THE beauty of travel is finding new encounters. One can journey to the same destination yet see it in a magically different way. I joined the Rural Bank of Itogon (RBI) tour of Seoul and its suburbs.
A brilliant idea that has paid off with visitors coming from far and wide is Petite France. This is a man-made French village with lots of quaint houses, antique shops and beautiful gardens set on a hill that provide lots of photo opportunities. Be prepared to walk up slopes and stairs.
Hwaseong Fortress (Unesco World Heritage) is a splendid citadel of Historic Suwon where you can see the extensive walls of the past with its various platforms and command posts. It’s like a mini Great Wall (of China) and quite a long walk of more than 5-km.
A friendly warning – this place may not be suitable for those with walking difficulties as it involves climbing stairs or going upslope. Hwaseong Haenggung Palace is also known as the summer palace and a very good example of ancient Korean architecture. There are mural tiles on the ground showing the royal ceremony and life-size models of maids and servants in some of the rooms.
Due to its small size, it is easy to go around the whole palace within a short amount of time.
South Korea’s largest amusement ground is the Everland Theme Park which receives 7.3-M visitors annually. Operated by Samsung Corporation, it features a zoo, safari, few roller coasters, merry go round, funfair-type rides, multiple restaurants, and big gardens that caters to every one of different ages. Like any regular entertainment area, it was crowded with both tourists and locals. Perched upon the highest point of Mt. Namsan, Seoul Tower was built primarily as a communications tower with lookout facilities, restaurants, and souvenir shops. It was a steep walk up to the tower park but we were rewarded with a spectacular panoramic view of Seoul at the top.
I love that we went to beautiful Nami Island in autumn. The view was simply breathtaking with the vivid colors of gold, crimson, and orange.
Everywhere on the island was picture-perfect. Although it was raining and cold and packed with tourists, I consider this visit as one of the highlights of our trip to Seoul. Overall, this short but sweet trip allowed us the opportunity to experience autumn in Seoul like never before.