[Wanderlust Tips June 2019] The land of Kimchi possesses a captivating beauty that blends the unique traditional culture along with the modernity and prosperity of a developed asian country, promising to bring fun-filled and memorable experiences to visitors, especially with their family. The four provinces and major cities of Seoul, Jeju, Incheon and Gyeonggi are ideal destinations for the whole family to have a once in a lifetime journey of discovery in Korea.
UNWIND AT THE CHEONGNA SPAREX
Public saunas are a quintessential part of Korean culture that you should not ignore when coming to this beautiful country. The traditional saunas which often appear in popular Korean dramas are sure to awaken your curiosity. The Cheongna Sparex in Incheon is large, highly-regarded and perfect for the entire family to relax after a long day of fun-filled and exciting activities. This is also one of Top 25 Wellness Spots recommended by Korea Tourism Organization.
A standout attraction of the Cheongna Sparex is its indoor Camping Zone. Camping chairs, tents, and even television sets are provided for guests to relax. The playroom is creatively designed like a kids’ cafe and therefore safe and fun for the little ones. At Cheongna Sparex, guests can easily savour a wide range of exquisite Korean culinary traditions including boiled eggs, chilled noodle soup, seaweed soup as well as sweet rice drinks.
Address: 15 Cheongnacanal-ro 260 beon-gil, Seo-gu, Incheon
Time: Spa: open 24 hours / Swimming pool: 10am-7pm
Ticket prices: Day (5am-8pm) KRW8,000/adult, KRW6,000/child, Night (8pm-5am) KRW10,000/adult, KRW8,000/child
ENJOY THE FUN AT WOLMI AMUSEMENT PARK
The Wolmi Amusement Park is definitely a must-see destination for families when visiting Incheon. It provides a variety of attractive activities for visitors of all ages including water activities such as boats, a Ferris Wheel and a flume ride for young children as well as heart-pounding rides like the two-storey Viking Ship, Tagada Disco, and 70-metre-high Hyper Shoot Drop for the grown-ups.
Apart from its thrilling rides, another feature of the park is the glass observatory, a short walk away on a hilltop where guests can admire breathtaking panoramic views of Incheon. Spending the day at the Wolmi Amusement Park, the whole family can spend time experiencing an enticing range of rides and games, and then when evening draws its curtains, guests can take a stroll and soak up the vibrant nightlife of this buzzing city.
Address: 81 Wolmimunhwa-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon
Time: Weekdays: 10am-10pm, Weekends & National Holidays: 10am-12pm
Ticket prices: KRW6,000/adult, KRW16,000/child
MEET THE “MERMAIDS” CALLED HAENYO AND ENJOY SEAFOOD
Haenyo are female divers on Jeju Island. They are well known for their amazing ability to hold their breath for 10 minutes at a time and dive up to 20 metres below the waves to find seafood in coastal bays. These real-life mermaids do not use any oxygen tanks, and although they use to wear thin hemp clothes, they now use rubber wetsuits. In 2016, Haenyeo were recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage. When paying a visit to Jeju, your family will have the opportunity to meet the real-life Haenyo and learn more about their unique livelihood.
Visitors will have a true sense of appreciation and admiration for these women when sitting down to a dinner of fresh seafood dishes cooked by the sea divers. Experience unforgettable moments on Jeju Island spent sitting in the cooling breeze by the scenic seaside and chatting together while savouring amazing hearty fare.
Address: Seaside fishing villages
ENJOY A LUXURY STAY AT THE JUNGMUN COMPLEX
Situated in a prime location on the charming coast, the Jungmun Complex boasts an extravagant entertainment and resort complex. Guests can unwind at the luxury hotels, experience the game of kings at the world-class golf course on Jeju Island or enjoy sightseeing and indulge in shopping in ultra-modern shopping centres and boutiques.
Coming to the Jungmun Complex, a must for the whole family is a visit to its renowned tourist attractions including the Play K-pop Museum where all the family can learn about and experience the famous Hallyu culture of Korea, or visit the outstanding cultural destinations including the Ripley’s Believe or Not museum, art museum, and green town. After spending an energetic day discovering the Jungmun Complex, together you can take a rest and savour fresh drinks at the cute Yellow Café.
