Snow holidays in South Korea : Alpensia + Seoul



The Wacky Duo
December is always a good time to go on holiday.

With school-going kids, it would be the ONLY time you can take a an extendedreak without the worries of examinations looming. WeSo wead gone for a short holiday in Hong Kong and capped off the month with a trip to South Korea with the extended family.

Why so many holidays y,ou say?

2016 will be the last honeymoon year before both boys hit thimary school. So before the rat race begins, we would like to let them have as much fun as possible. As per our previous holidays, we will beshare our trip itineraryIf you miss our prlastolidays,  no fret... links are as follows

.Snippets of Tokyo
Self Drive Perth
HongKong Family Fun

Hang onght as we transport you on an 8-day tour to Seoul and back!

DAY 1: ALPENSIA SKI RESORT 알펜시아리조트 스키장
Alpensia Ski Resort
It was the red-eye flight for us from Singapore to Seoul Incheon Airport. Upon landing, we boarded the bus for a 3-hour ride to Alpensia Ski Resort. Given thour little sleepit was snooze time e,specially when the bus seats were ultra comfortable.


Our initial expectation was to see snow-covered buildings and roads. After all, it was about 0 degrees at Alpensia a,nd this is a SNOW ski resort. OnBut, onhe contrary, the only snow we spotted was on the artificial snow slopes and bits of melting snow around the resort.

Bummer.
Playground @ Alpensia
It was an understatement to say that we were not disappointed. However, after 12 hours ( 6.5 hours flight, 3.5 hours bus, 2 hours transit), we were feeling a tad tired to ponder ov. A So, aittle exploration and an attempt to build a snowman from the hardened snow were all we could muster for the day.

Snowman
Time to head into our rooms and take our beauty sleep. Our accommodation for this trip would be Holiday Inn.

You can read about it here

.Want a room?

Make your booking here.



DAY 2 : SNOW SLED @ ALPENA
Snowing at Alpensia
The next day our prayers were answered... Snow hit Alpensia early in the morning l,eaving a blanket of snow on the driveway.

Welcome snow
It was a magical moment. The powder white surrounding was a page off Frozen. Absolutely divine.
Snow @ Alpensia
That was officially our first snowfall as a family. It was not difficult to get excited by the sight of fluffy white snow all around us.

It snowed the whole day and a,t times form mini blizzards. The whentireesort was clad in layers of white snow. This is the Alpensia that we were expecting. Just one snowfall was all we had hoped for during the trip a,nd we were more than delighted to witness it.
Snow @ Alpensia Ski Resort
Our agenda for the day was to hit the ski slopes. To ski, you should take a beginner course to learn the basics before skiing. You can do that at the resort. As interesting as the skiing looks, we decided to opt out of skis and opt for something more suitable for the whole family ( or rather, we were too lazy to go through lessons considering we were taking holidays to get away from school lessons)

Ski  @ Alpensia Ski Resort
 Next up ... SNOWSLEDS!
Snow sledge at Alpensia
You do not need a degree to snow sledge. siSimplyrab a sledge, head up the slopes via the escalator, hop on your snow sledge and GO!

The whole morning was spent whizzing down the slopes of Alpensia.



A little tip if you are going with your grandparents. Do not tell the operators they are 65 years old and above, or eley will be banned from the slopes. After about 10 rides owe decided to take a break and explore the snow-clad resort.



It was a completely different look and feel from the plain brown hues we saw the day before. Even the playground feels like a scene from Winter Sonata.

Very Swee (beautiful).

Winter @ Alpensia
With so much snow, it is hard not to indulge in a little snow fight.

Apparently, *ahem* the kids are not the only ones who are enjoying the snow fight. It is true when they say the bigger you are, the bigger your snowballs are too.

I forgot who said that.
Biggest snow fight.
Coming from the equator, snow is a rare commodity. Thus spending some time rolling around it was something special. This was not the 'hahardened'ce or the soapy fake snow you get at the malls. This soft powdery white fluff was the real deal. It proves that there are still experiences to explore arworldwideven though one is 4 decades young.

We tried our hands on a snowman again. This time around, there was sufficient snow to create a real one, ala OLAF.

Snowman at Alpensia
After a whole day of snow, it was time to heat up. WeSo weeaded indoors for a hot piping meal.

