Scavenging For S(e)oul: Recap

At the end of last month The Soul of Seoul Tours hosted our first event under the title of Scavenging For S(e)oul. Teams raced from Gwanghwamun through Jongno along the Cheonggyecheon into Bukchon and Gwangjang Market, down to Dongdaemun and eventually turned up at 3 Alley in Itaewon.

The teams were provided with 40 clues that took them to specific locations as well as asked them to look for matchy matchy couples, dyed dogs and ajjussis in hiking gear. From culture and tradition to history and fads, everything was covered.

The Soul of Seoul Tours: Scavenging For S(e)oul Poster

As this was our very first event, initially we were just hoping to get 60 people, or just 15 teams. I say “just”, but even 15 teams is a handful. In the end, we were bombarded with messages from excited attendants and so we ended up with 82 people on 20 teams. The outpouring made us even more excited and we went all out.The Soul of Seoul Tours: Scavenging For S(e)oul Event

The teams came dressed up and in the team spirit, ready to go go go!

The Soul of Seoul Tours: Scavenging For S(e)oul Event

The Soul of Seoul Tours: Scavenging For S(e)oul EventThe Soul of Seoul Tours banner

We amped up our search for fellow expat owned and small businesses to help with the prizes and we were excited to be able to provide the winners… and some of the non-winners with prizes from: Create Wellness, The Bakers Table, Sprout, High Street Market, Zweiter Stock, Phillies Pub, Casablanca and Atlas.

At precisely 1:00pm, we handed each team the clues and our logo that had to appear in each photo to ensure that no photos were taken in advance of the event. They were off to get team jump shots, cram into phone booths and find waterfalls, murals and more.

The Soul of Seoul Tours: Scavenging For S(e)oul Event The stopped by street art covered walls in the Bukchon area and looked at the historical placards in Tapgol Park depicting the fight for independence in Korea.The Soul of Seoul Tours: Scavenging For S(e)oul Event

The met fellow expats wandering the streets and met up with Hanbok clad friends.

The Soul of Seoul Tours: Scavenging For S(e)oul Event

Some fellow expat bloggers, Ryan and Stephanie Hedger of Hedgers Abroad and Scott and Megan of bobo and chichi teamed up and came to the event as well. I was especially excited to meet both of these couples as I’ve read their blogs for some time. In a funny turn of events, these guys were so enthusiastic about the event and even more so about dressing up in some dinosaur footsies that they forgot to flip the clues page over. They completed just under half of the clues and came in dead last but stylishly so. They showed up at the end in good spirits and applauded all of the winners as only last place but okay-about-it people can. It was great to meet these fellow bloggers living it up in Korea.

The Soul of Seoul Tours: Scavenging For S(e)oul Event The Soul of Seoul Tours: Scavenging For S(e)oul EventWe had a great time and we hope that all of the teams did as well. We’ll be hosting more scavenger hunts in the future so if you’d like to attend, stay on top of our Facebook Page.The Soul of Seoul Tours: Scavenging For S(e)oul Event The Soul of Seoul Tours: Scavenging For S(e)oul Event

The Soul of Seoul Tours: Scavenging For S(e)oul Event The Soul of Seoul Tours: Scavenging For S(e)oul Event The Soul of Seoul Tours: Scavenging For S(e)oul Event

The Lotus Lantern Parade: Moving & Grooving With Lights

Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016

Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016One of the most colorful, beautiful and decorated events of the year takes place each May to celebrate Buddha’s birthday and this year was no exception.

Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016

While Buddha’s birthday, which is celebrated on May 14th this year, has yet to pass, the celebrations have already commenced and this past weekend the Lotus Lantern Festival with the parade highlight was spectacular as always. It’s an event that I try to see each year and of my ten years in Korea, I think I’ve only missed it three times. This year, I was able to introduce my daughter to the event for the first time and oh did she have fun.
Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016

The parade walkers actually start out at Dongguk University Stadium at a cheer rally to get in the spirits of the day. From there, they make there way to Dongdaemun where the parade actually starts just in front of Dongdaemun Gate. Around 6PM, the main drag along Jongno from Dongdaemun to Jonggak begins to be shut down. Barriers are put up and traffic is slowly re-routed while chairs are put out along the street. For those hoping to sit near the end of the route at Jonggak, you’ve gotta get there the earliest to grab a chair, by 5:30 or 6 at the latest, because those are the most popular seats because at the end of the parade a street party breaks out and concert too and Jonggak is where it is all at.
Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016

If you’re like me and carting around a child that decided a nap at 4PM was a good idea, then you’ll likely get a late start and the closer to Dongdaemun that you go, the easier it is to get a front row seat on the street a bit later. We rocked up at 6:30 and had no problem grabbing one of the hundreds of chairs ready and waiting just beyond the gate.

Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016
Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016

Koreans in traditional Hanboks and other garb with traditional instruments kick off the parade and then come the groups, groups and more groups of Buddhists in Hanboks or just in some colorful matching shirts with their lanterns raised high above them. 100,000 lanterns light up the night sky as the sun sets and the moon takes over. 300,000 participants walk the path that ends at Jogyesa Temple and the sights are wondrous.

Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016

There are few holidays in Korea that are as colorfully decorated or celebrated and probably because of the love and care that this event brings about among Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, it’s all the more special and one of my favorite events.

Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016

Our little one was just as drawn to the twinkling lights and beautiful Hanboks as I was. While at first she scrambled up to my lap as the loud traditional instruments were banged upon and wasn’t sure what all the noise was about, by the end she had tried to break free and join the parade at least 5 times. She got beyond the barrier and started dancing with her little bouncy up and down moves and all I could do was hold on to that tiny hand while she grooved. She felt the spirit of happiness, gratitude and beauty that this parade encapsulates and I let her jive on.
Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016

This festival dates back to the Silla Kingdom in Korea (57BC~935AD), continued through the Goryeo Kingdom and then into the Joseon Dynasty which ended in 1910. To have something with that much history behind it is also amazing when considering the tumultuous history that Korea has had.

Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016

If you missed the festival, there are still beautiful lanterns hung up around the city to view as Buddha’s birthday is still to come and many temples around the country will have special events this coming weekend for the birthday. Temples like Bongeunsa on the eastern side of Seoul and Bongwonsa on the western side would be good places to check out. Lanterns are also strung up at Jogyesa Temple and along the Cheonggyecheon Stream downtown. Spring is truly the best time of the year to visit some of these temples that are all the more beautiful when decked out. Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016

Take some time to appreciate the beauty and wisdom and compassion that this upcoming holiday is all about.Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016 Lotus Lantern Parade, Seoul, Korea 2016

Flower Festival @ Ilsan Lake Park

Ilsan Lake Park, Flower FestivalIlsan Lake Park, Flower FestivalThe International Horticulture Goyang Korea Festival (고양 국제꽃박람회) was first held in 1997 and has attracted almost 6 million people to their international flower exhibition since then. The lake that the flower fest sits around is draw enough to this spot and is worth a visit any time of the year, but with the addition of the flower plots and photo-op spots, it’s a great day out. While I wouldn’t recommend visiting on a weekend, if you’ve got a day off during the week, it’s just fine.Ilsan Lake Park, Flower Festival Ilsan Lake Park, Flower Festival

Over 300 organizations, groups and companies come together to put on the spectacular flower power show and decorate the boardwalk around the lake as well as the paths that intersect nearby. There are indoor gardens and artistic floral arrangements, cultural concerts and performances and more.Ilsan Lake Park, Flower Festival Ilsan Lake Park, Flower Festival Ilsan Lake Park, Flower Festival Ilsan Lake Park, Flower Festival Ilsan Lake Park, Flower Festival

The outdoor area includes a Love Zone, Happiness Zone, Joyful Garden and New Korean Wave area and numerous other sections with just as gleeful sounding names. The flowers are in full bloom and there is plenty of space for kids to run around and things for them to do as well.