Address: Jungmungwangwang-ro 72beon-gil, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
CONQUER HALLASAN MOUNTAIN
Koreans show a particular interest in their health, and hiking is considered as their favourite pastime. Hallasan, South Korea’s highest mountain is renowned for its picturesque natural beauty and tranquil ambience, bringing a stark contrast to life in the buzzing cities.
Climbing Hallasan Mountain not only helps to keep you fit while admiring the spectacular views along the way but also to have a better understanding of Korean culture. For Koreans, hiking is a popular recreational activity at weekends where the entire family can meet and catch up with each other after a busy working week. And a trip to the summit wouldn’t be complete without trying a bowl of noodles at the mountain peak, which is definitely a memorable dining experience.
Address: Sanghyo-dong, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Time: Start in the early morning
PAY A VISIT TO MORNING SMILE FARM
Located in the southeastern part of Jeju Island, the Morning Smile Farm is a sanctuary of verdant undulating meadows, creating breath-taking panoramic views stretching to the picturesque horizon. Coming to Morning Smile Farm, the whole family can join in a wide array of fun experiences including feeding grass and milk to the calves, taking part in the process of milking as well as making ice cream or cheese and enjoying pure fresh dairy products. For children living in urban areas, the practical experience of spending a day on a working farm allows them to have a greater appreciation of the significance of nature, while the time spent at Morning Smile Farm is an excellent opportunity for parents to relax after a hard-working week.
Address: 160-20 Cheomdandong-gil, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Time: 10am-5pm, closed on Tuesdays
Ticket prices: KRW2,000-KRW15,000/activity
ADMIRE CHEONJIYEON WATERFALL, JEJU
Cheonjiyeon Waterfall is the end point of a stream, pouring into a small lagoon, creating a splendid natural scene. The waterfall has a height of 22m, a width of 12m and with a year-round flow of water the falls veil the area in a mist, shrouding them from clear view at a distance. At the foot of the waterfall is a 20-metre deep artificial lake, making the waterfall even more spectacular. Cheonjiyeon Waterfall is also well known for its biodiversity with a plethora of subtropical flora that grows wild or has been planted by people.
On the path to the waterfall, visitors cross a small bridge spanning a stream from which schools of koi fish can be seen below, a perfect opportunity to stop and watch the fish and take some photos to capture your holiday memories. Near the waterfall, there are three piles of rocks where visitors often come to pray for the health and prosperity of their family.
Address: Cheonji-dong, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Ticket prices: KRW2,000/adult, KRW1,000/child
IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH AT POCHEON HERB ISLAND
Herb Island – one of Top 25 Wellness Spots recommended by Korea Tourism Organization is located in Pocheon, an inland city of Gyeonggi Province. Coming to this captivating island, visitors can not only admire a paradise of herbs and flowers with thousands of varieties from temperate and tropical countries but also experience the health benefits of the herbs firsthand.
The whole family can participate in making fragrances, herbal candles, soap and purchase herbal health products like cosmetics, aromatic oil, or scented candles. As well as this, the Herb Healing Centre provides health treatments in four detox programs: air, wind, tree, and water, which include a range of colour-themed therapies to alleviate different symptoms. Herb Island is an ideal venue for the whole family to purify the body and soothe the soul.
Address: Cheongsin-ro 947 beon-gil, Sinbuk-myeon, Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi-do
Ticket prices: KWR6,000
HAVE FUN AT ONE MOUNT THEME PARK
Dubbed the leading amusement park in the world, One Mount Park integrates a wide array of impressive services including shopping, sports and entertainment areas. With a total area of over 160,000sq. m completely covered in ice and water, the park attracts both children and adults to enjoy the excitement of this winter wonderland.
With an area of 7,933sq. m and more than 100 winter-related themes, the Snow Park is a highlight of the theme park where visitors enter a winter-world of snow and ice full of fun activities like ice-skating, ice bowling and even watching snow fall in the middle of summer.
Address: 1050-64 Daehwa-dong, Ilsanseo-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do
Ticket prices: KRW30,000/person
VISIT TRADITIONAL KOREAN VILLAGES
In the heart of the thriving metropolis of Seoul, numerous traditional architectural works including Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, and Seongeup Village have survived and preserve ancient cultural traditions. One of the most popular attractions is Hanok Namsan Village. It was formerly a summer resort of the Joseon Dynasty called Jeonghakdong and boasts a charming landscape, likened to “a land of fairies” and is considered one of Seoul’s five most beautiful spots. The antique houses, traditional gardens, peaceful stream and lush green trees offer visitors a taste of traditional life and a look back in time to Korea’s Joseon period.
