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Friday, 10 April 2015

WOW KOREA! (PART-V)

Traveling to foreign shores can be a challenge as well as an adventure...but navigating your way within a city on arrival so as to discover its personality vis-a-vis the historical and cultural heritage sites like museums,palaces,architecture to the favorite hot-spots,local joints,popular cuisines, shopping arcades and booming night life can be one tough job indeed! It can often be frustrating for a wandering tourist to mandatorily carry a ubiquitous hand-guide (without which he/she would seemingly find themselves lost) or to keep asking locals on how to get from A to B. 

In Part-V of the Wow Korea! series,I shall do all the research for you when I share the different ways you can travel within Seoul by shuttle and the many interesting places you would unravel during your visit.
Themed Itinerary Trolley Bus ToursThis themed trolley bus service allows the tourist to opt for a guided shuttle tour as they decide for themselves on which aspect of Seoul they wish to see and explore. There are five such themed itinerary buses that take you on one roller-coaster ride as it introduces you to an all new facet of Korea.

In these bus tours,the visitor/tourist is presented with a pamphlet detailing the tour and destination together with the option of a multi-lingual audio tour guide that's available on each seat for different languages such as -English,Korean,Japanese and Chinese.French is available for those who opt for the Traditional Market tour. An LCD monitor is installed on the back of each seat which allows the tourist to learn more about the attractions before they arrive en route to the stop/destination.In addition,a foreign language interpreter in English,Chinese and Japanese is also present on the bus to answer any questions a tourist may have or would want to know about a particular destination.

The five different themed itinerary trolley bus tours are - 
a. Traditional Culture Tour
b. Downtown·Royal Palaces Course
c. Seoul Panorama Course
d. Nighttime Courses
e. Gangnam City Tour Course

a. Traditional Culture Tour: Hop on this double-decker bus for an 18 stops travel itinerary where you get a glimpse of Korean culture,history,sight-seeing,food and shopping through a tour of Korean traditional markets. 

These are the stops that you would come across during this tour: 

01.Dongdaemun Design Plaza 
02.Bangsan & Jungbu Markets 
03.Euljiro 3ga 
04.Euljiro 1ga
05.Tongin market 
06.Sejong Center for the Performing Arts 
07.Seoul Station Transfer Platform No. 6 
08.Namdaemun Market
09.Myeong-dong 
10.Jonggak & the Jongno Youth Street 
11.Insa-dong, Tapgol Park and Nakwon Arcade 
12.Jongmyo Shrine (UNESCO World Heritage) & Sewoon Electronics Plaza 
13.Gwangjang Market 
14.Pyeonghwa Fashion Town & Clothing Market 
15.Dongmyo Shrine and Dokkaebi Market, Seoul Folk Flea Market 
16.Seoul Yangnyeong Market 
17.Majang-dong Meat Market 
18.Sindang-dong Jungang Market 

b. Downtown·Royal Palaces Course: Hop on this single-decker bus for a 26 stops travel itinerary where you can explore all the major attractions of Seoul right from palaces, museums and memorials to hotels,markets and theatres of South Korea!

These are the stops that you would come across during this tour: 
01.Gwanghwamun
02.Deoksu Palace
03.Namdaemun Market
04.Seoul Station
05.USO
06.Yongsan Station
07.National Museum of Korea
08.War Memorial of Korea
09.United States Army Garrison Yongsan
10.Itaewon
11.Crown Hotel
12.Myeongdong
13.Namsangol Hanok Village/Korea House
14.Grand Ambassador Hotel
15.National Theater of Korea 
16.Namsan Tower
17.Hyatt Hotel
18.Tower Hotel
19.Shilla Hotel
20.Dongdaemun Market
21.Daehangno
22.Changgyeong Palace
23.Changdeok Palace
24.Insadong
25.Cheonghwadae
26.Gyeongbok Palace

c. Seoul Panorama Course: Hop on this double-decker bus for a 14 stops circular travel itinerary of a panoramic view in the four corners of this fascinating city.

These are the stops that you would come across during this tour: 

01.Gwanghwamun 
02.Cheonggye Plaza 
03.Myeong-dong 
04.Seoul Animation Center
05.Namsan Cable Car 
06.Millenium Seoul Hilton Hotel 
07.Namsan Public Library 
08.Grand Hyatt Hotel 
09.63 City · Hangang Cruise 
10.Yeouinaru Station 
11.Hongik University
12.Airport Railroad Hongik University Station 
13.Shinchon Station 
14.Sejong Center for the Performing Arts 

d. Nighttime Courses: This two course non-stop tour operating at night lets the tourist enjoy a spectacular view against the beautifully lit Han River.In Course I,you hop into a single-decker bus that covers 9  destinations during its course whereas in Course II,you travel in a double decker bus and get a more thorough tour of the Han River at night together with 11 landmarks of Seoul.

These are the stops that you would come across in Course I of the tour:

01.[Depart] Gwanghwamun 
02.Mapo Bridge 
03.Yeouido
04.Seogang Bridge
05.Seoungsu Bridge 
06.Hannam Bridge
07.N Seoul Tower 
08.Namdaemun Market 
09.Cheonggye Square



These are the stops that you would come across in Course II of the tour:

01.[Depart] Gwanghwamun 
02.Mapo Bridge
03.Seogang Bridge
04.Hannam Bridge
05.Moonlight Rainbow Fountain 
06.Dongjak Bridge
07.Seongsu Bridge
08.Hannam Bridge
09.Namsan Public Library 
10.Namdaemun Market 
11.Cheonggye Plaza

e. Gangnam City Tour Course: PSY's Gangnam Style was not just a blockbuster pop number but was also the name of a key destination of Seoul. And if the name 'Gangnam' gets your attention because of your favorite pop icon,then hop into this bus for a tour of Gangnam district that is often called the "Beverly Hills of California" primarily because of the concentration of wealth and high standard of living in this part of the region.

In this 15 stops tour,you will not just discover the major attractions and locations of Gangnam district but also the south side of the Hangang River at COEX (COnvention centers & EXhibition halls),Gangnam Station,Garosu-gil and much more!

These are the stops that you would come across during this tour: 

Pink Line
01.Gangnam Tourist Information Center
02.Garosu-gil
03.Gangnam Station
04.Yeongdong Market
05.Sinsa Station
06.Garosu-gil
07.Gangnam Tourist Information Center





Blue Line
08.Apgujeong Rodeo Street
09.Cheongdam-dong Fashion Street
10.Cheongdam-dong Sageori
11.Bongeunsa Temple
12.COEX 
13.Samseong Station
14.Seven Luck Casino
15.K-star Road




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And if you are bit of an adventurist then besides the guided themed shuttle tours of Korea that I just introduced above,you could also explore the night life of Korea all by yourself (or with your group) and here's how...

With subways closing around midnight and taxis an expensive mode of transport to travel... let that not spoil your mood or deter you from having some fun and letting your hair down! The next time when you are roaming in Korea at midnight... remember the magical number - N62! The Night Bus N62 is the silver lining and an answer to all your commuting problems! It is a midnight creature on the prowl running between 11:40 pm to 3:00 am that takes you to all the central locations across the city! 

Howzat?

Night birds...here are quick snippets of seven such destinations you can explore during your night jaunts at Seoul as you travel on the N62!


1. Jongno: Jongno's  3(sam)ga Gul Bossam Alley has been running successfully for the last 35 years.This popular joint is known to serve delectable cuisines like steamed pork meat with fresh kimchi and bossam (juicy pork wraps) with oysters.And you also get a complimentary bowl of gamjatang (pork spine soup) with your order! So you can eat away merrily to your heart's content!
2. Wangsimni: Wangsimni's Gopchang-gui Alley is the most popular Gopchang restaurant that is known to serve the freshest and plumpest tasting gopchang. Gopchang in English translates as cow/pig intestines which is a very popular delicacy in Korea. This delicious barbecque that is served with vegetables and alcohol is a dish that you as a visiting tourist (with a large appetite) must try as it is a less discovered part of the Korean cuisine.

3. Gwangjang Market: Do you fancy late night snacks and street food? The Gwangjang market it is! You can enjoy some of the snacks and street food which are so popular that they are even featured in television programs! This 110 year old traditional daily market has hundreds of vendors selling all kinds of items like fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, breads, clothing,silks, textiles, handicrafts, souvenirs and Korean traditional medicinal items. If you have some last minute shopping to do...then this is the market you ought to visit! This market comes alive at night in the shadowy surroundings where the older generation of Koreans meet and mingle all of which lend this market a distinct character.

4. Dongdaemun Market: With stores in this market open 18-24 hours a day,this shopping town houses 26 shopping malls that are situated over 10 blocks together with 30,000 specialty shops and a whopping 50,000 manufacturers! With silk,fabric,clothes,shoes, leather goods, sporting equipment, electronics,office supplies, plumbing materials, toys, pet shops and Korean cuisines to fortune tellers - you name it and you are bound to find what you are looking for right here!This market is even featured on Seoul list of Asia's 10 greatest street food cities for the Korean snack 'Sundae' and 'Mandu'!

5. Hongdae: Located near the Hongik University,this is the most youthful and vibrant part of town known for urban arts,clubs,indie music culture and entertainment where students, travelers,locals and alike meet to have fun and catch up with one another.This area has many art galleries,studios,theatres,design shops together with cafe, bars,restaurants,night clubs and noraebang (Karaoke) sessions!So,you can enjoy a leisurely evening and participate in many recreational activities as you make the best of the night at Hongdae!

6. Sinchon & Edae: Like Hongdae,Sinchon & Edae (abbreviated for Ewha Women's University) is yet another colorful hot-spot bursting with energy and bubbling with fun and laughter.Here you can enjoy a sumptuous meal that is both affordable and cheap as well as indulge in some outdoor games,visit photo booth stores and meet fortunetellers without worrying what part of the night it is!

7. Ttukseom Hangang Park: If you enjoy a calm place to unwind and relax,then a beautifully lit scenic view overlooking the Han River at a great point near the Ttukseom Hangang Park would be your idea of a perfect evening to stroll around as you end your day on the right note.During the day you can enjoy the various facilities and amenities that the Ttukseom Hangang Park has to offer vis-a-vis a rose garden,playground,nature learning center,water sports,indoor games,cultural and art programs among many others.


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Night time was never boring...not in Korea at least when you have a city that's opened her doors for you 24x7x365! At the end of your tour you'd definitely come to feel years younger than what you were before the trip,call this the magical effect that Korea has on their visitors! And I for once would definitely love to be there as I experience an all new culture altogether!

Hope you found this post informative about the different ways you can travel within Seoul be it through the themed itinerary shuttle services or the N62 as you discover the pulse of this vibrant city inch by inch and breadth by breadth!

For those of you who missed out on some of my earlier posts in this series,click to read - 

  • Wow Korea! Part-I : Introducing Korea, as a country to the readers through interesting facts and trivia
  • Wow Korea! Part-II :Introducing Korea's historical and cultural heritage sites approved by UNESCO for enhancing your knowledge and sight seeing purposes
  • Wow Korea! Part-III : Introducing the colorful festivals of Korea and the calendar of events taking place all through the year
  • Wow Korea! Part-IV : Introducing the different cuisines of Korea in a bid to promote food tourism 
Regards,
Sonaal

2 comments:

  1. Interesting read and very useful. Especially for people landing in a foreign land where many don't speak English. Good work, keep it up!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I am so glad to know that you found the article useful. Do share it with family and friends who are planning on a visit to Korea.

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