My Winter Sonata Experience
The final choice was between a trip full of adventure, searching for the Lost Horizon – The Shangri La or the romantic breakaway of Winter Sonata. The trip was actually planned almost a year in advance and I was so keen to go for the more adventurous one, with breathtaking landscapes, ancient towns and kingdoms, silk road and colorful tribes for my photography escapade. But due to my back problem which is still in the healing process, we finally decided to go for a relax and leisure kimchi experience. And it turned out to be one of the coolest (and coldest) experience ever.
To start with, the itinerary was so packed with sightseeing and stopovers, I felt as if we were one of the participants in the popular TV program – Explorace. Daily wake-up call was at 6.30 a.m local time (GMT +09:00) and the program finished at 9.00 to 10 p.m at night before we retired to our bed. Since there were so many places and so much interesting stories to share withing that span of time, it is quite impossible for me to put everything down in this limited space, thus only the highlights of the visit will be featured here for your viewing pleasure.
The 8 days and 6 nights trip started with a very pleasant Spring weather in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. Upon departing from the flight, our tour guide straight away brought us to the first itinerary of the day (Chandeokgung Palace and Namsangol Hanok Village) before we boarded our next domestic flight to the scenic island of Jeju-do.
I was told that Jeju Island is a paradise for newly married couples and a very popular destination for honeymooners. With so many natural beauties, magnificent landscapes and local attraction surrounding the island, no wonder the place is a real magnet to locals and foreign tourists. Since Jeju is actually a volcanic island, the shore lines are made up from vast area of lava. Lava tubes and special formation of lava called tephra making the place a World Natural Heritage site by UNESCO. Hallasan (Halla Mountain- 1,950 m) in Jeju is the highest mountain in South Korea. Locals got their water supply from this area and also honey from special flowers that is endemic to this region.
We spent 3 wonderful days getting around this spectacular island and headed back to the mainland for another interesting experience.
The next three days were spent travelling north to the mountainous and magnificent place of Nami Island (the original place where the popular TV drama Winter Sonata were shot), breathtaking beauty of Seoraksan National park (it was snowing when we arrived at this park!), visiting museums and orchards and back to Seoul for the final leg of shopping spree in the many street markets lining the urban street.
In short, Korea has presented us with many nice and remarkable experiences. The people is very nice and polite. The place is super clean. There is no beggar at all. A very safe place to travel even at night. The local food however is a little bit out of our league and kimchi (fermented vegetables) is a must in almost all meals, even though quite tasteful but has really upset my tummy.
Korea – a wonderful honeymoon escapade and one amazing trip to be remembered for years to come.