Turning Six-Oh!

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October 31st 2013
Published: January 2nd 2014
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Le Petit FranceLe Petit FranceLe Petit France

They shot a Korean TV Series in this "French Village". It's a small and manageable theme park good for a morning at a leisurely pace.
I was here with some friends just a few months earlier. The Seoul stopover on our way home to Manila after our Mongolian adventure ended up like one major food trip. We certainly didn't waste time during our 2-night layover. And it was only fitting to use "Food Coma In Korea" as title for my blog on that May trip. Oh, how we indulged ourselves!

Celebrating With Family

Then October came. Family from Madrid and Sydney arrived to celebrate another milestone in my life. We earlier planned to have a big party but instead decided on a family trip to South Korea. I'm happy with that decision. And so was my entire fambam. Because we were a party of 11 pax, I asked a travel agent to package everything for us. The package included airfare, hotels, hired van, tours and all meals. Yes, ALL MEALS. You don't mess with my family when it comes to eating 😊 Another good decision. After all, it's not easy to find a long table for 11 pax in any good restaurant nor have 11 pax traveling together on buses, taxis or trains. The travel agent gave us an itinerary
Nami ParkNami ParkNami Park

Another Korean TV Series was shot here. A private island that promises romance for couples!
and we jointly decided on the sites to visit, the Korean food and delicacies we shouldn't miss, and the hotels we would be staying in.

The hired van with our own driver and tour guide was just perfect. We managed our time very well, dined off peak hours, visited sites before the crowds set in, and went back to our hotels early enough to enjoy the hotels and have a good rest. It was leisurely. Just the way we wanted it. We could have spent only 5 days doing the same sites here but instead did 6 leisurely days of fun, adventure and precious family bonding time. And because we had young family members with us, this tour was packaged as kid-friendly and packed with "activities" that won't allow any trace of boredom to set in.

Not Peter Pan. It's The Little Prince!

Then A Romantic Afternoon In Nami Island

Who would have thought there's a French Village just outside the capital? Having arrived early morning, we drove to Le Petite France to spend the rest of the chilly morning. Though sleep-deprived, the kids nearly jumped out of the van to run
Teddy Bear MuseumTeddy Bear MuseumTeddy Bear Museum

Don't ask me why but Korea is certainly the Land of Cute-ness. We found many such museums around Korea.
inside the village. Wide-eyed now, they got busy roaming around this cute-sy village which now houses a youth training facility. Enough activity to rev up one's appetite for a good Korean barbecue lunch before taking the short ferry ride to Nami Island.

There was a growing crowd by the time we reached the private island after lunch. I guess it's a very popular daytrip from Seoul especially since another Korean TV hit series was filmed here. Our guide kept making references to the Korean drama but unfortunately, no one in our 11pax contingent ever watched the show. But the island is lovely with many trees in autumn colors. Just like what we found, perhaps even better, in Seoraksan National Park the next day. The palette of autumn hues can be viewed from the balcony of our hotel inside the park. We skipped the cable car ride because the long line meant waiting for 2 hours. But we didn't miss the big Reunification Buddha monument and the colorful temples. Many locals were there to trek all the way up. Not us.

Not Just For The Kids

By the time we left our hotel the
Seoraksan National ParkSeoraksan National ParkSeoraksan National Park

Mt. Seorak in Autumn!
next morning, we were completely reenergized despite a full day of activity the day before. Ready for the theme park now. And Everland Theme Park didn't disappoint. Autumn and halloween decor adorned the huge park. No way you can cover its entirety in a single day. That is, unless you just walk through it. Some of the rides are not for the fainthearted, and many of the park mascots are completely "alien" to me who grew up on disney characters. But we most certainly all enjoyed the street parade.

The activities may have been designed with kids in mind, but let me tell you the adults had just as much fun. Feeding sheep and making ice cream in the Wind Village, ice-sculpting in the Ice Gallery, visiting Teddy Bear Museums --- all these the family enjoyed.