When: 04.29.2016 ~ 05.15.2016

Hours: Weekdays: 9:00am ~ 9:00pm; Weekends and Holidays: 8:30am ~ 10:00pm

Address:

595, Hosu-ro, Ilsandong-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do
경기도 고양시 일산동구 호수로 595 (장항동)

Admission: Adults: W10,000/ Special discount available for foreigners, children and elderly: W8,000

Website

Ilsan Lake Park, Flower Festival

 

The Lotus Lantern Festival: Event Guide

The Lotus Lantern Festival in celebration of Buddha’s birthday is coming up this weekend and oh is it a sight to behold.Seoul, Korea: Lotus Lantern Festival

The festival takes place over a few days with events around downtown Seoul from morning into the eve. Lanterns have been strung up around the city in anticipation of the event and then over 100,000 more lanterns will be lit and paraded down the road from Dongguk University to Gwanghwamun Square. Lotus lanterns, elephants, dragons and more will be marched down the road to culminate in a dance party in the streets. Make your plans now and use this nifty guide to do it:Seoul, Korea: Lotus Lantern Festival 2013,

Eoulim Madang

Seoul, Korea: Lotus Lantern FestivalAs the first event of the festivities, the Eoulim Madang is all about getting people movin’ and groovin’ and ready for a good time… and a long walk. All of the participants in the parade gather together at Dongguk University Stadium in their Hanboks and other traditional garb, gather their lanterns and dance, sing and pray to get into the spirit of celebrating Buddha’s birthday. Spectators are welcome and may even pick up a free lantern, but if you want to get the best seats for the parade, you’ll want to make a mad dash from the stadium down to Jonggak before the end of the stadium festivities.

Where: Dongguk University Stadium, (Dongguk University Station, Line 2, Exit 6)

When: May 7th from 4:30pm ~ 6:00pm

Lantern Parade

Seoul, Korea: Lotus Lantern FestivalIn the past, around 300,000 people have gathered together to witness the beauty that is the Lantern Parade. With over 100,000 lanterns to see in all shapes and sizes from the traditional lotus flowers to the long dragon and large elephants and fire breathing peacocks, there are some sights to enjoy, not to mention the beautiful Hanboks groups will be wearing. Though the parade starts in Dongdaemun, the most popular place to grab the free seats that will be placed along the route is closer to Jonggak Station. People start filling up the seats 30-60 minutes in advance so grab some friends, get some drinks and get there early.

Where: From Dongdaemun and to Jonggak

Transport: Dongdaemun Station (Line 1, Exit 9 & 10), Jongno 5-ga Station (Line 1,  Exit 1, 4, 5 & 8), Jongno 3-ga Station (Line 1, 3 and 5, every exit), Jonggak Station (Line 1, every exit).

When: May 7th from 7:00pm ~ 9:30pm

Hoehyang Hanmadang

Seoul, Korea: Lotus Lantern Festival 2013, confettiAfter the parade, though some people head home, the participants in the parade will gather together to fill Gwanghwamun Plaza (a new location this year as it has usually been Jonggak Square), and dance for another couple of hours. Dancers on stage will show you the steps so you can jump on in too. People link hands to shoulders and massive snages zig-zag through the crowds. There’s laughing, dancing and singing until an explosion of confetti falls overhead.

Where: Gwanghwamun Plaza, Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5, Exit 2, 3, 4 & 7)

When: May 7th from 9:30pm ~ 11:00pm

Traditional Culture Events Day

Seoul, Korea: Lotus Lantern FestivalTents line the street in front of Jogyesa temple and visitors can paint, glue and stamp a variety of Korean Buddhist crafts either for free or a very minimal cost that covers the material costs. You can make lotus lanterns, Buddhist prayer bead bracelets, traditional dolls, paint bowls and plates and stamp prints of Buddhist images.

Where: In front of Jogyesa Temple, Jonggak Station (Line 1, Exit 2) and Anguk Station (Line 3, Exit 6)

When: May 8th from 12:00pm ~ 7:00pm

Yeongdeungnori

Seoul, Korea: Lotus Lantern Festival 2013To finish off the entire event, a mini parade heads around the block from Jogyesa temple, down Insa-dong’s main drag and back to the temple to culminate in a final celebration with dancing and music. It’s a beautiful and more intimate event than the night previous and a great way to end the entire weekend celebrating the birth of Buddha.

Where: In front of Jogyesa Temple, Jonggak Station (Line 1, Exit 2) and Anguk Station (Line 3, Exit 6)

When: May 8th from 7:00pm ~ 9:00pmLotus Lantern Festival, Seoul, Korea 2014

 

Official Website

Seonyudo Park: Industrial Remnants Covered in Ivy

Seonyudo Park, Hangang River, Seoul, Korea

Seonyudo Park sits on an island on the Han River between Hapjeong and Dangsan only accessible by foot bridge, walking, or bus. The island used to house a water treatment plant but in the effort to bring green space back to Seoul, it was released back to nature.

Seonyudo Park, Hangang River, Seoul, Korea Seonyudo Park, Hangang River, Seoul, Korea Walkways go this way and that. From above you can see the waterways that allowed water to come in and be treated before being taken out again and from below you walk amid ivy covered concrete walls, bridges and obstructions. A waterfall flows and a greenhouse along with floating gardens are not to be missed. Pillars with concrete peeking out yet somehow able to support natural growth jut into the air.Seonyudo Park, Hangang River, Seoul, Korea Seonyudo Park, Hangang River, Seoul, Korea There are play areas for children and beautiful backdrops for photogs. There’s a small cafe and a hut to get some sausage while on a stroll and all of it is stunning when all done up by the natural wonder of mother nature.Seonyudo Park, Hangang River, Seoul, Korea Seonyudo Park, Hangang River, Seoul, KoreaSeonyudo Park is one of those perfect places to getaway to for a few hours, have a picnic and feel as though you’re not sitting smack dab in the middle of a massive city. There are plenty of enclaves to hide in and feel as though no one will find you, which also makes it the perfect location for a game of hide and seek or tag, too.

Seonyudo Park, Hangang River, Seoul, Korea Seonyudo Park, Hangang River, Seoul, Korea Seonyudo Park, Hangang River, Seoul, Korea Family outing, friends for a picnic or just locals hoping to get some away time, everyone can find something to enjoy about Seonyudo. It’s just difficult enough to get to that hoards of people are rarely found on the island, but easy enough to get to that no one should miss out on a visit to the island.Seonyudo Park, Hangang River, Seoul, Korea Seonyudo Park, Hangang River, Seoul, Korea

Address:

영등포구 양화동  95

95 Yanghwa-dong Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, Korea

Phone: 02-2634-7250

Directions:

Bus: 60, 60-3, 70, 70-2, 70-3, 88, 88-1, 602, 603, 604, 605, 642, 661, 670, 760, N26, N62, 5616, 5712, 5714, 6514, 6623, 6631, 6632, 6712, 6716, 7612

Subway:

→ Take subway line 2 to Dangsan Station (exit #1), then take a bus (605, 6623, 6631, 6632, 6633) and get off at Hanshin Apts. Cross over the Rainbow Bridge.

→ Or, take subway line 9 to Seonyudo Station (exit #1) and walk until the large intersection. Take a right and walk towards the river. Eventually you’ll see the ramp spanning the freeway to Rainbow Bridge.

→ Or, take subway line 2 to Hapjeong Station (exit #8) and take a 20-minute walk across the Yangwha Bridge and enjoy nice views of the city while inhaling lots of vehicle exhaust. Or get a bus going south. There are a few that stop in the middle of the bridge and let you off to get to the park entrance. It’s free. Open 06:00-24:00.

