Day 11 – Suwon Fortress and Korean Cultural Village

This was one of my most anticipated day trip to Suwon and the Korean Cultural Village. And also finally getting to dig in the Korean Fried Chicken experience (which didn’t turn out too well)

Suwon Hwaeseong Fortress 수원 화성

First began with the train trip to Suwon. At Suwon station, a tourist information center is conveniently located nearby which I would suggest to stop by for information to get to the city. Upon reaching the city center, I made another stop at a nearby tourist information center where a friendly lady gave me more information about the fortress and suggested paths. The fortress itself is 6km in total – you can hike through entirely or do only parts of it and some of the highlighted spots.

Snapping the fortress route from my side:

Suwon Hwaesong Fortress
Suwon Hwaesong Fortress

Suwon Hwaesong Fortress
Suwon Hwaesong Fortress
Suwon Hwaesong Fortress
Suwon Hwaesong Fortress

This fortress entrance looks really nice here 😀

Suwon Hwaesong Fortress
Suwon Hwaesong Fortress
Suwon Hwaesong Fortress
Suwon Hwaesong Fortress

One of the highlighted spot on the fortress with the dam. Theres a river here that was not captured in this photo.

Suwon Hwaesong Fortress
Suwon Hwaesong Fortress

Along the hike, I saw some counters with banners in korean and which seems to be regarding the fortress and it mentioned “1000 won” – so this got me curious – decided to check with the lady at the counter and realised that there was a 1000 won fee to go on the fortress. I was about 3/4 through my fortress journey at then.

The fee wasn’t super imposed on the visitors since there wasn’t an actual entrance and there wasn’t a ticket personnel to check your tickets. However, all the more for the future generations, decided to pay up and hope that the fortress will be well maintained for the future generations to visit.

Soon after, it was lunch hours for me! My decided lunch for that day was KFC! Korean Fried Chicken – one of the well-known dishes in Suwon.

Yongsung Chicken 용성통닭

Address: 10-5 Paldallo 1(il)-ga, Paldal-gu, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do

I targeted the much raved restaurant – Yongsung Chicken. I settled in quickly, but the korean characters on the menu was dancing after the trek- so I made a quick order reading out loud the line that contained the word “ban-ban”. So precisely, I said this: “yangnyeom banban” – I wanted the half-and-half chicken.

Obviously something didn’t go quite right since my order was circled this way:

Yong Sung Chicken

I was really anticipating a plate of fried chicken that cost 16,000 won. I was fully aware of the mountain size plate as seen on blogs.

Then it came:

Yong Sung Chicken

…all spicy chicken instead of ban-ban appeared. Obviously I underestimated how high the mountain was – considering the only KFC I had was with the Busan guests and back then it really wasn’t too much with many people sharing.

This felt like a 25pcs chicken and I was going through them slowly one at a time. I had one conclusion back then, I prefer the fried chicken as it is – dry and crunchy batter – no additional sticky paste should decorate my chicken! The sticky-gooey-spicy flavour just didn’t agree with my tastebud.

Of course, I didn’t managed to complete everything, as I was too full – crazy for one person to finish this. I considered take-out, but the spicy-sticky version totally don’t sound too good in a take-out paper bag. So I sinned and left them behind on the table – there were about lesser than 10 pieces left. 🙁

It was a short own-time-own-target as I try to find my way to my next stop, Korean Cultural Village. Again, pop in at my favourite stop, tourist information center and asked for directions. The lady actually came out from behind the counter, and guided me on the phone through the complicated journey to the village and then wished me luck, hoping I do get there successfully. 😀

I did, with her information!

Korean Folk Village 한국민속촌

Entrance fee: 18,000 won

I highly recommend dedicating an entire day to this village, because there was just simply too much to do here! A half-day trip (which include commuting) is gonna missed out so much based on my own experience. 🙁 I had at max 2.5 hours there and I was rushing through and needed to commute back to Seoul. And, the entrance fee was pretty pricey!

Here is the the performance information (might be outdated:

Korean Folk Village

So really easy, once you are there, check out the timing and try to catch the attractions if you can make it. Otherwise just wander through the village and indulge in the old Joseon era feel!

To watch out for roleplayers too! Spotted the beggar as I was walking around! But haha, plastic bag in the era!?

Beggar (Roleplay) - Korea Cultural Village
Beggar (Roleplay) – Korea Cultural Village

He very kindly posted for me as he spotted me spamming burst shot xD!

Beggar (Roleplay) - Korea Cultural Village
Beggar (Roleplay) – Korea Cultural Village

Next headed towards the Horse Riding show. While waiting for it to get started, spotted 2 really nicely dressed people ~ can’t remember, but I think they might be 2 other role players as well??

Korea Cultural Village
Korea Cultural Village

And the show started first with the crack of the whip and few rounds in the ring. Archery on horseback next

Horse Riding Show - Korea Cultural Village
Horse Riding Show – Korea Cultural Village

And some really dangerous looking feat! Much kudos!

Horse Riding Show - Korea Cultural Village
Horse Riding Show – Korea Cultural Village

After the show, I randomly wandered around found this really cozy looking little spot for storing kimchi storage

Korea Cultural Village
Korea Cultural Village

Walked into a Magistrate house

Magistrate Place - Korea Cultural Village
Magistrate Place – Korea Cultural Village

And the torture stuff. Though, the chair and poles thing, not sure about that being a torture. I mean I did see it being executed in dramas – but I couldn’t really imagine it being painful. Hmm…

Torture Stuff - Korea Cultural Village
Torture Stuff – Korea Cultural Village
Jail Cell - Korea Cultura Village
Jail Cell – Korea Cultura Village

Headed to the wedding ceremony show. A small crowd had gathered while waiting for the show to start. After a long wait, the bride finally made her entrance. Love the beautiful bright colors – imagine the colors against the very old-brownish-Joseon-tone background, it contrasted beautifully!

Beautiful Bride - Korea Cultural Village
Beautiful Bride – Korea Cultural Village

The bridegroom should have smiled a little! Understandbly…might have been the hundredth time going through the same ceremony.

Wedding Show - Korea Cultural Village
Wedding Show – Korea Cultural Village

And they then set off out to parade on street. They really did carry the bride in the sedan for a distance.

More random wandering around. Totem poles along some part ~

Totem Poles - Korea Cultural Village
Totem Poles – Korea Cultural Village

Some of the Joseon Era houses

Korean Folk Village - House
Korean Folk Village – House
Korea Cultural Village
Korea Cultural Village

Some masks for sale – doubt that they were really for sale though! No one manning the stall…

Mask Peddler - Korea Cultural Village
Mask Peddler – Korea Cultural Village

Beautiful quaint lake – really quiet and peaceful here.

Korea Cultural Village
Korea Cultural Village
Path to the Pottery House - Korea Cultural Village
Path to the Pottery House – Korea Cultural Village

Last but not least, the 5-colored fabric hanging on the tree – 5 colors meaning “4 direction and 1 center – and it was meant to prepare for misfortunes and disasters” – directly quoting from the description plaque. Though, not exactly sure about the 2nd part of the quote.

Korean Cultural Village
Korean Cultural Village

My hectic day of going through a cultural walk and sightseeing ended – and that night I was feeling super full and thought to give up on dinner. In the end, I did head to Gwangjang Market (finally) to check out the raved market. After all it was my last night.

Gwangjang Market 광장시장

There were quite aplenty of stores selling mandus, green bean pancakes, noodle stores, and whole wide variety of stuff. However, the items do look quite repetitive – so my choice ended up as I always do – the first friendly auntie? :D!

Gwangjang Market 광장시장
Gwangjang Market

Took a sneaky shot while waiting for my mandus. Ahjumoni was very friendly – I remembered she tried to feed me some thing from her gloved hands from her trays of food aww! I was disoriented after the meal, and tried to follow my GPS and ended up passing by the same stall while trying to go home and lol, the ahjumoni looked at me weirdly, asking where am I headed. XD

Day 12 – Stomachache, Ssamzie-gil Market, and then Flight home!

I always try hard not to get sick on trips, but it can’t be unexpected. I woke up with a bad stomachache and diarrhea runs.

The world was spinning and my head was feeling light and heavy at the same time. It was bad for me – my last half-a-day was supposed to be spent running all over Seoul for last minute shopping! I had to attribute that my illness to indigestion from the huge plate of chicken – I was feeling super bloated after that meal. And yes, to add fire to the heat, I gorged on mandus for last night dinner even when I wasn’t feeling well at all.

Served me right.

Sigh, I remembered all the sad thoughts or not having my last round of authentic korean jjajangmyeon, all the shopping time gone as I laid flat on bed and still feeling the world turning. I am definitely the type to keep on going on while on travels (same to be said when I went to Cambodia 2019 and wore out my travel buddy haha).

Gave into my weak body, and around 11am – finally felt that I did not need to run for the toilet anymore, although still having the light-heavy head sensation, decided to head out! A quick run to the stations to use the luggage lockers – don’t bother trying the Seoul station – all lockers were in use. Had decided to stop at by Myeongdong instead and hopefully there were some available lockers – and I did get it.

Ssamzie-gil Market 쌈지길

44, Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 종로구 인사동길 44 (관훈동)

A really artsy place, and you can find really nice craft works, bags, charms, and all sorts of things here. I would say, if you were looking for unique or fancy souvenir, this might be a place to shop! Note that it is sort of pricey here too.

Ssamzie-gil Market
Ssamzie-gil Market

Art works on the ceiling

Ssamzie-gil Market
Ssamzie-gil Market

And I did find something for myself! Went into this shop which was selling postcards, but postcards in black! The interesting part is that beneath the black canvas of the postcards were actually colors. So, you are suppose to scrape off the black canvas based on the design on the postcard (or as you wish) to reveal the underlying colors. Really beautiful and interesting idea as a souvenir. They were available in colors or in gold only .

Souvenir - Ssamzie-gil Market
Souvenir – Ssamzie-gil Market

Here is one of my first work on fireworks.

Souvenir - Ssamzie-gil Market
Souvenir – Ssamzie-gil Market

I am a glutton. Even as I am feeling sick, I can’t help thinking of the food I should have tried! After a good long walk, my giddiness disappeared and I got back on shopping track. Yet, I can’t help looking for things to eat. And I decided to make a stop here:

Migabon 미가본 (味加本)

A porridge house, located in Myeongdong. This shop took me some while to find as it was upstairs and the shop sign wasn’t easy to find amidst all other shop sign. Just keep your head up~!

Here is my mushroom porridge on the recommended list which cost 8000 won:

Mushroom Porridge - Migabon
Mushroom Porridge – Migabon

It was savory and well balanced, and you can taste the fragrance of the mushroom that it promised, and also feel the plumped up shape of each bead of rice. It was quite unlike the Cantonese style of porridge (congee) which I was used to – gooey and thick and more on the bland side. My personal preference is however the Cantonese style though.

A little side-thought – I am curious how porridge can reign a spot in Korea food-land – because Koreans love their springy spicy ramen and rice-soup or rice with all other side dishes.

Missing Luggage Lockers

I had confidently returned to Myeongdong station after my shopping to pick up my luggage. I had planned my time with the exact amount of time I needed – in all best case scenarios.

Imagine my shock when I couldn’t find any lockers at the station exit I had entered through. All of a sudden, it came crashing down to me – it was a different exit. Which one did I used the lockers at?! I couldn’t recall! With minutes ticking off before my express train to the airport – I frantically searched and ran and looked for the right exit at Myeongdong. Finally found a security guard and he pointed me to the right direction and in no time, whisked off my luggage and boarded the train and got to the express train only just in time.

Solo Trip – End

Shortly – I was on the flight back to Singapore. The round of fun felt really short – as it was with all of my travels. Fun time flies really fast. My solo trip had concluded, and I am now reminiscing the feeling itself. Trying to pluck up my courage where I felt shy most of the time, and thinking on feet myself to solve problems.

Personally, I had great experience with all the people I had met in Korea. I shall always remember my host and the very nice ahjusshi who helped me with my luggage at Busan, the ahjusshi who helped me find a bus to drive me back to accommodation at Damyang, the big sister who guided me to my hanok house at Jeonju. Koreans who were past middle age and elderly felt very very personable! There is a very friendly-family feels that you can get from them even if you just met them the first time.

Last but not least, the freedom to do the things on-time-own-target, and feeling no-shame in going jimjilbbang sauna alone.

All in all, solo trip, I think I am addicted. Korea? I am addicted too!

Where shall my next solo be?

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