -----moon.
A lot of rapeseed farms at Seopj i Koji has heart shaped metal structures and it is a common sight to see honeymooners getting themselves clicked with these structure in the middle of yellow flowered crop specially in the month of April; when the crop is at its full bloom.
Jungmun Resort complex is the largest resort of Korea and we went to see the teddy bear museum here. It is amazing to see the teddy bears being portrayed as famous personalities of the world, most popular paintings of the world and depicting all walks of life. The lowest floor is the teddy bear shop. Believe you me a lot of these are made in China….. I am made in India and boarding to come back to my India.
There might be a lot of things which are not so good or bad about Korea but I was a tourist and only interested in making good memories. There is lot of sweet memories about Korea which I shall cherish and there are lot lot lot more sweet memories about India which I live.
Back home, sweet home, undoubtedly The incredible India and its warmth … I will not miss it more..
PS: We were not having this place in our itinerary but this may interest a lot of ppl hence mentioning about his museum i.e. Jeju Loveland. The park is focused on a theme of Love, running sex education films, and featuring 140 sculptures representing humans in various positions making love. Basically the existence of this is well defensible due to being Jeju as honeymooner’s paradise. This most sound technical reason for this island being honeymooners paradise is its weather. When you are frozen in the mainland this island which is not much far away from mainland has warm climate.
Gamsa Hamida,Thank you