Hours: Everyday: 6:00am – Midnight

Gastro Tour Seoul @ The K-Style Hub

This past week, I was invited by the founder of Gastro Tour Seoul, Veronica Tae-Ahn Kang, to attend a tour at the new K-Style Hub. I’ve of course heard about Gastro for a few years but just hadn’t had the chance to go on a tour so I jumped at the invitation.Gastro Tour Seoul @ K-Style Hub, Seoul, Korea

The K-Style Hub is the new tourist information center downtown and is really modern and chic inside, a great step up from the previous location. The three floors that make up the hub are split into a floor for all the info a tourist could possibly need from culture and history to medical tourism as well. Not only that, but there is also a Hallyu experience facility with graphics and screens so that you can stand “with” some of your fav K-pop stars. There’s also an area to experience some virtual reality if you want to step behind the headsets. The next floor houses a Korean Food Exhibition Hall to educate wanderers in the area about Korean food from particular dishes to ingredients. This floor is a good introduction to what may happen upstairs in the state of the art kitchen if you sign up for a Gastro Tour.Gastro Tour Seoul @ K-Style Hub, Seoul, Korea Gastro Tour Seoul @ K-Style Hub, Seoul, Korea Gastro Tour Seoul @ K-Style Hub, Seoul, Korea

The next floor houses a cafe and numerous places to sit in a modern yet rustic area just next to the Learning Place with rows of sinks and stoves for those needing some cooking education.Gastro Tour Seoul @ K-Style Hub, Seoul, Korea

Veronica was on the advisory panel for the hub, brought on by the Hansik Foundation to advise and organize. Our tour was the first to take place in the kitchens. The cooking class was a trial run and while there were a few things that could be adjusted, it’s a great space that will surely bring delight to many who visit Korea or long time residents that hope to receive a cooking class from some of Korea’s elite chefs.Gastro Tour Seoul @ K-Style Hub, Seoul, Korea Gastro Tour Seoul @ K-Style Hub, Seoul, Korea Gastro Tour Seoul @ K-Style Hub, Seoul, Korea

Our chefs for the tour were Chef Lee Jong Im, a popular television chef in Korea and director of the Korea Food and Culture Research Center, along with her daughter Chef Park Bo Kyeong. Chef Park went through a bit of relevant information for those that aren’t acquainted with Korean cooking and then dove into making the dishes completely through from start to finish so that we could do it ourselves once she’d finished. We made Bulgogi and a bulgogi kimchi salad to go along with it. I had never realized how easy bulgogi was and of course made it this week for my family to show off the education I’d received. I adapted it slightly with some hints from my mother-in-law but it was nice to have a completely English, aka no confusion style, explanation for a Korean recipe.Gastro Tour Seoul @ K-Style Hub, Seoul, Korea

My partner and I did a bang up job as it seemed everyone did. By the time we all sat down, there was little talking around the table as each pair devoured the food they’d whipped up. Gastro Tour Seoul @ K-Style Hub, Seoul, Korea

While this wasn’t the normal Gastro Tour, it was great to see Veronica in action and to learn more about why I’d heard so much about Gastro in the past. Check out her site for more information on the tours she provides if you’re interested in the culinary delights of Korea.

Gastro Tour Seoul

K-Style Hub:

40, Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 중구 청계천로 40 (다동)

Direction: Jonggak Subway Station, exit 5 OR Euljiro 1-ga Subway Station, exit 2

Tourist Information Center: 2nd floor, 9:00am ~ 8:00pm

  • Language assistance in Korean, English, Japanese and Chinese

Korean Food Exhibition Hall (3rd floor), Experience Hall (4th floor), Art Market (5th floor)

Open every day except for Tuesdays; 10:00am ~ 6:00pm

Website

Korean Music Festivals: Summer of 2016

After spring comes summer and all I can think about is outdoor festivals, music and a cold sudsy beer in my hand. Summer. Music. Outdoor fun. Ya feel me? Here are some of the big summer music festivals to look out for in Korea. Get your tickets now for early bird specials!Every Single Day 2011 @ Busan Rock Festival

Beautiful Mint Life

May 14, 2016 ~ May 15, 2016; Olympic Park, Songpa-gu, Seoul

Tickets: One Day W85,000; Two days W135,000

beautiful mint life 2016Beautiful Mint life started by Mint Paper back in 2010 brings together Roy Kim, No Reply, Peterpan Complex, Hello Gayoung, Cheeze, Peppertones, Playmode, GlenCheck, Daybreak, Electron Sheep, Papercut Project and more for some spring fun in Olympic Park. Meant to be a beautiful and peaceful event, it welcomes picnickers, music lovers and just all around happy-go-lucky people to Songpa for a spring event on the grass.

