Locating within Naejansan National Park, Baekyangsa is the second location where you may see more autumn foliage. You may see the mountain backdrop with colorful autumn foliage and reflection on a couple of ponds, walk on the bridges, and visit some culture assets of South Korea. The special photo spots are the “pond” area by the entrance and the pavilion at the temple. It is easily accessible from Naejangsan but you will have to spend at least one more day on Jeongeup/Naejangsan to be able to visit. You won’t be able to do a day trip to cover both Naejangsan National Park and Baekyangsa Temple even though the later is part of the National Park.
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.
While it has very little resemblance to Machupicchu in Peru which is a historic ruin up on the mountain in high altitude, Gamcheon Culture Village is unique in its own way with many colorful murals and sculptures that create a colorful village.
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.
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.
Locating just half an hour away from Seoul, Suwon Hwaseong Fortress offers a unique cultural experience in South Korea. Constructed from 1794 to 1896, Suwon Hwaseong Fortress was designed by a leading scholar with careful planning, incorporating the best examples from Europe and East Asia. The fortress wall stretches 5.7 km long with 4 gates, a main stream in Suwon flowing through the center, firearm bastions, artillery towers, flood gates, observation towers, and command posts. Today, there is a main road going through the north and south gate and the stream is still running. The fortress was designated as Historical Monument in 1963 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Locating next to the Incheon China Town, Incheon Art Platform consists of 13 buildings erected in the 30s and 40s. These historic buildings have been renovated into creative art and design studios, education and performance halls. There are also guest houses which I think are designated for artists who want to do stay, create art work or participate in exchange programs.
Following the signing of China-Korea Treaty in 1882, Incheon was designated as the extraterritoriality of Ching Dynasty and the Incheon Port opened in 1883 to begin modern trade between China and Korea. The Chinatown was over 100 years old and all businesses remain are now run by second and third generation. Having been to many Chinatown around the world, this Incheon Chinatown is quite impressive with new red paints and carries a lot of traditional Chinese characters.
Visiting Seoul in late May to early June is the best time to see roses, a kind of spring flowers. The Rose Gardens in Olympic Park and Seoul Grand Park hold Rose Festivals around the same time due to the same temperature. The Olympic Park is free and there is an admission fee of KRW 2,000 for the Rose Festival in Seoul Grand Park. Well, the later is much bigger in scale. Planning ahead is a bit challenging. Only the estimated/planned event dates are available on Tourism Office’s website. So you will have to check with Tourist Information desk when you arrive at Seoul. I hope that more information are available online so that we can plan ahead. That’s probably the reason why I didn’t see any foreign tourists. Luckily, I arrived the day after the Rose Festival began and picked a sunny week day to visit the park. It was not crowded and surprisingly beautiful.
At 236 meters, N Seoul Tower is the highest point of Seoul where you can get a good view of the city. The night view of the city is spectacular! “N” stands for “new” look when the Seoul Tower went through a 15 billion won remodelling project. Now, there are a few restaurants, namely N Grill, N Burger, N Terrace, N Sweet Bar in the tower, offering a panoramic view and a wide variety of food and drinks from a simple burger to fine dining by a Michelin star chef. The observatory is another paid access. However, since I can see the panoramic view of Seoul city from the public area, I didn’t go up the N Tower. I think that the interesting experience is the elevator ride near Myeongdong subway stations that leads to the entrance of the cable car station where you can take a cable car up to the top of Namsan Mountain. You may also walk up to the cable car stations. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes.