In Korea, one of my favourite dishes is Sundubu jiggae – which is a soft silken tofu soup with some seafood and various vegetables. It can be quite spicy sometimes, but I love it!
I’ve tried a lot of Sundubu Jiggae dishes in parts of Korea, as well as Australia, which have all been delicious, but friends that I have from the Gangneung area have always boasted about Gangneung having the best soft tofu soup in the country and insisted that I go there to try it, so while I was in the Gangneung region I had to finally taste it!
One of the most famous places to eat Sundubu Jiggae is the 400년집 초당순두부 (400 Years House Cho-dang Soft Tofu) restaurant, which is a cozy little restaurant in a traditional house with a nice and peaceful country-side setting.
The restaurant is located at 195-3 Ma-dong, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea – which is close by (but not within) the 초당순두부마일 – the Chodang Soft Tofu Village of Gangeung.
While at the restaurant I found out that one of the main reasons why this Sundubu is much tastier here than in other areas, is because of Gangneung’s location on the east coast of Korea. The people making tofu can use the salt water from the East sea during the congealing process which makes for really beautiful soft and light tofu!
When you’re in the Gangneung region, try the soft tofu! It really is the best in Korea!
Alepensia ski resort in Pyeongchang, Gangwondo, is one of the most well known ski resorts in Korea, and I have been lucky enough to visit a couple of times (in both summer and winter) which I will post about later. Located at the resort is the Ski Jumping tower and stadium which will be used to host the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
30 minutes walk, or a few minutes in a car up a mountain from the hotels of Alpensia, is the location of the stadium and ski jumping tower. To get to the tower from the main stadium, you can take the mono-rail (2000Won fare), then from there take a guided tour of the jumping facilities and get an amazing view of the surrounding mountains and ski fields from the top! It’s definitely a really unique view and experience seeing what the athletes go through to compete in the winter sport.
From the top you can look down into the stadium which seats 28,000 people. During the winter Olympics in 2018 the stadium will be extended to seat 60,000!
Within the stadium itself is also a museum dedicated to winter sports and is quite interesting to spend some time looking through (I’ll post some more details about this later too).
Like the locks of love on Seoul’s Namsan Tower, here there are also locks which couples attach to the railing with written messages, then toss away the key to symbolize unbreakable love.
If you’re in Pyeongchang for some skiing or boarding, take an hour of your time and enjoy the breath-taking views and experience the thrill of being on the edge of the ski jumping tower!
Just two hours drive East of Seoul, in the centre of the Baekdudaegan mountains, is the YongPyong Ski Resort in Pyeongchang, Gangwondo.
YongPyong is one of Korea’s best ski & snowboard parks, with 31 ski slopes, 15 chair lifts and a 3.7km long cable car gondola ride.
I recently spent a day on the slopes of YongPyong – I’ve snowboarded a few times previously at other parks in Korea, so thought this time I’d try Skiing.
At YongPyong is Dragon Plaza – Asia’s largest ski house, and in here (as well as restaurants serving many types of tasty Korean foods and an awesome view of the ski fields) you can find a few ski-rental stores where you can rent all the necessary equipment for a day on the slopes – everything from clothing, to goggles, skis and boots. (a full day ski hire costs around 23,000W)
The park offers ski lessons with an instructor in English starting from about 34,000W for a beginner half-day session. As it was my first time skiing, I found it really helpful to get me started, and definitely worth doing. By the end of the lesson I had a lot more confidence and learned how to stop, so I got a lift pass and was able to enjoy the rest of the time skiing freely!
For the really adventurous, YongPyong has a really high quality terrain park, featuring a half pipe, quarter pipes and rails!
Yongpyong will also be the host of the slalom and giant slalom events during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics!
A great thing about YongPyong resort, is that even though its primarily a ski resort, it’s open with lots of activities year-round. As well as the ski slopes, the resort features a full golf course, swimming pool & saunas, fitness centres, bowling alley and other facilities to provide the perfect place to relax at any time of the year.
Close by to the resort is Woljeongsa Temple, which I visited last year and will post about another time!
Recently I visited Samwon Garden in the Gangnam district of Seoul, Korea. It is a large, first-class restaurant, serving fresh and tasty traditional Korean food in a beautiful garden atmosphere.
The restaurant is tastefully designed and decorated, with charming and elegant wooden furniture and interior, in a traditional Korean style.
The Samwon Garden restaurant specializes in delicious traditional Korean meals – especially famous for it’s Bulgogi and Galbi. The menu boasts a great range of beef dishes as well as many enjoyable Korean & Japanese beverages. In true Korean style, the dishes are accompanied by a number of enticing side dishes and wonderful service.
Check out the menu and information at their website: http://www.samwongarden.com
623-5 Sinsa-Dong Gangnam-Gu, Seoul, Korea.
In Korea, The National Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art recently opened its third branch in central Seoul, right by Gyeongbukgung Palace and Samcheongdong.
Along with the newly unveiled museum in Seoul, there are two other existing branches of the museum located in Gwacheon and Deoksugung Palace. The new Seoul branch features 8 exhibition halls, displaying modern art from Korean artists which helps to promote the rich Korean culture to the world.
Photos are not allowed in most of the exhibition halls, however in one of them it was allowed – this exhibition is really unique, it’s called the Epiphyte Chamber as part of the Aleph Project which visualises the human’s nerve system and uses hundreds of tiny sensors which make the art react to human interaction. It’s made from oil and took 15 workers, working 8 hours a day, for 6 months to complete.
One of the most interesting exhibitions that I enjoyed on my visit, was Korean artist Lee Mengwei’s “The Moving Garden” which invites guests of the museum to select a fresh flower from a table in the middle of the museum, and as they are leaving the museum they are asked to make a detour on their way to their next destination and give the flower to a stranger as a gift, and then to share their experience on facebook and twitter.
I selected a flower, and made a detour on my way to have lunch in Samcheongdong and gave the flower to a beautiful girl as a gift. She was very surprised and thankful of the flower.
(this photo – http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/)
The museum is a very high quality, and had extremely helpful and knowledgeable staff, especially for such a new museum, who were able to answer all my questions about the exhibitions and artists. For more information about current exhibits, you can check out the museums website http://www.mmca.go.kr/
Now that it is the peak of Autumn in Korea, and soon to be winter, it is the perfect opportunity to see Oksae (억새)! magnificent Silvergrass!
In October, I went with some friends to Haneul Park, located within the World Cup Park in Seoul to see the amazing silvergrass during the sunset. It was really beautiful. If you take the subway to World Cup Park and then take a short walk up the mountain you can easily see a lot of Oksae and some amazing views of the stadium, as well as the Han River and the rest of Seoul.
(I borrowed this photo)
A really interesting thing about Haneul Park, which is one of the 5 smaller parks which make up Seoul’s World Cup Park, is that it was built on land fill! the site used to be 15 years (92 million tonnes) worth of rubbish. It is one of the great and ingenious ways in which Seoul has developed recently, turning a dumping site into a beautiful park for people to enjoy.
At this time of year the park is open later, so that you can enjoy the Oksae during the evening as well as the day time. Check out my photos from Haneul Park! I really recommend visiting now before winter arrives!
In Korea, living in Hyehwa, I was super lucky that there are many entertaining things to do and see – Theatres, cafes, restaurants etc…but a 5 minute stroll up the hill takes you to a super relaxing and peaceful park, one of my favourite places in Korea. (apparently Rooftop Prince had some scenes here too..)
I went up here almost daily, so i thought i would introduce it to you.
Naksan Park (낙산공원) is located just up the hill form exit 3 of Hyehwa station (line 4). Just keep walking up the hill, past all the decorated buildings and walls and you will find the entrance.
From Naksan park, which is open 24 hours, you can get incredible views of Seoul, especially Namsan tower at sunset. Check out my photos below.
In the park are nice walking paths, excercise equipment and great photo opportunities!
From Naksan park you can walk along the old Seoul wall to either HyehwaMun at Hyehwa Rotary – or all the way to Dongdaemun and go shopping!