Time surely has flied fast. I still cannot believe my program has been half way through. After my class registration period was over, I successfully signed up for two courses that will later be counted toward my USF degree. One is the Korean cinema; and the other is the Korean Language Level 1. As I already mentioned before, because a semester course at Yonsei is taught in six weeks, my workload is a little bit heavier than usual. My class period starts from 1:00pm to 6:30pm from Monday to Thursday. Thus, I often dedicate these four days just to study and spend the rest of the week to visit popular attractions in Seoul.
Ever since I moved into Yonsei’s SK Global dorm, I have befriended with so many students who come from different countries. I have gotten closer to them as we hang out and explore attractions in Seoul together on the weekend. I must agree that my experience at YISS wouldn’t be the same without these wonderful people. Studying, learning about South Korean culture, and going on adventures are the major things that I have done in the past four weeks. For the rest of this post, I will share with you pictures of some popular attractions of Seoul that I have gone to and subway directions of how to get there.
City Hall Subway Station – Line 1, exit 4
Choenggyecheon Stream: This is a 10.84km-long stream that bisects the heart of Seoul. It carries history from the time of the Joseon Dynasty to the period of rapid industrialization and economic development. In 2005, the stream went under a three-year restoration project to transform into a beautifully ecological stream. My friends and I took a stroll down the walking path along the Cheonggyecheon and enjoyed the night view here under fantastic lighting.
Gyeongbokgung Subway Station – Line 3, exit 5
Gyeongbokgung Palace: Words could not describe how fantastic the architecture of this palace is. Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in the Joseon Dynasty, a 500-year-history. It remains as the largest grand palace in Seoul. If you are interested in getting a glimpse into the royal culture, I highly recommend this palace. The admission fee costs 3000 Won (~3 US dollars), and it closes at 6:30pm during the summer. You should definitely enjoy this traditional scenery around 4:00pm as it would be extremely hot by noon.
Gwanghwamun Square: This 555-meter-long and 34-meter-wide square is in front of the main gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace so I visited this place right after Gyeongbokgung Palace. The statues of two most respected historical figures by Koreans, Admiral Yi Sunshin (a naval commander under the Choson Dynasty) and King Sejong (Korean alphabet creator) are situated in the middle of Gwanghwamun Square.
Anguk Subway Station – Line 3
Exit 2 – Bukchon Hanok Village: In the middle of Seoul, this district is packed with over 900 traditional Korean houses called Hanok. Even though Hanoks were built during the Joseon period, it is still a residential area. When I walked through the alleys of this village, I imagined myself as either a member of the royal family or aristocrat (:p). Of all places I have visited up to this point, Bukchon Hanok Village has definitely become my most favorite attraction in Seoul.
Exit 6 – Insa-dong Street: Insa-dong street has been the location of many art galleries since long ago. The street showcases traditional Korean antique art, teahouses and craft shops. I ended up purchasing gifts for my friends and family back home at Insa-dong.
I’ll stop here. In my last three weeks in Seoul, I will explore some more locations. I expect to continue sharing them with you on my next post.