Namsangol Hanok Village also has many traditional experiences to join in such as wearing a Hanbok, traditional Korean clothes, or taking a leisurely stroll along the small streets to get a taste of the tranquil, charming ambience of Seoul.
Address: 28 Toegye-ro 34 gil, Pil-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul
Ticket prices: Free
TAKE IN THE SPECTACULAR VIEWS AT SEOUL SKY OBSERVATORY
Located at the top of the Lotte World Tower, the Seoul Sky Observatory is a great option where you can take in a gorgeous 360-degree view of Seoul from above. Seoul Sky takes visitors from one surprise to another, roaring with a depth of artistic creativity and unique architecture.
A special highlight of the observatory is the Sky Deck on the 118th floor with 2-storey high floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The Sky Deck was recognized by UNESCO as the World’s tallest Glass Observatory, and visitors can experience an unforgettable sense of excitement and fear by standing on its transparent glass floors.
Address: 300 Olympic-ro, Sincheon-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul
Ticket prices: KRW25,500/person
EXPLORE COEX AQUARIUM
Uniquely located in Gangnam, the most exclusive area in the Land of Kimchi, the Coex Aquarium is an ideal tourist destination for families. The Coex Aquarium is comprised of 130 tanks housing over 40,000 sea creatures, making it a massively large-scale aquarium, which set a Guinness record for the longest visitors’ queue stretching up to 850m.
The aquarium boasts Korea’s first acrylic underwater tunnel which is 72m in length. Going through this tunnel, visitors feel as if they are walking along the bottom of the ocean, watching sharks swimming right next to them and making everyone shiver. Also on offer are a vast array of other enticing entertainment attractions promising to bring the whole family unforgettably fun times.
Address: Coex Aquarium, 513 Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Ticket prices: KRW 25,000 per adult, KRW19,000 per child
ENJOY THE NANTA SHOW
The Nanta Show is the longest entertainment show in Korea (90 minutes).It is a kitchen-based awardwinning live show in which artists perform as chefs in a hilarious way. The show is a musical where the characters wear chef uniforms and use cooking utensils and ingredients in their performances of acrobatics, martial arts, music, circus skills and pantomime to entertain the audience.
The Nanta Show in Seoul is a combination of the rhythm of Korean folk songs and modern music, creating vibrant performances that attract local and even international attention. The audience has the opportunity to interact with the characters and be a part of the show as well as win fantastic lucky draw prizes.
Address: 26 Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
Time: Monday-Thurday: 5pm-8pm, Saturday: 2 options: 11am-2pm, 5pm-8pm, Friday and Sunday: 2pm, 5pm, 8pm
Ticket prices: KRW40,000-KRW70,000
EXPERIENCE A SHOPPING PARADISE
Seoul, the capital and largest city in South Korea, has been dubbed the shopping paradise of Asia with plenty of trendy and high-quality goods on offer. In the middle of this ultra-modern, buzzing city, the most famous shopping venues including the Myeongdong area, Dongdaemun area, and Namdaemun market are at the top of most tourists lists.
Nestled in the heart of the vibrant city, Myeongdong shopping area attracts shoppers with its beautiful clothing stores, unique shoes and glittering cosmetics shops. Dongdaemun houses multiple retailers with items for all age groups in the family at wallet-friendly prices. If you want to experience the dynamic ambience of a typical traditional market in Korea, it’s hard to ignore Namdaemun market, where visitors can find a wide selection of everyday household items, stationery, clothes, toys and popular foods at reasonable prices.
In particular, drool over the lines of food-stalls, offering an abundance of delicious delicacies including unique culinary traditions of Asia and Europe along with junk food offering energy for hunger shoppers and making your shopping journey more delightful.
Address: Myeongdong shopping area (Jung-gu, Seoul), Dongdaemun area (Jongno-gu, Seoul), Namdaemun market (21 Namdaemunsijang 4 gil, Hoehyeon-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul)
Thu Ha | Wanderlust Tips