Sunday, May 17, 2009

071219 – Myeongdong Catholic Church, Namsangol Hanok Village, N Seoul Tower

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After my wife arrived in Seoul 2 days back, I decided to be her unprofessional tour guide. We started with a lunch at Insadong restaurant, tried the bibimbap which is a popular Korean dish. Bibim-bap means mixed-rice. Bibimbap is served with a hot stone bowl of rice with seasoned vegetables and red chili pepper paste. To add more varieties, a raw egg and meats are added into it. With all these ingredients in a bowl, we stirred together thoroughly before eating. Nowadays, there are many variations of bibimbap in Korea. One thing good about Seoul is that whenever we patron a restaurant or café, they will provide you with a bottle of plain water, absolutely FOC (can be refillable) and no service or government tax. It’s probably already been factored into the meal cost.

A properly setup mini dining table with soft toys, how cute.

We walked to Myeongdong to visit the famous church commonly known as Myeongdong Cathedral. The main building has a tall clock tower. The cathedral is one of the earliest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Korea and it was constructed of twenty types of locally fired red and gray bricks. And it is also one of the National History Site. When I was there, the main building is under construction and I couldn’t take a good picture of the cathedral because the front of the main building is covered with security netting. Feeling slightly disappointed.

The interior of the cathedral and it’s just simply beautiful.

We headed to Namsangol Hanok Village and I showed her around this places which I have been previously. Luckily I told my wife to bring along my camera tripod so that we could snap numerous photos of us together without asking anyone nearby or waiting endlessly targeting someone to be our photographer. Here is the traditional Korean drum.

From Namsangol Hanok Village, our next destination will be N Seoul Tower. Seoul Tower was built in 1969 and open to public in 1980. The height of Seoul Tower is 236.7 meters from the base and 479.7 meters above sea level. In 2005, the tower has been given a new look and been called N Seoul Tower. N represents ‘New’ look.

To get there, just take a yellow bus No 2 at the bus stop in front of the Chungmuro subway station. No worries if you missed the bus as there will be a bus every 5 minutes and it operates from 8am till midnight. During the bus ride up the winding road, we could see a nice view of the mountain. The fare was 800won per trip and it took us to the parking lot of N Seoul Tower. Other alternatives, you can take the cable car which I personally find it quite troublesome to get to the cable car station.

From here, we have to walk up to the Seoul Tower Plaza. As we were walking up the slope, we saw few stalls selling varieties of grilled octopus and candy floss.

Upon reaching the N Seoul Tower Plaza compound, we decided to go up the tower in the late evening as it’s getting colder and we were able to see the night view of Seoul.

There is a pavilion next to the tower.

Moving right to the pavilion, there’s a so-called lighthouse. From here, we can see the panoramic view of Seoul.

With the tripod I had, me and my wife can pose freely without feeling awkward. Can this photo win the audition for any Korean drama series? Haha. My wife is not a good photographer, so you will see most of her picture here instead of me…sigh

View of the N Seoul Tower

Reed of Light garden

The gift shop nearby sells popular N Seoul Tower souvenirs.

The roof terrace is the symbol of romantic couples love. There are a lot of couples came here and keep terrace lock on the iron fence; and couples wrote some message about their love.

Then we headed the lower floor, they called it the Observatory Elevator Lobby. This area is particularly popular among couples with its attractive hanging red plastic seats. These seats can fit for two people and located by windows. The best part, the admission is free here. So it always packs with loving couples like me.

An hour before the sunset, we bought tickets for two to the Digital Observatory, each cost 7000won. At the elevators to the tower, there is glass wall showing all the famous towers together with their heights. Our Malaysia KL Tower is listed there. While inside the elevator to the tower, there’s no view from inside and one can only see the monitor showing the height as we go up just like the KL Tower.

Once reached the Digital Observatory, I went to one floor lower to the Sky Restrooms. The moment I opened the door, I got a shock as even in the restrooms are also built with large window panels. With this, you can pee in comfort, enjoying the scenic views of Seoul and not worrying someone next to you peeping at you. I waited for few minutes until everyone left so that I can snap a good photo with the urinal. Just impressive!!! So whenever you are there, please visit the restroom for the sake of the nice view.

At the Sky Cafe, there is shop selling snacks and you can enjoy some snacks while sitting by the window enjoying the view, relaxing and chatting.

At the Digital Observatory, it offers a 360-degree view of Seoul equipped with high-powered telescopes. I should have try whether I can see North Korea from here.

View from the Digital Observatory, facing North of Seoul. It’s slightly misty outside due to the cold weather.

On each window panel, it displays the world cities and its distance from N Seoul Tower. Some of the window panel also has a guide showing various points of interest in Seoul.

I quickly went to the window panel to get a nice view of the sunset and some visitors started posing while being photographed.

Night view of Seoul, facing North of Seoul.

Reed of Light garden during the night

N Seoul Tower at night

Beautifully lighted pavilion

The temperature dropped drastically when we were outside the N Seoul Tower. My wife and I quickly walked down the slope trying to catch the next bus back to Chungmuro and headed back to hotel.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting, I just love this kind of trips and I will do my best effort to do it someday with my family because the city is the most beautiful of the country and I could do anything for see the the Digital Observatory.