We're NOT Big Fans of Korean TV Drama, But.......

Included in our tour package was a visit to the MBC Dramia --- like the equivalent of an MGM or Universal studios. Again we were told that many Korean TV Drama series and films were shot here. Inside, one finds various sets : an entire folk village, a fortress,
Inside Seoraksan ParkInside Seoraksan ParkInside Seoraksan Park

Shinheungsa temple and its many colorful doors to prayer rooms.
a palace, etc. there were standees of what I presume to be Korean pop stars but none looked familiar to anyone of us. We must have been such a disappointment to our guide! But we get the drift of the many plots and movie scenes the guide described for us. We also obliged by posing beside many of the standees!

The Land of Cute-Ness

The itinerary gave us some independent time to explore, and to shop. In particular, we were delighted with the novelty of a Cats Cafe in Myeongdong . We had our coffee and tea in this place where so many cats roamed around. On your table, by the chair, poking into your bags, etc. Lovely, well-groomed felines you can pet and play with. Just be careful you don't spill your hot beverage on anyone of these pets!

The Euphoria of Turning 6-oh?

Back in Manila after the Korean Adventure, and the euphoria of family and friendship and pure togetherness simply carried through in the next few days till it was time to bid some family members goodbye. Oh yes, we had a party
Wind VillageWind VillageWind Village

Here, the kids fed sheep and learned how to make ice cream!
after all. 😊

On a safari theme, we fancied RAWR-ing the night away with family and a dozen close friends. On short notice, we changed plans, made reservations and simply enjoyed being together. After all, turning 6-oh is a milestone calling for an extended celebration.



Additional photos below
Photos: 31, Displayed: 26


MBC DramiaMBC Dramia
MBC Dramia

The equivalent of MGM or Universal Studios.
Everland Theme ParkEverland Theme Park
Everland Theme Park

Think Disneyland in South Korea!
Everland Theme ParkEverland Theme Park
Everland Theme Park

World class!
Everland Theme ParkEverland Theme Park
Everland Theme Park

Flowers in bloom in Autumn.
My 2 elves have grown! My 2 elves have grown!
My 2 elves have grown!

The 12 year old boy is taller than me now. And the 16 yr old loves shopping with me now. Oops.....
Hamming it up....Hamming it up....
Hamming it up....

Suwon Temple
Suwon TempleSuwon Temple
Suwon Temple
Mini Koreans?Mini Koreans?
Mini Koreans?
Mini Koreans in Pairs?Mini Koreans in Pairs?
Mini Koreans in Pairs?
Choo Choo Train in Suwon TempleChoo Choo Train in Suwon Temple
Choo Choo Train in Suwon Temple
Psy in Seoul TowerPsy in Seoul Tower
Psy in Seoul Tower
Uphill to Seoul TowerUphill to Seoul Tower
Uphill to Seoul Tower
Last Temple, promise.....Last Temple, promise.....
Last Temple, promise.....
A serious Ice SculptorA serious Ice Sculptor
A serious Ice Sculptor
Ice GalleryIce Gallery
Ice Gallery

3rd January 2014
Seoraksan National Park

Happy Birthday, Lili!
What a brilliant way to celebrate your birthday! I'm so impressed the way you and your large, extended family of all ages travel together, enjoying each other and exploring the world. Best wishes for many more years of lovely travel with your favorite people!
4th January 2014
Seoraksan National Park

Best bday celeb!
Thanks, Tara. It was wonderful to spend and celebrate my 60th with my family and best friend's family too. We could have been more, actually, if only my other friend was able to free herself for this celebration.
7th January 2014

Celebrating milestones with family
Happy Birthday my friend. I'm glad you organized a another great adventure for the family. Looks like you had a grand time! Looks like there is some lovely architecture and as always you've found some interesting foods to experiment with.
8th January 2014

Oh, I think the entire family has been bitten by the travel bug by now. My legacy, perhaps?

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