Summer in South Korea – A 5D4N Itinerary

    Just about everyone agrees that the best time to visit South Korea is spring and autumn, summer in Korea is also a good time to visit.

    First, summer is all about festivals. With about one billion festivals happening every month of every year, some of the biggest and best happen in summer.

    Secondly, when the weather is hot there’s nothing better than finding a way to cool off or enjoy the great outdoors! South Korea has got some of the best beaches around. Flea markets and food trucks also sprung up everywhere to celebrate the summer vibes.

    In the summer, there are lots of fruits like watermelons, melons, and peaches, as well as vegetables. It is also a good time to enjoy nangmyeong (cold buckwheat noodles), naeng kongguksu (noodles in cold soybean soup), bingsu and most intriguing – samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup). ‘Sambok’ refers to the hottest days in Korea according to the lunar calendar and it is believed that you must eat hot foods full of nutrients during this period based on the idea of “yi yeol chi yeol” (fighting fire with fire). Hence, tosokchon’s queue is extraordinarily long during summer months.

    I was fortunate enough to be invited to experience summer in South Korea from the 26th of July 2017 to the 31st of July 2017, thanks to Korean Tourism Organization (KTO).

    Some of my trip highlights as below:



    Boryeong Mud Festival
    • Period: July 21-30
    • Venue: Daecheon Beach Mud Square in Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do
    • Description: At the Boryeong Mud Festival, visitors jump in a huge pool of mud for more than just fun, as Boryeong mud is well-known for its excellent quality and efficacy. This fun, action-packed festival is popular among local and international visitors because it offers various programs such as the mud massage pack, colored-mud body painting, and mud soap-making.
    • Getting Here:
    [BUS] From Seoul Central City Bus Terminal, take an express bus to Boryeong (보령).
    From Boryeong Bus Terminal, take a bus bound for Daecheon Beach. (10min intervals)
    [TRAIN] From Yongsan Station or Yeongdeungpo Station, take a train to Daecheon Station.
    From Daecheon Station, take a local bus bound for Daecheon Beach.
    • Admission: Adults – 10,000 won for one-day pass, Teenagers – 8,000 won for one-day pass

    Tips: It is best to wear old attires that you plan to get rid of because it is almost impossible to wash off the mud completely. Bring along a waterproof casing for your smartphones and cash notes.



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    Boryeong Mud Festival is a week long event with free concert every night where different famous k-pop artists will perform.
    These nutrient-rich mud are really good for the skin too!

    Tips: It is best to stay at Hotel Mudrin as it is located right in the middle of Daecheon Beach, which means that you are within 1-2 minutes walking distance to the mud festival.
    standard double room in Hotel Mudrin
    view from my room
    seafood dinner next to Hotel Mudrin

    Jeongnamjin Jangheung Water Festival
    • Period: July 28 – August 3
    • Venue: Areas of Tamjingang River and Cypress Forest Woodland in Jangheung-gun, Jeollanam-do
    • Description: This unique festival has its foundations in the waters of the Tamjingang River and Jangheung Multipurpose Dam in Jangheung. The festival teaches the value of water for the environment, humans, and energy in many ways through exhibits, films, and hands-on programs. Exciting summer water programs such as a natural medicinal herb bath, water slides, water cycling, and bare-handed fishing are popular among visitors.

    Tips: Bring along a waterproof casing for your smartphones and cash notes. Buy/bring along a water gun to double the fun! 




    Gangjin Celadon Festival
    • Period: July 29 – August 4
    • Venue: Area of Gangjin Goryeo Celadon Kiln Site in Gangjin-gun, Jeollanam-do
    • Description: This festival is held in Gangjin, the largest production site of celadon in Korea from the 8th to the 14th century. Visitors can not only gain a deeper appreciation of Korean celadon’s impact on the global art community, but also have a chance to make their own pottery, an activity that is popular among local and international visitors alike.




    Seoul Highlights:


    Myeong-dong (명동) really needs no introduction. From mid- to high-priced retail stores and international brand outlets, it’s no wonder the shopping district is popular with tourists, teenagers and young adults. You’ll also find several large retail malls such as Lotte Department Store, Shinsegae Department Store and Migliore in the district. Look further away and you’ll see Mt. Namsan and the N Seoul Tower. I spent two evenings here, certainly not enough to explore all the shops.

    Some of the “must visit” shops are Style Nanda Pink Hotel, Line Friends Flagship Store and Innisfree Green Cafe. I never fail to visit Lotte Young Plaza that specialises in youth fasion and Lotte Duty Free located at Level 9-10 of Lotte Department Store everytime I’m in Myeongdong too.

    Tips: We stayed at Lotte City Hotel for one night and ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeongdong for another night. Lotte City Hotel has modern rooms and is located right in the middle of City Hall, Cheonggyecheon Stream and Myeongdong (3 minutes walk). Ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeongdong’s room is slightly dated but it is right smacked in the middle of Myeongdong – I had the luxury to drop my heavy shopping bags back to the room and continue shopping. 



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    Style Nanda Pink Hotel
    Innisfree Green Cafe
    Chuu @ Lotte Young Plaza
    Line Friends Flagship Store
    Line Friends Flagship Store
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    Line Friends Flagship Store

    Cheonggyecheon Stream:

    Cheonggyecheon is an 11 km long modern stream that runs through downtown Seoul. Created as part of an urban renewal project, Cheonggyecheon is a restoration of the stream that was once there before during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). It is now an all-time favorite leisure place for the Koreans or foreigners to hang out or to escape the summer heat.

    We were there on a Saturday evening, where the Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market is held. The market take place weekly from March 24th through Oct. 29th, 2017 at five locations: Yeouido Hangang Park, Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Cheonggyecheon Stream, Cheonggye Plaza, and Banpo Hangang Park. The Korean style market along the Cheonggyecheon Stream Sat & Sun 16:30~21:30

    More details here:

    Tips: Cheonggyecheon Stream passes close to Deoksugung Palace, Seoul Plaza, the Sejong Center, Insa-dong Street, Changdeokgung Palace, and Changgyeonggung Palace. You can actually walk along the stream while visiting all these major tourist sites.

    Tips: You can combine N Seoul Tower, Myeongdong, Cheonggyecheon Stream and K Style Hub into a one day itinerary. These 4 places are located close to each other.





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    K Style Hub:

    K-Style Hub is an extremely useful attraction that may be unknown to many international tourists! This one-stop complex has information to meet all tourists’ needs, from a tourist information center to various experience zones, exhibition halls and even sales of local specialty products! The hub is spread out over four levels, with the Tourist Information Center found on the second floor, Korean Food Exhibition and Experience Halls on the third and fourth floors respectively, and the Cultural Product Hall on the fifth floor.

    Address: KTO Seoul Office 2F-5F, 40, Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
    Directions: Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 5. Walk approx. 4min. / Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 2. Walk approx. 5min. / Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 5. Walk approx. 8min.
    Operating hours:
    – 2F (Tourist Information Center): 09:00-20:00
    – 3F-5F (Korean Food Culture Experience facilities): 10:00-20:00
    ※ 5F Hanbok Experience: 10:00-18:00

    Tips: Do you know that as a tourist, you can dial 1330 Korea Travel Hotline for assistance in Korean, English, Japanese and Chinese language?

    Tips: You can combine N Seoul Tower, Myeongdong, Cheonggyecheon Stream and K Style Hub into a one day itinerary. These 4 places are located close to each other.

    Tips: Enjoy tourist perks such as free hanbok experience, free traditional craft work, free wifi, free itinerary assistance, free medical tourism consultation and etc here – all thanks to KTO for taking great care of tourists visiting South Korea. 