Dinner was at one of the restaurants at the resort. There were quite a few restaurants to choose from at the resort. From Domino Pizza to Japanese food to Kolocal Koreanood, choices are aplenty. We settled on a Korean BBQ for the evening. Go overseas, must eat 'local' food lah.
Korea BBQ
DAY 3: YONG PYONG RESORT  용평리조트, DRAGON PEAK 용평리조트 드래곤피

The snow stopped the following day. We headed to the nearby Intercontinental for a breakfast buffet, as most restaurants do not open till 10. Today, we headed to the nearby Yong Pyong Resort to explore. Yong Pyong is a 5 minutes ride from Alpensia. We took a local taxi to get to the resort. If you are planning a visit, we strongly advise you to book a return or get the taxi company's direct number. We tried to book a return from the hotel at Yong Pyong and were quoted 3 times the fare for the booking fee alone!

That said, we were lucky to have help from the locals in getting cabs for us, saving us a hefty booking fee.

YongPyong
Back to the resort. There are gondolas(cable cars) up the mountains. As this visit was unplanned, we did not know what to do at Yong Pyong. SiHowever, since trip up the snow-clad mountain sounded like an adventure, we decided to head up the mohillsia the gondola and see what it had in store for us.
Yong Pyong Resort.

It was a great decision to head up. Snow greeted us from every angle when we were up in the mountains. It was pure Winter Wonderland. Needless to say, we were awestruck by the beauty.

Dragon Peak
The Peak, otherwise known as Dragon Peak, was one of the sites where Winter Sonata was filmed.
Winter Sonata
Coming from a place where all you see is concrete and green, a visit to Dragon Peak was a must-do if you are in the vicinity.

At 1458 m high, you will feel like you are on top of the world!


The views of the mountains and beyond from the Peak were simply breathtaking. PhUnfortunately, photoso not do justice to what we saw.
View from Yong Pyong
If time permits do take a walk and explore the mini garden at the Peak. We read that you might even find a helicopter pad in the woods.


It was pretty chilly when we were up there. At -9 degrees with winds blowing,  as beautiful as it seemed, we have to head down the mountains for some warmth. We are from the equator w, temperature hardly goes below 20 degrees. At Dragon Peak, we may behave been frozen if we had stayed for another 5 minutes.

View from Dragon Peak
There is another cable car line up the mountains. This one was an 'open concept' similar to the one below. It was closed while we were there, but it would be a fantastic ride if it was empty. That said, you can also ski down from the Peak as there is a ski slope from the top. The trip down via Rainbow Paradise is a 5.6km journey suitable for intermediate and up skiers.



The ski route down Dragon Peak was closed for that day. It meant we could not be the daredevil even if we wanted to. Waco we decided to try the next best thing on YongPyong... snow tube rides.

Snow Tube ride

There are actually 28 ski slopes in YongPyong, ranging from beginners to experts. If you are there for skiing, you will not be disappointed. For kids, the snow tube rides are just as thrilling. This 200 m ride down features different elevations along the way down instead of an average slopes down.

Fun was an understatement here!

After spending the whole afternoon up and down the sledge slope, it was time to head back home. The day was short due to Winter, but after 10 rounds of snow tube rides, the kids are exhausted.



DAY 4: MYEONG-DONG 명동, N SEOUL TOWER N 서울타워

It was time to leave the Ski Resort and head down to Seoul. 4 days and 3 nights in the snow were perfect for this trip. Do check the weather before you go because you have to experience snow when you are there to make it perfect.

It took us 3 hours to head down from Alpensia to Seoul. Do remember to book your bus ride down. There will be a crowd, and you might not get a seat. The alternative, a taxi ride down, can cost a couple of hundred bucks. Plus, from what we saw, buses get the privilege of the road with a dedicated bus lane. That probably shaves off 2 hours or more for the trip.

Street Food @ Seoul
The first thing we did was head to the streets for a taste of Korean street food.

We were pretty famished and had a bite of warm food. When you are hungry, everything tastes great!


We stayed at Myeong-Dong for the second part of our vacation. The N Seoul Tower was within walking distance, so off we went.

We got our tickets in Singapore before the trip t, thanks to Changi Recommends. In addition to the grexcellentifi router we rented for $5 bucks a day, we can now pre-book attractions at a discount at Changi Recommends. You book everything online and collect the tickets before the trip. We suggest you go to the airport at least 30 minutes earlier to maensureou get your tickets on time before the trip.
N Seoul Tower

There are 2 ways you can get up to N Seoul Tower... walk or take a cable car. We decided it would too risky to walk with kids, so it is off to the cable car. On the way up, we came across this humassiveile of locks. Initially, we were not sure what it was. Nonetheless, if you want to leave your mark at N Seoul Tower, you could go a padlock of love there.