Website

 

Greenplugged

May 21, 2016 ~ May 22, 2016; Nanji Hangang Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Tickets: W88,000 per day* (tickets are cheaper if purchased in advance)

Greenplugged Seoul 2016This festival sits just meters away from the Han River. While the water rushes by in the background, the grass beckons those in attendance to have a seat, eat a picnic and enjoy a fun day outside in the spring breeze. Acts include Monotones, Galaxy Express, Nell, NoBrain, Crying Nut and many many more. Just up the road from Hongdae, it’s easy to get to and is sure to be a good time in the grass.

Website

 

HBC May Music Festival

May 27, 2016 ~ May 29, 2016; Haebongcheon, Seoul

HBC Fest 2015This local fest has gotten bigger and bigger and in its eleventh year will surely continue to impress. The list of artists to play is substantial. From bands to solo acts, acoustic sets, reggae and more, this fest has it all. Not only are the gigs worth the trip, but the venues are welcoming sights too. From local favorites like Phillies and Hidden Cellar to Bedrock and Hair of the Dog, there will be good eats and craft beer to satiate the taste buds, too.

Website

 

Seoul Jazz Festival

May 28, 2016 ~ May 29, 2016; Olympic Park, Songpa-gu, Seoul

Tickets: W188,000

Seoul Jazz Festival 2016Damien Rice, Pat Metheny, DJ Mark Ronson, Corinne Bailey, Vintage Trouble, Jason Derulo, Kings of Convenience, Jamie Cullum and many more will grace the stage for the 10th Seoul Jazz Festival. The mix is a little of this and a little of that under the title of Jazz, but the event sure draws a crowd. Don’t miss out on some big names coming to Seoul soon.

Website

 

UMF Korea

June 10, 2016 ~ June 12, 2016

UMF Korea 2016UMF doesn’t really need an introduction. The festival that takes place in venues all around the world will make a stop in Seoul and you won’t want to miss it. This year the line-up includes deadmau5, Rabbit in the Moon, Knife Party, Avicii, Afrojack and just so so many more awesome acts. Get your tickets early to get those early bird specials and don’t miss out on the fun this summer!

Website

 

Rainbow Island

June 18, 2016 ~ June 19, 2016

Tickets: W88,000* (Early bird special currently W55,000)

Rainbow Island 2016Fun in the sun and camping on an island made that much better with live music. What could be better? The line-up includes Idiotape, Disco Experience, Toyo and more to be announced. If an island getaway complete with a music festival and camping doesn’t sound like fun to you, I don’t know what else to say to make it sound enticing.

Website

 

Jisan Valley Rock Music & Arts Festival

July 22, 2016 ~ July 24, 2016; Jisan Resort; Icheon, Gyeonggido

Tickets: 3 days W260,000

Ansan Valley Rock FestivalThis festival is one of the biggest events of the summer and people around the country look forward to heading to Jisan to nestle into the mountains for a good time. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Disclosure, Stereophonics, Travis, Tegan and Sara, Blossoms, Dead Buttons, Flight Facilities, Monotones and more to be announced.

Website

 

Pentaport Rock Festival

August 12, 2016 ~ August 14, 2016; Songdo Pentaport Park, Incheon

Tickets: W220,000* (early bird special on now W176,000)

Pentaport 2015If you’re into rock and electronic music, this festival has been a favorite of many since 2006. The name comes out of the combination of the five main themes of the fest: music, passion, eco-friendly, DIY and friendship. Suede, Two Door Cinema Club, Panic! at the Disco, Weezer, The Koxx, Daybreak, Peppertones, Run River North, Maan, Romantic Punch with many more to be announced.

