anyway, i decided to plan a trip to suwon since we've explored the whole of seoul tons of times and so i wanted to explore a different part of korea without going too far.
i booked the KTX train tickets before our trip because i was afraid the tickets would sell out.
and then i was super super smart.
the night before we were discussing what time to meet in the morning and so i checked our tickets and told my parents oh 11:10 since our train is at 11:25 a.m.
and then in the morning we were getting ready to leave the house and i was looking at the tickets again before i packed it into my purse and saw that omg 11:25 a.m. is what time we would arrive in suwon and not the departure time.
so we immediately panicked and called our parents and thankfully they were all set and ready to go.
they were smart, they took a cab while we took the subway and we missed the train cause the line to pick up the tickets was forever.
oh well, we managed to get tickets for the next train and were on our way pretty quickly hahaha.
i just felt like such an idiot that's all haha.
the train seats were pretty comfy
morning faces haha
we arrived in suwon after a short nap.
it only takes 35 mins by KTX versus 1 hour by subway.
we bought some breakfast at the train station plus melon milk!
my daddy was making fun of my mother cause she's been taking korean classes for a few years now but she couldn't even order our breakfast properly hahaha.
we stopped by the tourist information center to get a map and make sure our bus directions were right.
we took a short bus ride to the hwaseong fortress and ended up getting sidetracked and walked through some village market where we purchased a heat pack for sam for really cheap hahaha.
sam and her heat pack that looks likes a lily pad in this photo haha
we finally made our way to hwaseong fortress and started with the haenggung.
it was really big and kind of pretty empty for such a big palace. definitely not as impressive as the forbidden palace in beijing haha.
there's this tree there that has been there for a very very long time and people make wishes there so we went ahead and did so too haha. i wished for... not telling you or else my wish won't come true haha
they had this activities area so we tried our hand at it hahaha
so after you throw the rings you have to go and collect them and this is my daddy being hardworking and collecting ALL the rings on the ground hahaha
my family plays well together hehe
then we continued walking to the next attraction point.
the whole hwaseong fortress area is super big so you have to walk quite a bit from point A to B haha.
but it was nice to walk the streets and get a feel for what suwon is really like.
one thing for sure, they have a lot of shops selling school uniforms.
almost every other one and so we were super confused why they needed so many hahaha.
we decided to stop for late lunch.
we had to try suwon's famous wang galbi and it was a good decision because the meat was really good! it was marinated really well haha.
as we were walking, rissa spotted a building that looked like a LDS chapel and so we decided to go check it out and sure enough, it was a stake center hahaha.
super tasty! and the table was full of super a lot of side dishes so it was super awesome. they even gave us the marinated raw crab and omg it was so so so sweet! i loved it! my mother didn't want any of it on our side of the table so i ate most of it hahaha.
the meal was kind of expensive but the meat was really good.
we also ordered the pork but that one wasn't good.
lesson learnt: when in suwon, only order the galbi haha.
the lady was really nice and wanted to know where we were from and how come i speak korean so well hahaha.
my sisters all speak korean but they always make me do all the talking! hahaha so i have to make sure i think it through and know what to say haha.
after we were done eating, it was kind of late already and so we missed the chance to go try out the traditional archery activity but oh well, we walked around the area for a little bit more and enjoyed the pretty sights.
this is their water canal thing that was half-frozen
we climbed up this tall wall thing and they were freezing hahaha
when there's nice scenery, naturally we do jump shots hahaha
the place reminded me of the great wall of china
fooling around hahaha
it was getting dark and we were tired of walking really so we took the bus back to the train station.
when we got to the train station, we couldn't figure out how to read their train schedules hahaha.
so we just stood in line and then of course they pushed me to go get tickets haha.
the staff at the ticket counters don't speak english so it's not really tourist-friendly but i managed to get by with my korean haha.
the train back to seoul was super crowded but thankfully it was a short ride.
we headed to hongdae (our third time this trip but our parents' first haha) since my mother wanted to go somewhere where they had a night market.
we shopped around and then settled for a simple dinner at one of the tent food stalls that are a must eat when you go to korea.
hong cup // dinner
day nine was really chill cause we were flying off that evening
we woke up pretty early, got ready, packed, checked out and then headed to the parents' hotel where we kept our bags and then left to go out for a little longer till we had to leave.
we went to namdaemun because my mother really wanted to eat her kimchi bao but they were closed :(
we did get to eat yummy hotteok again and do some last minute shopping.
namdaemun is so much better now compared to a few years back.
the shopping is actually pretty decent now.
i bought my third pair of super comfy and soft pajama pants there. i also bought some really cute boots, my mummy bought a cute bag and we all bought cute little gorilla key chains.
did a lot of bargaining and got good deals haha.
it always helps to speak korean in these cases hahaha.
my favorite thing i bought the whole trip hahaha - they're so comfy and perfect for winter hahaha
my cute boots that i bought on the last day. i bargained like crazy for it and the guy kept telling me it's handmade in korea but i didn't care haha i just slashed the price hahaha.
the cute gorilla keychain we all got. mine's green, sam's orange, rissa's maroon (?), mom's brown and dad's grey.
half the amount of things i bought - i think i took this photo halfway through the trip haha but yeah, their clothes are totally my style! peter pan collars for the win!
and then we just ate lunch at this random restaurant and the food was so bad so i was kind of upset that i wasted my last meal there hahahaha.
headed back to the hotel after and left super early to go to the airport because my daddy always likes to be early rather than late hahaha.
the airport bus was so crowded but thankfully we all got seats and just slept for the whole hour it took haha.
it stopped at some rest stop with some lucky bear statue but everyone just stayed on the bus haha
i opened my eyes to look at the bear and snap this shot. i asked my family if they saw the bear after we alighted and they all said they were sleeping and didn't even know we stopped hahaha.
we got to the airport, checked in, got some baskin robbins ice-cream - my friend told me to go try the shooting star flavor only available in korea and so that's what we did hahaha.
then we went in and bought a bunch of sweet potato cheesecakes from paris baguette cause that's something we really really love and then had to say goodbye to our beloved land of kimchi.
the ice-cream was really sweet and had pop rocks in it so it was literally like shooting stars in your mouth hahaha
saw my oppa's advertisement before we left hahaha
and so that was the end of our korea 2014 dreams come true trip.
i've been to korea in the winter twice and in the spring/early summer twice.
next time, i need to go there in the fall to enjoy the pretty autumn leaves.
soon soon, i will see you again soon korea.
and next time, i will explore and conquer busan hahaha.
friends, if you have the privilege to go to korea and want to know how to go to specific places from my itinerary or where to go (you'll have to tell me how many days you'll be there and what you're most interested in), i would be more than happy to help you!
i love traveling and sharing my knowledge about countries i've been to :)