For the boys, they tried to see if they could spot Singapore, a mere 4653.97 km away.

We could not see Singapore as the telescope was not strong enough. Nonetheless, the view was just as impressive.


There are other attractions there such as Hello Kitty Island and Ssentoy Museum & showroom. However, we were too hungry to continue with our sightseeing.
N Seoul Tower

Time to head back to Myeong-Dong.


If you have not been to Myeong Dong, it is a place where you have streets after streets of similar shops. The most common are beauty shops such as Nature Republic,  Etude House, Innisfree, Skinfood, MISSHA and more. This would be the place for ladies to store beauty essentials.

Since we had empty stomachs to fill, we popped into a local restaurant and requested the simmering hot pot the local staff are eating. Stuffed with seafood, it was a delectable treat to end the evening. Finding food would be a breeze as the lanes are lined with restaurants. You can find an array of local, Japanese, or Chand inese pizzas. If you are still hungry, simply buy street food to fill your tummies.

Soon the bed beckons us for a good night's sleep, and we are off to la la land while Seoul whizzes past on the street.


DAY 5: GYEONGBOKGUNG PALACE 경복궁,
HONGDAE (HONGIK UNIVERSITY STREET) 홍대


It's time to rise and shine. Today we will be visiting the attractions around Seoul. The day started with breakfast at Korea's version of Breadtalk... Paris Baguette. You can buy the bread and drinks you want, and there is a corner for you to partake in your food.

After a hearty meal, it was time to navigate the Seoul rapid transit system.
Seoul subway

Seoul has a very efficient subway system. You can probably head anywhere you want using the subway. As usual, do your research before your trip. You do not want to end up in Busan.

Train to Busan

A quick snap before our next destination.
Official Photographer of TheWackyDuo

First stop... Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Gyeongbokgung Palace
We were there to catch the changing of guards ceremony.


The event was free and lasted for about 15 minutes.


You can be a part-time guard, too, if you want. Either that or take a snapshot with the natural guard after the ceremony at the gates.


We made a pit stop at the National Palace Museum of Korea to peek at Korea's past.


We loved to visit museums in the local country. It was often here that we learned a thing or two about the country we visited. For example, do you know that Chinese characters were once part of the Korean language called Hanja?

 Spare at least an hour if you are heading there for a visit.



Our next destination is Hongik university street. This is the hip and happening street filled with food and fashion. Time to leave our mark at Hongik University Street.
Graffiti @ Hongik University Street
We spotted an arcade called Catch Me Doll and just had to visit it.
Catch me Doll

Even though we are semi-pros at UFO catching. It was almost impossible to catch a doll at Catch me Doll. Warning: The catchers are rigged. After about 10 tries in various machines, we decided it was time to move on as we think we donated enough to the economy.


Given that Dad was a marksman in his NS days, we managed to salvage the visit with a mini win at the shooting gallery. This kept our 100 % win record for visits to the arcade.

I caught a doll at Catch Me Doll.

Back to Hongik University Street to search for the others. It was really crowded!


Most of the stuff sold at Hongik university were things you probably can get in Singapore, except for a free hug from a Korean Guy.
Free Hug

After Hook, we stopped at Lotte Shopping centre and headed to the supermarket section. Lots of fresh fruits await.

The food court had many delicious-looking snacks that we had not seen before.

If the food court food does not entice you, perhaps another visit to the streets will fill you.

DAY 6: NORYANJIN FISHERIES WHOLESALE MARKET 노량진 수산시장,
COEX MALL (코엑스몰)


We hit the streets again the next day after a hearty porridge meal near the hotel. If you are ordering food in Korea, do not be surprised to have 12 different side dishes.

The agenda for today is a visit to Noryangjin Fishery Market.


There are 2 sections of Noryangjin Fishery Market. First is the old school section in an open-air wet market.


There is a modernised market located next to the old school market. So we headed to that section to choose our lunch.
Noryangjin Fishery Marke

To get a meal at the market, simply choose your catch, pay for it, and someone will bring you to a restaurant to cook it. A guy followed us even though we did not ask him to. Cooking is a separate cost and will be determined by how you decide to have it cooked.

The seafood itself is relatively cheap. You could get a dozen oysters at about $12!


Time to dig in!

After a satisfying meal, we headed to COEX Mall for a walk.