Website

 

Busan Rock Festival

August 26, 2016 ~ August 28, 2016

August On The Go: Busan Rock FestivalNot only can this festival rock your socks off, but at the same time, the larger Busan Sea Festival which this rock festival is under the umbrella of, is taking place. Thirty festivals in one! The rock fest has gotten bigger and bigger each year and showcases Busan’s own homegrown musicians as well as other rock and metal acts from across the country and abroad. Info hasn’t been announced for this one yet but wrapping up the summer of music down in Busan is a must!

Website

Fun! Fun! Here We Come!

Ansan Draws a Small Crowd for Cherry Blossom Blooms

Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossomsI mentioned that I was considering heading to Yeouido or Namsan to see some of the cherry blossoms in their last hurrah and some of my Korean mom friends prompted me to instead go to Ansan. I’ve hiked Ansan numerous times as it’s just down the street from my house but apparently I missed it every spring because I did NOT know that the base is COVERED with cherry blossoms on the side nearest to me.

Monday Ansan met me with beautiful blooms in their blushing white hues getting ready to drop but hanging on for just a few more days.

Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, KoreaNear Hongje Stream (Hongjecheon 홍제천) a waterfall is the first sight to few and that is just the beginning of the great sights to behold on Ansan Mountain. On the hillside just behind the waterfall sits all of these beautiful cherry blossom trees and the crowds were not nearly as large as you’d expect for a grove this beautiful.

Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms School children picking up the petals as they dropped, couples on romantic dates and older Korean women dressed to the nines in their hiking gear sat enjoying picnics beneath the trees. There were also tulips and other flowers just peering out on the curated hillside that was just redone a couple years ago with plots of herbs, a concert area and benches. Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, KoreaContinuing up the mountain, Ansan has even more to offer in terms of views. The cherry blossom trees make way to more paths that take hikers through metasequoia trees and pines. You can hike all the way up to the peak for a spectacular view of the city but there’s also a path midway up the mountain that loops the entire way around and offers some of the best. Straight up and down wouldn’t take much more than an hour or hour and a half if you book it, but the loop would take a couple of meandering hours. Trails lead off of the loop to overlooks with built in picnic tables or platforms with hammocks strung up for anyone to enjoy. There is a lot hidden in the summer when the leaves are lush and I recommend taking a wander to enjoy the mountain thoroughly.

Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms

From this mountain, you can also take a walk down to see Bongwonsa Temple, Seodaemun Independence Park and prison or the waterfall that spills into Hongje Stream. There’s plenty to enjoy on the mountain from the peak to the paths and everything in between.
Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, pink flowers Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, pink flowers Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, yellow flowersIt’s never too late to get out and enjoy the views though from spring to winter, the mountain is beautiful and worth the trip. Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, view of city from mountaintop Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, yellow flowers Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, view of city from mountaintop Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms

Address:

서울특별시 서대문구 봉원동

Bongwon-dong Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

Amenities: parking, bathrooms, picnic tables, hammocks, exercise equipment

Pyeonghwa Park Is Abloom with Cherry Blossoms

Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowersLike I’ve been saying again and again the past couple of weeks, there are flowers just everywhere right now. You just can’t miss them unless you’re purposefully staying hidden in the shadows looking away from the dazzling spring sunshine and the bright hues of the petals bursting forth.

Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowers Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowers Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowersBy why would you do that? Why would you want to stay away from the lush white, pink and yellow flowers that are sending alluring aromas through the light breezes? These cherry blossom lined bike paths and walkways sit in Pyeonghwa Park (평화공원) or Peace Park one of the five parks of the World Cup Parks system. If you follow my blog, you know it’s our go-to parks system as it’s right down the street from us and with five parks to choose from with everything from mountains to climb, bike paths to bike, streams to look at fish and the Han River too, there really isn’t anywhere else we need to go for some fresh air and some dazzling views.
Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, baby and HallieWe can even make new friends beneath the white petalled beauties because 1. babies are cute and draw lots of attention but also 2. we’re all trying to get photos of same backgrounds so why not strike up a conversation. The cherry blossoms are in their last hurrah of spring this week so everyone is trying to find the gorgeous trees before they’re all done blooming.

Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowers Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, baby and Hallie Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowersThe pictures really say all that needs to be said. The petals are already beginning to drop so enjoy them while you can. This is the last week to see them as before long they’ll be on the ground and leaves will take their place and then summer will be here!

Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, baby and Hallie Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowers Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowers

Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowers Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowers

Address:

서울 마포구 성산동 487-359

487-359 Seongsan-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea

Directions:

Subway: Worldcup Station, exit 1. Walk straight to the main street and turn right. Walk straight along the large road and Sky Park will come up first across the street. If you want to go to Nanji Stream Park, hop onto the Mapo local bus 08 at the bus stop under the bridge just outside of the stadium and get off a few stops down the road.

Bus: 7011, 7016, 470, 670, Mapo local bus 08

Worldcup Park map

1. Noeul, Sunset, Park

2. Haneul, Sky, Park

3. Nanjicheon, Nanji Stream, Park

4. Nanji Hangang, Nanji Han River, Park

5. Pyeonghwa, Peace, Park

Hours:

Haneul Park & Noeul Park
Jan: 9:00am – 7:00pm
Feb, Oct: 9:00am – 7:30pm
Mar, Sep: 9:00am – 8:00pm
Apr, May: 9:00am – 8:30pm
Jun, Jul, Aug: 9:00am – 9:00pm
Nov, Dec: 9:00am – 6:30am

Pyeonghwa Park & Nanjicheon Park
Open 24 hrs. a day, year-round

Admission: Free

Amenities:

Parking, wheelchair rental, restrooms, sports facilities, jogging/biking paths

Spotting Blooms On Ujangsan

Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park

You probably pass by them without realizing it. They sit along roads and byways and if you’re walking with your nose in a phone, book or some other gadget or gizmo, you’re bound to Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain parkwalk right on by the hills that sit this way and that in almost every neighborhood with paths that lead up to scenic view points, exercise equipment and benches. These hills provide respite to the weary soul looking to get away from the busy streets and if you walk right on by, you’re missing out on quiet locations to catch a breath and well, just breathe some of that fresh air that trees are pumping out. Twice a week I head to Gangseo-gu and have noticed a few times this hill that sits just beyond some bigger buildings and apartments. Finally this week I had some extra time in my schedule and I skedaddled up there. Of course, I asked a helpful looking older Korean woman if I was heading in a good direction and she told me I was headed just the right way and had a great idea to spend 30 minutes on the hill because that’s all I’d need to get up and down with plenty of time to spare.

Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain parkThe name Ujang originates from the ritual for rain that the governor held in Yancheon during periods of drought. The mountain doesn’t seem to be lacking in water as the plants were lush and all of flowers were blooming. From the road, the cherry blossom trees tower and beckon visitors to come in. Unfortunately, these cherry blossom trees are huge and once beneath the canopy the flowers are too high up to really enjoy save a few smaller trees here and there. What I was surprised with though were the beautiful pink flowers that were all over the place. Their bushes weren’t nearly as lush, as they’re quite covered by the canopy above, but they were all over the place adding a pink flare to the surroundings.
Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park

Some of the cherry blossoms were better appreciated at the peak along with a monument with benches and the requisite exercise equipment. I appreciate a good wander and these hills that are everywhere are always a good place to get a quick wander in before a meeting, appointment or work. Don’t look at your shoes while you walk but instead look up and see if those bushes along the street are actually connected to a hill that you can step into to get away.

You never know what you’ll find above.

Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain parkUjangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park

Ujang Park (우장산근린공원)

서울특별시 강서구 화곡로 302 강서구청

Gangseo-gu Hwagok-ro 302 Gangseo-gu Office

Transportation

Subway Line 5 Ujangsan Station(walk 10 min.)
Bus 604, 5622, 6629, 6655. Get off at Gayang-gu Office Bus Stop. (walk 10 min.)