Oh Seoul~ Oh, there you are! Thanks for coming back. For first time readers, 안녕하세요! Before I continue with day 2 of our 10-day Seoul itinerary, here’s something from BTS and the Seoul government to get you in the mood.
This song gives the exact same feeling of being in Seoul: the vibe, the groove, the sound, and of course, the lyrics. If you’re as excited as I am, no need to wait any longer for the next chapter of our Seoul trip. Here’s arrival and day 1 if you want to brush up on the first day of our journey. And now that you’re warmed up, let’s dive into the second day of our cold autumn itinerary.
DAY 2: ITINERARY: SEOUL FOREST, EWHA WOMEN’S UNIVERSITY, CHEONGGYECHEON STREAM
I came across Seoul Forest (서울숲) when I was searching for good places to go in Korea. We had to have more than the usual tourist destinations because we’re staying there a little longer than the usual vacations. And since my sister has agreed to meet her friend probably around Gangnam on this day, we decided start our day somewhere relatively nearby.
Seoul Forest is accessible through the Seoul Forest station of the Bundang Line (Yellow), Exit 3. Walk towards the corner of the street upon exiting the station, and you’ll be welcomed by this big signage in Korean.
Welcome to Seoul Forest!
If Yeouido Park was breathtaking, be prepared to have your breath taken away for the second time. The view from the sidewalk was already beautiful with fall foliage, even while we were walking beside the parking lot towards the entrance. For a nature lover like me, this was a very welcome break from all of the hustle and bustle of city life. There’s no opening or closing time for Seoul Forest (open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year), although the eco-forest and some of the parks inside have operating hours for the safety of the wild animals. Best thing of all? It’s free! No admission fees to get into the forest.
Travel tip: Make the most of free destinations! It may just become a highlight of your trip, at no extra cost. Some of the most memorable places and activities we did in Seoul did not have a price tag attached. Talk about memories and experiences being priceless.
Peace, yo! *click*
You can do a number of activities here. If you weren’t able to bike in Yeouido on the first day, you can rent a bike near the forest and go biking. For the more adventurous, you can bring your in-line skates and have a go at the Skate Park. More than a couple of gardens, including the eco-forest is also inside, where you can meet animals and insects, like deer, ducks, birds, and butterflies.
This bridge looks like it was taken out of a fairytale
With an area of about 500,000 square meters, you can never run out of good spots to have your picture taken. We walked around the entire place (and we covered only park 1 of their 5 parks!), but never got tired because there’s always something more to see around the next fork in the path. A beautiful lake rests in the middle of the forest, beside which you can take the perfect profile photo with the lake and fall foliage as your background. Nearby is Ginkgo Road, where we also took pretty shots between the perfectly lined trees. By the time we got there, the ground is full of leaves, creating a lovely carpet of yellow.
Taking a photo of my sister taking a photo of my other sister
My sister’s meet up was canceled, so we decided to go straight to the next item on our itinerary. On our way back to the subway, we passed by an ajumeoni selling street food (she was just starting to set up when we arrived earlier in the morning). We bought some and found that the hodu-gwaja (호두과자, walnut cookies) she sells are really good tasting. Mmm, that makes me crave for some of these red beans and walnut (or peanut) filled goodies.
Next on our list of destinations for day 2 is Ewha Women’s University (이화여자대학교). Take the subway and transfer to Line 2 (Green) and get off Ewha Women’s University Station (이대), Exit 2. The university is just walking distance (although it’s a few blocks away), and you can enjoy looking at the k-beauty shops in the meantime. We also had our lunch here, before heading to the university. Ewha is also one of the cheaper locations if you’d want to buy anything. The shops here are generally nicer (because they give more freebies!) than the more crowded places like Myeongdong.
Upon entering the school premises, there’s no doubt you’re at the right place. You’ll see the building facade this location is famous for.
Famous facade of Ewha Women’s University
We didn’t walk around the university a lot, but we did take some photos around. When we were about to go and look around the shops, there were dancers from a nearby church so we stood by and watched them perform. They talked to us after their performance and we exchanged a few encouragements (they danced well, my sister speaks Korean well, and have similar beliefs) before continuing onward to the shops.
There is a building here where Labiotte is sold and since one of my sisters is a big fan of EXO (cue their song Lotto: lipstick chateau wine-bit color lalalala~), we HAD to check and ended up buying more than just a couple of their wine-shaped tubes (I mean, who can resist buying make up when it’s 1+1? NO ONE, right?).
We had to leave for our next location when it turned dark (sunset around November was at about half past 5pm. Where to? Cheonggyecheon Stream (청계천) for the last day of the Seoul Lantern Festival. This location, in the initial drafts of our itinerary, won’t be until day 5. But when I checked until what day the Lantern Festival will be held, we had to move it up to day 2. The annual festival held along Cheonggyecheon Stream is held from the first Friday until the third Sunday of November, with changing themes every year. No entrance fee required.
Travel tip: Check the date and time of activities you want to take part in. We had another boo boo come day 4 when we forgot to check until what time the next location in our itinerary will be open. We ended up not going there anymore because it’s already closed.
Cheonggyecheon Stream is long, and can be reached through a number of subway stations along Line 2 (Green). We got off at Euljiro 3 (sam)-ga Station as this is the nearest exit going to the start of the lantern festival. Take exit 4 and walk for one block more (we actually got out of exit 3 because that’s the nearest according to some site I checked out for the festival – and ended up walking in the cold for a few minutes more than we would have if we got out of exit 4), and you’ll see the bridge. Look below and you’ll see the stream.
It’s so nice to see Philippine-made parol (lanterns) be part of a foreign festival! Some locals behind me even said “Philippine! Philippine!” when they saw this.
The Lantern Festival was beautiful! Since their theme is the upcoming Winter Olympic Games to be held in PyeongChang, we saw various lanterns of Bandabi and Soohorang (the official mascots of the 2018 Winter Olympics) doing all sorts of winter sports! Other lanterns were also there, like the Philippine-made parol, and Pororo with friends. At the end of the stream, there are also lanterns of the mascots bearing Olympic torches.
Soohorang (left) and Bandabi (right)
Some of the other activities that can be done include hanging of wish notes, putting up a wish lantern, traditional lantern-making, and crafting activities.
After the long day, we were hungry and bought food from the street food vendors around the area as we walked around before having dinner (because we were still undecided on where to eat). There’s also a big bookstore at the basement of the corner building on our way to the subway station nearby (Jonggak Station of Line 1 if I remember correctly) where we bought our first book that’s entirely in Korean, and outlet adapters (because we have more items to charge compared to the adapters at our place.
Travel tip: Always check if your charger plug is compatible with the local outlet shapes and the input/output charge. Outlets in Korea are 220 volts and are round-shaped. Better if you have a travel adapter ready so you won’t have to scramble for one when you get there, or ask your AirBNB host if they have an adapter at their place before you leave for Korea.
That’s it for day 2. Thank you again to everyone who has encouraged me thus far. You made me remember why I really wanted to write. Dear reader, please do leave a comment below if you have questions or any other random thing you’d like to say. Until next post!
Story by Justine Lim from J Day in a Life