While the rest of our group headed shopping, we decided to visit the COEX Aquarium instead to search for fresh seafood sea creatures.
Co-Ex Aquarium
Do not let the size of the entrance fool you. The Aquarium was much bigger than we thought, and we saw quite a few exciting stations. Of course, you have your standard fishes, sharks, and much more. With 16 theme zones and 40 0000 sea creatures, you will need at least 2 hours to appreciate its setup.

CO Ex Aquarium

DAY 7: LOTTE WORLD 롯데월드

We are almost coming to the end of our trip. Since it was the last full day in Seoul, we decided to head down to LOTTE World for a fun day.

Looking for tickets to LOTTE World?

Get Discounted Tickets from Klook here
Lotte World

Back to LOTTE World

This was our first trip to LOTTE World. At first sight, the interior looks impressive as each floor entices with various rides and attractions. To start our exploration, we headed outdoors to check out the rides first.

Most outdoor rides require you to be at least 120cm to ride. However, as one of the Wackies was below the height limit, we decided to head indoors to try our luck.

The sight of the Pirate Ship swinging up in the air was not for the faint-hearted.
Pirate Ship
Thankfully we found some age-appropriate rides for the boys. There are many more rides to choose from, but the queues there are super long. The popular rides can be as long as 2.5 hours. The only time we had experienced such long lines was at DisneySea Tokyo.

Lucky for us, there are other distractions there.

Unlucky for us, we started donating to the economy AGAIN. Honestly, you can skip the UFO catchers in Korea. Compared to Japan, they are mostly rigged and dependent on luck rather than skill. We did try the carnival games at Lotte World and won some small token prizes. However, Lotte world was not so generous with its prize payout compared to Ocean World HK.

This indoor theme park has lots to offer, from US catchers to carnival shows to stage shows and parades.

There is also a Trick Eye museum there, a must-visit since South Korea is famous for the Trick Eye museum.

We decided to head to the bank to make some extra dough for the trip.
Lotte World Seoul
Feeling loaded after the heist, we end the day with a Korean BBQ and hot pot near our hotel.
BBQ Korea
Korea BBQ somehow tastes much better when you are eating it in Korea.

SERIOUSLY!
Korea Hot Pot
Before we ended our day, we headed to Myeong-dong Cathedral for a visit.
Myeong Dong Cathedral

The Myeong Dong Cathedral was built in 1898 in the style of Gothic ala Gotham City.
Myeong Dong Cathedral
Set in the heart of Myeong Dong, it is beautiful amid skyscrapers.


Step in, take a deep breath and if faith allows, say a prayer.

Taking one last walk at Myeong-Dong, we decided to brave the winter cold and stood in the long line for half an hour for a taste of King of Castella (Sponge cake).

After a few bites, after it cooled down (they said to eat it when cool), our verdict was that it tasted like a softer version of Sara Lee. Not sure if queuing half an hour for it will be worth the wait.
Seoul King of Castella


DAY 8: From MYEONG DONG to SINGAPORE
Good Bye Myeong Dong

Our last day was spent travelling to the airport. We were there 2.5 hours earlier but clearing the customs was a nightmare. We were removed with less than 5 minutes to boarding. It was a close shave that we did not miss our flight, but it added another point to the experience column.

The holiday was curated by my sister. After planning for holidays for almost a decade, it was great to just relax and have a worry-free holiday. Thank you, sis!

Missing Korea already, especially the snow.

Goodbye Korea

14 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for your post. i really appreciate it. when exactly did u go as my family are planning to go the 2nd week of December!

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  2. Looks like a fun family hoilday! Can you share the itinerary with me?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mummy Bunny . We did exactly as the above post :)

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  3. Hi, Can share with me you went to Korea in December on which week? I want to see snow as well like you did

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    1. My Instagram shows snow on 16 Dec . But it was not snowing the day before and two days after

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  4. Hi, can you share the hotel stayed at Myeongdong? Thank you.

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    1. Unfortunately I could not recall the name of the Hotel...

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  5. Hi hi, thanks for your great Sharing on Korea holiday.
    May I check with you where to book for bus ride from
    1) Seoul airport to Alpensia
    2) Alpensia to Seoul ?

    Thank you in advance!

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    Replies
    1. Try Booking from here https://www.indiway.com/en/prod/incheon-airport-alpensia-resort-shuttle-bus

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  6. Hello! What a beautiful write-up! Can u tell us which dates in Dec was this holiday? We are keen to go, just unsure of the dates to book. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello! What a beautiful write-up! Can you tell us which dates in December was this holiday? We are keen to go, just unsure of the dates to book. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Where did you buy the red and blue jacket for the kids? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete