The Banpodaegyo Bridge Moonlight Rainbow Fountain is an interesting 20-minute show at night in Seoul between April and October. There are 3 shows from 20:00 to 21:00 during the weekdays in April, June, September and October. The show begins earlier at 19:30 at the weekends, holidays and in the summer (July and August). If you come to the area early, check out the Some Evit on the other side of the bridge which is an artificial island with multimedia gallery and coffee shops. The sunset is really gorgeous then you may walk across to see the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain performance.

First designated as a book village near the border of South Korea, the idea has quickly expanded into a “cultural art village” by engaging over three hundred cultural artists. Today, Heyri Art Valley has 370 members. There are museums, galleries, cafes and restaurants, sales, exhibitions, sculptures, book house, and living space for artists. Every building was designed by nationally and internationally renowned architects.

Wearing traditional Korean clothes (Hanbok) to take photos in the backdrop of traditional Korean houses (Hanok) has been very popular in these couple of years. It’s called Hanbok Experience.

It will be a good half-day walk if you take the 8 views challenge and have a good look at Bukchon Hanok Village. Depending on the time you start, a lunch/afternoon tea is a good way to break up a long walk. While you are in Bukchon, don’t miss a chance to dine in a traditional Korea house as well. Here are a couple of places I’ve tried.

Locating in between two palaces with a stream and mountain at the backdrop, Bukchon (north village) used to be home for the rich and famous. Even though it went through lots of changes, breaking down from large piece of land into smaller residence, it remains the highest concentration of traditional Korean houses (Hanok) in Seoul. A great way to explore Buchon Hanok Village is take a challenge to find all 8 views (photo spots) because it will take you to walk through the alleys and explore the area. It’s something fun to do.

Adorned with beautiful gingko trees, the 1-kilometer street of Sinsa Dong Garosu-gil (tree-lined street) is one of the most popular areas for both locals and tourists in Gangnam, Seoul. Garosu-gil housed art galleries in the 1980s and small shops in 1990s. In the past decade, modern shops popped up and many are run by young generations who studied overseas, bringing western styles to create a unique and cool area for dating, hanging out with friends, and tourists to visit.

Visiting Seoul of South Korea, Myeongdong is a not-to-be-missed area simply because the atmosphere is great, particularly at the weekend evenings. There are so many cosmetics shops everywhere. Many of them have more than one branch to make sure you won’t miss them. Restaurants and cafes are mixed in the street but most tend to be on the side or upper floors. Shops open late around 11am and close around 9pm at night during the weekdays (except for cosmetics shops). The area gets very busy at the weekends with more stalls and street food in the middle of the street.

The popularity of Line, a mobile application for instant messaging and communications has continued. The characters (Line friends) are so popular that they are now created into 3D toys, T-shirts and all kinds of merchandise. A Line Friends retail counter in Lotte Young Plaza in Myeongdong a few years ago is now expanding into a flagship store with a Line Cafe in Sinsa-dong, Gangnam in Seoul in March 2015. There are Line Friends stores in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Asia but if you travel to Seoul, you won’t miss the Line Friends Cafe & Store.

Walking around Gangnam is really fun. Most of the shops are spectacular with unique design. A shop is not just a shop, it’s a whole building. It’s very fascinating to explore the area. The Figure Museum W is one of the buildings that caught my eye when I walked by. It is a private museum that features all kinds of figures from Japanese manga to American super heroes.

Today, everyone wants to stay in touch with their friends and families at all time. So even when they are on vacation, mobile phone is the first thing people carry, not the passport. It remains the most important personal belonging because mobile phone is used for taking photos, videos, and have them uploaded to facebook and instagram. Not to mention the non-stop whatsapp messages and selfie to share every moment of their live. It’s all good. The key is to get connected. Wifi pocket has been the most common means of staying in touch in recent years. But it is one more device to carry and one more electronic item to recharge when you go back to your hotel. In this Korea trip, I used a local SIM card and it worked very well. The main reason why I wanted to get a local SIM card is that I want to be able to make local calls, be it 1330 for emergency help of translation and tourist information, or calling a taxi. It is important for independent travellers who travel…

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