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    Korean Food Exhibition and Experience Halls (free admission)
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    Medical Tourism Information – free consultation, free body analysis, free skin analysis
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    Free Korean Cultural Experience Programme – we DIY-ed a traditional fan
    Free Hanbok Experience with beautiful backdrop

    Bukchon Hanok Village + Samcheongdong

    Samcheong-dong is famous for its Bukchon Hanok (Korean traditional houses) Village. Bukchon refers to the north area of the old capital city where the aristocratic classes lived during the Joseon Dynasty. I love the contrast of antique beauty of Korean traditional houses standing proud amid the hustle and bustle of the city. There are many chic galleries, restaurants, cafés, and accessory shops in the surrounding area, one can easily spend an afternoon here.

    Getting Here:
    • 570m from Exit #1, Anguk Station, Subway Line 3 toward Jeongdok Library (10 minutes)
    • 1km from Exit #5, Gyeongbokgung Station (Subway Line 3) and toward Gyeongbokgung Intersection (20 minutes)

    Tips: You can combine Gyeongbokgung, Bukchon Hanok Village + Samcheongdong, Blue House, Tongin Market into a one day itinerary. These 4 places are located close to each other.







    Tongin Market:
    I love visiting markets. Each time I take a trip down to the market it gives me insights about one society, its people and their ways of life. One of the most fun and interesting markets is Tongin Market in the neighbourhood of Hyoja-dong.

    Tong-in Market was established in 1941 as a public market for the Japanese residents in the area at the time, but after the war ended, street vendors and store owners swooped in to grab a spot. Now, 75 shops and stores, mainly focused on delicious Korean food sit side by side ready to share their goods.

    At the Customer Service Center located in the center of the market, visitors can pay W5,000 and receive a tray much like those used by children in elementary school and a string of coins to pay the vendors. The coins are each worth W500 in the market and most dishes range in price from W500 (1 coin) to W1000 (2 coins) with just a few being as much as W1500 (3 coins).The vendors that are open to accepting the coinage have a sign that sits at their stall. After buying, you can bring the lunch box to the Lunch Box Cafe to have a sit down meal.

    Tips: You can combine Gyeongbokgung, Bukchon Hanok Village + Samcheongdong, Blue House, Tongin Market into a one day itinerary. These 4 places are located close to each other.

    Tips: Gireum Tteokbokki is a must try here. It is different with normal Tteokbokki because it is being pan fried with a spicy and non spicy sauce. Try the sweet rice drink (Shikhye 식혜) here too.






    Jeongdong Theatre:

    Jeongdong Theater has become one of Korea’s representative traditional arts performance theaters. We were here to watch a local musical named “Lotus”, a Korean folktale about a young woman protecting herself from the corrupt royal court unfolds. Jeongdong Theater’s describes the story with beautiful and splendid dance like a flower. The musical was so so so good that we did not realise that 1.5 hour passes so quickly.

    Show Period : April. 06. 2017 (Thursday) ~ October.29.2017 (Sunday)
    Show Time : 4pm, 8pm daily. Closed on every Mondays.
    Getting Here:
    Subway Line 5 Seodaemun Station: Exit 5
    Subway Line 5 Gwanghwamun Station: Exit 6 toward “Deoksu Elementary School”
    Subway Line 2 City Hall Station: Exit 12 toward “Jeongdong Theater”
    Subway Line 1 City Hall Station: Exits 1 and 2 toward “Jeongdong Theater”



    Groceries Shopping at Lotte Mart/E-Mart (blog post on what to buy up soon)

    Gimbap Making Class at Namdo Folk Food Museum in Gwangju

    Wiyo Pocket wi-fi Rental for only RM 20/day

    My gratutide to KTO for organising such a fun and memorable trip! My perception towards summer in South Korea changes completely – summer time is so fun and vibrant. It was nice to have a bunch of really sporting and easy going travel mates too.

    Tips: Do you know that you can redeem a Discover Korea Your Way booklet from Korea Plaza (Menara Hap Seng) and KTX Hall (Nu Sentral) that comes with a lot of  exciting coupon deals and free gifts in Korea? There are also new information on how and where to travel in Seoul, Busan, Incheon, Gyeonggi, Gangwon, Jeju and Jeollabuk-do.

    More info here:

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